Simona Torriano, PhD
I graduated Cum Laude in the Medical Biotechnology Masters program at the University of Turin, Italy. During that time I started to become passionate about bioscience research and decided to pursue a PhD in Health and Biology, for which I won an European Marie Curie Fellowship. My PhD adventure in the ophthalmology field was supervised by Prof. Christian P. Hamel and Dr. Vasiliki Kalatzis, at the Institute of Neuroscience in Montpellier, France. The focus of my PhD was to develop a human iPSC-derived RPE model to study the inherited retinal degeneration Choroideremia and to test the feasibility of pharmacological and gene augmentation therapies for treating this disease. The specific high skills in human iPSCs and RPE culturing that I developed during this exciting period of my life lead me to a first Postdoctoral position at the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute, Los Angeles, USA, in Prof. Debora B. Farber's Lab. During my stay in her Lab, I optimized the CRISPR/Cas system for correcting an intronic mutation causing Ocular Albinism Type 1 in patient-derived iPSCs. In summer 2021, I joined as a Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. David S. Williams's Lab, in which I am currently exploiting gene editing tools for developing isogenic iPSC-derived RPE lines for Choroideremia, as well as base editing for Usher syndrome type 1B.