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My research interests are mainly related to the field of antibiotics and environmental microbial communities. In my studies, I look at different aspects of environmental microbiology, including antimicrobial resistance, drug discovery and xenobiotic pollutants degradation. I am currently involved in different projects investigating the impact of pollutants such as microplastics, pharmaceutical compounds and other environmental contaminants on microbial communities in soil, rivers and constructed wetlands. The impact of these contaminants on environmental bacterial communities might promote the evolution of antimicrobial resistance which can affect potential bacterial pathogens. Assessing the risk of antimicrobial resistance in the environment to human health is also an important part of my research.
For instance, in the ResPharm project (funded by NERC) we are studying the fate and the impact of pharmaceutical waste on the environment and human health. Antibiotic manufacturing is an important industry in India and as with all manufacturing industries, waste is produced, raising concerns for the environmental impact of the release of active antimicrobial residues. Since 2020, in collaboration with our colleagues in India, we have been analysing environmental samples collected from a pharmaceutical manufacturing hub in India. We focus on detection and quantification of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) including antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGS). The impact of exposure on the human population is also assessed. The collected environmental and human exposure data will be integrated for the development of mathematical risk models to determine optimal strategies to mitigate exposure to bioactive pollutants.
Another area of interest is Constructed Wetlands (CWs) and how they could help in reducing AMR dispersal in the environment. CWs are used as nature-based solutions for water and wastewater treatment in urban and sub-urban settings. They provide enhanced ecology and biodiversity, improve water quality, and provide storage capacity for stormwater run-offs in urban setting. CWs are key for environmental sustainability of urban infrastructures and transitioning water and utility sector towards net zero. In collaboration with the School of Engineering, we are investigating how an optimal design of CWs could contribute to reducing AMR and pathogens dispersal in the environment
Broader interests and activities
I have a keen interest in citizen science as it is a powerful tool to engage with communities and different stakeholders, raise awareness and interest in scientific topics and develop impactful community-led research. The integration of my research interests has led to the citizen science project “Know Your River” (www.warwick.ac.uk/knowyourriver - funded by the Enhancing Research Culture Fund) which provides opportunities to engage with the public and be involved in interesting collaborations with other flourishing citizen science projects focussed on riverine health monitoring across UK.
- 2023-present: Assistant Professor (Research Focussed)
- 2020-present: Researcher Co-Investigator, University of Warwick
- 2016-2020 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Warwick
- 2017 PhD in Life Sciences (2017), University of Warwick, UK
- 2013 MSc in Molecular and Industrial Biotechnology. University of Insubria, Italy
- 2010 BSc in Biotechnology. University of Insubria, Italy