Dr. Alessandra Picchiotti
Photo: Alessandra Picchiotti
During her PhD research at the Max Plank Institute MPSD with Prof. Dwayne Miller and Dr. Valentyn I. Prokhorenko as supervisors, she designed, built, and operated a closed-loop pump-driven wire-guided flow jet with micro-fluidic system for sample handling. In parallel, she conducted extensive biochemistry laboratory work and developed expertise in machines and techniques including spectrophotometers, electrophoresis gel, analytical instruments, crystallization techniques, and other biotechnology standards. Moreover she maintained and operated a non-collinear optical parametric amplification setup, an achromatic second harmonic generation setup, and a box-car geometry two-dimensional photon-echo spectroscopy setup in the 240-300 nm wavelength range. All of this to aim at collecting and analysing non-linear spectroscopic data on DNA, her primary interest, to shine light into photodimerization and photodamage of DNA molecules, the first step that leads to cancer.
During her junior scientists years, at the Extreme Light Infrastructure research center in Prague under the guidance of Dr. Jakob Andreasson and Prof. Janos Hajdu, she worked as a beamline scientist to build and operate multiple time-resolved femtosecond optical setups in the visible and near-IR range using femtosecond lasers, adaptative optics, grating based detectors, and other standards in femtosecond technology. The complicated experimental data obtained by such setups required her to develope analytical software (in MatLab) for data analysis also involving machine learning algorithms. In the role of user support scientist, she developed GUIs and analytical tools, and accrued substantial experience in managing external user projects from idea development up to data interpretation.
In Prof. Rohringer’s group at DESY, she deepened her knowledge in data science (this time using Python) and machine learning.
Now, in Dr. Irene’s Fernandez-Cuesta she will develop further the closed-loop pump-driven wire-guided flow jet, and push the single-molecule fluorescence detection using micro-fluidics lab-on-a-chip of Irene towards intrinsic fluorescence detection in the UV of DNA molecules, both in the steady-state and in the time-resolved cases.