ESR 3 – Maria Dalla Pozza


SupervisorDr. Gilles Gasser

Host: Paris Sciences et Lettres University, France

Country of origin: Italy

Research: Selective photo-cleavage of DNA for gene therapy 

Maria will use novel Ru(II)-polypyridyl compounds, already known to be photoactive DNA binders, that can be linked to artificial TFOs and can act as selective nucleic acid photo-nucleases for gene therapy. The aim of the project is to develop new breakthrough methods for gene editing, obtaining inorganic materials for targeting DNA cleavage triggered by light (photo-cleavage). This is ground-breaking as a selective photo-cleavage of DNA will create new possibilities in gene therapy.

Publications within NATURE-ETN

  1. Schoch, S., Iacopini, D., Dalla Pozza, M., Di Pietro, S., Degano, I., Gasser, G., Di Bussolo, V., and Marchetti, F. Tethering Carbohydrates to the Vinyliminium Ligand of Antiproliferative Organometallic Diiron Complexes. Organometallics (2022).
  2. Dalla Pozza, M., Abdullrahman, A., Cardin, C.J., Gasser, G., and Hall, J. Three’s a crowd – stabilisation, structure, and applications of DNA triplexes. Chemical Science (2022).

Scientific background:

Maria completed the Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry for Cultural Heritage in 2014 at the University of Padua, Italy. During the Bachelor, she decided to take seven additional exams to be admitted to the Master in Chemistry at the University of Padua and she graduated in 2017. This unconventional choice was driven by her strong interest in science, in particular chemistry and biology. In 2020, after two years of working in industry and as a teacher, she started her PhD in the Gasser group within the NATURE-ETN project.

Personal background:

Maria was born and raised in Vicenza, a small and beautiful city near Venice, in the north of Italy. She is a curious and analytical person from both a personal and professional point of view and she really likes getting in contact with people from all around the world. She really wanted to pursue in research and this PhD project perfectly fits her willingness and interests. In fact, she is really interested in the medicinal chemistry field, especially concerning the drug design and the evaluation of drugs’ biological effect. She is very happy to work in a multidisciplinary and stimulating environment.

Moreover, in the ITN program she will be able to carry out fundamental research into areas of major interest to industry, while developing various approaches to practical industrial problems.