Luca Piccinini: Plant Physiology First Author

Luca Piccinini, first author of “A synthetic switch based on the orange carotenoid protein to control blue-green light responses in chloroplasts”

Current Position: PhD candidate, Plantlab, Institute of Life Sciences, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy

Education: B.Sc. in Biotechnology and M.Sc. in Molecular Biotechnology, University of Pisa, Italy

Non-scientific Interests: Archery, hiking and reading fantasy and science fiction books

Brief bio: I started my research activities following my great interest in the use of synthetic biology approaches to design and assemble orthogonal molecular switches, exploiting the possibility of domain shuffling across organisms. During my master thesis I started working on engineering orthogonal responses to external stimuli, such as light, in Arabidopsis thaliana, inspired by light-driven conformational transitions of specific proteins of cyanobacteria. Subsequently, I got enrolled in a PhD programme at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna of Pisa, where I finished my research, setting the basis for future implementation of plastid optogenetics to regulate organelle responses upon exposure to specific light spectra. Other main efforts for my PhD thesis include the use and design of genetically encoded biosensors in plant for the in vivo detection of molecules involved in the adaptation to low oxygen condition, to gain a better understanding of plant metabolism under hypoxia.