I studied Biotechnology at the University of Bari, with an experimental thesis in bio engineering. During my master, I had the chance of working at the Institute of Nanoscience CNR-Nano (Lecce, Italy), in the lab of Dr. Giuseppe Maruccio. My work was focused on the development of a label-free biosensor, based on the EIS (Electrochemical Impedence Spectroscopy) technique. The biosensor was successfully validated for the detection of antibodies anti-phosphorylated ENOA, an isoform of α-enolase which is overexpressed in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). The internship at CNR-Nano also led me to approach microfluidic, by collaborating to the set-up of in situ thermo-responsive valves on PDMS-glass chips, for a future integration into the EIS biochip.
In 2013, I moved to London for my PhD at UCL, where I joined the Charras lab. The project I am currently working on is aimed at developing a quantitative approach to study the spatio-temporal dynamics of population heterogeneity by focusing on local cellular interactions.
Cancer is a disease of cellular and environmental complexity, whose initiation and progress strongly depends on environmental features and on the interplay among the different cell lineages that make up the tumor. However, traditional methods in biology, typically based on end-point static assays, fail in characterizing such hetero-cellular interactions as they underestimate the contribution of context and its time-dependent variation.
I study cellular dynamics (proliferation, apoptosis, and migration) through fluorescence time-lapse imaging of co-cultures of cells with progressively more cancerous phenotype, in a controlled cellular environment. I explored the effect of relative seeding densities for the generation of selective forces using both standard culture methods and micro-patterned substrates, thus mimicking the physiological confinement on population-sized domains.
The complete set-up includes an incubator-scope for live cell monitoring, coupled with lineage tracking software. The software, developed by Dr. Alan Lowe, is able to classify different stages of the cell cycle and apoptosis, thus allowing continuous monitoring of cell proliferation and death over time and space, with single cell resolution.
Bove, A., Gradeci, D., Fujita, Y., Banerjee, S., Charras, G., Lowe, A.R. (2017). Local cellular neighbourhood controls proliferation in cell competition. Mol Biol Cell. 2017 Sep 20. link
Paradiso, A., Caretto, S., Leone, A., Bove, A., Nisi, R., & De Gara, L. (2016). ROS Production and Scavenging under Anoxia and Re-Oxygenation in Arabidopsis Cells: A Balance between Redox Signaling and Impairment. Frontiers in Plant Science, 7(December), 1–11. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2016.01803
Chiriacò, M. S., Primiceri, E., Monteduro, A. G., Bove, A., Leporatti, S., Capello, M., … Maruccio, G. (2013). Towards pancreatic cancer diagnosis using EIS biochips. Lab on a Chip, 13(4), 730–4. http://doi.org/10.1039/c2lc41127j