I am an evolutionary biologist working at the intersection between population genetics, ecology, and human culture. The main focus of my work is analysing the evolution of animal and human populations taking into account different factors that could have influenced it (climate, social structure, subsistence strategies, human management of animal species, gene-culture coevolution).

Professional experience

N.B. links in the text and in brackets point to the associated publications

2018-2024   Research associate, Evolutionary Ecology Group, University of Cambridge, UK.
PI: Prof Andrea Manica

  • Neanderthal palaeoecology and cultural adaptation to climate (2021-2024 Leverhulme Research Grant)
  • Reconstruct ecological niche dynamics through time based on archaeological occurrences (1)
  • Species distribution modelling through time based on modern occurrences (1, 2)
  • How climate and migrations impacted human genetic diversity through time (1, 2, 3)

2015-2017   Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow, Geogenetics centre, Copenhagen, Denmark.
PI: Prof Ludovic Orlando

2014-2015   Visiting scientist, Population genetics Group, University of Ferrara, Italy.       
PI. Prof Guido Barbujani, Dr Andrea Manica

2012-2014   Research associate, Department of Anthropology, UCL, UK.
PIs: Dr Andrea Migliano, Prof Mark Thomas

  • Analysis of genetic data from South-Eastern Asian populations

2008 mar-jul Research assistant, Musée de l’Homme, Paris, France.                                      
PI: Prof Evelyne Heyer


2009 – 2013
Ph.D. in Anthropology (FP7 Marie Curie funded) Palaeogenetic Group, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany. Lactase Persistence and early Cultural History of Europe (LeCHE) ITN. Supervisor: Prof Joachim Burger (1, 2)

  • 2012 May – Sep: Visiting Scientist, The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton (Cambridge), UK. Supervisor: Dr Chris Tyler-Smith
  • 2010 May – Oct: Visiting Scientist, CMPG Lab, University of Bern, Switzerland. Supervisor: Prof Laurent Excoffier.
  • 2009 Jul – Aug: Visiting Scientist, Molecular and Cultural Evolution Lab, UCL, United Kingdom. Supervisor: Prof Mark Thomas.

2005 – 2007
MSc in Prehistoric Sciences University of Ferrara, Italy. Mark: 110/110 cum laude. Supervisor: Prof Guido Barbujani, Population Genetics.

2002 – 2005
BSc of Cultural Heritage Technologies. University of Ferrara, Italy. Mark: 110/110 cum laude. Supervisor: Prof Carlo Peretto, Anthropology and palaeoanthropology.

Grants and awards

  • 2021-2024: Leverhulme Research Grant (co-writer and nominated researcher) ~200,000 £ (30 months).
  • 2020-2022: Research Associate at Darwin College, Cambridge (non-stipendiary).
  • 2020: Our paper on migraine (Viganò et al. 2019) has been shortlisted among the 5 best articles published in Headache in 2019
  • 2018: SIBE travel grant for the ESEB congress, Montpellier, August 2018
  • 2015-2017: Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (IF) Centre for GeoGenetics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • 2015: Doctor Darwin prize for the best contribution to Evolutionary Medicine by a young researcher. SIBE congress, 31st August – 3rd September 2015, Bologna, Italy.
  • 2009-2011 FP7 Marie Curie Ph. D. fellowship, Lactase Persistence and early Cultural History of Europe (LeCHE) International Training Network, Palaeogenetics Group, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz.
  • 2008 MEGA Lifelong Learning project grant for a 20-weeks internship in the Musèe National d’Histoire Naturelle (Musée de l’Homme), Paris, France.
  • 2006 Travel grant to XV IUSPP-UISPP congress, Lisbon, Portugal.
  • 2003, 2004, 2005 Socrates-Erasmus travel grant for three annual international workshops in “Environmental, human and behavioural dynamics” Centro Europeo di Ricerche Preistoriche, Isernia, Italy.
  • 2003 Socrates-Erasmus fellowship for five months in the University of Provence Aix-Marseille I, France.

Archaeological fieldwork

2008 – 2004 Tagliente Rockshelter (Verona), Italy, Palaeolithic (prof. A. Guerreschi, Ferrara).
2007 Atapuerca (Burgos) Spain, Palaeolithic (prof. E. Carbonell, Tarragona)
2007- 2006 Hohle Fels (Schleckingen), Germany, Palaeolithic (prof. N. J. Conard, Tübingen)
2006 Vogelherd (Niederstoetzingen) Germany, Palaeolithic (prof. N. J. Conard, Tübingen)
2005 Mochi Rockshelter (Balzi Rossi), Italy, Palaeolithic. (prof. A. Bietti, Roma La Sapienza) Fumane Cave (Verona), Italy, Palaeolithic (prof. A. Broglio, Ferrara)
2004 Broion Rockshelter (Vicenza), Italy, Palaeolithic (prof. A. Broglio, Ferrara)
2004 – 1998 Isernia la Pineta (Isernia), Italy, Palaeolithic (prof. C. Peretto, Ferrara)
2003 – 2002 Stettenek Castle, Ortisei (Bozen), Italy, Middle Age. (SRA, Bressanone/Brixen)

  • Gran Dolina de Atapuerca 2007
  • Gran Dolina de Atapuerca 2007
  • Hohle Fels 2007
  • Vogelherd 2006
  • Riparo Tagliente
  • Riparo Tagliente
  • Isernia La Pineta - Flintknapping