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Giulia Friso


Senior Research Associate

(607) 255-7127

Giulia Friso obtained her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Biology and her Ph.D in Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Padua (Italy). She was a post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Biochemistry at Imperial College, London (U.K.), and at the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at U.C.S.F. in San Francisco. She also was a research scientist at the discovery unit of the Pharmaceutical Company AstraZeneca in Stockholm (Sweden). Giulia joined the Plant Biology Department at Cornell University in 2001, and is currently senior research associate and lecturer.

Research Focus

My current professional objective is to excel in mass spectrometry applied to plant biology and in supervising, training of others in the academic environment. I aim to work as close to the cutting edge of mass spectrometry and biochemistry, and to follow and implement new developments and tools in plant biology. In that context I aim to be productive and contribute to efforts in obtaining federal funding.

Outreach and Extension Focus

2016 Faculty Institute on Community-Engaged Learning and Teaching (CELT) 2016 Institute and scholarship, C.U.
2016 Faculty Institute for Diversity, C.U.
2016 Global Learning Institute and workshops, C.U.
2017 Group Work Institute, C.U.
2018 Flipping the classroom workshop, C.U.

Teaching Focus

My goal as a teacher is to inspire my students in the learning process, and engage them in the process of discovery, facilitate mastery of plant biology, help them integrate concepts of biochemistry, pharmacology, physiology, ethnobotany and bioprospecting. I also aim to transmit my enthusiasm as a researcher and a teacher influencing my students to commit to my course and interest them in the field of medicinal plants. I am deeply interested to convey a knowledge and awareness of different cultural practices, values, and beliefs, and help my students gain an understanding of their own cultural perspective.
I teach two courses on medicinal plants, which I developed in 2016, prerequisite for the Plant and Human Health concentration of the Plant Science major. Medical Ethnobotany (2 credits course, 2000 level) exposes students to the relationship between plants and native people in various parts of the world, their effect on human health and their mechanism of action in the human bodies. I also teach Medicinal Botany and Health (2 credits, 3000 level).
Plants have been a source of medicinal agents for thousands of years and a remarkable number of modern drugs have been isolated or derived from plants. In this course, we explore the mechanisms of action, the effects and efficacy of injurious, hallucinogenic and medicinal plants as source of medicines, sold by pharmaceutical companies. During the course of the semester we introduce 12 case studies from 12 different plant species. Furthermore, the course cover the distribution of plant secondary metabolites, the use of techniques in the isolation and structure elucidation of natural products, and the steps involved in drug production and approval.

Selected Publications

Journal Publications

Presentations and Activities

  • A high resolution structural and proteomic atlas of the developing rice leaf. 60th ASMS Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics . May 2012. ASMS. Vancouver, Canada.