Francesco Calzaferri

Project 14



Host institution: Foundation Teofilo Hernando


Project Supervisor: Prof Antonio Garcia



I was born in Italy and lived there until my graduation in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology at the University of Milan. During my studies, I specialised in organic and medicinal chemistry and for my degree final project I joined Prof Marco De Amici and Dr Clelia Dallanoce’s group to synthesize new photo-switchable ligands for the optical control of the alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. Then, thanks to an Erasmus Placement fellowship, I had the opportunity to photochemically and pharmacologically characterise the synthesised compounds at Prof Pau Gorostiza’s laboratory in the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), where I learned calcium imaging and patch clamp techniques.

Once back to Milan, I collaborated on the design and synthesis of novel antagonists of the Receptor for Advanced Glycation Endproducts (RAGE) and, finally, I met PurinesDX programme, which gave me the opportunity to start my PhD and go deeply into the pharmacology of the P2X7 receptor.


Why are you doing a PhD?

I’ve always been into science since I was a child and during my time at university, I could feel that I wanted to completely dive in it. This PhD is the first step to train myself as a scientist, but also to fulfill my wish of being part of science community and to stimulate my creativity so much to succeed in discovering something new!


Other interests?

As a chemist, I like to have a finger in every pie and so… I used to play the clarinet for 6 years and now I play the flute, I love dancing and I’m currently studying ballet. I also enjoy travelling and I’ve studied a little bit of Japanese by myself. Ah! Penguins are my weakness!