I collected my first leaves when I was a kid, in the gardens of Rome (Italy), where I grew up. With the help of my mother and a botany book I used to draw and classify the species and to stick their leaves on the pages of a notebook, my first herbarium. I also enjoyed collecting the leaf "skeletons" (you know when there is nothing left of a leaf but the venations?) that sometimes can be found on the floor made of fallen autumn leaf.
I became passionate about plants and natural history, and I decided to do an undergraduate degree in Biology, and a Masters in Paleontology at the University of Montpellier (France).
After my masters I wanted to discover the tropical rainforest, and I spent a year and a half in Panama working as an intern at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute to study modern and fossil leaves and leaf venations.
I moved to the US (Ohio) in 2011 and I did a Master degree in Geology to learn more about the rocks that contain the leaf fossils.
I am currently a PhD student at University of Washington where I study Paleobotany and Paleoecology. In particular, I am interested in reconstructing how vegetation responded to climatic and environmental changes through time.
My current research tool is phytolith analysis - phytoliths are microscopic silica bodies produced by plants that accumulate and fossilize in ancient sediments and soil.