I studied Physics at University of Milano Bicocca, where for the first four years I followed a curriculum in Theoretical Solid State Physics. In the last year of studies my attention was drawn to Statistical Mechanics and applications to Soft Matter, hence my thesis work in 2011 on the refinement of a statistical potential for protein folding problems, supervised by Prof. Alessandro Laio and in collaboration with Prof. Flavio Seno and Dr. Antonio Trovato.
I am a PhD student in Molecular Statistical Biophysics at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste, Italy. During 2014 I spent three months at Rice University, Houston (TX), where I started a collaboration with Prof. Cecilia Clementi.
Research project: devising a statistical potential for protein structure prediction
I'm contributing to the development of BACH, a knowledge-based statistical potential for native pose discrimination in both protein folding and protein-protein interaction problems. During my master thesis I implemented a new method for calculating the solvent accessible surface area (SASA) of each residue, which improved the accuracy of the solvation part of the potential. Subsequently I helped in generalizing the scoring function for protein-protein interaction problems, devising an energy term accounting for steric clashes and improving the accuracy of the pairwise energy term by implementing a distinction between polar and apolar contacts. The work is still in progress: future improvements will concern again the solvation term and the use of BACH potential as a collective variable for metadynamics and other enhanced sampling techniques such as Diffusion Map directed Molecular Dynamics.