Elena Dreassi Research Group

Prof. Elena Dreassi

Elena Dreassi is adjunct Professor, Department of Biotechnology, Chemistry and Pharmacy University of Siena, Siena, Italy. Her scientific activity has been mainly focused on analytical methods in medicinal chemistry, the optimisation of small molecules as antiviral and anticancer drugs and the detection and analysis of compounds and metabolites in biological samples and food. Since 2010 she collaborates with industry and academia on evaluating ADME (Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, and Excretion) properties and pharmacokinetic profile of compounds.

Research Interests

Quality control in the pharmaceutical sector. The research carried out focused on quality control in the pharmaceutical sector, the development of new analytical methods according to GMP standard for the control of drugs and metabolites in biological fluids and for the control of pesticide and drug residues in food. She collaborated with Glaxo for the implementation and drafting of SOPs for the integration of near infrared spectrometry in the Verona production site. Finding novel compounds for antiviral therapy and development of broad-spectrum antiviral drugs. This field has started thanks to the collaboration with Prof. Maurizio Botta. Since 2011 she collaborated on the analysis and optimization of small molecules DDX3 inhibitors. The principal goal obtained was the identification of broad-spectrum antivirals with potent activity against resistant viruses. Actually, she focused her research on emerging viruses such as DENV, WNV and CHIKV. She collaborates on the analytical analysis of compounds thanks to the PRIN grant ORIGINALE CHEMIAE in Antiviral Strategy - Origin and Modernization of Multi-Component Chemistry as a Source of Innovative Broad Spectrum Antiviral Strategy. Study the influence of insect-derived components in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. This project, funded by Tuscany Region is aimed at identifying and producing novel components of edible insects endowed with beneficial properties for the prevention of cardiovascular risk factors such as hypercholesterolemia and hypertension. The project is focused on the nutraceutical potential of two species of edible insects: the Camola Flour (Tenebrio molitor, Coleoptera Tenebrionidae) and the Camola Honey (Galleria mellonella, Lepidoptera Pyralidae). Both species also have a low cholesterol value, an additional feature that makes the insects studied quality food sources, ideal for use as fatty acid supplements in the human diet. She performed the analysis of different edible insects identifying some dietary fatty acids with proven beneficial properties. She carried out the project in collaboration with the Italian Council for Agricultural Research and Economics - Research Centre for Plant Protection and Certification (CREA-DC). Development of pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidines for the treatment of cancer. This field has started thanks to the collaboration with Prof. Maurizio Botta and Silvia Schenone. Since 2006 she performed the analysis of the in vitro PK properties of compounds, and she developed the protocols for the quantification of compounds from in vivo samples. During the years the compounds have been optimized, demonstrating their strong potential in several tumor types. The compound’s optimization is actually ongoing thanks to an AIRC grant.

Annalaura Brai Ph.D.

Annalaura is a medicinal chemist, experienced in the synthesis of organic compounds. She obtained a degree cum laude in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technology at the University of Cagliari in 2010. In 2011 she joined the research group of Professor Maurizio Botta at the University of Siena, where she attended the Master in Drug Design and Synthesis and three years later she got her Ph.D. in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences. From 2015 to 2020 she worked at Lead Discovery Siena as a principal scientist. She is actually employed at the University of Siena as a post-doc researcher. Her main interest is the identification of broad-spectrum antivirals active against resistant strains and emerging viruses. She is also involved in Giovani@RicercaScientifica project.

Claudia Immacolata Trivisani Ph.D.

Claudia is a Research Fellow at the University of Siena, specializing in the application of computational medicinal chemistry methods in drug discovery. She obtained her BS in Biotechnological Sciences at the University of Naples Federico II and her MS in Pharmaceutical Biotechnologies at La Sapienza - University of Rome. In 2016 she moved to Siena, where she had an internship in Lead Discovery Siena and started her Ph.D. studies in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences. As a Ph.D. Visiting Student at the University of Dundee, she worked on the design of PROTAC binders. Her main research activity is focused on the discovery and design of novel broad-spectrum antiviral compounds.

Federica Poggialini Ph.D.

Federica obtained her BS in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Siena. During her PhD, she joined Artursson’s research group in the Department of Pharmacy at Uppsala University, where she was involved in the investigation of antisense oligonucleotides’ efficacy in silencing target gene expression. In 2022 she got her Ph.D in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Siena. She is actually employed at the University of Siena as a Post-Doc Researcher. Her main interests are the in vitro/in vivo assessment of ADME properties and cell-based assays for the evaluation of anticancer activity of compounds.

Claudia Pasqualini

Claudia obtained her Master Degree cum laude in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology (Faculty of Pharmacy) in 2018 at University of Siena with a thesis in medicinal chemistry. After graduating, she attended a GMP basics and isolator technology training academy at SKAN AG (Allschwill, Basel, CH) and was then enrolled as Pharma Validation Engineer at Pharma Integration (Siena, IT). One year later, she entered in Prof. Dreassi laboratory as a PhD student in Chemical and Pharamceutical Sciences, working on GMP-like synthesis of broad spectrum antiviral agents.

Chiara Vagaggini

Graduated in 2019 in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Siena, with an experimental thesis based on the in vitro and in vivo evaluation of pharmacokinetic characteristics of compounds with broad-spectrum antiviral activity. After a research fellowship in 2020 she started her PhD in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Department of Biotechnology, Chemistry and Pharmacy of the University of Siena. Since the beginning she started to evaluate ADME/DMPK properties of antiviral and anticancer compounds using common analytical methodologies and spectrometric techniques such as HPLC-UV-MS, LC-MS/MS, UV-Vis Spectrophotometer. In addition, she had the opportunity to evaluate the cytotoxicity and antitumor activity of some compounds by performing cellular assays to establish IC50, EC50 and CC50 values.