After graduating at the University of Padova in Theoretical Physics, I moved to the University of Edinburgh to start a PhD in Precision Medicine. During the PhD I mainly focused on Molecular Dynamics simulations applied on the investigation of DNA and chromatin structure. In particular, by merging physical models with bioinformatic data, I analysed the movements of chromosomes within the cell nucleus, the dynamics of DNA replication and the folding of chromatin during metaphase. In July 2022 I started working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the School of Physics at the University of Edinburgh where I keep focusing on similar topics.
Wednesday April 19th
Bridging-mediated compaction of mitotic chromosomes
Chromatin compaction from interphase to mitosis is still not fully understood. In the last decade loop extrusion performed by condensins has become the main hypothetical mechanism to explain the formation of the highly compacted cylindrical chromosomes visible during mitosis. However, it is now evident that SMC complexes, such as condensins, not only load onto chromatin to extrude loops, but they also create bridges between distant loci. In this talk I will explain an alternative model we developed, where the compaction is driven by the interplay between two types of condensin-like proteins: one stabilising loops and the other binding multivalently to chromatin to form bridges.
Characteristics of mitotic chromosomes observed by experiments arise naturally in our simulations, which then complement models based solely on loop extrusion.