Since October 2018 I am a Chancellor 's Fellow in Robotics and Autonomous Systems, as part of the Data Driven Innovation initiative. I am based in the Scottish Mircroelectronics Center where I am part of the Soft Systems Group. There I conduct research on soft-bodied underwater vehicle design and propulsion, soft manipulator machine-learning control, model-predictive control of unmanned underwater vehicles and shape-changing vibrational systems. I am also part of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics.
I hold a Laurea Degree (MSc equivalent) in Marine Science & Technology from the University of Pisa with a thesis on coastal meteorology numerical weather prediction undertaken at the Laboratory for Environmental Monitoring and Modelling (LAMMA) in Florence. I was later awarded a Marie-Curie Early Stage Training (EST) Fellowship to do a PhD in Computational Fluid Dynamics at the University of Leeds under the supervision of Prof. Jeff Peakall, jointly between the School of Earth and Environment and the Faculty of Engineering. My postgraduate research entailed the study of density-driven flows and turbidity currents in sinuous channels. In 2011 I was awarded a Marie-Curie European Reintegration Grant (ERG) to undertake a Research Fellowship in bioinspired aquatic propulsion at the Centre for Sea Technologies and Marine Robotics of the Biorobotics Institute, as part of the CFD-OctoProp project and the project PoseiDrone, under the supervision of Prof. Cecilia Laschi.
In 2015, sponsored by the Lloyd's Register Foundation, I moved to the Fluid Structure Interaction Group of the University of Southampton where I started working on the development of bioinspired soft-bodied underwater vehicles and the study of aquatic propulsion aided by body-shape variations. In June 2016 I was awarded, along with Dr. Gabriel Weymouth, a "technology proof-of-concept" NERC grant to pursue the study of pulsed-jet propelled, shape-changing underwater vehicles within the "Aquatic soft robots for environmental sensing" project.
In 2018 I moved to the University of Edinburgh as a Research Associate of the OrcaHub, where I work on model predictive control of unmanned underwater vehicles for operations in advese weather conditions. This project is carried out in collaboration with Dr. Kiprakis (Institute of Energy Systems), Prof. Mistry (School of Informatics) and Dr. Stokes (Scottish Microelectronics Institute).
I collaborate with Dr. Weymouth at the University of Southampton, Dr. Calisti at the University of Lincoln and Dr. Renda at Kahlifa University. I also maintain very active collaborations with Prof. Suzumori's Endorobotics Lab at Tokyo Tech, Prof. Mochiyama's Flexible Robotics Lab at Tsukuba University, Prof. Tadokoro's Human-Robot Informatics Lab at Tohoku-Sendai University and Hosoya's Mechanical Dynamics Lab at Shibaura Institute of Technology.