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Martina Sollazzo
PhD student in Technologies and Health Sciences


Martina Sollazzo received her bachelor’s degree in Biotechnologies (biomedical curriculum) at the University of Palermo in 2017. After a brief internship as a voluntary trainee in the Genetics and Molecular Biology laboratory at the University of Palermo, she moved to Trieste, to deepen her interest in Neuroscience. In 2020, she received her Master’s degree in Neuroscience, which followed a year of internship at the Prion Biology laboratory of the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA). Since November 2020, she holds a doctoral scholarship in “Technologies and Sciences for Human Health” at the University of Palermo. The research project is carried out at the group of Structural Biology and Biophysics of Ri.MED Foundation, which funded the scholarship.

Scientific Activity

Martina’s PhD project focuses on the understanding of molecular mechanisms of poly-glutamine diseases. More specifically, Martina is investigating on the modulation of pathologic aggregation of Ataxin-3, the causative protein of Spinocerebellar Ataxia 3, a rare genetic neurodegenerative poly-glutamine disease.

As part of her PhD training, in 2023 Martina spent six-months at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (Grenoble, France) as visiting PhD student. During this period, Martina used top-notch Structural Biology techniques as SAXS and X-Ray, to solve protein complexes structures.

Martina’s skills include recombinant proteins production (e.g, cloning, expression in E.coli cells and purification by chromatographic techniques), aggregation studies by biophysical approaches (e.g., fluorescence spectroscopy, circular dichroism) and advanced microscopy techniques (e.g, confocal microscopy, transmission electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy). Martina gained experience also in the study of protein-ligand interactions by NMR spectroscopy (e.g., STD-NMR, CSP) and in ab initio and rigid body modelling of proteins by SAXS profiles.

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