Francesco Lescai

Medical Biotechnologist, with an expertise in statistical genetics and computational biology. I'm Associate Professor of Bioinformatics at the University of Pavia, where I am leading a laboratory of Computational Genomics.

I have a broad range of experiences within academia and in industry, and have contributed to science policy expert groups as well as to initiatives for responsible innovation.

I'm always happy to build projects together in those areas, and work for the advancement of precision medicine and public health.

What I Do


I've began building NGS analysis pipelines when the genome sequencing revolution started. I have coded for a diverse range of applications spanning from Human genetics to metagenomics. I am interested in developing deep learning tools to advance the understanding of our genome.

Precision Medicine

I have worked for a translational genomics centre, helping clinicians improving diagnoses with genome analysis. I have led initiatives to understand the dynamics that make Precision Medicine successful and a game changing field. I am interested in developing new tools to further advance the role data analytics have in this sector.

Innovative Learning

I have a diploma in teaching methods in higher education, and developed considerable experience in designing teaching/learning experiences on a wide range of topics. I love to employ the latest technologies to design rewarding learning tools and contribute building skills for professionals of the future.

Responsible Innovation

I have been engaged in initiatives for science and society since I was a student, and deeply believe in a responsible approach to research and innovation. I have recently coordinated a EU funded project to develop tools helping industries to innovate responsibly, and integrate participatory and co-design approaches in their innovation process.



19 Years of Experience


2021 - current
University of Pavia

Associate Professor of Bioinformatics

I am leading a lab of Computational Genomics, at the Department of Biology and Biotechnology. My lab is focused on developing methods and open-source bioinformatics pipelines to unmask and better understand patterns of genomic variation associated with complex phenotypes.

2019 - 2020
Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency, NIBSC

Section Leader, Head of Bioinformatics

I led the bioinformatics team responsible for the analysis of the Institute’s next generation sequencing data. This includes support and coordination of genomics and statistical analysis projects, in a wide range of areas spanning from Human genetics to immunology, microbiology and metagenomics. I contributed to the planning and development of biocomputing facilities, both on premises and on the cloud, and I represented the institute externally with the relevant stakeholders.

2017 - 2019
QIAGEN Bioinformatics

Senior Scientist, Biomedical Genomics

I was part of the Global Product Management team for the CLC Genomics Workbench and Genomics Server; I was responsible for the development of scientific content related to QIAGEN bioinformatics portfolio in the biomedical sector, and for leading scientific collaborations with other institutions and key opinion leaders.

2013 - 2018
Department of Biomedicine, Aarhus University

Associate Professor, Human Genomics and Bioinformatics

My work has been focused on large-scale data analysis of next  generation sequencing in psychiatric  disorders (schizophrenia, depression,  bipolar  disorder,  autism).

I have been responsible of the development of data analysis pipelines for genome sequences of large cohorts  of patients and  healthy individuals, and for the deployment of the analyses on different high performance computing infrastructures.

2011 - 2013
University College London, Institute of Child Health

Senior Research Associate in Genome Analysis

Leader of Bioinformatics at the Centre for Translational Genomics “GOSgene".   Leader of the NGS Consortium at the University High Performance Computing cluster  “Legion”.

2010 - 2011
University College London, Division of Research Strategy

Research Associate in Genome Analysis

Development of the analysis pipeline for exome sequencing,  SNPs and INDELs calling, annotation and statistics.

As part  of UCL Genomics, I have collaborated  with several research groups to provide the expertise in statistical and bioinformatic analysis of NGS data. I have participated to the Wellcome Trust  Case Control  Consortium for the analysis of one of the WTCC2  genome-wide association  studies.


2002 - 2006
University of Bologna

Ph.D. in Experimental Pathology

PhD thesis entitled: Genetic determinants of human longevity: hypothesis-driven investigation through new technologies.
Supervisor: Prof. Claudio Franceschi
External reviewers: Professor Eline Slagboom (NL) and Professor Stefan Schreiber (D)

European Association of Higher Education in Biotechnology, Edinburgh

European Doctorate in Biotechnology (EDBT)

1995 - 2000
Faculty of Medicine, University of Bologna

Laurea in Medical Biotechnology

First class honours, cum laude.
Thesis in Immunology II, on "Genetic Risk Factors in Alzheimer’s Disease: studies on polymorphisms of interleukin 6 gene".

1990 - 1995
Liceo Scientifico G. Marconi, Grosseto

Scientific School Leaving Certificate

School Diploma with score of 60/60

Policy and Communities

2018 - Current
Regional Government, Regione Lombardia, Italy

Member, Regional Forum for Research and Innovation

The Forum is an advisory body to the Regional Government on Research and Innovation policies.

As member, I am contributing in particular on the topics of Genomics, large scale data analysis and computing, population-scale screening and how the concept of “responsible research and innovation” applies to public policies on these subjects, especially when involving industry.

2009 - 2018
Association of the Italian Biotechnologists (ANBI)

President, Collegio dei Probiviri

Chair of the body regulating the code of conduct and bioethics for the national Association.

2007 - 2018
European Federation of Biotechnologists (EFB)

Executive Board Member

2016 - 2017
European Commission, Brussels

Rapporteur, Expert Group on Revision of the Bieconomy Strategy

European Commission, DG Research and Innovation, Brussels

Member of the Advisory Committee on Skills for Bioeconomy 2020

2007 - 2009
Young European Biotech Network


2001 - 2007
Association of the Italian Biotechnologists (ANBI)


2005 - 2007
Committee for Biotechnology and Biosafety, Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Rome

Member, Expert Group on Education

Coding Skills

Anything in R










Management Skills

Project Management Tools


Budget planning and management


Jira & Trello



My Works
Exome Sequencing analysis in Medical Contexts

Exome Sequencing analysis in Medical Contexts







Get in Touch


francesco at

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