Just by the time I was defending my thesis to obtain my Biotechnology degree at University of Chile, a good friend of mine, starting his PhD at UniSR, told me about an opportunity to work in a lab there. Based on his good experience, I got in touch with Dr. Anna Mondino and agreed to move to Milan in a matter of weeks. Since day one, I felt I was in a perfect place to further develop my scientific curiosity and desire of exploring new cultures. Thus, I decided to apply for the Cellular and Molecular Biology PhD program at UniSR. During my PhD period, I was involved in a project that relies on an immunotherapy approach to overcome tolerance in-vivo in prostate cancer bearing TRAMP (Transgenic Adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate) mice, a well known Genetically Engineered Mouse Model of prostate cancer that closely recapitulate the human disease biology. Our research highlighted the importance of immune cells in the control and eradication of the tumor through a mechanism that relies on the concomitant attack of the tumor/stroma.
In 2010, I joined the laboratory of Dr. Stephen Hedrick at University of California, San Diego, as a Postdoc. Since then, my goal was to understand the mechanisms of immune T cell homeostasis at steady states and upon viral infections. In particular, we were interested in the role of Foxo1 transcription factor in the generation of memory CD8 T cell responses upon infections, highlighting its central role in this process.
Altogether, these experiences allowed me to gain an important knowledge in Cancer Immunotherapy and Viral Immunology, as well as to establish great collaborations with internal and external teams, leading to several publications on these topics.