I studied Chemistry in Italy, where I got first my B.Sc. degree at University of Pavia, moving then to the University of Pisa where I earned a M.Sc. degree in Physical Chemistry. After that I started a PhD in “Scienze Chimiche e dei Materiali” at the same University, working on the development and application of polarizable QM/MM molecular dynamics, in order to study environment effects on spectroscopic properties of chromophores embedded in biological environments. After implementing the methodology in two suites of programs coupled for this purpose (a developing version of Gaussian09 and Tinker) I have studied the coupled environment and electron-nuclear dynamics of a fluorescent probe used to detect DNA. With the same tools I have contributed to the computational investigation of the solvatochromism of long-chain carotenoids embedded in the crustacyanin protein, responsible of the colors of the exoskeleton of lobsters (or of they nice red color when they are cooked).
After completing my PhD I moved to Paris, to work as postdoctoral fellow in the research group of Prof. Piquemal, to further develop the QM/MM dynamics I worked in a multidisciplinary environment, working in close contact with mathematician to develop advanced algorithm and novel molecular dynamics approaches. I have included the treatment of QM/MM cross-bondings, so to deal with systems where the chemically active region of interest in a large macromolecule form a covalent bond with the rest of the environment. In the near future more has to come on the work done on newer version of advanced force fields to improve the description of molecular interactions in QM/MM and on a mixed atomistic/implicit treatment of the environment in classical dynamics!
Since those two experiences, my interests have been directed toward all the implications of the following, short fictitious dialogue between Scientist A and Scientist B:
Scientist A: “This is too much to be precise enough!”
Scientist B: “Maybe…”
In fact I like to apply and improve molecular modeling techniques aiming at the study of properties and behaviors of biologically relevant molecules. A way to achieve it is merging different, but very well connected, areas of Computational Chemistry: Molecular Dynamics based on Polarizable Force Fields, Quantum Chemistry to achieve an accurate description of physico-chemical events and the embedding theory, to combine the former two, so to deal with large molecular aggregates or biomolecular systems, keeping a good description of the phenomena of chemical interest.
A large part of my work has been dedicated to implement embedding models or molecular dynamics algorithms in computer codes, coding most of the time in some version of Fortran (as FORTRAN 77). I still enjoy very much to write new code and later see the results applied to a problem of interest for its scientific value.
I also enjoy to try new recipes, mostly of French and Italian cuisine, go to the movie theater or to progressive (-ish) concerts.