Roberto Ballarino

About me

I am researcher in the Bienko-Crosetto Laboratory of Quantitative Genome Biology. Here, I aim to contribute to elucidating new developmental mechanisms underlying neural cell identity by applying state of the art genomics methods to human brain cells. By bridging multiple disciplines, I hope to improve our understanding of mental health of the origins of disease.

Outside of research, I am interested in education at multiple levels of resolution and enjoy science outreach and general dissemination of knowledge. In 2021, I am on the board of the Doctoral Students’ Association (DSA). The DSA strives to improve the doctoral education at KI and support all PhD students (mental) health and wellbeing. In part, this year the team has set up a mentorship platform and a Digital Mindworkout@KI to promote anti-stress mediation practises and community-building in pandemic times. More information about the DSA can be found here.

Finally, I am active in the Kizomba dance scene in Stockholm and am passionate about anything food-related.

Research description

My PhD research focuses on the development of new genomics methods and their application in maturing human brain cells. Understanding how the 3D genome is dynamically organised has important implications for psychiatric and neurological disease and cancer. More specifically, the main focus of my project is to understand genome fragility in the form of DNA double-stand breaks in relation to transcriptional and 3D epigenetic regulation of neural stem cell  differentiation.

My lab has developed and is continuously developing numerous technologies investigating, among other things, cell-type specific 3D genome organization, DNA double-strand break mapping and accumulation of structural variation, which together, are yielding new insights in previously unexplored biology with promise for the future of precision medicine. For more information, please see the BiCrolab webpage.

Teaching portfolio

Teaching assistent at MBB:  I am involved in several courses organised by my department at the School of Medicine, KI.

Previous teaching experience: Taught ‘DNA-testing in clinical setting’ at several high schools for a period of nine weeks as part of academic pedagogical minor at Utrecht University.


PhD Medical Science, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden 2017- 2022

M.Sc in Neuroscience, Erasmus University, Netherlands 2015-2017

B.Sc in Biomedicine, Utrecht University, Netherlands 2011-2015