Proteintech interview with an early-career researcher: Odetta Antico

Odetta Anitco from the University of Dundee, Scotland, speaks to Proteintech about her scientific career so far, her recent paper in Science Advances, and how to handle setbacks in research.

Odetta Antico is a PhD student at the University of Dundee, working on a proteomic approach to study mitochondrial networks in Parkinson’s disease. Recently, she published a seminal paper in Scientific advances “Global ubiquitylation analysis of mitochondria in primary neurons identifies endogenous Parkin targets following activation of PINK1”, PMID: 34767452.

In this interview, Odetta discusses her paper, her insight on living in Scotland versus Italy, and her inspiring philosophical outlook on life and working in science. She has just submitted her PhD thesis for review, and we wish her luck in the upcoming viva!

Odetta and colleagues used a staggering 10 antibodies from Proteintech in immunofluorescence, western blotting, and immunoprecipitation to acquire data for this research.

Firstly, thank you for your time and congratulations on your recent paper in Science Advances! Can you start by telling me a bit about yourself, your background, and your current position?

I appreciate your interest in our work and for giving me the opportunity to talk about it. I admit that I find talking about myself a little challenging, but here goes. “I am a neuroscientist who likes to explore new fields and build bridges between them for sharing a common mission”.

Since being a masters student, I have always been fascinated by neuroscience, and it was reading “The amyloid cascade hypothesis” inspired me to pursue research in neurodegenerative diseases. I started working on projects related to Alzheimer’s disease at the University of Turin and at the Italian Institute Technology (IIT) in Genoa. I then had a twist in my scientific journey by working on gene therapy approaches for synucleinopathy at the San Raffaele Institute in Milan. Following on the Parkinson’s path, I then joined the Muqit lab at the University of Dundee, Scotland, to start a PhD project focused on the role of PINK1 and Parkin in a neuronal context.  And I have just submitted my thesis(!).


Congratulations on submitting your thesis! Let’s talk a bit more about you. How have you found moving from Italy to Scotland? What are your favourite aspects of living in Dundee, and what do you most miss from home?

Scotland is a welcoming place and the people are very friendly. There are a lot of enchanting places to visit and great outdoor activities to do in your free time. Living in Dundee offers a good work/life balance and the international environment at MRC PPU offers a variety of integrative initiatives, both personally and professionally. Personally, I have had the opportunity to express my ideas thanks to the many facilities and the collaborative environment. But, Italy is home, and besides the stereotypes of pizza, spaghetti and mandolin (which I adore by the way) what I truly love about my country is the search for the sense of a beauty, and by that, I mean the commitment, dedication and refinement of the details, which I find add values to the personal and professional lives.


Congratulations on your recent first author paper in Science Advances. That’s an extremely impressive achievement for a PhD student. Can you provide me with an overview of your paper “Global ubiquitylation analysis of mitochondria in primary neurons identifies endogenous Parkin targets following activation of PINK1.”

More than twenty years ago, PINK1 and Parkin genes were independently found to be mutated in inherited forms of Parkinson’s disease. Several years later, mechanistic studies discovered that PINK1 and Parkin are involved in the same molecular pathways, whereby they work together to eliminate damaged mitochondria, which if allowed to accumulate have neurotoxic effects.  How PINK1 and Parkin act to reshape damaged mitochondrial and contribute to stop mitochondrial toxicity in mature and functional neurons was unknown and our work sought to fill this gap in the PINK1-Parkin field.


How do your findings contribute to research in Parkinson’s disease? What follow up studies are required to use these results towards developing a therapeutic strategy?

Our data show that more than a hundred mitochondrial proteins are regulated by PINK1 and Parkin in mouse neurons. By comparing mouse and human neurons, we identified a signature of 22 common mitochondrial targets which may regulate mitochondrial fate. We believe these targets may represent key regulators of Parkinson’s disease progression and can be used as biomarkers to monitor pathologic stages of Parkinson’s disease, and identify new drug targets to prevent pathological mitochondrial changes.


No scientific journey is without setbacks and problems. How did you overcome these, and what advice would you give other early-career scientists when encountering setbacks?

I am firm believer in the importance of having method. During the most challenging and complex moments of my professional life, reading “The Discourse on Method” by Descartes has always given me a sense of reassurance and a burst of enlightenment. Therefore, I can only recommend to dedicate part of your scientific path in searching for and developing your own method.  For my first piece of advice, I would use Descartes’ words: Never to accept anything as true when I did not recognize it clearly to be so. Divide up the difficulties which I should examine into as many parts as possible, for their better solution.”

“Plan-verify-corroborate” are my three key words. Use most of your time in planning the right experiment for the question you are going to address, without rushing after the newest “tool of the day” or remaining within your comfort zone of experiments. Ensure sure that all the technical aspects are reviewed, before correcting and corroborating your results. After you have done this, and your data remains unchanged, then it is highly to be correct. Next, “listen” to your data for what it is, rather than interpreting it as what you want it to say.  Even negative data can be important and lead to surprising future avenues. Most of all, you will be amazed at how far you have come and how the difficulties have enriched your scientific skills.


A huge body of work like this cannot be completed on your own. Who would you like to thank for helping you publish it?

I entirely agree! A demanding project such as ours would not have been possible without the unmatched professionalism and expertise of all the authors whom I sincerely thank. Allow me to express my gratitude to Prof. Miratul Muqit for giving me the possibility to venture into this ambitious project, and to Prof. Wade Harper and Dr Alban Ordureau for adding their invaluable expertise to this work. 

I have always had a profound respect for a person’s attributes, so I would like to express my final thanks for all the talented and knowledgeable colleagues and friends I have met throughout my entire scientific journey. I have learnt so much from their sincere, original and unconditional passion for science, and this has helped me to successfully complete this present project.


Proteintech antibodies used by Odetta and colleagues in her Science Advances paper

Product Name

Catalogue No.


CISD1 Antibody



FBXO41 Antibody



HSDL1 Antibody



MAOA Antibody



MAPRE2 Antibody



MFN2 Antibody



MIRO2 Antibody



PKC Gamma Antibody



SLC25A46 Antibody



TDRKH-specific Antibody



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