University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Enrico CAPPELLINI uses high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry (MS) to sequence ancient protein residues recovered from paleontological and cultural heritage materials. He is actively involved in methodological development to push reliable recovery of ancient proteins further back in time, to minimise starting sample quantities and to improve data analysis and interpretation.
Initially trained in biochemistry at the University of Turin (Italy), Enrico Cappellini started working on ancient biomolecule analysis during his PhD fellowship at the University of Florence (Italy), and his post-doc at the University of York (UK). He moved to the University of Copenhagen (DK) where he applies proteomics techniques to ancient samples. In 2019, he led the publication in Nature of the recovery of protein sequences ~2 Ma old and their use for reliable phylogenetic reconstructions beyond the limits of ancient DNA preservation (PMID: 31511700). Recently, the same approach also allowed to confidently define the phylogenetic positions of Gigantopithecus, a ~2 Ma old primate from subtropical China (Nature 2019; PMID: 31723270), and of Homo antecessor (Nature 2020; PMID: 32269345). To further develop this research line, he has been very recently awarded an ERC Advanced grant. He has also been coordinating two EU-funded Marie S. Curie networks (TEMPERA and PUSHH) training 22 PhD fellows in total.