Postdoctoral Research Fellow
RILD Building S3
University of Exeter Medical School, RILD Building, RD&E Hospital Wonford, Barrack Road, Exeter, EX2 5DW, UK
Originally from Italy, Stefania studied for a BSc in Biological Sciences at the University of Calabria, in southern Italy, investigating the effects of heavy metal nanoparticle toxicity on neurodevelopment, neurotransmission and neurodegeneration in animal models such as rodents and zebrafish. She then moved to the University of Pavia, to study for a 2 year MSc in Neurobiology, graduating in 2015, with an in-depth research project focused on analysing the effects of curcumin derived compounds in RNA regulation and in amyloid beta aggregation in blood samples from Alzheimer’s disease patients.
Stefania was subsequently granted an Erasmus studentship for a 1 year funded internship at the University of King's College London (KCL) under the supervision of Professor John Powell and Dr Petroula Proitsi where she was trained to perform integration of different omics data and statistical analyses to investigate the causal relationship between Rheumatoid arthritis and risk for Alzheimer’s disease’ through Mendelian Randomization analyses.
Stefania joined the Complex Disease Epigenomics Group at the University of Exeter Medical School in 2016 to undertake her PhD under the supervision of Dr Therese Murphy, Dr Emma Dempster and Professor Jonathan Mill. During her PhD, she investigated the epigenetic changes (DNA methylation and miRNA expression) associated with suicidal behaviour in post-mortem human brain and she developed a flow cytometry based protocol to characterise cell-type specific genomic variation occurring in highly heterogeneous tissue like the brain. Whilst still completing her PhD thesis, Stefania joined the Exeter University Sequencing Service where she worked for 18 months as a research assistant operating long-read sequencing platforms (i.e. Nanopore, PacBio).
Most recently, in 2021, Stefania has started working as Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Prof Jonathan Mill on a new project investigating the genomic regulation in rodent models of amyloid and tau neuropathology with the ultimate goal of identifying novel pathways involved in the development of AD-associated neuropathology in the human brain.
- BSc (1st class Hons) Biological Sciences, (2010-2013, Italy)
- 2 year MSc (Distinction) Neuroscience, (2013-2015, Italy)
- PhD in Medical Studies (2016-2020, Exeter)
Stefania is a postdoctoral research fellow with expertise in both wet-lab and computational methods to investigate DNA and RNA regulation mechanisms in the context of psychiatric disorders. She has a strong background in human genomics and epigenomics as well as broad experience in complex method development for wet lab applications (e.g. flow cytometry, long-read sequencing platforms).
Her current research aims to investigate the genomic regulation in rodent models of amyloid and tau neuropathology with the ultimate goal of identifying novel pathways involved in the development of AD-associated neuropathology in the human brain. In the long term, Stefania hopes to further investigate and uncover the molecular underpinnings of complex brain disorders to help shape clinical medicine.
Trajectories of Genomic Regulation in Rodent Models of Amyloid and Tau Neuropathology (ARUK funded)
External Engagement and Impact
Conferences and invited presentations
Poster presentation at the ARUK conference 2022; Walker, E. Castanho, I., Seiler Vellame, D., Shireby G., Policicchio S., Hannon, E., Collier, D., Ahmed, Z., Mill, J. (2022) Widespread DNA methylation changes are associated with tau and amyloid neuropathology in mice.
Oral communication at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC); 2020. Virtual edition.-Publications: Castanho, I., Walker, E., Policicchio, S., Seiler Vellame, D., Harvey, J., Hannon, E. Collier, D., Ahmed, Z., Mill, J. (in prep).
Davies J, Franklin A, Commin G, Walker E, Policicchio S, Jeffries A, Burrage J, Chioza B, Liu J, Bray N, et al (2021). CELL-TYPE-SPECIFIC PATTERNS OF DNA METHYLATION IN THE DEVELOPING HUMAN BRAIN. Abstract. DOI: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2021.07.127
Shireby G, Hannon E, Commin G, Burrage J, Davies J, Policicchio S, Schalkwyk L, Dempster E, Mill J (2021). LEVERAGING DNA METHYLATION QUANTITATIVE-TRAIT LOCI TO CHARACTERIZE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN METHYLOMIC VARIATION, GENE EXPRESSION, AND PSYCHIATRIC DISEASE. Abstract. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2021.08.216
Poster presentation at the WCPG 2019; Policicchio S, Davies J, Choiza B, Hannon E, Burrage J, Dempster E, Mill J (2019). MAPPING CELL-TYPE SPECIFIC MARKERS OF GENOMIC REGULATION IN THE HUMAN BRAIN.