Full Professor of Organic Chemistry at the Department of Pharmaceutical Science of the University of Salerno.
Master Degree in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technologies at the University of Naples “Federico II”.
PhD in Organic Chemistry at University of Naples “Federico II”.
Research and awards:
- “G. Ciamician” Medal by the Italian Chemical Society (2004)
- Principal Investigator (PI) of a Grant funded by Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca Sul Cancro (AIRC – IG 12777) (2012 – 2015)
- Principal Investigator (PI) of a Grant funded by Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca Sul Cancro (AIRC – IG 17440) (2015 – 2018)
My research activity started in the lab of prof. Luigi Minale (University of Naples), in the frame of a project regarding the chemical investigation of marine natural products. Such work has been mainly focused on the study of bio-active secondary metabolites. The training received in that period, oriented toward analytical aspects (cromatography and spectroscopy) – also toward the fascinating problems raising from the biological world – has been a scientific bases of fundamental importance for all the following research. The next relevant step in my research activity has been the experience at the Scripps Research Institute of La Jolla; first in the lab of prof. Walter Chazin, where I completed my previous NMR experience, associated with complex organic molecules, with the spectroscopical characterization of proteins and DNA, and later in prof. K.C. Nicolaou Lab, in the field of interdisciplinary project at the interface between organic chemistry, structural biology and cellular pharmacology. In particular, I was involved int he NMR characterization of calicheamycin derivatives-DNA structures and in the design and structural characterization of calicheamycin dimers, new potential antitumour drugs. In parallel, the interest in the drug-DNA interactions has also involved a productive collaboration with prof. Dale Boger, in this case for the study of the antitumour activity of duocarmycin derivatives. More recently, I have developed new strategies in the configurational and conformational determination of complex organic molecules by means of quantum chemical calculation of NMR parameters (chemical shifts and coupling constants). The determination of the stereostructure of natural and synthetic bio-active molecules, have been used for understanding their mode of action at atomic level, and for undertaking total synthesis of the lead compound and its derivatives. Currently, I am involved in the drug design of new antitumour compounds by means of molecular docking integrated with quantum chemical calculations and NMR screening techniques. In particular, I have identified different targets (Hystone Deacetylase, Topoisomerase I and II, MPGES-1, BCL2). After the identification of the target, a virtual screening of new lead compounds has been followed by chemical synthesis, and the final step has involved the rational design of new lead compounds.