Dr Elisa Pesenti

Elisa Pesenti joined the Earnshaw lab in November 2016 as Postdoctoral Research Associate member, funded by the UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology (CMSB). After a Bachelor Degree in Biological Science and a Master in Molecular Biology obtained with highest degrees (110/100 with honors) at the University of Genova (Italy), Elisa successfully completed her PhD in Biotechnology. As an undergraduate and graduate student in Genova, Elisa had the possibility to work on a diverse range of questions and to handle different organisms (Bachelor thesis title: Analysis of cytotoxic activity in extracts of the marine sponge Chondrosia Reniformis; Master thesis title: Characterization of Immunoglobulin Antigen Binding Site expressed in B cells in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia). She then decided to focus on cellular biology and she completed a PhD thesis on the characterization of an unknown family of proteins involved in cellular motility (SH3BGR family) under the supervision of prof. Fabio Ghiotto (DIMES, Genova). During her 3-year PhD program, she joined the lab of Prof. Matthew Scharff (Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York) for 12 months, and she took part in a project focused on studying somatic hypermutation and its link with DNA damage. Then she decided to join the Earnshaw group fascinated by the new perspective in Synthetic Biology: her current main project is aimed to develop a new type of Human Artificial Chromosome (HAC) to help understanding the role of centrochromatin and pericentromeric heterochromatin in chromosome segregation. She also works on other projects focusing on the role of epigenetic marks as histone modifications on centromere biology. Elisa has been more and more engaged with the Synthetic Biology community: her main project is a joined efforts with other groups in USA and in Japan, helping Elisa to create a diffuse net of collaborators. By joining Conferences and Meetings in Synthetic Biology, she has the opportunity to engage with new researchers. She’s also interested in Science Education and Public Engagement with school and teachers and she is an active member of the Edincell group at the University of Edinburgh.