This is Fran

I am from Bologna and I studied Chemistry in this beautiful city. My MSc thesis focussed in Organic Chemistry in the laboratory of Prof. Cainelli and then I joined the lab of Prof. Sandri for my PhD working on the synthesis of non-natural amino acids. During my PhD I spent a summer in Dublin as a visiting student in Trinity College and loved it, I just had to go back.

My journey

University College Dublin

So I moved to Ireland and joined the group of Prof. Paul Engel at University College Dublin as Post-Doctoral Fellow where I discovered the wonders of biocatalysis. I owe Paul all I know about enzymes and their reaction mechanisms!

I spent then a few months in a spin-off company (Enzolve Technologies) in 2005, where I developed enzymes for neonatal screening. In 2006 I was appointed College Lecturer in Chemical Biology at the UCD School of Chemistry and started my own research group.

I was promoted in 2014 to Senior Lecturer. I was fortunate to be always surrounded by a team of excellent students that made my research always interesting, certainly challenging, and thankfully rewarding. I had the great opportunity to spend the summer of 2015 in UC Davis in California as a visiting academic and I joined the group of Dr. Justin Siegel to expand my research to a different class of enzymes (glycosyl hydrolyses) and getting my hands dirty in the lab again was awesome as they say.

University of Nottingham

While I was in Davis I was offered the position of Associate Professor in Biocatalysis and Enzyme Engineering in the School of Chemistry at the Univeristy of Nottingham. I moved to Nottingham in February 2016. Most of my group moved with me and we set up our new lab in the UK.

University of Bern

I clearly like moving… so when the amazing opportunity to join the University of Bern as a Professor of Sustainable Pharmaceutical Chemistry came up, I did not have to think twice about it. We relocated in 2019 and the Swiss chapter is in full swing. 

Outside my work life, I also have two children, Oliver and Martina, and a cat. We love the outdoors, skiing and swimming, I just need to learn German now…