5000genomi@VdA Senior and Junior researchers

Read our Senior and Junior researchers bio!

Senior Researchers

Dr Alessandro Coppe
Senior Researcher Computational Genomics

Dr Alessandro Coppe graduated in Biological Science in 2003 at the University of Padua, where he also took a PhD in Bioscience with a specialisation in Genetics and Molecular Biology of Development. As a result of his interest in computers and programming as well as in biology, he found bioinformatics to be his ideal field of research, starting with his degree dissertation. Initially he worked on the identification of transcriptional factor binding sites (TF-BS) located in promoters of co-expressed genes in various parts of the human body. From 2006, when the use of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) became widely consolidated, he began working on the analysis of data arriving from the only available NGS sequencer at that time, the 454 sequencer. More specifically, he focused on the analysis of the genomes of animal species considered important from environmental and/or economic viewpoints. In 2013, he switched to the analysis of Illumina data, working on the study of tumours, principally infant leukaemia. During the course of his career, he has developed many software programmes dedicated to the analysis of tumour genomes or the identification of specific genomic characteristics of notable biological importance.

Dr Coppe’s role within the 5000genomi@VdA project will be the coordination of the bioinformatics team, with the objective of developing pipelines for the analysis of sequenced genomes in order to identify specific features of the Aosta Valley inhabitants’ reference genome. In addition, he will be involved in the analysis of data obtained from tumours in order to facilitate the work of oncologists by identifying genetic changes that can be treated by specific drugs.

Dr Manuela Vecchi
Senior Researcher Medical Genomics

Dr Manuela Vecchi is a researcher with many years of experience in leading multidisciplinary scientific projects, from genomics to precision medicine in oncology.

After graduating in Biological Sciences and attaining a specialisation certificate in Biochemistry and Clinical Chemistry at the University of Florence, she worked for about 3 years at the Biochemistry Department of Vanderbilt University (USA) where she contributed to the study of EGFR (Epithelial Growth Factor Receptors) regulatory mechanisms, which are now significant molecular targets in oncology. Successively she continued her cancer research in Milan, initially at the Department of Experimental Oncology at IEO (European Institute of Oncology) and later at IFOM (the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology), where she was assigned the role of Staff Scientist. For eight years she led the Clinical Biomarkers Laboratory, as part of the translational medicine programme at IEO in Milan. Working in close contact with clinical divisions and researchers, she was engaged in the preclinical and clinical identification and validation of novel cancer biomarkers in specific patient cohorts by means of retrospective and perspective studies. Recently she has worked for Cogentech S.r.l., an IFOM benefit corporation offering both high-tech services for the scientific community and heritable tumour diagnostic services for clinicians, and she was involved in advancing the company’s diagnostics portfolio and the development of NGS-based tests for patient stratification in clinical trials.

Within the 5000genomi@VdA project, Dr Vecchi will coordinate the medical genomics team involved in the collection, storage and processing of biological samples and high-throughput human genome sequencing: these activities are fundamental for the construction of a database integrated with clinical and genomic data regarding neurodevelopmental, neurodegenerative and oncological diseases. In addition, she will be working in a multi-sectoral role with doctors, researchers and bioinformaticians to consolidate beneficial collaborations with the U. Parini Hospital and the various project partners.

Ricercatori Junior

Dr Fabio Landuzzi
Junior Researcher Computational Genomics

Dr Fabio Landuzzi is a young researcher who was born in Bologna, the city where he began and continued his studies culminating in an MSc in Theoretical Physics. The skills that he developed during traineeships at ENEA (Agenzia nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l'energia e lo sviluppo economico sostenibile, National Agency for new technology, energy and sustainable economic development, Rome) and at IEMN (Institut d'Électronique, de Microélectronique et de Nanotechnologie, Institute of Electronics, Microelectronics and Nanotechnology, Lille), he worked for an important company supplying services for banking, where he further developed his computer science skills.

However, his passion for research led him to abandon the banking sector and begin a PhD at Université de Lille (Lille University) and at IEMN. Using computer simulations and experiments, he worked on the effects that ionising radiation has on DNA, in partnership with European research centres such as the “Small BioSystem Lab" (Barcelona). After his PhD, he continued his career with a Post-Doc fellowship at the Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo, where he remained until he arrived in the Aosta Valley.

Within the 5000genomi@VdA project, Dr Landuzzi will be implementing the bioinformatics analysis of genome sequencing data. He considers this research project as particularly interesting because it will make it possible to use the latest scientific developments and the most advanced technology to develop a public healthcare concept based on a predictive model in the outlook of replacing urgent treatment with preventive medicine. This will be a benefit not just for patients, as it will also make it possible to reduce costs, introducing a more modern clinical care system that can represent a point of excellence in the Aosta Valley and a positive example for other countries.

Dr Sara Trova
Junior Researcher Medical Genomics

Dr Sara Trova was born in Aosta and she is a young neuroscientist with a background in Molecular Biology. After her three-year Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences, she took a Master’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology, both at the University of Turin. After graduating, her passion for the study of the Nervous System led her to begin a PhD programme at the Neuroscience Institute Cavalieri Ottolenghi in Orbassano, which enabled her to develop both her biological/molecular and her cellular skills. During her PhD, she worked with international laboratories in France and Belgium, performing periods of research. At the Development and Plasticity of the Neuroendocrine Brain Team in Lille, where she worked on her first post-doc, she looked at molecular biology techniques and the use of genetic approaches to explore the way in which gene mutations in the neuroendocrine system can affect the phenomenon of neural plasticity. During her second research post-doc at Meiji University in Tokyo, Japan, she studied the effects of Mindfulness Meditation on the human brain using electroencephalography.

Dr Trova’s role as part of the 5000genomi@VdA project will be the management and coordination of work at the high-performance genome sequencing laboratory and the biological samples bank (biobank). In addition, she will supervise research activities regarding the identification of genomic variants implied in neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases.


Italian health authorization n.7194 from 26/11/2021