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Personal profile

Research interests

My research experience is mainly based on four areas:

- The first is the Maillard Reaction and food chemistry in general, in the chemistry of heat-induced contaminants including acrylamide, and Maillard reaction aroma generation by the use of chemometric approach over the use of food model system. My core research is more orientated to the mitigation strategy for the formation of potentially toxic compounds generated during the Maillard reaction. Currently, I am applying several approaches in the mitigation strategy that include trapping of glycation precursors (plant polyphenols), use of enzymes, processing control and Michael addiction. In order to achieve this objective I use several model system as cookies, milk (including Infant formula), potatoes and  nicotine delivery devices

  • Current projects:
    • An Investigation into the Chemistry of the Cold Smoking process, and the Measurement of its effect on Food Degradation through a Chromatographic, Spectroscopic and Chemometric Approach (funded Ph.D studentship)
    • Modelling the pathways of toxicant formation in emissions from heated vapourised nicotine delivery devices (Carnegie collaborative grant with St. Andrew University, as PI of the project I have hired a postdoc for 2 years)
    • Improving the quality of potatoes in order to mitigate the formation of acrylamide during processing through biotic and/or abiotic stresses (in collaboration with James Hutton Institute)
    • Mitigate the formation of heat-induced contaminant and off-flavor in infant formula by the use of Scottish berries extract. (Erasmus+ scheme)


- The second area is to re-utilize food by-product by the detection and purification of potentially healthy compounds that are present in the food industry waste product. Evaluation of possible use and the functionality of the material including analysis of bioactive compounds by metabolomics approach as well as in the most widely used assays to assess antioxidant activity in food.

  • Current projects:
    • Evaluation of postprandial glucose response in healthy human subjects of pasta and bread enriched with fava bean husks.
    • Anti-glycative properties of rapeseed cake extract
    • Effect of olive oil mill wastewater extract and Spirulina maxima extract on sperms motility and anti-inflammatory markers  (in collaboration with Science division)


- The third area is chemistry, structural and sensory characterization of food by ingredients reformulation. To achieve this aim I am currently using metabolomics approach using mass spectrometry, principal structural analyzer devices that include X-Ray tomography texture analyzer and the main strategy for sensory science.

  • Current projects:
    • Select and evaluate the suitability of novel lactic acid bacteria strains to improve the sensorial, aroma, structure and texture characteristic of sourdough bread.
    • Study of consumer acceptability of foods containing edible insect base ingredients. This work includes the use texture analyzer and X-ray tomography as well as the use of the main consumer science approach  (work in collaboration with University of Naples “Federico II”)
    • Metabolomic analysis of chia seeds grown in different growing condition.

- The fourth area is characterizing the structure and the biological activity of pore-forming toxins (lipodepsipeptides) produced by Pseudomonas spp. This includes the microbial fermentation, toxins extraction and purification, and toxins characterization. For the toxins characterization I used a wide range of techniques that include:

  • Chemical and structural characterization (by the use of different chromatographic technique and mass spectrometry)
  • antifungal activities (including the use of GMO Saccharomyces cerevisiae in membrane sphingolipids)
  • Biophysical characterization of the formed pore (including the use of unilamellar liposome enriched with calceine
  •  evaluation of their hemolytic capacity

This particular aspect of my research experience gives me the possibility to become very skilled in microbiology, protein, peptides, and analytical chemistry techniques in general. 


Member of IFST

Member of IMARS 



My current role in Abertay University involves the preparation and delivery of lectures, lectorials, tutorials and laboratory-based practical classes across a number of disciplines (Chemistry, Human physiology and nutrition, Microbiology, Food processing). I am module tutor for a range of undergraduate and post-graduate module and played an active role in developing the structure of most of them, and particularly Food processing, Food Microbiology and fundamentals of nutrition). I have also been heavily involved in developing the curriculum of the two food programs (Food Consumer Science and Food Nutrition and Health) and the content of many modules as Human Nutrition (20 credits) and Human Physiology (15 credits), incorporating different pedagogic approaches such as problem-based learning and peer learning. This has resulted in very positive student feedback on theses module as well as an increased and pass rate.

Employment History

In academia

From October 2014 to date: Lecturer in Food Science and Technology at Abertay University, Dundee, UK

- October 2010 to October 2014: Post-doctoral scholar at the Department of Food Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Naples, Italy. Project Leader of contract research projects and team leader of Prometheus EU project.

- January 2010 to August 2010:  Post-doctoral scholar within the European project MELISSA (European Space Agency), where I led the development of analytical methods of MS/MS spectrometer for detection of food contaminants.

- November 2005 to November 2007:   Post-doctoral scholar at the National Research Council – Biophysics Institute (IBF) via Sommarive 18, Povo (Tn) Italy.  Title of research project:  “Biologic and structural characterization of metabolites of all the metabolites produced by Pseudomonas spp.”I conducted in vitro and in vivo experiments on the postharvest conservation of a range of fruits using different Pseudomonas strains and pure toxins and evaluated the synergism with Trichoderma harzianum against phytopathogenic fungi Botrytis cinerea, Alternaria alternata, Penicillium spp., etc.

Employment History


- January 2009 to September 2009: Quality Assurance Manager and Quality Control Manager in a food production/processing factory (Mocerino Carmine & C. Sas via Pizzone n° 5 Somma Vesuviana (Na)–Italy).  Responsible for the internal laboratory, quality assurance management, quality control, labelling development, Certification ISO 9000, internal audit and supplier interaction/audit. .

- November 2017: Installation and testing of chemical and analytical equipment as HPLC and GCMS in a science centre in Tripoli (Libya) with PROXIMA SRL Monteforte Irpino (AV), Italy.

- November 2007 to December 2008:  Quality Assurance Manager in a food production/processing factory (San Paolina Srl Unipersonale, Via Dante Alighieri Scafati (Sa), Italy). Responsible for Quality Assurance management, labelling and marketing development, Certification BRC, IFS, ISO 9000, 14000. Organic Certification, quality control and responsible for production.  Gained audit experience with suppliers and customers (Del Monte,, Tesco, etc).

Education / Qualifications

  • 2017: Epigeum®, supervising doctoral studies
  • 2016:  PGCert Higher Education Teaching
  • 2008: “Course, examination and certificate in chemical and microbiological analysis of products derived from tomato
  • 2004-2005 Abroad experience. During the Ph.D. program, I went through an overseas training experience at the College of engineering of Utah State University, Logan – Utah (USA), where I conducted microbiologic tests using strains of Pseudomonas syringae and Pseudomonas corrugata as bio-control agents and other tests improve understanding of mechanism of action in the relation structure-activity of metabolites produced.  Supervisor: Prof. John Takemoto
  • 2003: “Scuola di Maratea" organized by the Italian Society of Plant Physiology, June 17-20, 2003 in Maratea (Italy), where I attended a training on interactions "host-pathogen", mainly focused on plant pathogens and plant responses as defensive actions.
  • 2002-2005: PhD in Agro-biology and Agro-chemistry – Field of study Genetic Enhancement and horticulture. Title of dissertation: “Biological role of Pseudomonas lipodepsipeptides”. Supervisor: Prof. Vincenzo Fogliano
  • 1996 – 2002: M.Sc. in Food and Science Technology. Federico II University, Naples, Italy.  Title of thesis: “A new lipodepsipeptide with antifungal activity”. Supervisor: Prof. Vincenzo Fogliano

Leadership, Management and Administrative Roles / Experience

I set up the Erasmus student exchange between University “Federico II” of Naples, Italy and Abertay for student mobility and staff mobility. This programme is now in place and students constantly make use of the opportunities for exchange visits.

I led an active role in the preparation for the accreditation of the Food Nutrition and Health BSC Program by the Association for Nutrition. I was also actively involved in the redesigning the infrastructure and equipment for the new processing plant that was built at Abertay University, effectively advising other staff members in my own division of the requirements and anticipating in order avoiding problems during the running of the new processing plant. Moreover, I took I have an active responsibility for the repair of analytical instrumentation ex HPLC or GCMS and support colleagues to solve IT problems.


I am very keen to develop a network of internal and external collaboration using effective communication and I have led applications for H2020 projects with partners from countries such as Italy, Romania, China, France, Spain, and Denmark. In my proposal application, I had always an active role to establish and strengthen collaboration with my colleagues and other colleagues from different division.   

Currently, I am submitting an H2020 Project on the SFS-18 scheme as PI of my group and with partners from Italy, Spain, Romania Germany, Nederland (WUR) and Denmark.

I have applied for British Medical Research grant in collaboration the University of Uganda.

As an active researcher, one of my major aim is to build and grow my research group. Up to now, my research group is constituted from a PhD Research assistant (on a project where I’m the PI), a PhD student, a Master research student and another PhD Research assistant that need to be recruited shortly (on a food industry led grant where I am the PI).

I am a member of my division of the health and safety committee of the School Engineering and technology

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production


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