Sabrina Palanti



I was born in Firenze (Italy), I attended all schools (Elementary, Intermediate and High Schools, University) in Firenze. I obtained a Master of Science (Laurea Diploma) in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology in 1992. Then, between 1994 and 1997 I attended a PhD in Environmental Science (Analytical Chemistry, Laboratory of Biosensors, University of Florence), with a thesis based on DNA biosensor for detecting Chlamydia in human biological samples.
My first meeting with the wood science was during a post-graduated Master on Science Conservation of Cultural Heritage in which I participated, for my personal interest. Infact, since when I was teen I have had two interests, chemistry of natural products and cultural heritage and this Master was a good combination of them.

My participation was the keystone of my future work, in fact there I met, as teachers, Luca Uzielli, full professor in wood technology at University of Florence, and Anna Gambetta, researcher in biodegradation at CNR IRL (now IVALSA).


Immediately after the Master, I started to work in small enterprise that produced wood and stone preservatives. During this period I collaborated within national project with CNR IRL on fungicides for wooden windows and decking.
After two years, in 2001 (the Sylvester day, 31st December) I became full-staff researcher in head of Biodegradation and Preservation Laboratory, just few months that Anna Gambetta was retired.

Since the beginning of my career I was interested in solutions that could protect the wood but, always based on products with a low environmental impact. I collaborated with colleagues that also followed this mission. I was trained for by Marie-France Thevenon termite tests in CIRAD and low environmental wood preservatives based on wood extractives and boron, successively I started to collaborate on wood modification for preservatives purposes with prof. Giovanni Predieri and his staff, full-professor in Inorganic Chemistry at University of Parma.

During the first period of my career I continued what Anna Gambetta made during her long career, principally in field tests, in ground and marine, laboratory tests against insects and fungi and only successively, following my background, I started to find new solutions to protect the wood against organisms. In the last years I also improved the living collection of my lab also with termites that I can easily catch in a Natural Reserve near Pisa.
I have not aware of it, but during all my life the wood was very important for me.  In seventy, my parents bought a piece of land in a forest, near the sea and put there a Finnish mobile home where I spent all my childhood from seven to 13 years from June to October (summer holydays). I think that this experience has marked my life. I love to stay free, without any constriction, near the sea…. and under a great tree as was my oak where I built my tree house when was child.
Unfortunately I live in Florence (one of the most touristic and attractive city of the world), but I’m sure that, as it will be possible, I will move to live near seaside…. in contact with wild nature…

Family, Life, Music and Activities

I have a partner, Marco, two daughters, twins, Sara and Silvia now 14 years old, two Thai cats, Teo and Mia, an a nameless red fish. Effectively we are a family with a large dominance of females!!!

I love to windsurf, during my life I have dedicated a lot of free-time to this activity and most of the places that I visited only for pleasure during vacations, are linked to it with some exceptions. I love also skiing, swimming. I like especially rock music but not only (e.g The Police, Queen, The Clash… until Nirvana… but also some Italian song writers) and I read a lot of different literary genres but I like a lot the biographies.

This bio was written for the June 2018 IRG Newsletter.