is the Director of the Department of Environment and Health at Istituto Superiore di Sanità (National Institute of Health, ISS), the leading technical-scientific body of the Italian National Health Service. She graduated in Biology from the University of Rome. She was then trained in the field of molecular mutagenesis and DNA repair first at the Medical Biological Laboratory, TNO, Rijswijk (The Netherlands) and then at the Department of Applied and Biological Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) where she was involved in pioneering work on the characterization of DNA damage and single-lesion mutagenesis in mammalian cells. As group leader at ISS she introduced the use of lesion-containing vectors to analyse DNA repair mechanisms achieving with her group the discovery of a new DNA repair pathway, the long-patch base excision repair. Because of these achievements, in 2015 she received the Frits Sobels Award that recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of environmental mutagenesis.
She has been President of the Italian Society of Environmental Mutagenesis (2004-2007) and of the European Environmental Mutagen Society (2007-2009). She is currently member of the Scientific Council of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (2016-2019).
Her major fields of research are the mechanisms of chemical mutagenesis and gene-environment interaction studies in human populations. She is the author of more than 140 papers in peer-reviewed international journals and books in the field of mammalian cell mutagenesis, DNA repair and genetic toxicology. She has extensive experience in risk assessment serving in national and international advisory boards.