Throughout the course of my academic path in the biology field, I have been strongly enthralled by the power of genomic tools, computational and statistics approaches and biotechnology techniques to untangle the architecture of complex genetic traits, to dissect the genetic ad phenotypic variability of biological systems and, ultimately, to shed light upon their evolution and adaptation. As I was learning to analyze the genetic diversity and architecture of the gut-associated microbiome and its association to neuropsychiatric traits in mice via metagenome-wide association studies during my undergraduate thesis research at the Biology Department at the University of Pisa, I became increasingly fascinated by the potentials of quantitative genomic approaches to unfold the variability of complex multifactorial traits with agricultural relevance and to address key issues such as crop evolution, adaptation and improvement. The keen desire to broaden my perspectives in the crop genomics field- in particular, neglected or underutilized non model crop species genomics- and pursue research that can be translated into impacts in my Country, Eritrea, was further encouraged by the opportunity to join an exciting research environment led by Professor Mario Enrico Pè as an Allieva, to collaborate with the Plant Genetic Resources and Crop Improvement Units at the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) in Eritrea as a graduate research intern and to undertake formal surveys with farmers in Eritrea within a joint NARI-ICARDA project. In this context, I am currently about to start my master thesis research, which deals with genomic characterization of taff (Eragrostis tef) genetic resources in Eritrea and Ethiopia. Furthermore, the opportunity to join a sensational training environment at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory within the "Cereal Genomics" workshop has allowed me to expand beyond the innovative scientific features of cereal genomics and embrace a profound willingness to pursue a FAIR type of scientific research. As a young Eritrean student at the dawn of her research career in plant sciences, I seek to acquire further knowledge and the specific scientific toolset to develop solutions that diversify agriculture using neglected and underutilized crop species- the "crops for the future"- and to contribute to the advances in non-model crop genomics research.
Career Status: Graduate Student
Research Areas: Genomics, Food Security, Phenomics, Molecular Biology, Computational Biology
Social engagement and community outreach activities within the "Partir de Soi Meme" volunteering group aimed at promoting intercultural exchange and social integration in Pisa and surroundings (facebook: GoodNews Africa)
Mentoring activity to elementary and junior students coming from hardship backgrounds within the "Laboratorio Dopo Scuola" group at Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies (Pisa,Italy)
Organization of public outreach initiatives in public schools in Pisa aimed at debunking some fake-news on genetic engineering and providing insights into the potentials and perspectives of biotechnology tools in the agri-food sector