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Hello! I'm Vito

I am a Senior Computational Chemist with a Ph.D. in Biochemical Sciences and Biotechnologies and an extensive research experience in academic and industrial environment.


My specialization focuses on DNA/RNA/enzyme characterization and engineering, gene silencing, multiscale molecular dynamics simulations including hybrid quantum-chemistry, free energy calculations, and high-performance scientific computing (HPC) in general.

"Understand to enhance", this is my philosophy.


I have designed and led several national and international research projects focused on deciphering enzymatic reaction mechanisms and engineering nucleic acids for therapeutic purposes using a range of HPC chemistry technologies and tools.


I have accumulated numerous presentations at international conferences and publications in high-quality international scientific journals. I consider myself as adaptable and fast-learning with strong data analysis, critical thinking, and complex problem solving skills.


Vito Genna, PhD

Computational Chemist

Nucleic Acids Expert

Senior Consultant


+39 340 14 54 585


Date of Birth:

January 27th, 1987



 Since 2020

Senior Consultant

Biotech and Pharmas

  • I have provided professional consulting to biotech and pharmaceutical companies to help overcome biochemical and technology advancement challenges in the area of HPC.

  • Assisted multiple small- to medium-sized biotechnology companies working in the context of natural and non-natural nucleic acids.

  • Addressed their scientific needs and suggested effective strategies for technically overcoming scientific challenges with molecules to achieve promising therapeutic advancements or biotech applications.

Since 2020

Spanish Minister of Health | IRB Barcelona

Senior Scientist | Project Manager

  • Funded by the Spanish Minister of Health, I led a scientific team in developing and implementing high-impact research strategies and plans and coordinating scientific exchanges to analyze the host-selection mechanism of SARS-CoV-2.

  • Characterized and discovered the evolutionary path of SARS-CoV-2 virus.

  • Created mutation tracking system and database to assist in localizing crucial mutations for vaccine development.

  • The research results will help to anticipate the next evolutionary step of other viruses to avoid a future pandemic.

  • Supervised and mentored PhD candidates.


Senior Scientist | Project Manager

European Molecular Biology Organization | IRB Barcelona

  • Awarded an esteemed grant to engineer pharmaceutically-relevant nucleic acids to counteract and prevent the spread of cancer with an experimentalist team based in Cambridge, U.K.

  • Selected from an applicant pool of 3,000+ scientists across Europe.

  • Successfully engineered a nucleic acid with potent anticancer activity.

  • Applied various scientific methods including bioinformatics, QM/MM molecular mechanics, and force-field-based molecular dynamics simulations.

  • Published more than 20 scientific articles and book chapters in several top-tier peer-reviewed scientific journals.

  • The DNA modification may be patented in the next two years as a new class of anticancer molecules.

  • Supervised and mentored Ph.D. students.

For a Complete Overview Please Download My Resume Here





University of Bologna,Italy

Joint programme University of Bologna and Italian Institute of Technology,

Dissertation: “Multiscale Simulations to Dissect Enzymatic Processing of Nucleic Acids”


University of Cagliari, Italy

Thesis: “Bioinformatics Investigations to Select Promising Inhibitors for HIV-2 Reverse Transcriptase”

Master's Degree


Bachelor's Degree

University of Cagliari, Italy

Thesis: “Structural Comparison between Reverse Transcriptases of HIV-I and HIV-II Viruses”

For a Complete Overview Please Download My Resume Here



Project Design and Management

Nucleic Acids and Enzymology

Multiscale Molecular Dynamics Simulations

Free Energy Calculations


Synthetic Biology

DNA and RNA engineering

Research and Investigation

High-Performance Scientific Computing

Quantum Mechanics (QM/MM)

Gene Silencing Applications


Computational Biomodeling

Static and Dynamic Molecular Docking


Book’s Chapters


First Principles Methods in Biology: From Continuum Models to Hybrid Ab Initio Quantum Mechanics/Molecular Mechanics in Simulating Enzyme Reactivity: Computational Methods in Enzyme Catalysis, 294-339. 2016


Dreyer, J., Brancato, G., Ippoliti, E., Genna, V., De Vivo, M., Carloni, P., Röthlisberger, U. Royal Society of Chemistry.

Editors: Iñaki Tuñón and Vicente Moliner



Scientific Articles


* equal contribution


Novel, potent, and druglike tetrahydroquinazoline inhibitor that is highly selective for human topoisomerase II α over β

Ortega, J. A., Arencibia, J.M., Minniti, E., Byl, J.A.W, Franco-Ulloa, S., Borgogno, M., ., Summa, M, Bertozzi, S., Bertorelli, R., Armirotti, A., Minarini, A., Sissi, C., Osheroff, N., De Vivo, M.

Journal of medicinal chemistry 63 (21), 12873-12886


Visualizing Group II Intron Dynamics Between the First and Second Steps of Splicing

Manigrasso, J., Chillón, I., Genna, V., Vidossich, P., Somarowthu, S., Pyle, A. M., De Vivo M., Marcia, M.

Nat. Comm. 2020, 11, 1-15


Recruiting Mechanism and Functional Role of a Third Metal Ion in the Enzymatic Activity of 5′ Structure-Specific Nucleases.

Donati, E., Genna, V., De Vivo, M.

J. Am. Chem. Soc. , 142, 2823-2834

Transient and Flexible cation−π Interaction Promotes Hydrolysis of Nucleic Acids in DNA and RNA Nucleases.

Genna, V., Marcia, M., De Vivo, M.

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 10770-10776


The Origins and the Biological Consequences of the Pur/Pyr DNA· RNA Asymmetry

Terrazas, M., , Portella, G., Villegas, N., Sánchez, D., Arnan, C., Pulido-Quetglas, C., Johnson, R., Guigó, R., Brun-Heath, I., Aviñó, A., Eritja, R., Orozco, M.

Chem (Cell Press), 2019, 5, 1619-1631


A Synthetic Genetic Polymer with an Uncharged Backbone Chemistry Based on Alkyl phosphonate Nucleic Acids

Arangundy-Franklin, S., Taylor, A. I., Porebski, B. J., , Peak-Chew, S., Vaisman, A., Woodgate, R., Orozco, M., Holliger, P.

Nat. Chem., 2019 (in press)


Chemoselective Synthesis of N-Terminal Cysteinyl Thioesters via β, γ-C, S Thiol-Michael Addition.

Petracca, R., Bowen, K. A., McSweeney, L., O'Flaherty, S., Genna, V., Twamley, B., Devocelle, M., Scanlan, E. M.

Org. Lett., 2019, 9, 3281-3285.


The Catalytic Mechanism of DNA and RNA Polymerases.

Genna, V., Donati, E., De Vivo M.

ACS Catalysis, 8, 11103-11108.


Metal-ligand Interactions in Drug Design.

Riccardi, L., Genna, V., De Vivo, M.

Nature Rev. Chem., 2018, 2, 100-112

- The article was chosen by editors as Cover article


A Strategically Located Arg/Lys Residue Promotes Correct Base Pairing During Nucleic Acid Biosynthesis in Polymerases.

Genna, V., Carloni, P., De Vivo, M.

J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2018, 140, 3312–3321.


Second-Shell Basic Residues Expand the Two-Metal-Ion Architecture of DNA and RNA Processing Enzymes.

Genna, V.*, Colombo, M.*, Marcia, M., De Vivo, M.

Structure, 2018, 26, 1, 1-11


A Self-Activated Mechanism for Nucleic Acid Polymerization Catalyzed by DNA/RNA Polymerases.

Genna, V., Vidossich, P., Ippoliti, E., Carloni, P., De Vivo, M.

J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2016, 138 (44), 14592–14598.

- The article was chosen by editors as Cover article


Paper was chosen by editors to be featured in ACS Spotlights: "Polymerases May Progress with the Help of Hydrogen Bonding", by Deirdre Lockwood (Ph.D.) J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2016, 138 (44), 14507–14508


Cooperative motion of a key positively charged residue and metal ions for DNA replication catalyzed by human DNA Polymerase-η.

Genna, V., Gaspari, R., Dal Peraro, M., De Vivo, M.

Nucl. Acids Res., 2016, 44(6), 2827-2836.

- The article was chosen by editors as Cover article


Antigenic Peptide Molecular Recognition by DRB1 - DQB1 Haplotype modulates Multiple Sclerosis Susceptibility.

Kumar, A., Melis, P., Genna, V., Cocco, E., Marrosu, M.G., Pieroni, E.

Mol. BioSyst., 2013, 10, 2043-2054.

- The article was chosen by editors as Cover article


Combination of classical and molecular modeling approaches to investigate the effect of antipsychotic drugs on cell proliferation kinetics 
Pieroni, E., Kumar, A., Pisu, M., Genna, V., Concas, A., Cao, G.
Chemical Engineering Transactions, 2013, 32, 787-792.

Please refer to the following link for the up-to-date list of publications.




Ad-hoc R&D

  • Active Research, Development or Engineering to address your needs.

  • Statistical Analysis

  • Qualitative and Quantitative Assessment

  • Tracking and Reporting

Project Managing

  • Project Definition

  • Goal-oriented Project Planning

  • Milestone Monitoring  and Evaluation

Information Flow

One key aspect is that our work is delivered in a timely, well-organized manner with high standards of communication.

All projects undergo extensive assessment based on a rigorous scientific method


I provide scientific consultancy, due diligence services and (micro/macro) scientific project management to reach the best performance in biotechnology and human health applications.


My business model is based upon the partnership’s capability of providing a specialist solution for those looking for expert advice and support across all aspects of the drug discovery and development process. I am able to achieve this through deploying core competencies across a broad range of disciplines including, Molecular Docking, Multiscale Molecular Dynamics Simulations, Force-Field Based MD, Quantum-Mechanics/Molecular Mechanics Calculations (QM/MM), Free Energy Calculations, Statistical Analysis and Stress-Tests.


With more than ten years of experience across the discovery and development spectrum, I have developed the skill sets and experience to provide practical, cost-efficient and timely solutions to your project through consultation on an individual basis or as a team.  


Please contact me to discuss how we can together face your challenge.



Computational Chemist

Structural Genomics


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