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A team of professionals who have decided to undertake a new challenge: scientific research for the protection of threatened species and their habitats



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Ornella Abollino



Graduated in Chemistry and obtained the title of PhD in Chemical Sciences in 1992. After having carried out research activities at the Istituto Piante da Legno e l'Ambiente (IPLA) of Turin, she was University Researcher and Associate Professor at the 'University of Turin where, from 2019 to date, she has been serving as Full Professor in the disciplinary scientific sector of Analytical Chemistry. It belongs to the Department of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology and is a professor in the degree courses of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology and Herbal Techniques


Her main research activities concern the development of procedures for the determination and speciation of trace elements by means of spectroscopy and voltammetry; the characterization of food supplements and medicinal and food plants from the point of view of the content of potentially toxic elements; the study of biogeochemical cycles of metals in marine and lake ecosystems; the characterization of atmospheric particulate matter in anthropized (Piedmont) and remote (Arctic) areas; the study of soils contaminated by potentially toxic elements and the development of procedures for their remediation; the chemometric treatment of the results obtained in the researches described above. Since 2022 she has been collaborating with the Zoom Foundation as part of the doctoral thesis of Dr. Laura Favilli carried out in the PhD course in Sustainable Development and Cooperation for biomonitoring studies of inorganic species for the purpose of characterizing ecosystems


Laura Favilli


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Graduated from the Master's Degree in Environmental Chemistry at the University of Turin in 2021. Her previous research works focused on soil pollution monitoring and innovative methods for the requalification of polluted areas.


She is currently a PhD student at the Zoom Foundation and follows the PhD course in Sustainable Development and Cooperation (SUSTNET) Her doctoral project is an integral part of the Foundation's "Bio-monitoring" project which monitors environmental conditions and tests innovative solutions with the aim of controlling and reducing environmental contamination and increasing the well-being of flora and fauna. The study funded by the Zoom Foundation, in particular, deals with carrying out a survey on the possibility of monitoring the pollution of mineral and potentially toxic elements. The project plans to test the potential of some plants and some animals housed in zoos as bioindicators, i.e. whether the analysis of some of their tissues (feathers, fur, etc.) can be indicators of the surrounding environmental condition. The study has currently begun in the Madagascar habitat of the biopark, in the island of lemurs and in the island of flamingos, and foresees the collaboration with PBZT Parc Zoologique et Botanique de Tsimbazaza ( ), a partner zoological park located in Antananarivo in Madagascar. The data collected in the two areas will be treated with statistical techniques separately and the information obtained from these processes will be compared for the two sites.

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Agnese Giacomino



Graduated in Chemistry in 2003 at the University of Turin, she is currently Associate Professor of Analytical Chemistry at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technologies of the University of Turin.


Her research activity is mainly focused on the study of the behavior of metals in various environmental, food and pharmaceutical matrices by means of spectroscopic and voltammetric techniques; use of chemometric pattern recognition techniques for data processing; development of new procedures for remediation of contaminated soils; study of the interaction between trace metals and plants; characterization of food matrices based on the inorganic and redox profile to guarantee the genuineness and quality of the products; development of new analytical methods for the characterization of new materials.​ ​ Since 2022 she has been collaborating with the Zoom Foundation as a researcher for the Biomonitorando project, dealing with researching data that can provide information on the different types of pollution and how they impact animal and plant species. At the moment she deals with the characterization of animal and vegetable matrices, analysis of pollution and interactions with animal and vegetable species, study of the behavior of metals in various natural matrices such as soil, sediments, water and development of procedures for the on-site determination and speciation of trace metals and organic pollutants.

Umberto Maritano


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Graduated in Natural Sciences and Environmental Biology in Turin, freelancer in the field of biodiversity conservation, he has been dealing with Diptera Syrphidae since 2017, both as bioindicators of the state of health of ecosystems and as pollinators.


Since July 2021 he has been collaborating with the Zoom Foundation as a researcher for the Bee Zoom project, dealing with the qualitative and quantitative census of diptera  sirfidi both in the research area outside the park and inside the park. He also collaborates with other researchers  for a scientific research project to test Apoidea-Horphid-Lepidoptera coupled transects along an experimental transect of the Zoom Foundation, in particular on the species of Diptera hoverflies (about 30 species detected) to detect their preferences regarding the plants visited during the pollination process. The goal is to understand which native floral species best support the potential hoverfly community of the area, in order to encourage good practices for the conservation of these delicate insect communities.


Giovanni Quintavalle Pastorino



Graduated in Biological Sciences in Genoa, his research interests range from behavior to personality, sociability and communication (intraspecific and interspecific).
From 2004 to 2014 I contributed to the conduct of the avian malaria survey at ZSL London Zoo, and worked for two years in Prof. Preziosi's laboratory at the University of Manchester on insect behaviour.
He later completed his Masters of Tropical Medicine at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine


Today, he oversees doctoral, masters and graduate projects in EU and US zoos, seeking to improve animal welfare, husbandry and human-animal interactions while conducting research.
He has just finished his postdoctoral research on big cats  with Manchester Metropolitan and the University of Veterinary Medicine in Milan.
Since 2022 he has been collaborating  as a feline research expert in a multi-zoo project on felines and their sociality, which the Zoom Foundation has launched and coordinates in various European zoos. Furthermore, the Zoom Foundation is the promoter of specific research on the behavioral dynamics of groups of sisters and brothers  in tigers and lions and their individuality.


Gaia Riscossa




After humanistic studies at the classical high school and the University in Psychology, from 2010 to 2017 works for the CSD Coordination of the Valli Works at the Uliveto accommodation community and with the DIAPSI association, Val Pellice section, covering the role of operator and taking care of the educational and recreational projects of the two structures that host  people with disabilities serious physical and mental.


In 2017 he started working at the Bioparco Zoom Turin in the educational sector mainly dealing with organizing and carrying out educational workshops for schools of all levels- and guided tours.

Since 2021 it has managed the laboratories, transformed into a Distance Learning version, providing more than 80 hours of live web links


From 2022, thanks to his studies and his experience, he starts a  collaborating with the Zoom Foundation dealing with the "Hippo-Energy" project

  •  16 1-hour meetings, 2 per month in 2022 from February to November,  live from the park with i/le children admitted to the Pediatric Oncohaematology Department of the Regina Children's Hospital Margherita of Turin 

  •  once a week he goes to the hospital, in the Isola Margherita ward, to take care of the maintenance of the aquarium built by the Foundation for the hospital which houses several fish of the Cichlid family from the Zoom Bioparc.  


During 2022, she collaborated with the hospital psychologists in the creation of the experiential book "A rainbow of emotions" which will be given to the children in the ward during 2023, in order  to provide moments of relief , alongside the educational activities concerning the world of animals and emotions.


Yari Roggia



He graduated in Evolution of Animal and Human Behavior (ECAU), at the University of Turin with a thesis in bioacoustics on the comparison of the songs of two species of larks in Spain.

In 2011 he started working as an Animal Keeper at Zoom and today he is responsible for the management of the large African herbivores  hosted in the biopark's Serengeti habitat.
In his free time he has always been passionate about the world of pollinators and in particular bees which led him to 2016  a  Panama, where he conceived and supervised the development of a meliponiculture project on behalf of the NGO CEASPA, in the rural community of Achiot


Thanks to his great passion for beekeeping and the skills acquired on pollinators in general and their important ecosystem role, he is the contact person for the BEE ZOOM project of the Foundation.
for a couple of years he has been involved in the study and biomonitoring of pollinating insects in the 1.5ha research area adjacent to the park, which the Foundation has decided to regenerate by planting various floral essences useful for pollinators to promote ecosystem services.
Specifically, every 10 days from April to October, the period of activity of the pollinators, it deals with the counting and identification of the most common species of local diurnal butterflies, following the European method eBMS (European butterfly monitoring scheme)

 He collaborated with the ZOOM Foundation in the implementation of the Beekeeping project in Botswana: a  November 2021 he made his first trip to the community of Kaudwane at the gates of the Kalahari, where he still today, 2-3 times a year with the field support of Leopard Ecology & Conservation, she goes to follow and train a first group of five women  in the creation and management of an apiary.



Giorgia Ruffa




Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Turin, with a thesis work carried out at the Zoom Turin biopark on the behavior of meerkats (Suricata suricatta) hosted in the park.


Subsequently he obtained a master's degree in Environmental Biology which ended with a thesis on bioacoustics aimed at analyzing the vocalizations of three species of lemurs (Lemur catta, Eulemur macaco, Eulemur rubriventer), also housed in the park.


In 2011 she began working at Zoom Turin as an animal keeper, where over the years she has specialized in the enrichment and management of primates, currently taking care of the lemurs and siamangs housed in the park.


From July 2022 he began a training course in the newly created Zoom Foundation, returning to the University every week to follow the lessons  aimed at perfecting scientific knowledge, with a particular focus on statistical methods applied to studies ethological and research methodologies necessary to learn more about animal behavior and welfare.

Since October 2022, in collaboration with the Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology, a study has begun aimed at analyzing the songs of siamangs (Symphalangus syndactylus) hosted in the park, thanks to a ten-year database of videos and audio recordings, collected by park keeper over the years.

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Monica Vercelli




Graduated in Agroecology, Department of Agricultural, Forestry and Food Sciences,  she is an independent post-doctoral researcher in beekeeping science, professional beekeeper in Italy and freelance agronomist involved in many European countries for beekeeping projects, specifically for biological control and problems related to honey bee colonies such as parasites and climate change, analysis of biocenoses and pollination services for the conservation of pollinators, honey characterization. He is a teacher of specific training courses in various Mediterranean countries: melissopalynology in Algeria, beekeeping in Palestine, control of the varroa mite in Syria.
She is a member of the International Honey Commission and of the National Registers of the “Experts of Sensory analysis of the Honey” and “Experts of Melissopalynology” and researcher in the European project “Mediterranean CooBEEration: a network for beekeeping, biodiversity and food security


Since 2021 she has been a consultant to the Foundation  as a researcher for the Bee Zoom project, dealing with the qualitative and quantitative census of Apoidea both in the research area outside the park and inside the park. Furthermore, he collaborates with other researchers  for a scientific research project to test coupled Apoidea-Horphid-Lepidoptera transects along the experimental transect of the Foundation to detect their preferences regarding the plants visited during the pollination process. The goal is to understand which autochthonous floral species best support Apoidea and other pollinators in the area, in order to encourage good practices for the conservation of these delicate insect communities.

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