Staff VisMederi Research

  • Francesco Asta - Head of Laboratory

    In 2007, Francesco earned his BSc at the University of Milan by carrying out a thesis work aimed at understanding the mechanisms of protein degradation in S. cerevisae yeast. In 2009, at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, he obtained a MSc in Genetics and Molecular Biology, writing a thesis on the role of human microRNA-140 in the cleft palate. From 2010 to 2014, he was a research assistant in biochemistry and molecular biology at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tuebingen (Germany) where he was interested in the mechanisms of RNA degradation in eukaryotic cells. From 2014 to 2016, he was a research technician at the Neuroscience Department of the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, managing laboratories and supporting the research. In 2016, he obtained a master in Integrated Management Systems: Quality (ISO:19001), Environment (ISO:14001) and Safety (ISO:45001). From 2016 to 2019, as a member of the Health and Safety Office of the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, he carried out the role of Health and Safety Officer, ISO:45001 auditor and trainer.

  • Eleonora Molesti - Project Manager

    Eleonora graduated in Biological Sciences at the University of Siena. She obtained a Bachelor’s Degree (BSc) in 2006 and a Master’s Degree (MSc) in 2008 at the Department of Physiopathology, Experimental Medicine and Public Health under the mentorship of Prof. Emanuele Montomoli. She carried out epidemiological and virologic surveillance for Influenza viruses through isolation, identification and typing. She was also trained in performing serological assays such as Haemagglutination inhibition (HI) and Single Radial Haemolysis (SRH) to evaluate seasonal influenza vaccine immunogenicity. In July 2014 she successfully obtained a PhD from the University of Kent (United Kingdom) under the supervision of Dr. Nigel Temperton (Infectious Diseases Group). Her PhD project investigated the development of surface-engineered lentiviral vectors (pseudotypes) as surrogate antigens in downstream pseudotype-based neutralization assays to study serological profiles of viruses responsible of viral zoonosis and emerging diseases, particularly in the field of respiratory viruses such as Influenza A viruses (HPAI and LPAI) and Coronaviruses. During her PhD she also developed an extensive knowledge in cell cultures and molecular biology techniques.
    Her first job experience started in 2014 as a Research Scientist within the Analytical Development Group at Kedrion BioPharma (Bolognana, Lucca) where she was involved in the optimization and validation of analytical methods for characterization of intravenous Immunoglobulins moving successively within the Chemical Quality Control at Kedrion IKOD (Siena).
    After two years’ experience in Kedrion, she was hired by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK, Siena) within the Microbiological Quality Control Group.
    Before joining the Vismederi Research Group in 2020, she spent one year at GSK Vaccine Institute for Global Health (GVGH) as a Scientific Associate within the Immunoassay Unit supporting the serological evaluation of GVGH vaccine projects (mainly on Shigella).

  • Ginevra Giglioli

    After obtaining her high school leaving qualification in Scientific and Technological Studies at the “Istituto di Istruzione Superiore Sarrocchi” of Siena, she chose to follow her passion by enrolling in the Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technology Master’s course at the University of Siena in 2014. She then graduated in 2020, taking part into an experimental thesis project in Applied Biochemistry on the development of extracts with antioxidant activity. On that occasion, she was able to develop her skills on the management of laboratory procedures. She recently joined the VisMederi Research team.

  • Linda Benincasa

    Linda graduated in Biological Sciences at the University of Siena in 2012 with an experimental thesis on the involvement of TGF-β pathway in postnatal lung organogenesis. In 2015 she obtained a Master’s degree in Health Biology with a thesis on Glycodelin A glycoforms in human placenta, carried out at the Life Sciences Department of the University of Siena and, in the same year, she obtained the qualification to the profession of Biologist. In 2019 she obtained her PhD in Life Sciences, studying the effects of altered glucose metabolism and environmental chemical contaminants on foetal-placental development. She spent a period in Poland as a visiting PhD student, where she dealt with the set-up of protocols for 3D cell cultures at the Polish Academy of Science in Olsztyn. Linda has held the role of teacher of theoretical-practical lessons in Physiology and Cell Biological Laboratory Skills and has participated in international conferences and seminars as a speaker. Moreover, she obtained a research grant at the Department of Molecular and Developmental Medicine at the University of Siena. Linda has performed the role of Clinical Trial Assistant by participating in the SI-PHAR&D project promoted by the ITS Vita foundation. During this experience she had the opportunity to gain new skills in the design of clinical studies and development of new drugs and obtained the certification of Good Clinical Practices (GCP). In 2020 Linda has joined VisMederi Research, where she is currently dealing with the development of cell culture protocols for the research and development of new vaccines.

  • Ilaria Razzano

    She achieved a Bachelor’s Degree in Biotechnology at the University of Siena in 2017, with an experimental thesis carried out at the Department of Microbiology on the study of the immune responses to vaccination through ELISA assays and multiparametric cellular analysis through flow cytometry (FACS). She joined VisMederi in 2019, carrying out her experimental thesis internship for her Master’s Degree in Medical Biotechnologies, gaining experience in cell culturing and classical serological assays (ELISA, HI, SRH, MN) for the release of new influenza vaccines. She is pursuing with a PhD in Life Sciences, for the assessment and harmonization of immunological assays for vaccines against emerging viral diseases. She is currently part of the VisMederi’s CMI team, responsible for the evaluation of cell-mediated immune responses to new vaccine constructs in pre-clinical and clinical development, by conducting ELISpot and Intracellular Cytokine Staining (ICS) assays.

  • Donatella Bentivenga

    Donatella obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Biotechnology in 2014 at the University of Siena, with an experimental thesis about the role of KSRs molecules in SOCE. She continued her specialization with a Master’s Degree in Medical Biotechnologies and graduated with honours in 2017, with an experimental thesis on the “Biological cost of MCR positive plasmids isolated from Italian clinical strains”. From 2017 to 2020 she worked in GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines in the Quality Control Immunology lab, where she has developed her knowledge and expertise on Quality Management Systems and Laboratory Techniques. In November 2020, she has joined the VisMederi’s team as a Research Technician.

  • Margherita Leonardi

    Margherita graduated in 2013 in Biological Sciences at the University of Siena with an experimental thesis in Zoology. In 2016, she obtained her Master’s Degree in Health Biology at the same University with a thesis about the correlation between breast cancer cells and autophagic flux. In the same year, she started working at the Tuscan Tumor Institute in Siena, where she published her research project: “Activated kinase screening identifies the IKBKE oncogene as a positive regulator of autophagy”. In 2020 she obtained her PhD in Genetics, Oncology and Clinical Medicine at the University of Siena in collaboration with the Institute for Study, Prevention and Oncology Network, working on different processes leading to the development of cancer.