I graduated in Archaeology at the University of Bologna and, after a Master in Archaeological Science at the University of Milan, I obtained my PhD in Archaeobotany from the University of Cambridge. In 2014 I co-funded the research group Culture and Socio-Ecological Dynamics, recognised by the Catalan Agency for Management of University and Research Grants (AGAUR) as an excellence group. In 2017 I was awarded a Starting grant from the ERC to work on the role of drought-tolerant crops on long-term resilience and adaptation to drylands (RAINDROPS ERC-Stg-2017, 759800). I am currently co-vicepresident of the Institutional Committe for Ethical Review of Projects at Univeristat Pompeu Fabra (CIREP) and part of the Group of Experts on Climate Change (GEC) for the Barcelona City Council. From 2022 I am the director of the Centre for Studies on Planetary Wellbeing at Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
I am an archaeobotanist and quantitative archaeologist specialised in long-term human ecology of drylands. I combine methods from plant sciences, ethnography and archaeology with statistical analysis, modelling and simulation to study plant-related activities. Specifically, my work addresses the essential role of the so-called secondary resources (e.g., millets as foodstuff, dung as fuel, etc.) for the adaptation and resilience of past and present socio-ecological systems in drylands. I conduct research in South Asia, Europe, Near East, Africa and South America, covering a chronology that span from Early Neolithic to historic periods, with a special focus on South Asian Bronze Age and African late prehistory. I strongly believe in the importance of upholding Responsible Research and Innovation practices, by fully complying with the principles of ethical research, open access, civil society engagement and by incorporating a gender perspective to my work.