I was born in Angera, a small town in the North of Italy squeezed between the Alps and the Lake Maggiore. As a kid, my dream was to become a marine biologist, not because I was dreaming of swimming with dolphins but because I was in love with tiny colorful fish and nudibranchs. My passion for small creatures brought me where I am now, studying the diversity and stability of microbial communities in the face of environmental changes.
My scientific journey started at the University of Genova, where I obtained a B.Sc. degree in Marine Environmental Sciences, and continued at the University of Pisa, where I obtained a M.Sc. degree in Marine Biology and later a Ph.D. in Marine Ecology. During my PhD, I worked under the supervision of Lisandro Benedetti-Cecchi, investingating the impacts of pulse perturbations and the occurrence of regime shifts in microbial and algal communities of rocky shore habitats.
For my postdoc, I joined Jeff Gore’s group at MIT. Here, I became initially interested in the C. elegans - E. coli model system to explore foraging behaviors in patchy environments. More recently, I have decided to come back to community ecology to examine the drivers of the diversity and structure of bacterial communities.
My research, by bridging experiments with simplified communities and data from natural microbiomes, investigates how the environment (e.g., available nutrients, temperature) shapes interspecies interactions and the assembly of microbial communities.