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I was born in sunny Naples in the south of Italy, where I happily grew up until the age of 18. I then moved to London (UK) to pursue my studies in Atrophysics at University College London (UCL), where I also did my PhD. Here I developed as part of my PhD thesis, the first version of the 3D photoionisation and dust radiative transfer code, MOCASSIN, to study gaseous nebulae, typical of star forming environment. For the development of the MOCASSIN code I received the Fowler Award for Early Career Achievements in Astronomy from the Royal Astronomical Society. 

After a first postdoctoral period at UCL, I moved to the Harvard-Smithsonian center for Astrophysics, as a postdoctoral fellow,  where I extended the MOCASSIN code to the X-ray regime and became first very interested in planet formation and protoplanetary disc evolution. These processes are both heavily affected by the X-ray radiation from the new-born star, and I was able to show that X-ray photoevaporation is indeed a major player in the dispersal of protoplanetary disc. The timescales for planet formation are hence determined ultimately by the new born star, whose X-ray flux determines the lifetime of the disc! 

I then went back to England on a Science and Technology Facility Council Advanced fellowship, and I continued my work on discs at the University of Cambridge, and partly again at UCL. The time at Cambridge (UK) was very fruitful as it allowed me to start really exploring the dynamics of discs simultaneously with the stellar irradiation, which brought about a real breakthrough in our understanding of disc dispersal. My last stop in the UK was at the University of Exeter, where I became a Lecturer of Astrophysics. 

I took on my current position in December 2010 as Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics at the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich (LMU) and Excellence Cluster Universe, where I lead the group of theoretical star and planet formation (SPF Group) at the University Observatory and coordinate Connector 2 at the Excellence Cluster Origins. I am also the speaker for the DFG-funded Research Unit "Witnesses and PRobes of Planet Formation Transition Discs".

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