Graduated in 2005 in Biological Science, and specialised in 2007 in Behavioural Biology, I finished my PhD in Ethology and Animal Ecology in 2012 (advisor Prof Stefano Turillazzi, University of Florence). During my PhD, I investigated the proximate and ultimate factors affecting the behavioural ecology and the collective defence strategies of insect societies. As part of my doctoral work I have acquired a thorough understanding of social insect biology, experimental procedures and expertise in mass spectrometry techniques, data management and statistical analyses. In parallel, I have also conducted seven expeditions in Malaysia, strengthening the collaboration with Prof Rosly Hashim (University of Malaya) and extending my interest to the social biology of primitively eusocial hover wasps (Stenogastrinae). Further, thank to my wide interest and my enthusiasm for interdisciplinary cooperation, I carried on research on butterflies’ phylogeography together with Dr Leonardo Dapporto and on chemical ecology of pest insects together with the Council for Research in Agriculture (CRA).
In 2013 I have been awarded with a Marie Curie IEF which allowed me to make a twist and a substantial advance in my career putting me in an international environment and broadening my expertise in the field of animal cognition and learning and memory. As a Marie Curie Research Fellow in Prof Lars Chittka’s lab at Queen Mary University of London (2013-2015) I worked on cognitive capacities of bumblebees, on their social learning abilities and on bee personality. In particular I investigated how nectar metabolites affect foraging behaviour in bumblebees via enhanced memory for floral traits and how gut pathogens manipulate pollinators’ foraging behaviour.
Currently, I am postdoctoral researcher in Prof Martin Giurfa’s Lab at CNRS (Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier) and Prof Patrizia d’Ettorre’s Lab at Université Paris13 working on the modulatory effect of pheromones on experience-dependent behaviours of honeybees (Apis mellifera) and ants (Camponotus Aethiops). To this end I am using a combination of behavioural (conditioning protocols) and neuro-pharmacological approaches.