I completed my BSc and MSc in Physics at the University of Turin, Italy. Part of my studies were carried out at the Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands, where I was part of a multidisciplinary research team, learning to work in a competitive international atmosphere. During my previous education I developed an interest in radiation dosimetry, a crucial aspect of the image acquisition process, and gained experience in radiation detection. My direct work with cell cultures led to my interest in the investigation of living tissues in order to design new treatments and diagnostic approaches for a wide range of diseases including cancer.
We propose to investigate a novel pathway to induce cell death non-invasively for cancer treatment in vitro and in vivo. We plan to induce programmed cell death (apoptosis) via focussed shear waves operating at specific frequencies and amplitudes. Our preliminary work in vitro showed that apoptosis can be triggered via mechanical shear “excitation” acting on cell surface adhesion receptors. Now, we plan to build on this data and investigate the frequency/amplitude wave spaces suitable to induce cancer cell death in vivo and how such mechanical ‘stimulation’ is translated into specific biochemical signals. Subsequently, we will employ pre-clinical murine models of human solid cancers and subject tumours to shear excitation. Using a 3T PET-MR system, apoptosis will be assessed in-vivo via ICMT11 (PET) and tumour viability via diffusion and perfusion MRI.