Ester obtained her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2014 from the University of Messina in Messina, Italy supervised by Prof. Alba Chimirri. Her research focused on the design of bioactive small molecules using computational methods. Determined to gain expertise in different experimental aspects of chemical biology and structural biology, she joined the group of Prof. Alessio Ciulli at the University of Cambridge for an internship.
After completing her PhD, Ester started a postdoc in the group of Prof. Helen Walden at the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit at the University of Dundee, co-supervised by Prof. Alessio Ciulli. She integrated different biochemical and biophysical methods to study and target the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme of the Fanconi anaemia DNA repair pathway through fragment screening.
Inspired by the impact of targeted protein degradation in drug discovery, Ester joined the group of Dr Tim Clausen, with leading expertise in bacterial protein degradation pathways, at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna, Austria. Ester led a proof-of-concept study aimed at translating targeted protein degradation to bacteria. During her time at the IMP, she was part of the Boehringer Ingelheim Discovery Research global post-doc program.
In 2023 Ester joins the Francis Crick institute as a Group Leader to study proteolytic complexes of different pathogenic bacteria and to enable the discovery of new antibiotics by targeted protein degradation.