ESP Biography

GIOVANNI FORCINA, Stanford Biology graduate student

Major: Biology

College/Employer: Stanford

Year of Graduation: 2021

Picture of Giovanni Forcina

Brief Biographical Sketch:

My name is Giovanni and I am a forth year graduate student in the department of Biology, and a Chemistry Biology Interface ChEM-H predoctoral Fellow. I am interested in applying chemical tools to biological systems to better understand how cells work and how they can be manipulated. My research focus is at the intersection of cell death, sugar biology (glycobiology), and rare disease.

Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

B7416: Regulated Cell Death: Live to Die Another Way in Splash Fall 2019 (Nov. 16 - 17, 2019)
Regulated cell death is an important process by which cells change their behavior to die in a controlled manner. Cell death is important in disease where you can have too much cell death (e.g. after stroke or heart attack) or too little cell death (e.g. development of cancers). This course will go through a brief history on the study of cell death and talk about the fundamental principles governing different modes of cell death. Finally, we will discuss how studying cell death is being used to develop new therapies for various human disease.

B7417: Studying Ultra Rare Diseases to Learn about Cancer in Splash Fall 2019 (Nov. 16 - 17, 2019)
This course will talk about the basics of researching ultra rare diseases, or disorders that affect less than 20 patients per 1 million people in a population. We will go on to discuss how understanding these mysterious diseases can further our knowledge of basic biology and the biology of more common diseases, like cancer. As a case study, we will focus on an ultra-rare disease called NGLY1 Deficiency and how research into this disease have lead to new potential ways to treat cancers.

B6865: Why Should We Study Rare Diseases? in Splash Fall 2018 (Dec. 01 - 02, 2018)
Rare diseases are defined as diseases that affect 620 people per 1 million people in a population. Ultra-rare diseases affect on 20 people per 1 million. In this course, we will cover the challenges of studying such rare ailments and focus on how a biological understanding of these diseases can lead to big insights into normal biology and the biology of more common diseases, like cancer.

B6126: Making a Life or Death Decision in Splash Fall 2017 (Nov. 11 - 12, 2017)
This course will provide an introduction to cell death. We will cover the basic biological molecules that control these processes, the many ways that cells can undergo regulated cell death, and discuss how understanding these pathways can lead to the treatment of human disease.

B6127: The Sweet Side of Biology in Splash Fall 2017 (Nov. 11 - 12, 2017)
This course will provide an introduction to the science of sugars and the many roles these molecules play in biological processes. We will discuss how the shapes of these molecules contributes to their biological functions and how understanding sugar biology can lead to the betterment of human health.

B5608: The Biology of Sugars and Fats in Splash Spring 2017 (Apr. 22 - 23, 2017)
All of life is composed of four basic building blocks: nucleic acids, amino acids, carbohydrates, and lipids. However, most science courses focus solely on DNA, RNA, and proteins ignoring the essential and complex contributions of carbohydrates (sugars) and lipids (fats). This course will explore the essential role of these, often ignored, components of life.

B5363: Funky Fungi of the Amazon in Splash Fall 2016 (Dec. 03 - 04, 2016)
This class will focus on the amazing biodiversity of plant-associated fungi living in the Amazon Rainforest. We will spend a considerable amount of time on the vast chemical repertoire of these organisms and how these chemicals can be manipulated for diverse scientific pursuits.

B5364: Metal Bending: How Cells Manipulate the Lifeless to Live in Splash Fall 2016 (Dec. 03 - 04, 2016)
Metals are present in every organism, but their importance in biology is often overlooked. This class will explore how cells from a variety of organisms manipulate metals in to promote essential biological functions.

B4860: Life from the Lifeless in Splash Spring 2016 (Apr. 09 - 10, 2016)
When we learn about biological chemistry, we tend to focus on the most abundant elements-- namely carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen amongst others. What often gets lost in this discussion is the 1% of trace elements, made up mostly of inorganic, lifeless metals. This course will provide a broad overview of the essential role of metals in biology, a field commonly known as bioinorganic chemistry.

B4564: Totally Radical Biology: The Biology and Chemistry of Oxygen in Splash Fall 2015 (Nov. 07 - 08, 2015)
Did you know that oxygen comprises only 21% of the air you breathe? Where did oxygen come from and how does it support life on earth? How are free radicals made from oxygen and why are they bad for you? In this course, we‘ll learn about the chemistry of oxygen and its role in biology. We’ll unleash the power of oxygen through explosive in-class demonstrations.

B4565: Navigating the Chaos of the Cell in Splash Fall 2015 (Nov. 07 - 08, 2015)
We like to think about cells in terms of a few parts-- nuclei, endoplasmic reticula, ribosomes, and so on. However, the reality of a cell is much more complex-- each cell is a jumbled mess of different biological molecules with nearly no free space. How do proteins find each other in this mess and how does the cell accomplish anything amidst the chaos? This course will explore how some basic physical and chemical knowledge can predict how a biological system behaves.

B4098: Evolution through Pokemon in Splash Spring 2015 (Apr. 11 - 12, 2015)
This course will provide a brief introduction to the concept of evolution and how it acts as a force to shape all life. All explanations and examples will be taught using Pokemon.

B4099: Funky Fungi of the Amazon in Splash Spring 2015 (Apr. 11 - 12, 2015)
Explore the microscopic world by examining some of the most varied and awesome creatures: fungi. In particular, we will look at fungi that live within plants that can also produce medically relevant natural products.

B3863: Funky Fungi of the Amazon in Splash Fall 2014 (Nov. 08 - 09, 2014)
Many of us think of fungi as mushrooms we sometimes eat. By the end of this course, you'll realize that these complex organisms represent tons of unexplored biology and chemistry that can even help fight diseases, like cancer. This course will be an introduction to basic fungal biology and natural products chemistry and its applications. *Bonus* there will be lots of pretty pictures of newly discovered fungi.