The people we employ. With their expertise and experience, they make VisMederi a young, dynamic and innovative company. We are talking about a human capital of competent and motivated women and men, which over the years has grown and strengthened thanks to new highly technically and scientifically specialized professionals. The two main business areas – vaccines and food industry, safety and environment – are supported by an administrative area for all research activities. The high profile of the working group is one of the strengths of VisMederi, which chose to bet on young people and to enhance their talent to grow and successfully enter new markets.
Administrative Office / Human Resources
Giulia Addolorati - Head of Administrative Office / Head of Human Resources Office
Giulia graduated at the University for Foreigners of Siena in Linguistic and Cultural Mediation, and she specialized in “Translation for Business and Tourism”. During her studies, she has always worked in the fields of administration, tourism and translation. In 2010, she was awarded with a fellowship on the topic “Implementation of Capacity Building Processes at Navrongo Health Research Centre in Ghana” performed at the University of Siena, Department of Physiopathology, Experimental Medicine, Public Health, under the supervision of Prof. Emanuele Montomoli, mainly performing translations, management of the supplying processes and linguistic support. She is part of VisMederi’s staff since 2011, first as Administrative Assistant in the position of Specialist and as Head of Administrative and Human Resources Office since April 2016. Her tasks concern all administrative processes according to ISO9001:2008 standard and the management of human resources practices. Her activities mostly apply to approval and writing of administrative SOPs, coordination and supervision of Administrative Assistants and their activities, management of work relationships and documentation for consultants and service providers, supervision in drafting and management of contracts and documentation of the Company (customers/sponsors/consultants/conventions). She is also responsible for invoice emission and management. She is responsible for Human Resources processes, stage/internship/job voucher, internal documentation, relationship with Labor Consultant and management of time and attendance software.
Belinda Carnasciali - Purchasing Office
She graduated from the Faculty of Literature and Philosophy at the University of Siena in 2001. After graduating, she was hired as a Commercial Officer for Tuscany in an international company specialized in document management and workflow solutions for companies and the Public Administration. After several years, she went back to work with a company in the Biotechnology sector in Siena as an Administrative Assistant, essentially following the entire process of reporting on EU Projects. In 2011, she was hired by a qualified company to provide Payments and Business Services, managing the Administrative Office. In July 2018, she has joined the administrative staff of VisMederi, where she currently deals with the management of Suppliers and the Purchasing Department, following the entire process, according to the ISO9001:08 standards, from the estimate request to the issue of the Purchase Order, until receipt and storage of the shipping documents and the corresponding invoice.
Maura Martini - Administrative Assistant
Maura graduated in Foreign Languages and Literatures, Linguistics curriculum, at the University of Siena in 2004. In 2020 she obtained a further University Degree in Psychological Sciences and Techniques, Social, Work and Organizational Psychology curriculum at the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Florence. After finishing her first step studies, she worked in qualified import\export companies in Tuscany as an employee in the foreign commercial office. In 2005 she was hired by a renowned pharmaceutical company where she worked for ten years as an Executive Assistant dedicated to the top management. In 2015 she moved abroad managing her own wellness centre company, and, coming back to Italy after one year, she started working in the tourism field with her own rental apartments. Since February 2020 she has been working at Vismederi S.r.l. as an Administrative Assistant supporting the top management with their day-by-day activities, providing support with external guests also during company meetings and events, and helping the company staff with their daily administrative needs.
Simone Paletti - Head of Financial Office
He studied Business Administration at the Faculty of Economics “Richard M. Goodwin” in Siena, earning his Bachelor’s Degree with a thesis on International Accounting, research theme on methodological aspects and problems of the adoption of IAS / IFRS Accounting Standards for SMEs. While studying Management and Governance at the Department of Business and Legal Studies at the University of Siena, he gained experience on the field in a Business Consultant Studio. He obtained his Master’s Degree with a graduation thesis on the business model that characterizes the start-up phase of companies in the Life Sciences cluster. He has been working in VisMederi since March 2014, dealing with Corporate Finance and Management Control. From January 2015 to June 2016, he became a member of the company’s Board of Directors. Since April 2016, he is the Head of the Corporate Finance Area.
Luna Doretti - Accounting Office
Luna graduated in Business and Economics at the “Richard M. Goodwin” Faculty of Economics in Siena with the thesis “The glass ceiling” in 2013. Then, she obtained her Master’s Degree in Management and Governance at the University of Siena, discussing her thesis entitled “The tax monitoring” in 2016. During her studies, she worked as an Assistant Accountant for 4 years and, after that, she improved her skills working in the Business Administration Department for various companies.
Sara Pugliese - Internal & External Communication
Sara studied at the University of Siena. In 2007, she graduated in Literature and Philosophy, Curriculum of Sciences of the Historical and Artistic Heritage with final grades of 110/110 with honors. She carried out a stage for research purposes at the Commission for the Historic, Artistic and Ethno-Anthropological Heritage of Siena and Grosseto. After this experience, she moved to Milan where she worked for two years at a travel agency and, afterwards, she moved to Florence where she continued working in the field of tourism. In 2011, she returned to Siena, where she worked as an Administrative Assistant first at a Business Consultant Office and later at a Law Office. In February 2013, she started working as an Administrative Assistant at VisMederi Srl in the position of Junior Specialist. Currently Sara is Responsible for VisMederi Communication, taking care of promoting and spreading the Company’s identity, in line with the image and the management strategy as well as with budget items and costs. She coordinates the selection of information channels, organizes sponsorship, maintains and strengthens relations with institutions, organizations and media. She is also involved in writing press releases, texts for corporate advertising and corporate representation documentation. She manages the Social Channels (Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook) and the web site of the Company that she frequently updates with the insertion of news related to the activities of VisMederi at a national and an international level. She organizes events such as press conferences, meetings and conventions. Furthermore, she is mainly involved in managing Sponsors visits and Audits organization, in the management of enterprise business travels and of enrolment meetings, conferences and seminars and in the administrative issues concerning receipt and shipping of viruses and samples.
Margherita Turillazzi - The Legal
In 2015 she graduated from the Faculty of Law with a thesis on Tax Law entitled “Tax aspects of reverse merger. Analysis of a practical case”. The same year, after graduating, she had a five-month study experience in Australia. On her return she began working at a law firm in Siena. In 2018 she obtained a 2nd level-CMU2 Master’s Degree in Corporate Law at the 24Ore Business School. In January 2019 she moved to Modena, where she worked for a law firm specialized in corporate law and then returned to Siena in March 2020. She began working at Vismederi where she is responsible for the management of legal affairs, in particular the stipulation and revision of contracts with international Sponsors.
Emilia Aceto - Head of Quality Office
Graduated with honors in Biology at the University of Siena in 2005, she completed her studies obtaining a PhD and a Second Level Master in Biochemistry. Throughout this time, her scientific research focused mainly on proteins purification and characterization. She was also involved in the validation of HPLC methods and enzyme kinetics. She carried out her post-doctoral studies at “Department of Molecular Epidemiology”, University of Siena with Prof. Emanuele Montomoli. In January 2011, she joined the VisMederi’s team and she worked mainly on laboratory tests for clinical studies dealing with humoral and cell-mediated immune responses induced by influenza viruses. In addition to the role of Scientist, she was the person responsible for the propagation and storage of live viruses in VisMederi. With a background in method procedures and other laboratory documentation, she joined the team of VisMederi Quality Assurance in 2015. She is currently Head of the Quality Department and guarantees the control and efficiency of the company Quality System. She is responsible for the outcome of audits and coordinates the resources of the quality area in order to maintain the ISO and GCLP certifications and to support the Auditors during visits by Sponsors or Organizations. She is also responsible for the Authorization and Accreditation process for the provision of health services for and on behalf of the National Health Service in Italy.
Celeste Lecce - Quality Unit
Celeste is passionate about chemistry and everything related to science in general. After three years of experience in the faculty of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technologies at the University of Siena, she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Science, with a thesis in Biological Chemistry on a structural bioinformatics investigation on protein-DNA interaction. During her studies she became a student representative and worked as a university tutor in the department of Biotechnology, Chemistry and Pharmacy. After her Bachelor’s Degree, she enrolled in a Master’s program in Chemistry and she also completed a training course obtaining the qualification of “Technician in the activities of assessing the quality of raw materials, semi-finished products, finished pharmaceutical products, water and environment” at Eurobic Toscana Sud S.r.l. Now she is waiting to complete her Master’s Degree. Meanwhile, after an internship at VisMederi S.r.l, she has joined the staff as an “Assistant of the Quality Department”.
Giovanni Micheli - Quality Unit
Graduated in Geological Sciences at the University of Pisa, he decides to undertake a different path that brings him closer to the business world. Biotechnology is one of his interests and he succeeds in accessing a two-year course of Higher Technician for the Quality System of products and processes based on biotechnology, organized by Fondazione VITA, a Technical Vocational School for New Life Technologies based in Siena. The final part of the course consists of a long internship that Giovanni performs in VisMederi. Graduated with honors, he then joins the Quality Department of VisMederi, where he deals with managing and improving the Quality Assurance process in vaccine and food areas.
Giacomo Martini - Site Manager & Archivist
After his High School Diploma, he enrolled in the Faculty of Environmental Sciences at the University of Siena, where he had the chance to take part into an internship program aimed at improving the studies on pollution. After this internship, he worked for several firms where he developed organizational and control skills on impact and environmental safety. In 2011, he began to work for Pharmaceutical Firms, first in Novartis and after in Kedrion Biopharma, in the field of flu vaccines, as a Quality Controller. He supervised the whole vaccine packaging process, ensuring high-standard quality on Health and Safety. Since February 2016, he has been working in VisMederi, as a Logistics Coordinator and Responsible for storage operations.
Marco Bellini - Facilities Officer
After obtaining his High School Diploma of Accountant and Business Consultant, he worked as Head of Finance and Administrative Office and Head of Human Resources Office in firms operating in the building industry. Subsequently, he was Manager of the same companies, with particular focus on the recovery and restoration both of civil buildings and assets with significant historical and artistic interest. Since June 2018, he has been working in VisMederi as a Technician.
Valerio Stanzani - Equipment
Valerio graduated in Medical Biotechnology at the University of Bologna. He worked in 2003-2004 as a sales representative for a small company that develops medical and serological diagnostic kits. He also received a university fellowship in 2004 in Molecular Biology based out the University of Bologna. He obtained a Master’s Degree in Quality Certification for Food Producing Organizations in 2005. After having completed his PhD in Molecular Medicine (2009-2013); he joined VisMederi in 2013, where he has developed competence and expertise in laboratory instrument management necessary for his current position in VisMederi.
Vithor Henrique Juliatto - Logistic
After finishing high school in Belo Horizonte-Brazil, he started a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at Curitiba University in Brazil while gaining experience as a sales intern in his hometown Curitiba. Now living in Italy, he’s attending the Faculty of Economics at the University of Siena. His international experience helped him develop strong communication skills, being fluent in Portuguese, Italian and Spanish. His current position at Vismederi is related to logistic operations.
Andrea Sortino - Logistic
Andrea obtained his Diploma as a Surveyor in 2009. In 2014, he worked as a Warehouse Operator for a service company in Livorno. After that, he focused mainly on the nautical field (private yachts) working firstly as a seaman, then as a boatswain and as a co-worker at NCA – The Italian Sea Group S.p.A shipyard. During this period, he acquired important logistic and managerial competencies. Currently, he is a member of the VisMederi’s group, as a Warehouse Operator.
Fabio Vedovi - Specimen Manager & LIMS Administrator
After a formative research experience at the CDD-CDR of the University of Helsinki as a Visiting Scientist in the Computational Drug Discovery Department, he graduated with honours in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technologies at the University of Urbino.
He began his job career in 2016 working as a Quality Assurance Expert for the aseptic production processes at GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines. He then decided to explore new branches in 2018, becoming a Pharmaceutical Medical Advisor for Pediatrica srl; one year later, as a consequence of his positive results, he advanced to Business Development Manager, overseeing and administering the scientific and business activities for Tuscany, Umbria and the districts of Rieti and Viterbo.
In 2020, he has caught the opportunity to join VisMederi with the position of Scientist within the High Containment Functional Assays – UNIT, performing SARS CoV-2 Virus Neutralisation Tests (VNT) within BSL3 laboratories.
Since August 2021, he is been the responsible in charge of Sera Management and the LIMS Administrator of Vismederi.
Emir Hodza- Specimen Operator
Emir obtained his High School Diploma at “Istituto Professionale Marconi” of Siena in 2015 with a specialization in Mechanics. During his work experience he has gained very good practical expertise in manual operations as well as in logistics operations, first working in vulcanising services and then in the construction industry. He has joined Vismederi since August 2021 to be part of the Sera Management Team, where his main duties are: shipping operations, sera Quality Check and storage, LIMS recording, documentation following the GCP and sample testing collection, as well as logistics activities.
Licia Vitale - Head of Diagnostic
Licia Vitale is graduated in biomedical laboratory techniques and in master degree of Medical Biotechnology. After the awarding of the first degree, she started to work in multinational Bayer Biologicals Ltd as laboratory operator and later as a quality control operator (from 2005 to 2008). After an instructive experience in the company, she decided to continue her studies and in 2009 she started her collaboration with the Molecular Epidemiology group of the University of Siena as a PhD student in Molecular Medicine In 2010, she moved to the newborn VisMederi s.r.l. where she completed her PhD. Her studies were focused on vaccines development. In particular she was involved in many clinical trials for pandemic and seasonal influenza vaccines and on the typing of Meningococcal bacteria for anti MenB vaccine. She is involved in serological assays as Microneutralization, SRH and ELISA test.
Costanza Fondelli - Scientist
Costanza Fondelli studied at the University of Siena and she graduated in Biotechnology (B.Sc.). She worked as a Laboratory Technician in several pharmaceutical companies such as: GSK Vaccines, Exosomics Spa, SienaBiotech Spa and Chiron Vaccines. She has a background in proteomic analysis, immunological assay, maintenance of cell cultures and molecular biology techniques. She took part in various European projects and she was a co-author of several scientific papers for international journals. In GSK Vaccines, she performed laboratory activities on analytical method validation for FDA Commitment and routine testing for Vaccine Quality Control. She acquired good knowledge in the field of GMP Quality Control Regulations. She is currently working as a Research Technician in VisMederi.
Ginevra Marzucchi - Scientist
Ginevra obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Science in 2014 at the University of Siena and continued her specialization with a Master’s Degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology, achieved in 2016. During her Master’s Degree, she spent six months at Ruprecht Karls Universität of Heidelberg, in Germany as an Erasmus student in Molecular Biosciences. In 2017, she won the International Soldera Case Basse Award for Young Researchers and she obtained the qualification to practice her profession as a biologist the same year. From 2017 to 2019, she worked at Glaxosmitkline – GSK (in Siena) where she took part in the AS&T Team working as a lab technician on analytical method validation for an FDA commitment (mainly on colorimetric, chromatographic and ELISA assay methods). She worked in compliance with GMPs and company SOPs and supported Quality Control activities.
Since October 2019, she has been working in Vismederi where she is currently involved in the development and execution of serological assay (ELISA-based MICRONEUTRALIZATION ASSAY) for the immunogenicity evaluation of Influenza Vaccines.
Rudi Mazzinghi - Scientist
Rudi graduated at the University of Siena in Environmental and Natural Sciences, where he specialized in “Ecotoxicology and Environmental Sustainability”. During his studies, he has always worked in the analysis sector, thus gaining knowledge and expertise in this field. In 2019, he won a scholarship to work as an Administrative Secretary at the University of Siena and, in 2020, he took part in the Interreg MED Plastic Buster MPAs European Project funded by the European Community, carrying out his degree thesis in this context. He finally qualified as a Biologist in 2020 and he has joined the VisMederi’s staff since 2021. He is currently taking care of the execution of COVID-19 swab tests, helping Vismederi in the fight against the pandemic.
Francesco Bellucci - Scientist
Francesco obtained his Master’s Degree with honours in Ecotoxicology and Environmental Sustainability at the University of Siena in April 2020. During his thesis internship, he was mainly involved in the application of ecotoxicological biomarkers to bioindicator organisms. In particular, his Master’s thesis was about the application of non-destructive biomarkers of genotoxicity, oxidative stress and immunotoxicity, to biological samples from Caretta caretta sea turtle specimens. In November 2020 he qualified as a Biologist. Since June 2021, he has been carrying out an apprenticeship as a Research Operator in VisMederi’s Laboratories; in addition, he is currently performing COVID-19 swab tests.
Silvia Grappi - Project Director University Partnership
Silvia Grappi studied at the University of Siena and she graduated in Biotechnologies in 2006. From 1999 to 2006, she worked as a Research Assistant at the University of Siena, under the supervision of Prof. A. Tagliamonte (Department of Neurosciences), where she studied the neurochemical, immunocitochemical, and behavioural changes associated to drug addiction, depression, and appetitive behaviour in animal models. She also studied animal models of obesity and relative potentially antidiabetic drugs. From 2002 to 2004, she worked at the Institut de Génétique et Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Strasbourg (France) as Research Engineer where she studied the characterization and the link between mu receptors and depression. She obtained her Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine, (Department of Neurosciences) in 2010. Her research focused on the characterization of dopaminergic transmission in feeding behaviour. From 2010 to 2012, she carried out a Post Doc under the supervision of Prof. E. Montomoli. (Dept. of Physiopathology Experimental Medicine and Public Health). Throughout this time, she studied the immunogenicity of influenza vaccines. She was the author and co-author of several scientific papers for international journals. In September 2012, she joined VisMederi, a highly qualified enterprise in the field of Research and Life Sciences, where she was involved in several serological activities. She also conducted a project for the characterization of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B strains. Currently, she is a Principal Scientist, and she is the main contact for a global leader company in the vaccine field. She is Project Leader of an important research project on the efficacy of flu-vaccine.
Giulia Piccini - Project Director Translational Research
Graduated in Biotechnology (Bsc) in 2011 and in Medical Biotechnologies (Msc) in 2013 at the University of Siena, she caught the opportunity to join Vismederi Siena in 2012, where she has been working since then as Scientist and currently as Translational Research Leader. Within the company she acquired deep knowledge of the development and standardization of cell-based and cell-free assays to evaluate the immunogenicity of vaccines against viral and bacterial diseases (primarily influenza, Covid-19, meningitis and salmonellosis), working both in the context of research projects and clinical/pre-clinical studies. In 2020, she received the PhD in Life Sciences at the University of Siena, with a study focused on the implementation of pseudotypes-based assays to quantify the antibody response against the influenza neuraminidase. During the years of PhD research, she also successfully completed the Executive Master in Project Management, certified by the QUEC company (Florence) and accredited by the National Council of Engineers; and obtained the international certificate in “Laboratory Animal Sciences”, through a specialized course provided by the IBMC institute of Porto (Portugal) accredited by the Federation of European Laboratory Animal Sciences Association (FELASA category C of directive 2010/63/EU). Since the very beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, she is being engaged in the “MAbCo19” project, a study focused on the identification and characterization of neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) from Italian Covid-19 convalescent patients. She is author and co-author of scientific articles published in international journals, particularly aimed at promoting the dissemination of knowledge of invasive meningitis and salmonellosis, as well as at discovery of mAbs against SARS-CoV-2.
Luisa Ganfini - Project Director
Luisa Ganfini obtained her Bachelor in Biotechnology in 2010 at the University of Siena and continued her studies with an MS degree in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, achieved in 2013. During her MS degree, she completed a six-month thesis internship at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. In 2014, she started her PhD in Biomolecular Sciences with the University of Trento, in collaboration with Externautics spa (until May 2016) and with Toscana Life Sciences (TLS) in Siena, during which she was involved in an ERC (European Research Council) Project, completed at the end of 2017. Upon completion of her PhD, she obtained a Post-Doc position through the University of Trento, CIBIO (Centre for Integrative Biology) in collaboration with TLS (Toscana Life Science), completed in June 2018. Since mid-June 2018, she has joined the VisMederi’s team where has been improving her competences working on serological tests for the evaluation of immunogenicity in vaccines.
Elena Gianchecchi - Project Director
Elena graduated with 110 cum laude in Biology (BSc) and Health Biology (MD) at the University of Siena in 2006 and 2008 respectively. She obtained a PhD in Biomedicine and Immunological Science at the University of Siena working on the involvement of adenosine and cannabinoid systems in dermal fibrosis. During her PhD, she spent 4 months at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, which allowed her to confirm in vivo the results previously obtained in vitro and to obtain the title of Doctor Europaeus in May 2012. Between 2012 and 2013 she worked as a Post Doc at the Autoimmunity Laboratory of Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital (Vatican City, Rome). In November 2014 she joined VisMederi working as a Scientist. More specifically, she is involved in the management of all the activities necessary for the conduction of experiments and analyses of the results obtained from vaccine clinical trials in terms of cellular mediated and humoral immune responses for the evaluation of vaccine immunogenicity. She is also involved in writing and reviewing scientific papers, study protocols, release and stability reports, SOPs, investigations, validation protocols and reports. So far, she has 32 scientific publications regarding infectious diseases, vaccinations and autoimmunity published on international journals and she is first author in 23 of them. Since 01/01/2021 she has joined the VisMederi srl team in the role of Quality Control Manager.
Martina Monti - Project Director
She studied at the University of Siena where, in 2004, she obtained her Degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technologies and, in 2009, her PhD in Molecular Medicine with the Certification of Doctor Europaeus (European PhD) as she spent some time at the Helmholtz Centre for Infectious Diseases in Braunschweig, Germany, and at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. She started her career studying the pharmacology of angiogenesis and endothelial functionality, acquiring remarkable skills in the field of in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo methods necessary to study the cellular, molecular and biochemical aspects of the angiogenic process. She is author and co-author of several scientific papers published on international journals. In 2017, she moved to the laboratory of Prof Montomoli at the University of Siena as a Post Doc and, in 2018, to VisMederi, where she acquired new skills in the field of the study of immunogenicity and efficacy of new influenza vaccines through serological tests. Moreover, she obtained considerable skills in the study of cell mediated immunity response. She is currently a Scientist and Unit Manager at VisMederi.
Carolina Bonifazi - Project Manager Attendant
Carolina obtained her Master’s Degree in Pharmacy and Industrial Pharmacy in 2016 with full marks at the University of Siena. She carried out a dissertation internship on analytical techniques like capillary electrophoresis and HPLC at the National Research Council of Italy in Monterotondo (Rome). In 2017 she obtained an internship in Quality Assurance Department in a pharmaceutical company. During this time, she acquired knowledge of the control and efficiency of the company’s quality systems. In June 2018 she started an internship in VisMederi, dealing with serological assays for clinical trials on influenza (neutralization assay, ELISA assay and Real Time PCR). In October 2019 she started her PhD programme in VisMederi in collaboration with the University of Siena. She is currently dealing with the development and validation of bioanalytical methods for the registration of new vaccines and she is involved in managing laboratory activities for low bio-containment assays.
Pietro Piu - Data Manager
Pietro obtained his University Degree in Statistical and Economic Sciences at the University of Siena (1992) with a thesis on econometric models for the analysis of company efficiency. After some experience as a consultant in the tertiary sector, his interest in scientific research led him to the collaboration (2000-2002) at the LIASA university spin-off (Laboratory of Artificial Intelligence and Applied Statistics). He took part in the implementation of data mining techniques and artificial neural networks for the construction of a pilot model of internal ranking for an Italian bank according to the rules of prudential supervision provided by the “Basel 2” agreement. His statistical activity continued at the Department of Medical, Surgical and Neuroscience of the University of Siena, where he applied and developed methods for the classification of data and the provision of data structures. In 2012, he obtained a Ph.D. degree in Applied Neurological Sciences – Neurosciences presenting a diffusive model of the neuronal activity involved in decision-making processes. Subsequently, he continued research in neuroscience at EVALab (Eye-tracking Visual Application Laboratory) of the Department of Medical, Surgical and Neuroscience of the University of Siena, gaining further practice in the analysis of complex phenomena in both temporal and frequency domains. He contributed to studies on neuropathology and on cognitive functions such as perception, attention and memory related to the activity of the neuronal system that presides over eye movements. In 2018, he joined the VisMederi’s team as a Data Analyst, bringing his experience and skills in data management and analysis.
Jean-Louis Excler - Program Manager, New initiatives
Dr. Jean-Louis Excler is Pediatrician and Vaccinologist. He worked several years in Africa. Since 1991, he has been working extensively for the past 29 years on HIV vaccine clinical development as Head of the HIV vaccine clinical development for Sanofi Pasteur, and then as Scientific Director of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the US Military HIV Research Program in Rockville, Maryland and in Bangkok, Thailand. He joined the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) in 2002 as Senior Medical Director in India and Switzerland until December 2012, responsible for the clinical development of several HIV vaccine candidates in India, US, Europe, and Africa. He has been serving as Senior Consultant for the US Military HIV Research Program since 2010 for advanced development of HIV vaccine candidates in Thailand. He joined in November 2015 the International Vaccine Institute, Seoul, Republic of Korea as Head of Clinical Development and Regulatory until September 2018 and is now Program Director, New Initiatives. In January 2020, he joined VisMederi at Program Manager, New Initiatives.
Irene Barneschi - Unit Manager
She obtained her Bachelor Degree in Biological Sciences in 2013 at the University of Siena, with a dissertation thesis on Applied Ecology. In 2014, while pursuing her studies with a specialized degree course in Ecotoxicology and Environmental Sustainability, she gained a curricular internship in VisMederi, where she prepared her Master thesis. In 2015, she obtained her Master Degree with an experimental thesis on the validation of an HPLC-FD method for the determination of mycotoxins. After graduation, she joined the VisMederi’s team as a young technician and now she deals with chemical-physical and microbiological analysis in the food and environment sector. Currently she deals with the development and validation of analytical methods.
Marta Maggetti - Unit Manager
She obtained her Biotechnology Bachelor’s Degree in 2012 at the University of Teramo, where she carried out an annual experience in the department of agro-food microbiology. In the same year, she started her studies in Health Biology at the University of Siena and in 2013 she acquired experience in the serological field thanks to a curricular internship within VisMederi, performing tests for assessing the immunogenicity induced by influenza vaccines. After two years, she obtained her MsC with a thesis on the validation of the SRH (Single Radial Hemolysis) method for the assay of antibodies against influenza 2013-2014 seasonal viruses. After that, she worked at VisMederi Research for the development and optimization of human and animal cell line cultures. She is in charge of the propagation of influenza viruses in cell cultures and of the development and validation of serological assays such as VN (Virus Neutralization) and ELISA (Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay).
Livia Mazzini - Unit Manager
She graduated in 2012 in Biological Sciences at the University of Siena with a compilation thesis at the Faculty of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences. She then obtained a Master’s Degree with Honors in Health Biology in 2015 at the University of Siena, with a thesis carried out at the Department of Molecular and Developmental Medicine. In July of the same year, she achieved the qualification for the profession of biologist. After graduating, she obtained a project contract at the Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience of the University of Siena, on the subject: “Evaluation of New Markers of Bone Metabolism and Interrelations with the Cardiovascular System”. She joined VisMederi in November 2016 with a cooperation agreement and subsequently, in February, she obtained a research grant with the theme “Evaluation of Cytotoxicity of Antiviral Compounds”. She is currently working for VisMederi with a PhD in Life Sciences, on the subject “Development and Standardization of new Anti-Influenza Test”
Ramona Pace - Unit Manager
Graduated in Biological Sciences at the University of Parma in 2011, with an experimental thesis on Plant Genetics, she continued her studies with a degree course in Biology and Biomedical Applications in Parma and graduated in 2014, with an experimental thesis on identification of light k and lambda chains for the characterization of myelomas. In 2016, she took part in a training course in Clinical Research Associate, where she acquired knowledge in clinical trials, pharmacovigilance, GCP and GMP standards. She joined VisMederi with an internship in 2017. She currently deals with the development and execution of serological tests for clinical trials.
Marta graduated in Biotechnologies at the University of Siena in July 2018. She had already joined VisMederi during her Bachelor’s internship focused on the HI method as key assay for the evaluation of the humoral response produced by NH 2017/2018 Influenza vaccine. She then continued her educational background at the University of Trento, earning a Master’s Degree in “Cellular and Molecular Biotechnologies” in December 2020 with a final mark of 110/110 Cum Laude. She carried out an experimental thesis focused on the expression profile of members of the RNA sensing pathway in a zebrafish model of Glioblastoma, obtained through the expression of RAS human oncogene. Her work provides the basis for a possible strategy aimed at RIG-I-like receptors modulation in brain tumour. She has joined the VisMederi’s team since September 2021, dealing with the execution of serological tests for clinical trials.
Costanza graduated from the ITT Tito Sarrocchi Institute of Siena and immediately went to work at the Siena University Hospital (Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Senese). During high school she carried out an internship in a laboratory at Galenica Senese and this allowed her to learn and gain experience of many different analytical techniques.
After graduating as a Chemical Expert at the ITT Sarrocchi Institute of Siena, he continued his training by attending a six-month course at Farmatec in order to improve his expertise. He thus obtained the qualification of Engineering Technician for the Design and Development of Production Plants and their Validation. The topics covered during this course allowed him to deepen subjects such as the GMP qualifications rules, the identification of CCPs (Critical Control Points) and Working Dynamics in Quality. He has joined VisMederi in 2018, where he is responsible for the performance of serological and immunological tests for clinical trials using biological agents.
Valentina obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Biotechnologies in 2018 at the University of Siena, with an experimental thesis focusing on the correlation between skeletal muscle metabolism and the development of Type II Diabetes. She then continued her studies at the University of Trento where she graduated, in December 2020, in Cellular and Molecular Biotechnologies after a 9-month internship in the Laboratory of Experimental Cancer Biology at the Centre for Integrative Biology (CIBIO). There, she carried out an experimental thesis using zebrafish as a tool to study melanoma extracellular vesicles (EVs) and their potential contribution to cancer progression. Then, as post-graduate fellow, she had the opportunity to carry on with her Master’s thesis project by further investigating the role of vesicular non-coding RNAs in tumour-associated inflammation. She has joined the VisMederi’s team since October 2021.
Adele graduated in Biotechnology at the University of Siena in 2013 and in Medical Biotechnologies in 2015, carrying out her thesis on HIV-1 related research projects. In the same university, she obtained a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, studying novel antiviral strategies against emerging and re-emerging Flaviviruses, including DENV, WNV and ZIKV. In 2020, she obtained a Postdoc position in collaboration with First Health Pharmaceuticals continuing her studies in the same research area and expanding her skills with the study of SARS-CoV-2 virus. In July 2021, she caught the opportunity to join the VisMederi’s team.
Bianca Brancadori Perini Ragnoni
Bianca graduated in Biotechnologies at the University of Siena in 2018. She prepared her bachelor’s thesis during a curricular internship in VisMederi. Her project was focused on the validation of the SRH method to demonstrate that the test is suitable for dosage of anti-influenza antibodies detected in the serum. After that, she moved to Trento where she obtained her Master’s Degree in “Cellular and Molecular Biotechnologies” in December 2020, with the final grade of 110/110 with honours. She carried out an experimental thesis on cancer vaccines in Biomvis, a research company incubated in TLS. During this experience, she optimized a platform for the production of Outer Membrane Vesicle-based vaccines and she evaluated the immune response induced by cancer neo-epitopes in murine models.
She has recently joined the VisMederi’s team to implement serological tests for clinical trials.
Pierpaolo obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology in 2009 at the University of Sannio. He continued his studies at the University of Parma graduating in 2012 in Medical, Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology with a thesis based on the study of the cholesterol efflux promoted by HDL. In 2013, he started a PhD in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Siena, specializing in the use of nanoparticles (mainly liposomes) as a carrier of Src inhibitors with anticancer activity. In 2017, he obtained a Postdoc position in collaboration with First Health Pharmaceuticals continuing his studies on anticancer activity in cancer cell lines of several inhibitors. In September 2020, he has joined the VisMederi’s team taking care of serological tests for the evaluation of immunogenicity in vaccines.
He graduated from the University of Siena in Biomedical Laboratory Techniques in 2014. He subsequently worked and gained experience in private clinical laboratories in Arezzo. In 2018, he enrolled in a Master’s Degree in Health Biology. He obtained his Master’s Degree in June 2020 with a thesis entitled “Validation of the ELLA Method (Enzyme-linked Lectin Assay) for the Assay of the Antibody Title against Neuraminidase of 2017/18 and 2018/19 Seasonal Influenza Virus” by carrying out his thesis internship at VisMederi. In November 2020, he started a PhD program in VisMederi in collaboration with the University of Siena. In VisMederi, he is currently dealing with the development and implementation of serological assays for pre-clinical and clinical trials on influenza and SARS-CoV-2.
Graduated in 2017 in Biological Sciences at the University of Siena, with an experimental thesis on the mortality of Multiple Sclerosis in Tuscany carried out at the Department of Epidemiology, she continued her training with a Master of Science in Medical Biotechnologies, carrying out her internship thesis at the Department of Molecular and Developmental Medicine with Prof. Montomoli working on a study on the evaluation of chickenpox immunity during pregnancy using the ELISA technique. In parallel with her university education, she has had her first experience in VisMederi (March 2020) working on the development and execution of serological assays for clinical studies through NM.
Domiziana De Tommaso
Domiziana graduated with Honours in Biological Sciences (BCs) in 2013 and in Molecular and Cellular Biology (MDs) in 2016 at the University of Siena. She joined the Laboratory of Molecular Immunology in 2015. During her MDs thesis internship, she was trained as a Molecular and Cellular Immunologist. After her graduation, she applied for a Ph.D. position for a project focused on the study of the molecular mechanisms underlying the immuno-pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). During her Ph.D. period in the Laboratory of Molecular Immunology at the University of Siena, her research focused on the neuroprotective and neurotoxic processes of astrocytes modulated by autoreactive T cells and vice versa, in the pathological setting of EAE (Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis) and MS. She has expertise in the analysis of the immune response in mouse model of autoimmune diseases, in flow cytometry applied to immunology and in characterization of intracellular signalling pathways. In 2020, she received the Ph.D. in Life Sciences. Afterwards, she worked for one year on a Pharmaceutical Company site in Siena. She has joined the VisMederi’s team since October 2021.
Jasmine graduated in Pharmacy in 2017 at the University of Siena. Her graduation thesis was based on the study of a new treatment for the Cerebral Cavernous Malformation, a rare disease of the central nervous system. In the same laboratory she obtained a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2020, studying the involvement of oxidative stress and inflammation in cancer and carrying out an international experience at PHHI, Plants for Human Health Institute in North Carolina (USA). This academic experience allowed her to acquire several molecular and cell culture techniques. She is currently a member of VisMederi’s team as a Research Technician.
Filippo graduated as a Chemical Expert at the ITT Monna Agnese Biological Institute of Siena. He continued his training by working as a technician at Galenica Senese for some months, where he improved his knowledge of the pharmaceutical sector. In 2019 he worked with a special inspection machine in GlaxoSmithKline as a Quality Inspector for the Bexsero vaccine. He then started to work as a Liquid Manufacturing Operator in the sector of Pharma Operations, where he prepared the solutions for different medications at De Angeli’s Institute in Reggello. He has joined VisMederi in 2021 where he currently manages the “Cobas e 411” machine that analyses Coronavirus vaccines.
Giacomo obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Biotechnologies in 2016 and his Master’s Degree in Medical Biotechnologies in 2019, both at the University of Siena. During his internship experiences he has worked in the field of tumour targeted therapy, analysing the effects of NT4 tetrameric peptide on different cancer cell lines through 2D wound healing, immunofluorescence and western blot assays. Finally, he has also worked as a Quality Assurance operator for a pharmaceutical company in Siena. Since January 2021 he has joined the VisMederi’s team.
After his High School Diploma in Chemistry, Stefano obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Biotechnology at the University of Siena in 2018, with a thesis entitled “Molecular interactions between Trisk95 and JPH1 sarcoplasmic proteins and the CLIMP63 reticular protein”. In 2021, he obtained a Master’s Degree in Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Florence, with a thesis entitled “Identification of optimization strategies for the recombinant protein production in the Antarctic bacterium Pseudoalteromonas haloplanktis TAC125 using genome-scale approaches”. During several periods of study, he performed some internships working on the study of intestinal microbiota in fibromyalgia patients and in the expression and functionalization of recombinant Human Ferritin as a drug carrier. In the same year of his Master’s Degree, he has caught the opportunity to join VisMederi to perform Micro-Neutralization (MN) tests in BSL3 laboratories.
Noemi obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Biotechnology at the University of Bologna in July 2019 with a final grade of 110/110 with honours. Her thesis was based on the development of a biological nanobiosensor able to detect tumour biomarkers in serum samples. Currently she is carrying out her Master’s Degree in Industrial Biotechnology at the University of Milano-Bicocca and she has joined the VisMederi’s team to carry out her thesis that will be based on the vaccine-induced immune response to SARS-CoV-2.
Luciano La Magra
Luciano graduated in Biological Sciences at the University of Siena and he continued his education with a Master’s Degree in Health Biology graduating with honours, presenting an experimental thesis entitled “The role of Sph-K/S1P pathway in airway dysfunction associated with lesions induced by cigarette smoke”. During his studies he completed an internship at the laboratory of Clinical Biochemistry and Pathological Anatomy at the Department of Molecular and Developmental Medicine. The internship was focused on morphological, morphometric and immunohistochemical analysis of lung tissue sections. After graduation he joined the VisMederi’s team and he is currently involved in the assessment of immunological response after exposure to influenza vaccine through the serological test of MicroNeutralization (MN-ELISA assay). He is also working on the characterization of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B strains through MATS-ELISA (Meningococcal Antigen Typing System-Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay), related to the first vaccine developed in the world against Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B (Bexsero).
Elisa graduated in Biology at the University of Pisa in 2005 and she completed her studies obtaining a PhD in Molecular Medicine and a Second Level Master’s Degree in Pharmaceutical Industrial Technologies. In these years, she had the opportunity to acquire many laboratory skills in Molecular and Cellular Biology. She joined SienaBiotech in 2009 where she studied the mechanism of action of the relevant target for Huntington’s disease; during this period, she also acquired broader experience in Cellular Biology, mainly working on Huntington’s disease cellular models. She then joined Exosomics as a Researcher in 2012 and she was involved in the development of an ELISA test on exosomes isolated from human plasma, in the compilation of testing protocols and in the performance of cell mediated immunity assays (FACS). After this experience she joined GSK Vaccines as a QC Technician where she performed analytical tests in GMP, revised operating procedures (SOP) and wrote technical reports. She was involved in the validation and transfer of tests to Quality Control and in laboratory instrument management. Since October 2020, she has been working in Vismederi as a Research Technician.
Simona obtained her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Florence in October 2018 with an experimental thesis on the phenotypical and functional characterization of innate lymphoid cells obtained from cord blood samples, carried out at the Clinical Immunology and Immunotherapeutic Unit. After that, she moved to Verona where she obtained, in October 2020, her Master’s Degree in Molecular and Medical Biotechnology after a period of internship at the Immunogenetics, Leukaemia Genomics and Immunobiology Unit of San Raffaele Hospital in Milan. During this experience, she had the opportunity to work on a minigene-based approach to obtain neoantigen specific immune responses starting from healthy donors’ lymphocytes. Since December 2020 she has joined the VisMederi’s team.
Sara began her university career at the University of Siena and obtained a three-year Degree in Biological Sciences and a Master’s Degree in Health Biology, with a final grade of 110/110 cum laude; during her internship, she worked at the Clinical Pathology Unit’s Special Coagulation Laboratory at Siena University Hospital (AOUS), where she had the opportunity to learn about the workflow for the preparation of plasma aliquots, from whole blood samples, as well as to carry out various tests for the dosage of the parameters characterizing the coagulation process. Her Master’s thesis is based on the study of t-PA, PAI-1 and D-Dimer parameters as markers of COVID-19 pathology clinical evolution and as prognostic markers, with the aim of better studying and analysing the causes of the imbalance between coagulation and fibrinolysis, responsible for thrombotic episodes in COVID-19 patients with severe prognosis. She has joined the VisMederi’s team since July 2021.
Graduated in Biotechnologies in 2017, she then obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Biotechnologies with a final grade of 110/110 cum laude at the University of Siena in 2020, with an experimental thesis on Heparan sulphate proteoglycans (HSPGs). In the same year, she was accepted onto an internship spending six months in the Molecular Biology lab under the supervision of Prof. Chiara Falciani, during which she observed and carried out various types of experiments. She has joined Vismederi in 2021.
Erika achieved her Diploma in “Chemistry and Biological Techniques” after her high school studies. In 2016, she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Pisa, where she also graduated with honours in Molecular and Cellular Biology in 2019. After graduating, she undertook an Internship in a Biotech Company specialised in liquid biopsy and cancer screening in Siena, where she worked as a Scientist until August 2020. During her academic and work experience, she acquired skills on several modern molecular techniques. She is currently a member of the VisMederi’s team as a Scientist.
She performed a pre-graduate internship at VisMederi in September 2018. She obtained a Specialist Degree in Pharmacy at the Department of Biotechnology, Chemistry and Pharmacy of the University of Siena in 2019, with a thesis on the subject “Influenza vaccination, new frontiers, effectiveness and security”. Whithin VisMederi she is involved in the implementation of serological tests with the aim of testing the immunogenicity of influenza vaccinations.
Filippo received his Bachelor’s degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Siena in 2017, followed by an internship at the Residue Analysis Laboratory within the Department of the same University, where he developed a thesis on organochlorine levels detected in three different dolphin species. In addition, he had the opportunity to strengthen his knowledge through his Master’s in Ecotoxicology and Environmental Sustainability, which gave him the chance to further investigate around ecotoxicological issues. In 2019, he published a thesis regarding the collection, recycling, disposal, toxicological effects, and dumping of waste oils. He joined VisMederi in 2020 as an intern at VisMederi Research and, since March 2021, he has been involved in the hemagglutination inhibition assay for influenza virus, being part of the VisMederi’s team.
Sara obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences in 2013 at the University of Bologna, with a thesis about Calprotectin as a new marker for determination of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Then she obtained her Master’s Degree in Biology of Health with Honours in 2016, with an experimental thesis about “E-cigarette: modulation of drug metabolism enzymes, antioxidants and lipidomic evaluation in the animal model”. In the same year she obtained the qualification to practice her profession as a Biologist at the University of Parma. In 2017 she began her work career in GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines, in the Quality Control Immunology Lab, first as a Quality Control Technician and, in 2020, as a Quality Control Expert, where she acquired knowledge and skills on Quality Management System and laboratory techniques. In March 2021 she has joined the VisMederi’s team as a Research Technician.
Giulio obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Biotechnology at the University of Urbino in 2019. In the same year, he was accepted onto an internship spending six months in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology “G. Fornaini” Lab at the University of Urbino, where his project was focused on the protein production and purification for the treatment of creatine-deficient patients. He obtained a Master’s Degree in Medical, Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at the University of Parma in 2021, with an experimental thesis on the identification and the isolation of human monoclonal antibodies against antibiotic-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, developed in the MAD-Lab at Fondazione Toscana Life Sciences in Siena. He has joined VisMederi since 2021 [where he is involved in the “MabCo19”, a project focused on the identification and characterization of neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies from Covid-19 convalescent patients].
Eva graduated at the Biological Sciences University of Siena and specialized in Cellular and Molecular Biology with a final grade of 110/110 cum laude and special mention. She worked for a year as a graduate student in the Molecular Biology laboratory of Professor Cosima Tatiana Baldari and she wrote her thesis “The immunosuppressive activity of neoplastic cells on T lymphocytes, in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, and how this activity could be modulated by interleukins like IL-9”, studying the causes that could lead to T lymphocytes dysfunctions, including their increased expression of the inhibitory PD-1 receptor in leukaemia such as chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. She has joined the VisMederi’s team since June 2021.
Giulia began her studies at the University of Siena in 2008. Graduated in Biotechnology (BSc) in 2011 and in Medical Biotechnologies (MSc) in 2013, she received her PhD. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2016. Her PhD work was primarily based on the in vitro and in vivo characterization of potential antimicrobial and anticancer drug candidates. After her PhD, she spent almost two years in Setlance srl, as a CMC Manager. In 2018, she joined the Analytical Development Department of Kedrion Biopharma (Lucca). Since 2020 she has been working for VisMederi as a Scientist, being part of the Non-functional Assay Unit, performing all the tests and analyses of the results obtained from vaccine trials in terms of antibody response, supporting the Unit Manager in the execution of planned activity, analysis of obtained data, as well as communications with the Sponsors.
Bianca graduated in Biotechnology at the University of Siena in 2014. She then obtained a Master’s Degree in Medical Biotechnologies at the University of Siena in 2017, with her thesis about fertility at the Department of Molecular and Developmental Medicine. In the same department, she began a PhD course in 2017, completing her studies for her Master’s Degree thesis. She achieved her PhD in Molecular Medicine in 2021. During these years, she has acquired many laboratory skills in molecular and cellular biology. She has joined the VisMederi’s team since June 2021.
Niccolò obtained a Master’s Degree in Chemistry in 2014 with a graduation score of 109/110. After some internships in food company laboratories, he joined GSK as a Formulation Operator in February 2016. Niccolò started working in the Fashion market segment for Intertek spa as a Chemical Laboratory Technician in December 2017. He then moved to LBS srl in December 2018, always employed as a Laboratory Technician and finally joined Certest-BureauVeritas as a Chemical Analyst. In the last 3 years Niccolò has been growing professionally, deepening the use of chromatographic instruments such as GCMS, HPLC-MSDAD, LCMS. Moreover, he took a Master’s Degree in Pharmaceutical Management, Marketing, Market Access and Sales in 2018.
Monia graduated in Biology in 2003 at the University of Tuscia, carrying out her thesis on Epigenetics. She investigated the phenomenon of heterochromatin formation in mealybug Planococcus citri, identifying a hp1-like protein and different histone modifications as triggers of the process. In 2009, she earned a PhD Degree from the University of Salento, studying the molecular mechanism of p53 mediated apoptosis, in cancer cells, caused by its binding with the bacterial protein Azurin. She used single molecule approaches to characterise the kinetics of this complex formation and identified the possible binding sites. In 2009, she started to work in the area of experimental oncology, at the Institute of Clinical Physiology in Siena, where her research activity covered the study of Epigenetics, gene expression and molecular approaches to fight tumours. Among other things, she contributed to the development of an erythrocyte-based drug delivery system and possible anticancer treatments based on epigenetic agents and specific biodrugs.
Francesca obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Siena in 2013. She pursued her studies in the field of Molecular and Cellular Biology, graduating in 2015. Thanks to her MSc Degree Internship, she had the opportunity to approach subjects such as immunology and tumour-associated inflammation, and she actively participated into clinical trials regarding immunotherapy and treatment with monoclonal antibodies in patients with lung cancer and colon cancer. Upon completion of her MSc Degree, she had a one-year experience as a Research Fellow focusing on the role of systemic inflammation in arrhythmic risk. She then started her PhD in Life Sciences at the University of Siena in 2017, with a project focused on chronic lymphocytic leukaemia microenvironment and drug resistance. She acquired experience in intracellular signalling pathways, immune cell phenotyping and antitumoral drug preclinical evaluation, both in vitro and in vivo. She has joined the VisMederi’s team since June 2021.