Meet our Postdocs

Luca Pinello, PhD.

Luca PinelloLuca joined the department in 2011, and works in the Guo-Cheng Yuan Lab.

Where were you before coming to DFCI?
Before coming to the DFCI I studied at the University of Palermo located on a beautiful island in the south of Italy (a much warmer place than Boston!).

Why did you want to come to DFCI?
I wanted to see how research was done abroad in an environment of excellence. My collaboration started thanks to my fantastic and current PI, Guo-Cheng Yuan, my previous advisor in Italy Vito Di Gesù, and the experimental biologist Davide Corona. They involved me in a collaborative project to study nucleosome positioning. In 2009 I came to visit the Department for a short period, and after my PhD program in Italy was completed, I decided to apply to Guo-Cheng’s lab. I never regret that choice!


What is the best part of being a post doc at DFCI?
There is not only one but many: the people are amazing, both professionally and personally. It is a friendly environment and you feel like being in a big family and not in a workplace. Plus in our department we celebrate the birthdays once per month with cakes, ice-cream and showing off our singing abilities with the happy birthday song directed by our department chair Giovanni.

 

What is the most exciting thing about your research right now?
The most exciting thing is to be on the edge of our knowledge; there are many open questions and surprising discoveries on the way. It feels like Christopher Columbus when he left for reaching India and instead discovered the America.  I recently developed a new method to uncover important regulators that control the gene expression programs in different cell type of our body (https://github.com/lucapinello/Haystack) using Next Generation Sequencing data. Now I am also working on Single Cell transcriptomics and on analyzing data generated from the new and exciting genome editing techniques like CRISPR/Cas9.

For CRISPR/Cas9, I also developed a method to analyze deep sequencing data, it is called CRISPResso (https://github.com/lucapinello/CRISPResso) and you can imagine why I have chosen such name... Other projects are listed in my personal webpage: http://bcb.dfci.harvard.edu/~lpinello/


Has your research evolved since coming here?
It evolved in many ways, my background is in computer science, but I learn more and more about genomics, statistics and systems biology. My postdoc experience at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard School of Public Health has provided me with an exciting, stimulating environment, and interactions with key investigators that have made me aware of the critical need to integrate a variety of perspectives with complementary genomics data in order to gain a fuller understanding of gene regulation. These people have greatly stimulated my personal growth and I am truly thankful to them.


What do you like to do outside of work?
I love to cook, to design objects and print them with my 3d printer (http://www.thingiverse.com/lucapinello), do photography (www.lucapinello.com), roast and grind my own espresso coffee and play my guitar.


What do you hope to do after your postdoc is complete?
I hope to become an independent investigator with a research program that uses computational approaches to systematically analyze the source of variations that affect gene regulation. I want to better understand how our genome is organized; how the fascinating and “universal” genetic and epigenetic code embedded in it could produce such complex and elegant organisms.

 

Where in the world would you like to end up? (physical location)
I truly love Boston so I can see myself living here, but sometime I think that I should consider also the other coast (especially in winter when in the morning when I have to go out and I see -4F° on my phone).