Cristina Cecchetti

I come from Nemi, a small town close to Rome in Italy. I grew up in a family with a scientific background: my father used to teach physics and chemistry in high school and my uncle is a chemist and teaches chemistry and maths. I got a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry at Sapienza University of Rome, thanks to a deep interest in chemistry developed during high school.  During my undergraduate studies, I was fascinated by Biochemistry and Structural Biology and that is what I decided to study during my Masters at Sapienza University of Rome. Apart from science, I love many forms of art and during my spare time I enjoy spending time in museums and I try to be involved in social activities. I also like very much travelling, exploring, meeting people and learning about new cultures.

Imperial college london

start date | 01/10/2017

supervisor | Bernadette Byrne  


Structural and functional studies of plant and fungal secondary active transporters

I am working on two membrane proteins (named UapA and AtBor1) that are responsible of carrying important nutrients from one side to the other of the membrane, for this reason they are named transporters. The main project focuses on the plant transporter AtBor1 that is required for transport of Boron (B) from root cells to the xylem for the distribution around the plant. Whereas UapA is a fungal transporter of uric acid and xanthine, important for the metabolism of nucleobases.

Original project advert

Skills & Expertise

#Protein Purification & Expression


#DNA extraction

#Project management

#Membrane transporters



#Structural biology


Maynooth University (Ireland), October 2019

Molecular Dimensions (UK), August 2018

Trinity College Dublin (Ireland), May 2018

Workshops & conferences

Biochemical Society in Birmingham – CCP4 Study Weekend | Nottingham (UK), December 2018

British Crystallography Association Winter meeting |Imperial College London (UK), December 2019

CSB Open Day Imperial College London (UK), May 2019

British Crystallography Association Spring meeting |Nottigham (UK), April 2019

Postgraduate Research day at Imperial College London (UK), April 2019


Winner of the British Federation Women Graduates (BFWG) May Whiteley Award | October 2020

Runner up prize for the best presentation at the Imperial College Research Day Event, July 2020

Outreach activities

Cristina has not just been doing research, she has also been involved in science communication activities to engage citizens with science.

Collaborating with the webpages Huma-net and 1 Million Women in STEM, UK | May 2020 – present

Guest Judge at VEX UK Nationals Robotic Competition Finals | February 2020

Co-organising the event “Crystals made of tears: from misery to cheer” at The Devereux pub in central London | July 2019

Blogging about science and PhD life| see all blogposts from Cristina: Portrait, Two months at Molecular Dimensions in Newmarket, Story of an outreach event, ESR made, Covid-19: a lesson about scientific communication

Participating in the Career day at Hillside Primary School, Earley, Reading, UK | June 2019

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