Francesca is a Scientific Officer within the Department of Applied Biomedical Science, where she has continued to pursue her research interests in the analysis of high-throughput sequencing (HTS) data for various complex and rare genetic disorders as a core research team member of the Malta Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Project, a project which aims to elucidate the underlying genetics of complex and rare diseases found on the Maltese population through the use of HTS. She is also actively involved in TargetID: a research study with the objective of identifying genes that can influence COVID-19 severity, with the aim of finding suitable drug targets that will prevent the severe effects of COVID-19.
She graduated with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Applied Biomedical Science from the University of Malta in 2014. Her undergraduate research, which formed part of the MAMI Study, focused on the risk of myocardial infarction associated with the Coagulation Factor II G20210A polymorphism in combination with major cardiovascular risk factors.
She first gained experience of bioinformatics whilst analysing large biological data sets as part of the research leading to her M.Sc (by research) in Applied Biomedical Science in 2016. Her postgraduate research project, which formed part of the Malta NGS Project, involved the application of HTS to identify candidate genes in neurodevelopmental disorders. In recent years she has focused on developing her skills in HTS bioinformatics and has attended several courses, workshops, and traineeships on bioinformatics analyses.
Ongoing research interests focus on the genetics and genomics of neurodevelopmental disorders and complex diseases, including Autism Spectrum Disorders, Specific Language Impairment, and Pseudoexfoliative Glaucoma.