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Results: 44


Maria Pia Abbracchio
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: cellular pharmacology

Keywords: Alzheimer, coronavirus, Covid-19, degenerative diseases, drugs, multiple sclerosis, myocardal infarction, pandemics, preventive medicine, stroke, therapy, vaccines

Region: Lombardy


Position/Role

Full professor of Pharmacology, Deputy Pro-ReRector, Pro-Rector delegated to the coordination and promotion of Research, University of Milan. President of the Foundation Filarete, Milan.

Professional career

After graduating in Pharmacy at the University of Milan in 1979, she continued her studies through a specialization in Experimental Toxicology at the same university in 1984. In 1988 she obtained a PhD in Experimental Medicine in Rome. During her studies Maria Pia Abbracchio spent periods of training abroad: in 1980 she was Postdoctoral fellow of the Department of Pharmacology of the University of Texas of Houston, in 1992 she is "Honorary Research Fellow" of the London College University. At the same time she continued her training and research, first as a researcher, then as an assistant professor of Neuropsychopharmacology and finally in 1998 as an associate professor of Pharmacology at the University of Milan. Since 2002 she has been an extraordinary professor and since 2005 she has been a full professor of Pharmacology at the same university. She is currently responsible for a research group consisting of 12 young scientists at the same university.

Scientific results

Her scientific interests focus on the physiopathological roles of purines, universal signaling molecules that regulate growth, survival and cell differentiation. She identified a new purinergic receptor involved in the differentiation of stem cells still present in the adult brain and in the heart, and she is developing new therapeutic approaches that can, through this receptor, enhance the repair of damage present in acute degenerative diseases (stroke and brain trauma, myocardial infarction) and chronic (Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis). In 2015, in an international study, Maria Pia Abbracchio and colleagues discovered how the anti-inflammatory drug for asthmatics "Montelukast" can stimulate neurogenesis and therefore help in cases of cognitive decline. Starting from previous studies that showed the greatest probability for patients with systemic infections of getting Alzheimer (a disease characterized by brain inflammation), the research group discovered a receptor (GPR17) present in stem-like cells of the brain that produce myelin, a substance that covers the nerves. The discovery of this receptor can also extended to the hippocampus (area of ​​the brain involved in the learning and memory process), and the research group showed that the administration of the anti-asthmatic drug, experienced on elderly mice, improves learning ability. Research on the GPR17 purinergic receptor offers hope even to patients with multiple sclerosis. While the drugs currently available intervene to block the progression of the disease, administer them with drugs that restart the damage repair action would cause the nervous system to produce new myelin and, sustaining nerve extensions with the growth substances present in myelin, the neuro-degeneration, that is typical of progressive forms and generates disabilities, could finally be avoided.

Editorial work and publications

She is the author of about 180 scientific publications, including:

(2016) Vigan F, Schneider S, Cimino M, Bonfanti E, Gelosa P, Sironi L, Abbracchio MP, Dimou L. GPR17 expressing NG2-Glia: Oligodendrocyte progenitors serving as a reserve pool after injury. Glia, 64(2):287-99.

(2015) Marschallinger J, Schäffner I, Klein B, Gelfert R, Rivera FJ, Illes S, Grassner L, Janssen M, Rotheneichner P, Schmuckermair C, Coras R, Boccazzi M, Chishty M, Lagler FB, Renic M, Bauer HC, Singewald N, Blümcke I, Bogdahn U, Couillard-Despres S, Lie DC, Abbracchio MP, Aigner L. Structural and functional rejuvenation of the aged brain by an approved anti-asthmatic drug. Nature Communications, 6:8466.

(2015) Fumagalli M, Bonfanti E, Daniele S, Lecca D, Martini C, Trincavelli ML, Abbracchio MP. The ubiquitin ligase Mdm2 controls oligodendrocyte maturation by intertwining mTOR with G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 in the regulation of GPR17 receptor desensitization. Glia, 63(12):2327-39.

(2014) Zaratin P, Battaglia MA & Abbracchio MP. Nonprofit foundations spur translational research. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, 35, 552–5.

(2011) Ceruti S, Villa G, Fumagalli M, Colombo L, Magni G, Zanardelli M, Fabbretti E, Verderio C, van den Maagdenberg AM, Nistri A, Abbracchio MP. Calcitonin gene-related peptide-mediated enhancement of purinergic neuron/glia communication by the algogenic factor bradykinin in mouse trigeminal ganglia from wild-type and R192Q Cav2.1 Knock-in mice: implications for basic mechanisms of migraine pain. Journal of Neuroscience, 31:3638-49.

(2011) Fumagalli M, Daniele S, Lecca D, Lee PR, Parravicini C, Fields RD, Rosa P, Antonucci F, Verderio C, Trincavelli ML, Bramanti P, Martini C, Abbracchio MP. Phenotypic changes, signaling pathway, and functional correlates of GPR17-expressing neural precursor cells during oligodendrocyte differentiation. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 286:10593-604.

(2009) Ceruti S, Villa G, Genovese T, Mazzon E, Longhi R, Rosa P, Bramanti P, Cuzzocrea S, Abbracchio MP. The P2Y-like receptor GPR17 as a sensor of damage and a new potential target in spinal cord injury. Brain. 132:2206-18.

(2009) Di Virgilio F, Ceruti S, Bramanti P, Abbracchio MP. Purinergic signalling in inflammation of the central nervous system. Trends in Neurosciences, 32:79-87.

(2006) Abbracchio MP, Burnstock G, Boeynaems JM, Barnard EA, Boyer JL, Kennedy C, Knight GE, Fumagalli M, Gachet C, Jacobson KA, Weisman GA. International Union of Pharmacology LVIII: update on the P2Y G protein-coupled nucleotide receptors: from molecular mechanisms and pathophysiology to therapy. Pharmacological Reviews, 5:281-341.

(2006) Ciana P, Fumagalli M, Trincavelli ML, Verderio C, Rosa P, Lecca D, Ferrario S, Parravicini C, Capra V, Gelosa P, Guerrini U, Belcredito S, Cimino M, Sironi L, (2006) Tremoli E, Rovati GE, Martini C, Abbracchio MP. The orphan receptor GPR17 identified as a new dual uracil nucleotides/cysteinyl-leukotrienes receptor. EMBO Journal, 25:4615-27.

Awards and prizes

Among the many awards received, she was nominated "Highly cited scientist" by Thomson Reuters, a definition based on the number of citations obtained in the international scientific literature that identifies scientists who are authors of the most influential publications in the world in their field (less than 0.5% of all researchers). In 2014 she was awarded the title of Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. In 2016 she was appointed "in the name of her Majesty" Filippo VI Foreign Member of the Royal Academy of Pharmacy of Spain, and since the same year she has also been member of the Academia Europea.

Adriana Albini
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: biochemistry, cancer research

Keywords: angiogenesis, basic research, biological therapies, chemoprevention, coronavirus, Covid-19, gene therapies, immunology, microenvironment, test tube metastases, translational research

Region: Lombardy


Position/Role

Head of the Laboratory of Vascular Biology and Angiogenesis at IRCCS MultiMedica. Scientific Director of the Fondazione Multimediaca Onlus. Professor of General Pathology at the University of Milan Bicocca.

Professional career

After graduating in organic chemistry at the University of Genoa in 1979, Adriana Albini specialized in oncology both in Italy and abroad. She worked at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Munich and for the American Institute of Health. Back to Italy she directed the scientific laboratory of Molecular Oncology of the National Institute for Cancer Research, where she was then Scientific Vice Director and Director of the Department of Translational Oncology. In 2002 she obtained the suitability for university teaching and was head of the "Research and Statistics Infrastructure" Department of the Santa Maria Nuova Arcispedale in Reggio Emilia.

Today Adriana Albini is the manager of the Vascular Biology and Angiogenesis Laboratory of IRCCS MultiMedica, in Sesto San Giovanni (MI) and is Scientific Director of Fondazione MultiMedica Onlus. She is also a lecturer in General pathology at the University of Milan Bicocca. 

Adriana Albini has never stopped conducting scientific research, her main fields of interest are: vascular biology, invasion and metastasis, angiogenesis, microenvironment, chemoprevention, immunopathogenesis linked to AIDS and associated tumors to AIDS and gene therapy with cytokines (polypeptide mediators that allow communication between the immune system and cells of other organs).

Scientific results

Adriana Albini has devoted most of her scientific and educational career to Experimental Oncology. Through translational research (a particular discipline that allows scientific findings to be converted into applicative therapies) she succeeded in developing new therapies in the field of angiogenesis. The "test tube metastasis" technique, which still allows new discoveries all over the world, has her name. Her interests do not stop just at translational research, in fact she is also involved in issues such as the prevention in the context of chronic degenerative diseases, including through her role as President of the Scientific Committee of the Women's Health Observatory. 

Editorial work and publications

Adriana Albini is a member of the editorial board of the most important international oncology journals, including Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Cancer Research and Carcinogenesis. She is involved in scientific communication and is enrolled in the journalists’ association. She is the author of more than three hundred scientific publications, including:

(2016) Albini A, DeCensi A, Cavalli F, Costa A. Cancer Prevention and Interception: A New Era for Chemopreventive Approaches. Clinical Cancer Research, 22:4322-7.

(2015) Albini A, Cavuto S, Apolone G, Noonan DM. Strategies to Prevent "Bad Luck" in Cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 107.

(2014) Dallaglio K, Bruno A, Cantelmo AR, Esposito AI, Ruggiero L, Orecchioni S, Calleri A, Bertolini F, Pfeffer U, Noonan DM, Albini A. Paradoxic effects of metformin on endothelial cells and angiogenesis. Carcinogenesis, 35:1055-66.

(2014) Bruno A, Ferlazzo G, Albini A, Noonan DM. A Think Tank of TINK/TANKs: Tumor-Infiltrating/Tumor-Associated Natural Killer Cells in Tumor Progression and Angiogenesis. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 106.

(2012) Albini A, Tosetti F, Li VW, Noonan DM, Li WW. Cancer prevention by targeting angiogenesis. Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology, 9:498-509.

(2010) Cammarota R, Bertolini V, Pennesi G, Bucci EO, Gottardi O, Garlanda C, Laghi L, Barberis MC, Sessa F, Noonan DM, Albini A. The tumor microenvironment of colorectal cancer: stromal TLR-4 expression as a potential prognostic marker. Journal of Translational Medicine, 8:112.

(2010) Albini A, Pennesi G, Donatelli F, Cammarota R, De Flora S, Noonan DM. Cardiotoxicity of anticancer drugs: the need for cardio-oncology and cardio-oncological prevention. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 102:14-25.

(2010) Albini A, Noonan DM. The 'chemoinvasion' assay, 25 years and still going strong: the use of reconstituted basement membranes to study cell invasion and angiogenesis. Current Opinion in Cell Biology, 22:677-89.

(2007) Albini A, Sporn MB. The tumour microenvironment as a target for chemoprevention. Nature Reviews Cancer, 7:139-47.

(2007) Albini A, Benelli R. The chemoinvasion assay: a method to assess tumor and endothelial cell invasion and its modulation. Nature Protocols, 2:504-11.

 

Awards and prizes

Adriana Albini has received numerous prizes and awards:

In 1984, International "Max Buerger" Prize awarded by the German Society of Gerontology for the best unpublished work on ageing.

In 1985, "Doernkamp Zbinden" International Prize from the John Hopkins Institute in Baltimore for the development of an in vitro test to assess the metastatic potential of tumour cells.

In 2000, "Firenze Donna" Prize for scientific research. 

In 2004, "Amelia Earhart" Prize.

In 2007, "Berlucchi" Prize for scientific research. 

In 2010, "Ippocrate" Prize, "Il Ricercatore" section. 

In 2013, "ITWIIN" (Italian Association of Women Inventors and Innovators) Award for the "Best Woman Inventor and Innovator" in the High Education category.

In 2014, "Women who made it" Award assigned by the Brescia Equal Opportunities Councillor.

In 2015, "EUWIIN" (European Network of Women Inventors and Innovators) Award.

In 2016, "Luigi Castagnetta" Award for oncological research.

In 2016, she was included among the "Top Italian Women Scientists", for her commitment and high number of citations in biomedical research.

In 2021, she was included by the BBC in the list of the "100 most influential women in the world in 2020", for leading change in the year of the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak. 

Ariela Benigni
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: molecular biology

Keywords: cell regeneration, kidney diseases, kidneys, kidney transplant, rejection, stamina cells

Region: Lombardy


Position/Role

Scientific Secretary of the IRCCS Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research and Research Coordinator, Bergamo and Ranica (BG) site.

Professional career

After obtaining a degree in Biological Science from the University of Milan, she received her Ph.D. from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. She spent time abroad training and was then awarded a doctoral fellowship at the Centre Regional de Transfusion Sanguigne in Strasbourg, at Guy’s Hospital in London and at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Her research group focuses on regenerative medicine and studies whether stem cells can be used to treat acute and chronic kidney diseases, and how the kidney can repair itself.

Scientific results

Her research focuses on understanding how kidney diseases develop and on the mechanisms of progression that damage the kidney and lead to renal function decline. In the field of transplant rejection, she was among the first to successfully apply gene therapy through viral vectors to prevent the rejection of solid organ transplants without the need of immunosuppressants.

Between 2007 and 2012 she was a consultant for the WHO for a multicentre observational study on the predictive uses of angiogenic factors for the diagnosis of pre-eclampsia. In connection with this study, she was made a Senior Fellow at the University of Oxford, Nuffield Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, in 2007. She took part of the Visiting Committee of AERES – Agence d’Évaluation de la Recherche et de l’Enseignement Supèrieur – to evaluate scientists at the Hôpital Necker in Paris. She has been a Program Committee Member at the two most important international nephrology meetings (the World Congress of Nephrology, 2015, Cape Town, South Africa and the 2016 American Society of Nephrology Meeting, Chicago, USA). Since 2017 she has been a member of the Innovation and Discovery Task Force of the American Society of Nephrology.

Editorial work and publications

Ariela Benigni has served on the editorial boards of international scientific journals: Associate Editor of Kidney International, Journal of Nephrology, International Journal of Artificial Organs, and also Academic Editor of Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Patents, PeerJ, PLoS One. Since January 2015, she has been Editor in Chief of the peer-reviewed Nephron. From 2017 to 2019, she was a member of the Innovation and Discovery Task Force Committee of the American Society of Nephrology. 

She is currently a member of the Examining Committee of Major Innovation Projects for the Dutch Kidney Foundation.

She is the author of over 320 scientific articles published in international scientific journals, among which:

(2016) Gagliardini E, Novelli R, Corna D, Zoja C, Ruggiero B, Benigni A, Remuzzi G. B7-1 is not induced in podocytes of human and experimental diabetic nephropathy. Journal of American Society of Nephrology, 27:999-1005. 
(2015) Morigi M, Perico L, Rota C, Longaretti L, Conti S, Rottoli D, Novelli R, Remuzzi G, Benigni A, Sirtuin 3-dependent mitochondrial dynamic improvements protect against acute kidney injury. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 125:715-726. 
(2015) Trionfini P, Benigni A, Remuzzi G, MicroRNAs in kidney physiology and disease. Nature Reviews Nephrology, 11:23-33. 
(2014) Benigni A, Gagliardini E, Remuzzi G, Abatacept in B7-1-positive proteinuric kidney disease. The New England Journal of Medicine, 370:1261-1263. 
(2013) Parvanova A, van der Meer IM, Iliev I, Perna A, Gaspari F, Trevisan R, Bossi A, Remuzzi G, Benigni A, Ruggenenti P; for the Daglutril in Diabetic Nephropathy Study Group. Effect on blood pressure of combined inhibition of endothelin-converting enzyme and neutral endopeptidase with daglutril in patients with type 2 diabetes who have albuminuria: a randomised, crossover, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol, 1:19-27. 
(2013) Remuzzi G, Benigni A, Finkelstein FO, Grunfeld JP, Joly D, Katz I, Liu ZH, Miyata T, Perico N, Rodriguez-Iturbe B, Antiga L, Schaefer F, Schieppati A, Schrier RW, Tonelli M, Kidney failure: aims for the next 10 years and barriers to success. Lancet, 382:353-362. 
(2011) Mele C, Iatropoulos P, Donadelli R, Calabria A, Maranta R, Cassis P, Buelli S, Tomasoni S, Piras R, Krendel M, Bettoni S, Morigi M, Delledonne M, Pecoraro C, Abbate I, Capobianchi MR, Hildebrandt F, Otto E, Schaefer F, Macciardi F, Ozaltin F, Emre S, Ibsirlioglu T, Benigni A, Remuzzi G, Noris M, the PodoNet Consortium. MYO1E Mutations and Childhood Familial Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis. The New England Journal of Medicine, 365(4):295-306. 
(2011) Benigni A, Morigi M, Rizzo P, Gagliardini E, Rota C, Abbate, M Ghezzi S, Remuzzi A, Remuzzi G. Inhibiting angiotensin-converting enzyme promotes renal repair by limiting progenitor cell proliferation and restoring the glomerular architecture. American Journal Of Pathology, 179(2):628-38. 
(2010) Benigni A, Morigi M, Remuzzi G. Kidney regeneration. Lancet, 375(9722):1310-7. 

(2009) Benigni A, Corna D, Zoja C, Sonzogni A, Latini R, Salio M, Conti S, Rottoli D, Longaretti L, Cassis P, Morigi M, Coffman TM, Remuzzi G. Disruption of the Ang II type 1 receptor promotes longevity in mice. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 119(3):524-30. 

Awards and prizes

In 2012 she received the Merit Award from Bergamo City Hall for her contributions to science.

In 2019, she was awarded the "Tomoh Masaki" International Prize and the "Trotula 2019" International Prize of the Nuova Scuola Medica Salernitana University.

In 2020 she was awarded the "A.R.M.R 2020 Prize" by the Foundation for Rare Disease Research.

In 2021, she was awarded the title of Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana by the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella.  

Elena Giovanna Bignami
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: anesthesia, intensive care, peri-operative medicine

Keywords: anesthesia, cardio-protection, halogenated, intensive care, protective ventilation, renal protection

Region: Emilia-Romagna


Position/Role

Full Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Parma and Director of the Complex Operative Unit at the University Hospital of Parma.

Professional career

Graduated in 2000 in Medicine and Surgery at the University of Milan, in 2004 she achieves the Specialization in Anesthesia and Intensive Care at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University. In the same year she begins her career as a Medical Director at the Department of Anesthesia and Cardiosurgical Intensive Care at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, becoming, in 2017, director UOC (Complex Operative Unit) at the Azienda Ospedaliera-Universitaria di Parma.

In addition to the clinical practice she does academic and research activity: she is a professor in the theoretical and practical course "Cardio-Protction" in 2007 and she begins the activity of correlator for the degree and specialization theses. Since 2011 she has been a contract professor at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University for the School of Specialization Anesthesia and Intensive Care and Cardiac Surgery. In January 2014 she obtains the national scientific qualification, as second-level teacher and, in March 2017, the qualification for the first band. In December of the same year she becomes professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Parma.

Scientific results

Elena Bignami's research activity is mainly focused on Cardio-anesthesia, investigating the factors that can influence the outcome of the patient undergoing cardiac surgery, in particular renal, cardiac and respiratory protection. During her career, which has always supported clinical and academic activities, she participates in numerous international projects, including: The effect of isoflurane on myocardial infarction and mortality in cardiac and non-cardiac surgery. A metaanalysis of randomized controlled studies (2008), Role of endogenous Ouabaina as marker of renal damage in cardiac and vascular surgery (2015), CPBVent (Mechanical Ventilation during cardiac surgery) multicenter randomized controlled trial (2015), Expiratory flow limitation and mechanical ventilation during cardiopulmonary bypass in cardiac surgery (2016), Driving Pressure and EFL in Adult Cardiac Surgery (2017).

Editorial work and publications

Elena Bignami has contributed to the realization of the following anesthesia and intensive care therapy manuals:

Kirby, Taylor, Civetta (eds), Manual of Intensive Therapy, Italian edition edited by G. Torri, Delfino Editore, Rome, 2002; Church, Melissano, Zangrillo (eds), Thoraco-Abdominal Aorta Surgical and Anesthetic Management, Springer, 2010; De Gaudio, Romagnoli (eds), Neuromuscolar Blocking Agents, Springer, 2017.

She is the author of more than 150 scientific publications in national and international journals, including:

(2019) Bellini V, Petroni A, Palumbo G, Bignami E. DATA QUALITY AND BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY. Anaesth Crit Care Pain Med. 2019 Jan 8.

(2018) Bignami E, Saglietti F, Di Lullo A.Mechanical ventilation management during cardiothoracic surgery: an open challenge. Ann Transl Med. 2018 Oct;6(19):380

(2018) Bignami E, Bellini V.Do We Need Specific Certification to Use Anesthesia Information Management Systems? Anesth Analg. 2018 Oct 30.

(2016) Bignami E, Guarnieri M, Saglietti F, Belletti A, Trumello C, Giambuzzi I, Monaco F, Alfieri O. Mechanical ventilation during cardiopulmonary bypass. Journal of cardiothoracic and vascular anesthesia, 30(6):1668-1675.

(2013) Bignami E, Casamassima N, Frati E, Lanzani C, Corno L, Alfieri O, Gottlieb S, Simonini M, Shah KB, Mizzi A, Messaggio E, Zangrillo A, Ferrandi M, Ferrari P, Bianchi G, Hamlyn JM, Manunta P. Preoperative endogenous ouabain predicts acute kidney injury in cardiac surgery patients. Critical care medicine, 41(3) 744.

(2010) Bignami E, Landoni G, Biondi-Zoccai, Boroli F, Messina M, Dedola E, Nobile L, Buratti L, Sheiban I, Zangrillo A. Epidural analgesia improves outcome in cardiac surgery: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of cardiothoracic and vascular anesthesia, 24(4): 586-597.

(2009) Bignami E, Biondi-Zoccai G, Landoni G , Fochi O, Testa V, Sheiban Im Giunta F, Zangrillo A. Volatile anesthetics reduce mortality in cardiac surgery. Journal of cardiothoracic and vascular anesthesia, 23(5): 594-599.

Awards and prizes

In December 2017, she was honoured with the "Mimmo Mileto e Salvatore Filocamo" prize for research and scientific innovation. In 2015 she won as Principal Investigator the ESA Research Project Grant in 2016, with the project "VENTilation during Cardio Pulmonary Bypass (CPBVENT 2014) for cardiac surgery: a multicenter randomized controlled trial (N ° clinical trials NCT 02090205)".

The project "The effect of isoflurane on myocardial infarction and mortality in cardiac and non-cardiac surgery. A metanalysis of randomized controlled studies "of which she was Principal Investigator was the winner of the AIFA 2008 Notice for independent research on drugs.

In 2006, she won the prize "Lab Avant Garde How To Do A Research Today: FROM ANESTHESIA TO INTENSIVE THERAPY: WHAT TOMORROW?" with the project: "Effect of moderate hemodilution in Extra-Body Circulation on postoperative outcome in cardiac surgery patients".

Alba Brandes
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: oncology, pharmacologic research

Keywords: anticancer drugs, brain tumor

Region: Emilia-Romagna


Position/Role

Chief of Medical Oncology Department, AUSL / IRCCS Institute of Neurological Sciences

Professional career

In July 1981 Dr Brandes graduated in Medicine at the University of Padova with the Title "Polychemotherapy in the treatment of ovarian cancer". She completed the fellowship in Medical Oncology with the dissertation titled "The chemotherapy and surgical combined treatment in small cell lung cancer” She was visiting physician at the Radiotherapy Department of Royal Marsden, London, at the Oncology Department, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, and at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York. Thereafter she became the Chief of the Neuro-Oncology Unit in the Azienda Ospedale-Università, Padova. Since 2006 she was the Chief of Medical Oncology Department, AUSL / IRCCS Institute of Neurological Sciences. She has been the global Principal Investigator in several clinical studies.

Scientific results

Dr Brandes is the Coordinator of the Italian Association of Medical Oncology guidelines for the treatment of brain tumors and provides an active contribution as an EMA Expert

She is Member of the Scientific Committee for the National Institute of the Cancer (INCa), for France, reviewer for oncology guidelines of Oncological Institute of Italian Switzerland (IOSI), Member of Response Assessment in Pediatric Neuro-Oncology (RAPNO), member of Immunotherapy Response Assessment in Neuro-Oncology (RANO), Member of the restricted group of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) for brain tumors.

She has been also National and International coordinator for research projects of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)/National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC)

Since 2009 Dr Brandes serves as Referee and national expert for the national CME committee, evaluating scientific events and educations projects

Dr. Brandes was the Principal Investigator of the project "Role of MGMT methylation status at time of diagnosis and recurrence for patients with glioblastoma: exploratory analysis and clinical implications", funded by Fondazione Celeghin

She is a member of the regional group for rare tumors, member of the Oncology Committee of Emilia Romagna Region.

Dr Brandes is the clinical coordinator for the integrated care pathways for brain tumors for AUSL Bologna and is co-chair for the integrated care pathways for breast and lung cancers.

Editorial work and publications

Dr Brandes is the Author of many papers in peer reviewed international journals, including:

(2016) Baumert BG, Hegi ME, van den Bent MJ, von Deimling A, Gorlia T, Hoang-Xuan K, Brandes AA, Kantor G, Taphoorn MJ, Hassel MB, Hartmann C, Ryan G, Capper D, Kros JM, Kurscheid S, Wick W, Enting R, Reni M, Thiessen B, Dhermain F, Bromberg JE, Feuvret L, Reijneveld JC, Chinot O, Gijtenbeek JM, Rossiter JP, Dif N, Balana C, Bravo-Marques J, Clement PM, Marosi C, Tzuk-Shina T, Nordal RA, Rees J, Lacombe D, Mason WP, Stupp R. Temozolomide chemotherapy versus radiotherapy in high-risk low-grade glioma (EORTC 22033-26033): a randomised, open-label, phase 3 intergroup study. The Lancet Oncology. pii: S1470-2045(16)30313-8. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(16)30313-8. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 27686946

(2016) Reijneveld JC, Taphoorn MJ, Coens C, Bromberg JE, Mason WP, Hoang-Xuan K, Ryan G, Hassel MB, Enting RH, Brandes AA, Wick A, Chinot O, Reni M, Kantor G, Thiessen B, Klein M, Verger E, Borchers C, Hau P, Back M, Smits A, Golfinopoulos V, Gorlia T, Bottomley A, Stupp R, Baumert BG. Health-related quality of life in patients with high-risk low-grade glioma (EORTC 22033-26033): a randomised, open-label, phase 3 intergroup study. The Lancet Oncology. pii: S1470-2045(16)30305-9. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(16)30305-9. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 27686943

(2016) Schiffgens S, Wilkens L, Brandes AA, Meier T, Franceschi E, Ermani M, Hartmann C, Sandalcioglu IE, Dumitru CA. Sex-specific clinicopathological significance of novel (Frizzled-7) and established (MGMT, IDH1) biomarkers in glioblastoma. Oncotarget. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.10465. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 27409829
(2016) Wick W, Gorlia T, Bady P, Platten M, van den Bent MJ, Taphoorn MJ, Steuve J, Brandes AA, Hamou MF, Wick A, Kosch M, Weller M, Stupp R, Roth P, Golfinopoulos V, Frenel JS, Campone M, Ricard D, Marosi C, Villa S, Weyerbrock A, Hopkins K, Homicsko K, Lhermitte B, Pesce G, Hegi ME. Phase II Study of Radiotherapy and Temsirolimus versus Radiochemotherapy with Temozolomide in Patients with Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma without MGMT Promoter Hypermethylation (EORTC 26082). Clinical Cancer Research. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 27143690

(2016) Brandes AA, Finocchiaro G, Zagonel V, Reni M, Caserta C, Fabi A, Clavarezza M, Maiello E, Eoli M, Lombardi G, Monteforte M, Proietti E, Agati R, Eusebi V, Franceschi E. AVAREG: a phase II, randomized, noncomparative study of fotemustine or bevacizumab for patients with recurrent glioblastoma. Neuro Oncology, 18(9):1304-12. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/now035. PMID: 26951379 

(2016) Brandes AA, Carpentier AF, Kesari S, Sepulveda-Sanchez JM, Wheeler HR, Chinot O, Cher L, Steinbach JP, Capper D, Specenier P, Rodon J, Cleverly A, Smith C, Gueorguieva I, Miles C, Guba SC, Desaiah D, Lahn MM, Wick W. A Phase II randomized study of galunisertib monotherapy or galunisertib plus lomustine compared with lomustine monotherapy in patients with recurrent glioblastoma. Neuro Oncology, 18(8):1146-56. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/now009. PMID: 26902851

(2015) Okada H, Weller M, Huang R, Finocchiaro G, Gilbert MR, Wick W, Ellingson BM, Hashimoto N, Pollack IF, Brandes AA, Franceschi E, Herold-Mende C, Nayak L, Panigrahy A, Pope WB, Prins R, Sampson JH, Wen PY, Reardon DA. Immunotherapy response assessment in neuro-oncology: a report of the RANO working group. The Lancet Oncology, 16(15): e534-42.

(2015) Pignata S, Lorusso D, Scambia G, Sambataro D, Tamberi S, Cinieri S, Mosconi AM, Orditura M, Brandes AA, Arcangeli V, Panici PB, Pisano C, Cecere SC, Di Napoli M, Raspagliesi F, Maltese G, Salutari V, Ricci C, Daniele G, Piccirillo MC, Di Maio M, Gallo C, Perrone F; MITO 11 investigators. Pazopanib plus weekly paclitaxel versus weekly paclitaxel alone for platinum-resistant or platinum-refractory advanced ovarian cancer (MITO 11): a randomised, open-label, phase 2 trial. The Lancet Oncolology,16(5):561-8. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(15)70115-4. Epub 2015 Apr 14. PMID: 25882986 

(2015) Brandes AA, Bartolotti M, Marucci G, Ghimenton C, Agati R, Fioravanti A, Mascarin M, Volpin L, Ammannati F, Masotto B, Gardiman MP, De Biase D, Tallini G, Crisi G, Bartolini S, Franceschi E.New perspectives in the treatment of adult medulloblastoma in the era of molecular oncology. Critical Review in Oncology/Hematology, 94(3):348-59. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2014.12.016. Epub 2014 Dec 31. Review. PMID: 25600839 

(2014) Brandes AA et al. Pattern of care and effectiveness of treatment for glioblastoma patients in the real world: Results from a prospective population-based registry. Could survival differ in a high-volume center?. Neuro-Oncology Practice, 1(4):166-171.

Awards and prizes

In 2001 she was Knighted with the title of Cavaliere della Repubblica by the President of the Republic of Italy for her activities in oncology research.

In 2012was named the 2012 Michael Gruson Lecturer in Neuro-Oncology and came to Weill Cornell Medical Center to make the Grand Rounds lecture. Of note it was the first time that an Italian researcher was awarded for the scientific contributes in the field of neuro-oncology.

 

Maria Luisa Brandi
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: bone metabolism diseases, endocrinology, mineral metabolism diseases, rare diseases

Keywords: bone diseases, coronavirus, Covid-19, endocrinology, osteoporosis, raloxifene

Region: Tuscany


Position/Role

Full professor of Endocrinology at the University of Florence

Professional career

Graduated in Medicine and Surgery in 1977 at the University of Florence, she specialised in endocrinology in 1980 at the same university, and in 1988 she obtained a PhD in Molecular Biology at the University of Rome. In 2003 she became a full professor of Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases. In addition to her academic career, she has also worked as a clinician: since 1992 she has been in charge of the Reference Centre for Hereditary Endocrine Tumours at the Careggi University Hospital, where since 2007 she has also been Director of the Operative Unit of Mineral and Bone Metabolism Diseases. Since 2016, she has been coordinating two European Reference Networks on rare endocrine diseases and rare bone diseases at the above-mentioned hospital.

Scientific results

For years she has been committed to the prevention and treatment of skeletal diseases, not only as a physician and researcher of international standing, with over 650 publications in peer-reviewed journals, but also as a promoter, through her role as President of F.I.R.M. O (Raffella Becagli Foundation), which provides support for the prevention and treatment of skeletal diseases, she is also the promoter of an active awareness campaign, aimed at spreading knowledge of these pathologies, which are too little known yet widespread, beyond the circle of scientists and patients. It works to draw public attention to the problems of rare bone diseases, rare endocrine diseases and osteoporosis and to support communication and prevention campaigns.

Editorial work and publications

She is the author of numerous scientific publications, including: 

(1986) Brandi ML, Fitzpatrick LA, Coon HG, Aurbach GD. Bovine parathyroid cells: cultures maintained for more than l40 population doublings. Proceeding of the National Academy Society of the United States of America, 83:1709-1713. 

(1986) Brandi ML, Aurbach GD, Fitzpatrick LA, Quarto R, Spiegel AM, Bliziotes MM, Norton JA, Doppman JL, Marx SJ. Parathyroid mitogenic activity in plasma from patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia type I. The New England Journal of Medicine, 314:1287-1293. 

(1987) Sakaguchi K, Santora A, Zimering M, Curcio F, Aurbach GD, Brandi ML. Functional epithelial cell line cloned from rat parathyroid glands. Proceeding of the National Academy Society of the United States of America, 84:3269-3273. 

(1992) Gattei V, Bernabei PA, Pinto A, Bezzini R, Ringressi A, Formigli L, Tanini A, Attadia V, Brandi ML. Phorbol ester induced osteoclast-like differentiation of a novel human leukemic cell line (FLG 29.1). The Journal of Cell Biology, 116:437-447. 

(2001) Brandi ML, Gagel RF, Angeli A, Bilezikian JP, Beck-Peccoz P, Bordi C, Conte-Devolx B, Falchetti A, Gheri RG, Libroia A, Lips CJM, Lombardi G, Mannelli M, Pacini F, Ponder BA, Raue F, Skogseid B, Tamburrano G, Thakker RV, Thompson NW, Tommasetti P, Tonelli F, Wells SA Jr, Marx SJ. Guidelines for Diagnosis and Therapy of MEN Type1 and Type 2. The journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 86:5658-5671. 

(2004) Khosla S, Riggs BL, Atkinson EJ, Oberg AL, Mavilia C, Del Monte F, Melton LJ 3rd, Brandi ML. Relationship of estrogen receptor genotypes to bone mineral density and to rates of bone loss in men. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 89:1808-1816. 

(2004) Falchetti A, Di Stefano M, Marini F, Del Monte F, Mavilia C, Strigoli D, De Feo ML, Isaia G, Masi L, Amedei A, Cioppi F, Ghinoi V, Maddali Bongi S, Di Fede G, Sferrazza C, Rini GB, Melchiorre D, Matucci-Cerinin M, Brandi ML. Two novel mutation at exon 8 of the Sequestosome 1 (SQSTM1) gene in an Italian series of patients affected by Paget's disease of bone (PDB). The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 19:1013-1017. 

(2008) Luzi E, Marini F, Sala SC, Tognarini I, Galli G, Brandi ML. Osteogenic Differentiation of Human Adipose Tissue-Derived Stem Cells Is Modulated by the miR-26a Targeting of the SMAD1 Transcription Factor. The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 23(2):287-95. 

(2012) Luzi E, Marini F, Tognarini I, Galli G, Falchetti A, Brandi ML, The Regulatory Network Menin-MicroRNA 26a As a Possible Target for RNA-Based Therapy of Bone Diseases. Mulecular Therapy Nucleic Acids, 22(2):103-8. 

(2016) Brandi ML, Bilezikian JP, Shoback D, Bouillon R, Clarke BL, Thakker RV, Khan AA, Potts JT Jr. Management of Hypoparathyroidism: Summary Statement and Guidelines. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Jun101(6):2273-83.

Maurizia Rossana Brunetto
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: clinical and pathophysiological in hepatology and gastroenterology, clinical applications of artificial intelligence, health care management, translational and clinic-pathologic research

Keywords: hepatitis, Hepatitis B Virus, Hepatitis C Virus, Hepatitis D Virus, Hepatocarcinoma, liver, Liver and Biliary Diseases, Liver and Biliary Diseases, liver cirrhosis, molecular biology, Steatosis

Region: Tuscany


Position/Role

Adjunct Full Professor of Internal Medicine at the Clinical and Experiment Medicine Department of the University of Pisa.

Professional career

After graduation in Medicine and Surgery and specialization in Digestive Diseases in 1984 and 1988 respectively at the University of Turin, she began her professional career in 1988  as full-time medical assistant and in 1993 medical associate at the Gastroenterology Division,  San Giovanni Battista Hospital of  Turin. In 1989 she obtained the specialization in Ultrasound Diagnostics in Internal Medicine at the University of Bologna. In 1998 she moved to Pisa as Medical Associate at the Gastroenterology Unit of Spedali Riuniti di Santa Chiara Hospital and in 2001 became its Acting Director.  From 1999 she is Director of the Reference Center  for Chronic Liver Disease and Cancer of the Tuscany Region. From 2003 she is Director of the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Unit and Laboratory of Liver Pathophysiology of the University Hospital of Pisa. From 2016 she is Adjunct Full Professor of Internal Medicine, Clinical and Experimental Medicine of the University of Pisa, and from 2020 Chair of the Medical Specialties Integrated Department of the University Hospital of Pisa. 

Scientific results

Maurizia Rossana Brunetto started her biomedical research activity in 1981 with a residency at the General Pathology Institute of the University of Turin and in 1982 with ab internship at the Laboratory of the Department of Biochemistry of Brunel University Uxbridge, GB studying peroxidative liver damage. Subsequently, she gets involved in the study of the pathogenesis and therapy of hepatitis B, and in 1989, Visiting Scientist at the Molecular Biology Laboratory of the Max Plank Institut fur Biochemie, Munich, Germany she isolated and characterized the Hepatitis B Virus mutant,  defective for the HBeAg secretion which causes the  HBeAg negative, anti-HBe positive form of chronic hepatitis B clinically defined at the Gastroenterology Division of the  San Giovanni BattistaHospital of Torino. In 1993 and 1994 she continues the study of the pathogenetic implications of viral heterogeneity of hepatitis viruses, HBV e HCV at the Department of  Virology I, National Institute of Health, Tokyo, Japan with a Fellowship of the Human Science Foundation of Japan. She contributed to the definition of the impact of interferon in the treatment of chronic hepatitis B and C  in relation to the risk of development of hepatocellular-carcinoma, the clinical usefulness of viral biomarkers such as HBsAg and HBcrAg in the management of HBV  carriers, and the national and international guidelines for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B. She contributed to the experimental design and\or conduction of the registration studies for major drugs used for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B, D, and C.

Editorial work and publications

(2021)  Brunetto MR, Carey I, Maasoumy B, Marcos-Fosch C, Boonstra A, Caviglia GP, Loglio A, Cavallone D, Scholtes C, Ricco G, Smedile A, Riveiro-Barciela M, van Bömmel F, van der Eijk A, Zoulim F, Berg T, Cornberg M, Lampertico P, Agarwal K, Buti M.  Incremental value of HBcrAg to classify 1582 HBeAg negative individuals in chronic infection without liver disease or hepatitis Aliment Pharmacol Ther.2021, Jan 19 doi:10.111/apt.16258

(2013) Brunetto MR, Marcellin P, Cherubini B, Yurdaydin C, Farci P, Hadziyannis SJ, Rothe V, Regep L, Bonino F. Response to peginterferon alfa-2a (40KD) in HBeAg-negative CHB: on-treatment kinetics of HBsAg serum levels vary by HBV genotype. J Hepatol. 2013 Dec;59(6):1153-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2013.07.017. Epub 2013 Jul 18. PubMed PMID: 23872601.

(2010) Brunetto MR, Oliveri F, Colombatto P, Moriconi F, Ciccorossi P, Coco B, Romagnoli V, Cherubini B, Moscato G, Maina AM, Cavallone D, Bonino F. Hepatitis B surface antigen serum levels help to distinguish active from inactive hepatitis B virus genotype D carriers. Gastroenterology. 2010 Aug;139(2):483-90. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2010.04.052. Epub 2010 May 5. PubMed PMID: 20451520.

(2009) Brunetto MR, Moriconi F, Bonino F, Lau GK, Farci P, Yurdaydin C, Piratvisuth T, Luo K, Wang Y, Hadziyannis S, Wolf E, McCloud P, Batrla R, Marcellin P. Hepatitis B virus surface antigen levels: a guide to sustained response to peginterferon alfa-2a in HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B. Hepatology. 2009 Apr;49(4):1141-50. doi: 10.1002/hep.22760. PubMed PMID: 19338056.

(2007) Brunetto MR. Tailoring antiviral therapy in chronic hepatitis B patients with lamivudine resistance. J Hepatol. 2007 May;46(5):756-8. Epub 2007 Mar 9. PubMed PMID: 17383043.

(1998) Brunetto MR, Oliveri F, Koehler K, Zahm F, Bonino F and the International Interferon-alpha Study Group Effect of interferon-alpha on progression of cirrhosis to hepatocellular carcinoma: retrospective cohort study.  Lancet 1998;351:1535-9.

(1993) Brunetto MR, Giarin M, Saracco G, Oliveri F, Calvo P, Capra G, Randone A, Abate ML, Manzini P, Capalbo M, et al. Hepatitis B virus unable to secrete e antigen and response to interferon in chronic hepatitis B.Gastroenterology. 1993 Sep;105(3):845-50. PubMed PMID: 7689519.

 (1991) Brunetto MR, Oliveri F, Demartini A, Calvo P, Manzini P, Cerenzia MT, Bonino F. Treatment with interferon of chronic hepatitis B associated with antibody to hepatitis B e antigen. J Hepatol. 1991;13 Suppl 1:S8-11. Review. PubMed PMID:1960379.

(1989) Brunetto MR, Stemler M, Schodel F, Will H, Ottobrelli A, Rizzetto M, Verme G,  Bonino F. Identification of HBV variants which cannot produce precore derived HBeAg and may be responsible for severe hepatitis. Ital. J. Gastroenterol.1989;Jun 21(3):151-154. WOSA1989AK15100003; ISSN: 0392-0623.

(1989) Brunetto MR, Oliveri F, Rocca G, Criscuolo D, Chiaberge E, Capalbo M, David  E, Verme G, Bonino F. Natural course and response to interferon of chronic hepatitis B accompanied by antibody to hepatitis B e antigen.Hepatology. 1989 Aug;10(2):198-202. PubMed PMID: 2663695.

Awards and prizes

Maurizia Rossana Brunetto  achieved in 1989 the  «Young Investigator Award» della European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) in occasion of the  XXIV Annual Meeting of the EASL  in Munich (Germany) per for the discovery of the HBV variant, defective in the  secretion of HBeAg . In 2002 she obtained  the «Young Investigator Award» dell’ Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver (APASL) in  occasion of the   XVII Annual Meeting APASL in Kyoto (Japan) for the discovery of the HBeAg negative,  anti-HBe positive chronic hepatitis B and its etiologic cause, the HBeAg negative HBV variant. 

Maria Caramelli
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: food safety

Keywords: animal encephalopathies, coronavirus, Covid-19, Covid-19: animals, histopathology, mad cow, marine mammals, pets, vaccines in animale, veterinary medicine, wild animals

Region: Piedmont


Position/Role

Director of Complex Neuroscience Structure and National Centre for BSE, Institute of Piedmont, Liguria and Valle d'Aosta

Professional career

After graduating in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Turin, she specialized in Inspection of food of animal origin at the same university. Later she obtained a PhD in Comparative Veterinary Pathology at the University of Milan. In 1990 she joined the experimental zooprophylactic institute of Piedmont, Liguria and Valle d'Aosta as a veterinarian of the Department of General Diagnostics. Nine years later, she became head of the Histopathology Laboratory of the same zooprophylactic institute. Since 2001 she has been responsible for the National Reference Center for Animal Encephalopathies (based on the decree 3/8/1991) and in 2005 also for the Neuropathological and Genetic area. From 2009 she became medical director of the entire zooprophylactic experimental institute of Piedmont, Liguria and Valle d'Aosta. In 2012 she obtained the position of General Director f.f. of the experimental zooprophylactic institute of Piedmont, Liguria and Valle d'Aosta and since the beginning of 2016 she has been the general director of the Institute.

Scientific results

Maria Caramelli is one of the world's leading experts on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), known as the "mad cow" disease. The etiological hypothesis according to which the triggering agent is an altered and malevolent protein, the prion, which causes lesions and is infectious has been confirmed by several experiments all over the world: the prion triggers the production of other pathological proteins determining the typical « spongiosi "(i.e. holes in the brain), hence the name" spongiform encephalopathies ". She currently works with her team, on the detection of different strains, that is on forms of the disease never identified before: in Turin it was discovered in particular one, called BASE (from Bovine amyloid spongiform encephalopathy), typical of old cattle, originated from a probably more aggressive and virulent prion than that of BSE. She has recently committed itself to other aspects of food safety, including, for example, the "strange case" of blue mozzarella, the European scandal of racehorse-based lasagna, wild boar contaminated with Cesio137 and the problem of hepatitis A in frozen berries.

Editorial work and publications

She is the author of the book To not find out by eating ... Food security in our country(Instar Libri, 2013

She is also the author of more than one hundred publications:n

(2015) Berrone E, Corona C, Mazza M, Vallino Costassa E, Lo Faro M, Properzi F, Guglielmetti C, Maurella C, Caramelli M, Deregibus MC, Camussi G, Casalone C. Detection of cellular prion protein in exosome derived from ovine plasma. Journal of General Virology, 96(12):3698-3702.

(2015) Orrú CD, Favole A, Corona C, Mazza M, Manca M, Groveman BR, Hughson AG, Acutis PL, Caramelli M, Zanusso G, Casalone C, Caughey B. Detection and discrimination of classical and atypical L-type bovine spongiform encephalopathy by real-time quaking-induced conversion. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 53(4):1115-20.

(2014) Guglielmetti C, Mazza M, Pagano M, Carrella S, Sciuto S, Nodari S, Pezzolato M, Richelmi GB, Baioni E, Caramelli M, Acutis PL, Bozzetta E. Identification by a proteomic approach of a plasma protein as a possible biomarker of illicit dexamethasone treatment in veal calves. Food additives & contaminants. Part A, Chemistry, analysis, control, exposure & risk assessment, 31(5): 833-8.

(2014) Chieppa MN, Perota A, Corona C, Grindatto A, Lagutina I, Vallino Costassa E, Lazzari G, Colleoni S, Duchi R, Lucchini F, Caramelli M, Bendotti C, Galli C, Casalone C. Modeling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in hSOD1 transgenic swine. Neurodegenerative Diseases, 13(4):246-54.

(2013) Sciuto S, Martucci F, Desiato R, Mazza M, Guglielmetti C, Dell'Atti L, Ubaldi A, Ru G, Acutis PL, Caramelli M. Evaluation of the DR-CALUX® bioassay as screening method for the detection of contamination by dioxins in milk in Piedmont. Large Animal Review, 19(3):107-114.

(2013) Richelmi GB, Pezzolato M, Gili S, Gallina S, Decastelli L, Tarasco R, Abete MC, Ingravalle F, Serracca L, Pavino D, Vivaldi B, Riina MV, Acutis PL, Prearo M, Caramelli M, Bozzetta E. Pilot project to set up a control programme on fishery products. Italian Journal of Food Safety, 2(2):25.

(2013) Bianchi DM, Barbaro A, Gallina S, Vitale N, Chiavacci L, Caramelli M, Decastelli L. Monitoring of foodborne pathogenic bacteria in vending machine raw milk in Piedmont, Italy. Food Control, 33(2):435–439.

(2013) Meloni D, Pitardi D, Maurella C, Di Vietro D, Nocilla L, Piscopo A, Pavoletti E, Negro M, Caramelli M, Bozzetta E. Reducing the contamination of beef carcasses by specified risk materials during slaughter. Italian Journal of Food Safety, 2(1):3.

(2013) Vrentas CE, Greenlee JJ, Baron T, Caramelli M, Czub S, Nicholson EM. Stability properties of PrP(Sc) from cattle with experimental transmissible spongiform encephalopathies: use of a rapid whole homogenate, protease-free assay. BMC Veterinary Research, 9:167.

(2013) Pezzolato M, Richelmi GB, Maurella C, Pitardi D, Varello K, Caramelli M, Bozzetta E. Histopathology as a simple and reliable method to detect 17β-oestradiol illegal treatment in male calves. Food additives & contaminants. Part A, Chemistry, analysis, control, exposure & risk assessment, 30(6): 1096-9. 

Awards and prizes

In 2005 she won the AIDDA Award (Association of Businesswomen and Women Executives), in 2011 she was awarded by the Turin Chamber of Commerce with the Bogianen Prize, two years later she received the Green Environment Award (VAS Onlus) and in the same year also the Tecnovisionary Award (Women and Technologies Association). In 2013, Il Sole 24 ore included her among the 10 scientists who honor Italy. In 2016 she received the Sapio Award for Research and Innovation for her commitment as a scientist.

Valeria Caso
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: vascular neurology

Keywords: coronavirus, Covid-19, Covid-19 and cerebrovascular pathology, gender gap, gender-specific medicine, recovery, stroke

Region: Umbria


Position/Role

1st level Medical Director, Neurologist at Neurology and Stroke Unit wards of S. Maria Della Misericordia Hospital in Perugia.

Professional career

Specialization in Neurology obtained in 1999, at University of Perugia. In 1997 she obtained an ERASMUS scholarship from the Neurology Department of the University of Kiel in Germany, to deepen her skills in acute therapy in stroke. In 2000 she obtained a fellowship at the Intensive Care Unit of the Neurology Department of the University of Heidelberg, for the development of innovative therapies for stroke. In 2003 she obtained a PhD in Cerebrovascular Diseases from the University of Perugia. She also participated in the ESO (European Stroke Organisation) working group for the drafting of the first European guidelines for the ‘treatment of stroke in the acute phase’.

Scientific results

Specialization in Neurology obtained in 1999 at the University of Perugia. In 1997 she earned an ERASMUS scholarship from the Neurology Department of the University of Kiel in Germany to deepen her skills in acute therapy in stroke. In 2000 she obtained a fellowship at the Intensive Care Unit of the Neurology Department of the University of Heidelberg for the development of innovative therapies for stroke. In 2003 she earned a Ph.D. in Cerebrovascular Diseases from the University of Perugia. She also participated in the ESO (European Stroke Organisation) working group for the drafting of the first European guidelines for the ‘treatment of stroke in the acute phase.’

In 2014 she founded the WISE (Women Initiative for Stroke in Europe) group. This group produced several publications and scientific projects, including an international and multicenter study on stroke in pregnancy, which today represents one of the most important causes of maternal and infant mortality. This group is currently working on drafting guidelines for stroke in women.

In 2014 she was elected president of ESO (the first woman to fill this role), with the programmatic mission to increase female representation in the key positions of related scientific societies, as speakers and heads of scientific commissions. Also, in 2014 he obtained the national scientific qualification as Associate Professor, and in 2017 the one of Full Professor.

 The most important scientific project in which she is currently participating in the Horizon 2020 PRESTIGE AF Project, with the role of international coordinator of the working group on gender inequalities. The final objective of this research is to encourage the inclusion of women in clinical trials and to identify obstacles related to the diminished socio-economic conditions of women (the so-called ‘pension gap’ between men and women) and the ‘self-exclusion’ of patients from treatment.

Editorial work and publications

Valeria Caso is associate editor of the ‘Neurological Sciences’ publication and member of editorial boards of numerous scientific journals, such as the ‘International Stroke Journal’ and the ‘European Stroke Journal.’ She published books and chapters in three languages: German, Italian, and English producing more than 300 scientific.

(2021) Caso V. Editorial: Coronavirus disease 2019 and stroke: how to avoid a new lockdown for stroke patients. Curr Opin Neurol. 2021 Feb 1;34(1):1-2. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0000000000000892. PMID: 33278147.

(2020) Caso V, Federico A. No lockdown for neurological diseases during COVID19 pandemic infection. Neurol Sci. 2020 May;41(5):999-1001. doi: 10.1007/s10072-020-04389-3. PMID: 32270358; PMCID: PMC7138901.

(2020) Aguiar de Sousa D, van der Worp HB, Caso V, Cordonnier C, Strbian D, Ntaios G, Schellinger PD, Sandset EC; European Stroke Organisation. Maintaining stroke care in Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic: Results from an international survey of stroke professionals and practice recommendations from the European Stroke Organisation. Eur Stroke J. 2020 Sep;5(3):230-236. doi: 10.1177/2396987320933746. Epub 2020 Jun 10. PMID: 33072876; PMCID: PMC75387.

(2020) Zedde M, Pezzella FR, Paciaroni M, Corea F, Reale N, Toni D, Caso V. Stroke care in Italy: An overview of strategies to manage acute stroke in COVID-19 time. Eur Stroke J. 2020 Sep;5(3):222-229. doi: 10.1177/2396987320942622. Epub 2020 Jul 26. PMID: 33072875; PMCID: PMC7538763.

(2020) Beghi E, Feigin V, Caso V, Santalucia P, Logroscino G. COVID-19 Infection and Neurological Complications: Present Findings and Future Predictions. Neuroepidemiology. 2020;54(5):364-369. doi: 10.1159/000508991. Epub 2020 Jul 1. PMID: 32610334; PMCID: PMC7445369.

(2020) Leira EC, Russman AN, Biller J, Brown DL, Bushnell CD, Caso V, Chamorro A, Creutzfeldt CJ, Cruz-Flores S, Elkind MSV, Fayad P, Froehler MT, Goldstein LB, Gonzales NR, Kaskie B, Khatri P, Livesay S, Liebeskind DS, Majersik JJ, Moheet AM, Romano JG, Sanossian N, Sansing LH, Silver B, Simpkins AN, Smith W, Tirschwell DL, Wang DZ, Yavagal DR, Worrall BB. Preserving stroke care during the COVID-19 pandemic: Potential issues and solutions. Neurology. 2020 Jul 21;95(3):124-133. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000009713. Epub 2020 May 8. PMID: 32385186; PMCID: PMC7455350.

(2019) Sandset E,  de Sousa  Aguiar D,   Christensen H, Cordonnier C, Fischer U,  Katan M Kremer C  Pavlovic A Sprigg N,  van der Worp HB, Zedde M,  Caso V. Women in the European Stroke Organisation: One, two, many. . . – A top Down and Bottom Up approach ESJ, 4, 3, 2019: 247-253.

(2019) Acciarresi M, Altavilla R, Mosconi MG, Caso V. Management of intracranial haemorrhage, unruptured aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations during and after pregnancy. Curr Opin Neurol. 2019 32(1):36-42.

(2018) Baschieri F, Acciarresi M, Caso V. Gender-Based Approaches for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases. Stroke , 49 (12), 2810-2811

(2017) Cordonnier C, Sprigg N, Sandset EC, Pavlovic A, Sunnerhagen KS, Caso V, Christensen H, Stroke in women – from evidence to inequalities, Women Initiative for Stroke in Europe (WISE) group. Nat Rev Neurol.;13(9):521-532.

(2017) Tsivgoulis G, Katsanos AH, Caso V, Under-representation of women in stroke randomized controlled trials: inadvertent selection bias leading to suboptimal conclusions, Ther Adv Neurol Disord. 10:241-24.

(2017) Caso V, Falorni A, Bushnell CD, Acciarresi M, Remohí J, Sprigg N, Gerli S. Pregnancy, Hormonal Treatments for Infertility, Contraception, and Menopause in Women After Ischemic Stroke: A Consensus Document. Stroke;48:501-506. 

(2017) Caso V, Paciaroni M. Sex Is Not a Risk Factor in Outcome When a Stroke Unit Treats the Patient. Stroke;48:250-251.

(2016) Arnao V, Acciarresi M, Cittadini E, Caso V. Stroke incidence, prevalence and mortality in women worldwide. Int J Stroke. 2016;11:287-301.

(2014) Acciarresi M, De Luca P, Caso V, Agnelli G, D'Amore C, Alberti A, Venti M, Paciaroni M. Acute stroke symptoms: do differences exist between sexes? J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis.;23:2928-33.

(2014) Pezzella FR, Santalucia P, Vadalà R, Giugni E, Zedde ML, Sessa M, Anticoli S, Caso V; Women Stroke Association. Women Stroke Association Statement on Stroke. Int J Stroke;9:20-27.

(2013) De Rango P, Brown MM, Leys D, Howard VJ, Moore WS, Paciaroni M, Ringleb P, Rockman C, Caso V. Management of carotid stenosis in women: consensus document. Neurology;80:2258-68.

(2013) Santalucia P, Pezzella FR, Sessa M, Monaco S, Torgano G, Anticoli S, Zanoli E, Maimone Baronello M, Paciaroni M, Caso V; Women Stroke Association (WSA). Sex differences in clinical presentation, severity and outcome of stroke: results from a hospital-based registry. Eur J Intern Med;24:167-71.

(2010) Caso V, Paciaroni M, Agnelli G, Corea F, Ageno W, Alberti A, Lanari A, Micheli S, Bertolani L, Venti M, Palmerini F, Billeci AM, Comi G, Previdi P, Silvestrelli G. Gender differences in patients with acute ischemic stroke. Womens Health (Lond). 2010;6:51-7.

Awards and prizes

2015 - Honoray Member of “Société française neuro-vasculaire”

2017 - Critics Award of R.O.S.A., Club Canova Roma

2017 - Award Toshkent Tibbiyot Akademiyasi

2018 - Award Umbria in Rosa 2018

2019 - ESO-Angels Award for EXCELLENT STROKE CARE and EXCEPTIONAL STROKE PRACTITIONERS

Anna Cereseto
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: biology, biotechnologies, cellular biology, molecular biology, virology

Keywords: attention, CRISPR-Cas, designer nucleases, editing of the genome, gene therapies, gene therapy, Genome editing, human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), image analysis, learning, prostate cancer, viral vectors, virus

Region: Trentino-Alto Adige


Position/Role

Full Professor of Molecular Biology at University of Trento, Group Leader Laboratory of Molecular Virology

Professional career

After graduating in Biological Sciences at the University of Genoa in 1990 she moves to the United States, Bethesda MD, at the National Institute of Health (NIH) where she studies the molecular biology of retroviruses. In 1998 she moves to New York where she first works as postdoc at the Cornell University and then as Instructor at the Institute of Gene Therapy, Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She moves back to Italy to work at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità and then to the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, ICGEB, in Trieste. She became Assistant Professor and Group Leader in the at Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS) in Pisa. Currently she is Full Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Trento where she teaches Gene Therapy and Molecular Virology. In the Department CIBIO, at the University of Trento, she leads a research groups developing strategies for genome editing to repair genetic diseases including one of the most frequent disease, Cystic Fibrosis.  She is co-inventor of three patents, she is co-founder and scientific advisor of an academic start-up, Alia Therapeutics, working for the development of genome editing strategies for genetic diseases.

Scientific results

Her scientific career took off as post-doctoral fellow in Robert Gallo’s lab at the NIH where she studied the cellular transformation mechanisms of a human retrovirus, HTLV-1, causing a specific type of T-cell leukemia. Her studies gave important contribution to the cancer field by shedding light onto the basic mechanisms responsible for cancer formation viruses. Three main publications on these topics are: i) Science, 1995. 269(5220): p. 79-81. 31.8, ii) Blood, 1996. 88(5): p. 1551-60.10.1 and iii) Oncogene, 1999. 18(15): p. 2441-50.

Her studies continued in the field of retrovirology investigating the molecular biology of HIV-1, the causative agent of AIDS. She focused on the central events of HIV-1 replication occurring at the nuclear level of the infected cells. She used innovative experimental approaches by integrating molecular biology and advanced fluorescence microscopy to study the nuclear dynamics of the virus and fusion of the HIV-1 cDNA into the cellular genome. Three main publications in the field are: i) Cell Host Microbe. 2011 Jun 16;9(6):484-95, ii) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Apr 2;110(14):5636-41 and Methods Mol Biol. 2014;1087:47-54.

More recently she gave important contribution to the field of gene therapy by advancing concepts and tools in genome editing. With her group she developed viral and non-viral delivery tools for genome editing delivery and identified one of the most precise CRISPR nuclease (evoCas). Her work aimed also at proving the power of CRISPR based technology for the treatment of genetic diseases with a specific focus in Cystic Fibrosis, one of the most frequent genetic disease.  The objects of her work have been filed for patenting and she is founder of an academic spin-off, Alia Therapeutics, developing genome editing approaches for genetic diseases. Three main publications in the field are: Nat Commun. 2019 Aug 7;10(1):3556, Mol Ther Nucleic Acids. 2018; 12:453-462, Nat Biotechnol. 2018; 36(3):265-271).

Editorial work and publications

(2020)  Leslie W, Frati G, Felix T, Hardouin G, Casini A, Wollenschlaeger C, Meneghini V, Masson C, De Cian A, Chalumeau A, Mavilio F, Amendola M, Andre-Schmutz I, Cereseto A, El Nemer W, Concordet JP, Giovannangeli C, Cavazzana M, Miccio. Editing a γ-Globin Repressor Binding Site Restores Fetal Hemoglobin Synthesis and Corrects the Sickle Cell Disease Phenotype. Science Advances 2020 6 (7): eaay9392. 

(2019)  Maule G, Casini A, Montagna C, Ramalho AS, De Boeck K, Debyser Z, Carlon MS, Petris G, Cereseto A. Allele specific repair of splicing mutations in cystic fibrosis through AsCas12a genome editing. Nat Commun. 2019 Aug 7;10(1):3556. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11454-9.

(2018) Montagna C, Petris G, Casini A, Maule G, Franceschini GM, Zanella I, Conti L, Arnoldi F, Burrone OR, Zentilin L, Zacchigna S, Giacca M, Cereseto A. VSV-G Enveloped Vesicles for Traceless Delivery of CRIAPR-Cas9. Mol Ther Nucleic Acids. 2018; 12:453-462. 

(2018) Casini A, Olivieri M, Petris G, Montagna C, Reginato R, Maule G, Lorenzin F, Prandi D, Romanel A, Demichelis F, Inga A, Cereseto A. In vivo screening of highly specific SpCas9 variants. Nat Biotechnol. 2018; 36(3):265-271

(2017) Romanel A, Garritano S, Stringa B, Blattner M, Dalfovo D, Chakravarty D, Soong D, Cotter KA, Petris G, Dhingra P, Gasperini P, Cereseto A, Elemento O, Sboner A, Khurana E, Inga A, Rubin MA, Demichelis F. Inherited determinants of early recurrent somatic mutations in prostate cancer. Nat Commun 2017;8:48. 

(2017) Petris G, Casini A, Montagna C, Lorenzin F, Prandi D, Romanel A, Zasso J, Conti L, Demichelis F, Cereseto A. Hit and go CAS9 delivered through a lentiviral based self-limiting circuit. Nat Commun 2017;8:15334. 

(2016) Quercioli V, Di Primio C, Casini A, Mulder LCF, Vranckx LS, Borrenberghs D, Gijsbers R, Debyser Z, Cereseto A. Comparative Analysis of HIV-1 and Murine Leukemia Virus Three-Dimensional Nuclear Distributions. J Virol 2016;90:5205–5209. 

(2015)  Casini A, Olivieri M, Vecchi L, Burrone OR, Cereseto A. Reduction of HIV-1 infectivity through endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation-mediated Env depletion. J Virol 2015;89:2966–2971. 

(2014) Cereseto A, Giacca M. Imaging HIV-1 nuclear pre-integration complexes. Methods Mol Biol Clifton NJ 2014;1087:47–54. 

(2013) Di Primio C, Quercioli V, Allouch A, Gijsbers R, Christ F, Debyser Z, Arosio D, Cereseto A. Single-cell imaging of HIV-1 provirus (SCIP). Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2013;110:5636–5641. 

(2011) Allouch A, Di Primio C, Alpi E, Lusic M, Arosio D, Giacca M, Cereseto A. The TRIM family protein KAP1 inhibits HIV-1 integration. Cell Host Microbe 2011;9:484–495. 

(2010) Manganaro L, Lusic M, Gutierrez MI, Cereseto A, Del Sal G, Giacca M. Concerted action of cellular JNK and Pin1 restricts HIV-1 genome integration to activated CD4+ T lymphocytes. Nat Med 2010;16:329–333. 

Awards and prizes

Anna Cereseto received financial support for her research from the European community in the context of the Framework Programme 7 and 8 (Horizon 20202), from the Italian Ministry of Health (Bandi AIDS) and from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  She is reviewer for internationl research foundations (Flanders Research Fundation, Austrian Science Fund, MRC-University of Cambridge and Czech Science Fundation) and for international journals including Nature Biotechnology, Nature Communications, Nature Methods and  and Cell RTeports Medicine. She’s been awarded of an AIRC and Fogarty International Center Research fellowships.

Virna Cerne
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: food sciences and technologies

Keywords: feeding, innovation

Region: ABROAD


Position/Role

Research & Development Director and Member of the Executive Board of Dr. Schär group

Professional career

After graduating in Food Science and Technologies in 1994 at the University of Udine, Virna Cerne moved to Germany where she was Project leader of Research and Development at Zuegg Frucht in Berlin. In 1996 she came back to Italy and became Responsible for Quality Assurance and Research & Development department of Dr. Schär, leading company in Europe for gluten free nutrition. Since 2003 she has been Director of Dr. Schär R&D Centre, the Reserach & Development Centre of the entire Dr. Schär group.

Scientific results

Virna Cerne and Ombretta Polenghi developed the innovative patent which allows to extract from corn proteins similar to gluten which can be added to gluten free food products. Through this process it is possible to add the isolated proteins into food products for coeliac people obtaining the taste and texture of traditional food containing wheat flour.

Awards and prizes

In 2016 Virna Cerne and the Research team of Dr. Schär were nominated finalists at the European Inventor Award, in the Industry category, the only ones in the food sector. This is one of the most important European prizes concerning Innovation.

Susanna Cotecchia
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: neurology, pharmacology

Keywords: g protein coupled receptors, neurology, pharmacology, signal trasduction

Region: Apulia


Position/Role

Full professor of Pharmacology at the University of Bari

Professional career

After graduating in Medicine and Surgery at the University of Bari in 1979, she specialized in Neurology at the same university. She then obtained a scholarship from the Mario Negri Institute in Milan and, in 1984, moved as a researcher to Duke University Medical Center, Durham in the United States, in the group of Dr. R.J. Lefkowitz, Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2012. Her academic career continued as Research Assistant Professor at the same Duke University and, since 1992, as professor of Pharmacology at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. In 2007 she returned to Italy definitively and became professor of Pharmacology at the University of Bari.

Scientific results

Susanna Cotecchia has always been committed to basic research as an indispensable tool for understanding the mechanisms of disease and drug action. Her research focuses on the study of membrane receptors and site-directed mutagenesis, a particular technique used in molecular biology to study the structure-function relationship of proteins. This line of research aims to address the fundamental questions of molecular pharmacology, providing rapid screening methods and useful information to understand the mechanism of action of medicines. The goal is to build new molecules with selective and targeted pharmacological properties, the so-called drug design, which avoids side effects in the treatment of numerous diseases.

 

Editorial work and publications

She is the author of more than 100 national and international scientific papers, including:

(2006) Stanasila L, Abuin L, Diviani D, Cotecchia S. Direct interaction of ezrin with the alpha1b-adrenergic receptor regulates recycling of the internalized receptors. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 281:4354-63. 

(2005) Hosoda C, Koshimizu TA, Tanoue A, Nasa Y, Oikawa R, Tomabechi T, Fukuda S, Shinoura H, Oshikawa S, Takeo S, Kitamura T, Cotecchia S, Tsujimoto G. Two alpha1-adrenergic receptor subtypes regulating the vasopressor response have differential roles in blood pressure regulation. Molecular Pharmacology, 67:912-22. 

(2005) Novi F, Stanasila L, Giorgi F, Corsini GU, Cotecchia S, Maggio R. Paired activation of two components within muscarinic M3 receptor dimers is required for recruitment of beta-arrestin-1 to the plasma membrane. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 280:19768-76.

(2005) Costa T and Cotecchia S. Historical Perspective: The discovery of inverse efficacy and the constitutive activity of GPCRs. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences.

(2005) Hosoda C, Tanoue A, Shibano M, Tanaka Y, Hiroyama M, Koshimizu TA, Cotecchia S, Kitamura T, Tsujimoto G, Koike K. Correlation between vasoconstrictor roles and mRNA expression of alpha(1) adrenoceptor subtypes in blood vessels of genetically engineered mice. British Journal of Pharmacology 146:456-66. 

(2005) Sarang Z, Molnar P, Nemeth T, Gomba S, Kardon T, Melino G, Cotecchia S, Fesus L, Szondy Z. Tissue transglutaminase (TG2) acting as G protein protects hepatocytes against Fas-mediated cell death in mice. Hepatology 42:578-87. 

(2004) Diviani D, Abuin L, Cotecchia S and Pansier L. Anchoring of both PKA and 14-3-3 inhibits the Rho-GEF activity of the AKAP-Lbc signaling complex, EMBO Journal 23:2811-20. 

(2004) Cotecchia S, Stanasila L, Diviani D, Bjorklof K, Rossier O and Fanelli F. Structural determinants involved in the activation and regulation of G protein-coupled receptors: lessons from the alpha1-adrenegic receptor subtypes. Biology of the Cell, 96:327-33. 

(2005) Zhang H, Cotecchia S, Thomas SA, Tanoue A, Tsujimoto G and Faber JE. Gene deletion of dopamine beta-hydroxylase and alpha1-adrenoceptors demonstrates involvement of catecholamines in vascular remodeling. American Physiological Society Journals, Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 287:H2106-H2114. 

(2004) Townsend SA, Jung AS, Gillian Hoe YS, Lefkowitz RY, Khan SA, Lemmon CA, Harrison RW, Lee K, Barouch LA, Cotecchia S, Shoukas AA, Nyhan D, Hare JM and Berkowitz DE. Critical role for the alpha-1B adrenergic receptor at the sympathetic neuroeffector junction. Hypertension, 44:776-82.

Awards and prizes

Susanna Cotecchia received the award of the European Federation of Biochemical Societies (FEBS) in 1995. In 2001 she obtained the "Receptor Research Prize" of Perk.

Maria Grazia Daidone
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: oncological biology

Keywords: biobanks, breast cancer, liquid biopsies, molecular characterization, prognostic and treatment response biomarkers

Region: Lombardy


Position/Role

Head of the Department of Experimental Oncology and Molecular Medicine of the Cancer Institute of Milan

Professional career

After graduating in Biological Sciences at the University of Milan in 1976, she continued her education at the oncology laboratory of the Health Science Center of Tucson, in the United States. She then obtained a specialization in Medical and Biomedical Statistics at the University of Milan in 1997. In 1985 she became a professor of the Italian School of Breast Cancer and in 2001 professor for the Master in Diagnostic and Therapeutic Senology of the University of Siena, roles she still holds. She is also head of the Department of Experimental Oncology and Molecular Medicine of the Milan Cancer Institute.

Scientific results

The main interests of Maria Grazia Daidone are the study and characterization of tumor cells with high potential. This also occurs through translational studies in solid human tumors for the identification of biomolecular markers / profiles that lead to a diagnosis, prognosis and response to specific treatments, and through the study of resistance mechanisms to antitumor agents (drugs and / or hormones). Preclinical research on biomarkers and interactions between cancer cells and the immune system is an important support for the treatment and treatment of tumors: specifically, Maria Grazia Daidone is engaged in research on cancer cells of breast, ovarian and cervical cancer. She also coordinates quality control programs for the formulation and proposition of guidelines for the clinical use of biomarkers and for the collection and storage of biological material (BioBanche).

Editorial work and publications

She is the author of several book chapters and also more than 200 scientific publications in national and international journals including:

(2016) Callari M, Guffanti A, Soldà G, Merlino G, Fina E, Brini E, Moles A, Cappelletti V, Daidone MG. In-depth characterization of breast cancer tumor-promoting cell transcriptome by RNA sequencing and microarrays. Oncotarget, 7(1):976-94.

(2016) Callari M, Cappelletti V, D'Aiuto F, Musella V, Lembo A, Petel F, Karn T, Iwamoto T, Provero P, Daidone MG, Gianni L, Bianchini G. Subtype-Specific Metagene-Based Prediction of Outcome after Neoadjuvant and Adjuvant Treatment in Breast Cancer. Clinical Cancer Research, 22(2):337-45.

(2015) Cappelletti V, Appierto V, Tiberio P, Fina E, Callari M, Daidone MG. Circulating Biomarkers for Prediction of Treatment Response. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, (51):60-3.

(2015) D'Aiuto F, Callari M, Dugo M, Merlino G, Musella V, Miodini P, Paolini B, Cappelletti V, Daidone MG. miR-30e is an independent subtype-specific prognostic marker in breast cancer. British Journal of Cancer, 113(2):290-8.

(2015) Musella V, Pietrantonio F, Di Buduo E, Iacovelli R, Martinetti A, Sottotetti E, Bossi I, Maggi C, Di Bartolomeo M, de Braud F, Daidone MG, Cappelletti V. Circulating tumor cells as a longitudinal biomarker in patients with advanced chemorefractory, RAS-BRAF wild-type colorectal cancer receiving cetuximab or panitumumab. International Journal of Cancer, 137(6):1467-74.

(2015) Fina E, Callari M, Reduzzi C, D'Aiuto F, Mariani G, Generali D, Pierotti MA, Daidone MG, Cappelletti V. Gene expression profiling of circulating tumor cells in breast cancer. Clinical Chemistry, 61(1):278-89.

(2014) Callari M, Musella V, Di Buduo E, Sensi M, Miodini P, Dugo M, Orlandi R, Agresti R, Paolini B, Carcangiu ML, Cappelletti V, Daidone MG. Subtype-dependent prognostic relevance of an interferon-induced pathway metagene in node-negative breast cancer. Molecular Oncology, 8(7):1278-89.

(2011) Cordenonsi M, Zanconato F, Azzolin L, Forcato M, Rosato A, Frasson C, Inui M, Montagner M, Parenti AR, Poletti A, Daidone MG, Dupont S, Basso G, Bicciato S, Piccolo S. The Hippo transducer TAZ confers cancer stem cell-related traits on breast cancer cells. Cell, 147(4):759-72.

(2011) Callari M, Cappelletti V, De Cecco L, Musella V, Miodini P, Veneroni S, Gariboldi M, Pierotti MA, Daidone MG. Gene expression analysis reveals a different transcriptomic landscape in female and male breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 127(3):601-10.

(2010) Martello G, Rosato A, Ferrari F, Manfrin A, Cordenonsi M, Dupont S, Enzo E, Guzzardo V, Rondina M, Spruce T, Parenti AR, Daidone MG, Bicciato S, Piccolo S. A MicroRNA targeting dicer for metastasis control. Cell, 141(7):1195-207.

Awards and prizes

In May 2014, Maria Grazia Daidone received the R.O.S.A. (Results obtained without aid) from the Canova Club of Rome. 

 

Maria Del Zompo
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: neuropsychopharmacology

Keywords: biological bases of mood disorders, clinical psychopharmacology, pharmacogenetics, pharmacogenomics, psychiatric genetics

Region: Sardinia


Position/Role

Full professor of Pharmacology and former Rector of the University of Cagliari

Professional career

Following her degree in Medicine at the University of Cagliari, Maria Del Zompo took a specialty degree in Neurology and started a career at the University of Cagliari as assistant in-charge in 1979. During the various phases of her career she spent more than two years at the “Biological Psychiatry Branch”, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Bethesda (USA), where she collaborated with John Tallman under Robert M. Post’s supervision. 

She is currently Full Professor of Pharmacology in the Degree Course in Medicine and Surgery at the University of Cagliari, where she was Pro-Rector from 2005 to 2007 and Rector from April 2015 to April 2021.

Scientific results

Professor Maria Del Zompo is member of numerous scientific societies, including the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics, the International Society of Biological Psychiatry and the Italian Society of Pharmacology. She won the Burroughs Wellcome Stipend Award issued by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Research Triangle Park, NC (USA) at the Biological Psychiatry Branch, NIMH, Bethesda, MD (USA).

Her clinical activity was based at the Unit of Clinical Pharmacology of the “San Giovanni di Dio” Hospital in Cagliari (Italy), a health care facility with clinics and day hospital, dedicated to various pathologies related to the field on clinical neurosciences, such as bipolar disorder and migraine, and to more specific activities in the field of clinical pharmacology, such as the management of adverse reactions to drugs.

Her many clinical and research interests include Clinical Psychopharmacology, Psychiatric Genetics (epidemiology and molecular genetics of bipolar disorder and suicidal behavior), Genetics of complex diseases such as Migraine, Cluster Headache and Alzheimer’s disease, Pharmacogenetics (genetic bases of response to drugs and adverse reactions to drugs).

She has many ongoing international collaborations with Professor Martin Alda (Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada); Professor Gustavo Turecki (Research and Academic Affairs, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Canada); Dr. Ming Ta Michael Lee (Laboratory for International Alliance on Genomic Research Core for Genomic Medicine, RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences, Yokohama, Japan) and Dr. David Gurwitz (National Institute for Psychobiology, Tel Aviv University, Israel).  

Maria Del Zompo is also a founding member of the International Consortium on Lithium Genetics (ConLiGen) and of the International Group for the Study of Lithium Treated Patients (IGSLI), whose annual meeting was held in Cagliari in 2010.

In 2006 she chaired, for the first time in Italy, the 14th World Congress of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics, of which she’s an honorary member, which was held in Cagliari from October 28 to November 1. 

Editorial work and publications

Her scientific production consists of numerous publications in international books and journals, national books and journals and presentations at national and international meetings. Professor Maria Del Zompo has a total of 152 publications in international books and journals, 57 publications in national books and journals and 248 presentations at national and international meetings (H index: 30, according to Web of Science).

In 2015 she published an article entitled “Renal function during long-term lithium treatment: a cross-sectional and longitudinal study” in BMC Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal with a high impact factor, and this article was followed by an interview published in the “BioMe” website, entitled “Lithium treatment and renal function: do we really need to be concerned?“. 

Maria Del Zompo also works as a referee of scientific publications for numerous relevant international journals, and as a reviewer of scientific projects for Italian and international institutions.

Awards and prizes

In the recent years Maria Del Zompo has been involved in various social and cultural activities, local and regional, which she’s always joined with enthusiasm. In 2000 she won the “Eleonora D’Arborea” Award, a prize issued by Cagliari’s International Inner Wheel Club, that awards every year a Sardinian woman who has contributed to the social and cultural progress of Sardinia through her social, cultural and artistic activity.

She also won the AIDDA (an association of women working as managers or entrepreneurs) Prize as “Woman of the Year 2007”, for having deeply contributed to Sardinia’s luster in the world through the top level of her research and clinical activity.

Her interest in spreading the culture through the organization of scientific and educational meetings has always been consistent in time. In 2014 she joined the Marathon issued by Italian Environmental Fund (FAI), and held her speech in the city center, explaining the link between the old commercial core of the town and the University. In more recent years she hosted the Round Table entitled “Science and Society: Research and Ethics”. The relationship between ethics and science has always been a relevant topic for Maria Del Zompo: in an interview with writer Alessandro Ligas, entitled “Research, Innovation and Ethics: a comparison between scientific and medical progress and people’s rights”, she tells about her thoughts on a topic so relevant for the society.

After her election as the first woman Rector of the University of Cagliari in 60 years she gave a great impulse to the cultural activities of the University and to the involvement of the city.

Anita De Rossi
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: molecular oncology, virological oncology

Keywords: AIDS in children, cell replication potential, coronavirus, Covid-19 in paediatric age, human retroviruses, immunodepression, virus induced tumors

Region: Veneto


Position/Role

Full Professor of Pathology, Medical School, University of  Padova

Professional career

She graduated in Biology in 1976 at the University of Padova, where she  continued her research activity as research fellow and, since 1981, as assistant Professor. She specialized in Microbiology in 1986.

She had research work experiences  at the National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, USA, Laboratory of Viral Carcinogenesis (Prof. P Fischinger Head) in 1980, and Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology (Prof. R Gallo, Head) in 1984,1985,1988.

In 1992 she became Associate Professor and since 2004 she is Full Professor of Pathology, Department of Surgery, Oncology and Gastroenterology, Medical School, University of Padova.

Since March 2005 she is Head of the Viral Oncology Unit, belonging to the Hospital of Padova and since  2006 to the Istituto Oncologico Veneto (IOV)-IRCCS.

Since 2017 she is Vice President of Medical School, University of Padova.

Scientific results

Anita De Rossi has long been involved in oncogenic retroviruses research. Her early efforts were directed towards investigating virus-host interactions in the murine system, including the role of endogenous retroviruses on leukemia development. Since 1983, her research has shifted from murine to human retroviruses (HTLV/HIV) in both experimental models and clinical settings.  

She has been involved in several international  projects concerning pediatric HIV/AIDS (WHO 1989-1990, and Pediatric European Network for treatment of AIDS, PENTA,  since 1991); her studies in this field addressed the virological and immunological correlates of pediatric disease outcome  and are some of the first to indicate that HIV infection from  mother-to-child HIV  mainly  occurs during intrapartum period  (AIDS 1992; J Clin Invest 1996)  and that host factors may restrict HIV infection (AIDS 1995; J Inf Dis 2001).

Her  interest has expanded to studying tumors in immunocompromised patients, with particular regard to EBV-related lymphomagenesis  in HIV-infected or transplant patients, and  more recently to studying cellular replicative potential driven by telomere/telomerase in virus-driven and virus-independent malignancies.  Her studies are some of the first demonstrating that LMP1 of EBV activates at transcriptional level the expression of TERT, the catalytic component of telomerase, which in turn contributes to preserving the expression of EBV latency proteins, a prerequisite for EBV-driven transformation (J Virol 2008). The consequence is that inhibition of TERT triggers the activation of the viral lytic cycle with death of the infected cells (Clin Cancer Res 2013).

Lastly, her studies demonstrated that quantification of TERT in plasma may represent a minimally invasive tool for monitoring malignancies (Clin Cancer Res 2008) and response to therapy (Br J Cancer 2018). In addition, her studies provide the rationale for considering inhibition of TERT a useful approach for setting up new therapeutic strategies for virus-dependent and virus-independent malignancies (Clin Cancer Res 2013; Cell Death Dis 2016).

Editorial work and publications

More than 300 publications:  Hindex 47; citations more than 7000

Key publications:

[2021] Cotugno N, Ruggiero A, Bonfante F, Petrara MR, Zicari S, Pascucci GR, Zangari P, De Ioris MA, Santilli V, Manno EC, Amodio D, Bortolami A, Pagliari M, Concato C, Linardos G, Campana A, Donà D, Giaquinto C; CACTUS Study Team, Brodin P, Rossi P, De Rossi A, Palma P. C. Virological and immunological features of SARS-CoV-2-infected children who develop neutralizing antibodies. Cell Rep. 2021 Mar 16;34(11):108852. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.108852.

[2018] Rampazzo E, Del Bianco P, Bertorelle R, Boso C, Perin A, Spiro G, Bergamo F, Belluco C, Buonadonna A, Palazzari E, Lonardi S, De Paoli S, Pucciarelli S, De Rossi A. The predictive and prognostic potential of plasma Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase (TERT) RNA in Rectal Cancer. British Journal of  Cancer, 118[6]:878-86.

[2015] Klein N, Palma P, Luzuriaga K, Pahwa S, Nastouli E, Gibb DM, Rojo P, Borkowsky W, Bernardi S, Zangari P, Calvez V, Compagnucci A, Wahren B, Foster C, Munoz-Fernández MÁ, De Rossi A, Ananworanich J, Pillay D, Giaquinto C, Rossi P. Early antiretroviral therapy in children perinatally infected with HIV: a unique opportunity to implement immunotherapeutic approaches to prolong viral remission. Lancet Infectious Diseases, 15[9]: 1108-14. 

[2013] Giunco S, Dolcetti R, Keppel S, Celeghin A, Indraccolo S, Dal Col J, Mastorci K, De Rossi A. hTERT inhibition triggers Epstein-Barr virus lytic cycle and apoptosis in immortalized and transformed B cells: a basis for new therapies. Clinical Cancer Research, 19[8]: 2036-47.

[2012] Dolcetti R, De Rossi A. Telomere/telomerase interplay in virus-driven and virus-independent lymphomagenesis:pathogenetic and clinical implications. Medicinal Research Reviews, 32[2]:233-53.

[2008] Terrin L, Rampazzo E, Pucciarelli S, Agostini M, Bertorelle R, Esposito G, Del Bianco P, Nitti D, De Rossi A. Relationship betwen tumor and plasma levels of hTERT mRNA in patients with colorectal cancer: implications for monitoring of neoplastic disease. Clinical Cancer Research, 14[22]:7444-51.

[2001] Ballon G, Ometto L, Righetti E, Cattelan AM, Masiero S, Zanchetta M, Chieco-Bianchi L, De Rossi A. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 modulates telomerase activity in peripheral blood lymphocytes. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 183[3]: 417-24.

[1996] De Rossi A, Masiero S, Giaquinto C, Ruga E, Comar M, Giacca M, Chieco-Bianchi L. Dynamics of viral replication in infants with vertically acquired human immunodeficiency  virus type 1 infection.The Journal of Clinical Investigations, 97[2]: 323-30.

[1995] Ometto L, Zanotto C, Maccabruni A, Caselli D, Truscia D, Giaquinto C, Ruga E, Chieco-Bianchi L, De Rossi A. Viral phenotype and host cell susceptibility to HIV-1 infection as risk factors for mother-to-child HIV-1 transmission.  AIDS  9[5]: 427-34. 

[1992] De Rossi A, Ometto L, Mammano F, Zanotto C, Giaquinto C, Chieco-Bianchi L. Vertical transmission of HIV-1: lack of detectable virus in peripheral blood cells of infected children at birth.AIDS  6[10]:1117-20. 

[1988] De Rossi A, Amadori  A, Chieco-Bianchi  L, Giaquinto C, Zacchello F, Buchbinder A, Wong-Staal F, Gallo RC. Polymerase chain reaction and in vitro antibody production for the early diagnosis of pediatric HIV infection.  Lancet, 2[8605]: 278

[1986] De Rossi A, Franchini G, Aldovini A, Del Mistro A, Chieco-Bianchi  L, Gallo  RC, Wong-Staal  F. Differential response to the cytopathic effects of human T-cell lymphotropic virus type III (HTLV-III) superinfection in T4+ (helper) and T8+ (suppressor) T-cell clones transformed by HTLV-I. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 83[12]:4297-301.

[1983] De Rossi A, D'Andrea E, Biasi G, Collavo D, Chieco-Bianchi L. Protection from spontaneous lymphoma development in SJL/J(v+) mice neonatally injected with dualtropic SJL-151 virus.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 80[9]:2775-9.

Francesca Dominici
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: biostatistics

Keywords: big data, environment, medical statistics, medicine, pollution, scientific data analysis, statistics, women

Region: ABROAD


Position/Role

Professor of Biostatistics at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Professional career

After graduating in Statistics at La Sapienza University in Rome, she continued her education with a PhD at the University of Padua in 1997. After moving abroad, she became a Visiting Assistant Professor at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, homonymous university in Baltimore. She continued her academic career at John Hopkins and became Professor of the biostatistics department in 2007. She later moved to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, of the university of the same name, until she fulfilled the role not only of Professor of biostatistics but also of Senior Associate Dean for Research. Francesca Dominici's main interest is focused on the development of statistical methods for the analysis of large and complex data samples (Big Data), coming from heterogeneous sources, so that they can be combined to obtain important information that can be applied to different disciplines such as climate change, environmental sciences, cancer comparative research and public health policies.

Scientific results

Francesca Dominici is engaged in the development of new statistical methods for the analysis of large amounts of data (big data) detected and stored in massive databases (data warehouses) such as those of Medicare and SEER-Medicare. Her challenge is to develop new methods of Bayesian random inference (approach to statistical inference in which the probabilities of a given event happen are considered as levels of trust and no longer as frequencies), to overcome the analytical difficulties inherent in using large databases. This new approach allows Francesca Dominici, in collaboration with Harvard Medical School, to compare the efficacy in medical research in the treatment of glioblastoma (a tumor that develops between the glial cells, components of the nervous system along with neurons) and other tumors. Furthermore, her studies have directly influenced American policy on air quality and pollution, leading to the creation of new air and environmental quality standards.

Editorial work and publications

Professor Dominici has authored numerous scientific publications, including:

(2000) Dominici F, Samet JM, Zeger SL. Combining Evidence on Air pollution and Daily Mortality from the Twenty Largest US Cities: A Hierarchical Modelling Strategy with discussion. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A, 163(3):263-302.

(2000) Samet JM, Dominici F, Curriero F, Coursac I, Zeger SL, Fine Particulate Air Pollution and Mortality in 20 U.S. Cities: 1987-1994. New England Journal of Medicine, 343(24):1742-9.

(2004) Dominici F, McDermott A, Hastie T. Improved Semi-parametric Time Series Models of Air Pollution and Mortality. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 468:938-948. 

(2006) Dominici F, Peng D, Bell M, Pham M, McDermott A, Zeger SL, Samet JM. Fine Particulates Air Pollution and Hospital Admission for Cardiovascular and Respiratory Diseases. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 295:1127-1135. 

(2006) Peng R, Dominici F, Zeger SL. Reproducible Epidemiological Research. American Journal of Epidemiology, 163:783-789.

(2009) Dominici F, Fried L, Zeger SL. So Few Women Leaders: Look for the Root Causes. Academe, July-August 2009. (2012) Wang C, Parmigiani G, Dominici F. Bayesian effect estimation accounting for adjustment uncertainty. Biometrics, (68)3:681-689.

(2014) Zigler CM, Dominici F. Uncertainty in propensity score estimation: Bayesian methods for variable selection and model averaged causal effects. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 109(505):95-107.

(2014) Dominici F, Greenstone M, Sunstein CR. Science and Regulation. Particulate matter matters. Science, 344(6181):257-9. 

(2014) Bobb F, Obermeyer Z, Wang Y, Dominici F. Cause-specific risk of hospital admission related to extreme heat in older adults. Journal of the American Medical Association, 312(24):2659-2667. (Recognized in January 2016 as one out of 28 NIEHS Papers of the Year).

Awards and prizes

Francesca Dominici has always shown commitment to promoting diversity within the academic sphere. She co-chaired the Women's Condition Commission at John Hopkins University. In 2009 she received the Diversity Recognition Award from the Rector of John Hopkins University. In 2015 she was awarded the Florence Nightingale David Award for her contributions as a model for women and for excellence demonstrated in statistical research, in leadership of multidisciplinary groups and in education. She currently chairs the University Committee for the Advancement of Women at the University of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

 

Eleonora Dondossola
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: cellular biology, intravital microscopy

Keywords: bones, cancer, molecular therapy, prostate, tissue engineering, tumor metastases

Region: ABROAD


Position/Role

Junior Faculty at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Professional career

Dondossola got her BSc in Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and her MSc in Molecular and Cellular Biotechnology at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, where she further pursued her international PhD studies in Cell and Molecular Biology, in collaboration with the British Open University, followed by a post-doc in Molecular Oncology. She has been teaching Biochemistry and History of Cancer Research at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University since 2008. In 2011 Dondossola moved to UT MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, USA, where she is currently working. 

Dondossola joined the American Association for Cancer Research in 2009.

Scientific results

Dondossola’s research activity focuses on the study of the tumor microenvironment, the non-malignant component that supports tumor function and progression. Her initial studies explored the role of tumor blood vessels in metastasis development and therapeutic response. She demonstrated that Chromogranin A, a circulating protein, decreases vascular permeability and inhibits the penetration of therapeutic agents, including chemotherapy and molecular drugs. She further showed that this mechanism reduces the ability of cancer cells to generate metastasis to distant organs and to the tumor itself, a process identified as tumor-self seeding (the property of circulating cancer cells to re-infiltrate their tumor of origin). Dondossola tested the provocative hypothesis that circulating tumor cells can be genetically manipulated and used as anti-cancer treatment thanks to their capacity to spontaneously home to tumors (through the self-seeding process). As a result, the application of engineered tumor cells significantly reduces the growth of both primary and metastatic tumors. Furthermore, she identified a novel population of immune cells (myeloid) that express CD13 protein and support the formation of neo-angiogenic vessels and tumor progression. 

Dondossola recently developed an interest in tissue engineering and intravital multiphoton microscopy, an approach that allows monitoring the dynamic evolution of biological processes over time. These strategies have been combined and applied to understand the mechanisms that support the progression of prostate cancer bone metastasis. She further extended these applications to the study of another non-tumor desmoplastic process, defined foreign body response.

Editorial work and publications

Eleonora Dondossola is an author/coauthor in several important scientific papers, including:

[2018] Dondossola E, Alexander S, Holzapfel BM, Filippini S, Starbuck MW, Hoffman RM, Navone N, De-Juan-Pardo EM, Logothetis CJ, Hutmacher DW, Friedl P. Intravital microscopy of osteolytic progression and therapy response of cancer lesions in bone. Sci Transl Med. 2018 Aug 1;10(452).

[2016] Dondossola E, Holzapfel BM, Alexander S, Filippini S, Hutmacher DW, Friedl P. Dissecting the foreign body response to biomaterials by non-linear intravital microscopy. Nat Biomed Eng. 2016 Dec 19; 1, 0007.

[2016] Dondossola E, Dobroff AJ, Marchiò S, Cardó-Vila M, Hosoya H, Libutti SK, Corti A, Sidman RL, Arap W, Pasqualini R. Self-targeting of TNF-releasing cancer cells in preclinical models of primary and metastatic tumors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Feb 23;113(8):2223-8.

[2013] Dondossola E, Rangel R, Guzman-Rojas L, Barbu EM, Hosoya H, St John LS, Molldrem JJ, Corti A, Sidman RL, Arap W, Pasqualini R.CD13-positive bone marrow-derived myeloid cells promote angiogenesis, tumor growth, and metastasis.Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2013 Dec 17;110(51):20717-22.

[2012] Guzman-Rojas L, Rangel R, Salameh A, Edwards JK, Dondossola E, Kim YG, Saghatelian A, Giordano RJ, Kolonin MG, Staquicini FI, Koivunen E, Sidman RL, Arap W, Pasqualini R. Cooperative effects of aminopeptidase N (CD13) expressed by nonmalignant and cancer cells within the tumor microenvironment. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2012 Jan 31;109(5):1637-42.

[2012] Dondossola E, Crippa L, Colombo B, Elisabetta Ferrero and Corti A. Chromogranin A regulates tumor self-seeding and dissemination. Cancer Research, 2012 Jan 15;72(2):449-59.

[2011] Veschini L, Crippa L, Dondossola E, Doglioni C, Corti A and Ferrero E. The vasostatin-1 fragment of chromogranin A preserves a quiescent phenotype in hypoxia-driven endothelial cells and regulates tumor neo-vascularization. Faseb Journal, 2011 Nov; 25(11):3906-14.

[2011] Dondossola E, Gasparri A, Colombo B, Sacchi A, Curnis F and Corti A. Chromogranin A restricts drug penetration and limits the ability of NGR-TNF to enhance chemotherapeutic efficacy. Cancer Research, 2011 Sep 1; 71(17):5881-90.

[2010] Dondossola E, Gasparri A, Bachi A, Longhi R, Metz-Boutigue, MH, Tota B, Helle KB, Curnis F and Corti A. Role of vasostatin-1 C-terminal region in fibroblast cell adhesion. Cell and Molecular Life Sciences, 2010 Jun;67(12):2107-18.

[2006] Curnis F, Longhi R, Crippa L, Cattaneo A, Dondossola E, Bachi A and Corti A. Spontaneous formation of L-isoAspartate and gain-of-function in fibronectin. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2006 Nov 24; 281(47):36466-76. 

Awards and prizes

In 2014 she received the AMGEN Award in Basic Science Research from UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston. In the same year she received the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Individual Investigator Award. In 2015 she was awarded the Gerald B. Grindey Memorial Scholar-in-Training Award at the AACR Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, USA. In 2016 she got the Mark Walter, Brent Nicklas, Adrianne and Jerry Cohen–PCF Young Investigator Award from the Prostate Cancer Foundation. In 2017 she received the Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence Bone Research Award, The Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence Bone Disease Program of Texas, USA.

In 2021 she received the "40 Under 40 in Cancer". This award recognizes the US most promising young oncology professionals and celebrates their contributions to improve the lives of those affected by cancer.

Barbara Ensoli
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: clinical research, immunology

Keywords: AIDS, aids vaccine, cancer therapy, coronavirus, Covid-19, Covid-19: animals, Covid-19: new therapies, Covid-19: pathogenesis, Covid-19: vaccines, hiv, hiv vaccine, immunology

Region: Lazio


Position/Role

Director of the National HIV/AIDS Research Center - Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy

Professional career

Barbara Ensoli, M.D., Ph.D., graduated in Medicine and Surgery and specialized in Clinical Immunology and Allergy at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Italy. She then spent more than 10 years at the National Institute of Health (Bethesda, Maryland, USA), working at the National Cancer Institute. During those years she elucidated the role of the HIV-1 Tat protein in HIV pathogenesis and AIDS-associated tumors.

Her current research interests are HIV pathogenesis and the development of HIV/AIDS preventative and therapeutic vaccines, which are currently in advanced clinical phase. She has coordinated several international and national research programs in Europe and Developing countries. Among them, the EU-funded "AIDS Vaccine Integrated Project" (AVIP) and the “Program to support the Ministry of Health of South Africa in the implementation of a national program of global response to HIV & AIDS” (Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs). She is a member of the WHO-UNAIDS Vaccine Advisory Committee and the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO). She has been the Vice-President of the National AIDS Committee of the Italian Ministry of Health from 2006 to 2015 and is a Member of the Editorial Board of the Health Status Report, Ministry of Health. She has been member of Member of the Scientific Council of The European Research Council, ERC from 2013 to 2016 and Member of the HIRO (Heads of International Research Organizations) representing ERC from 2015 to 2016.

She has received many national and international scientific awards and she has been appointed as Ufficiale dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana in 2001 by the President of the Italian Republic Mr. A. Ciampi. Her scientific activities have resulted in more than 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Scientific results

Barbara Ensoli has always focused her research work on the study of the mechanisms by which infection with the HIV virus occurs and its progression into disease in order to develop, on the basis of the findings of these studies, measures to prevent or treat the disease. Among the various fields in which Barbara Ensoli has applied this approach, the best known and most challenging has been the development of a vaccine against HIV/AIDS, capable of preventing infection and/or reducing the risk of disease progression. In this respect, the studies that Barbara Ensoli and her collaborators are conducting to identify a vaccine are based on new concepts such as the use of the Tat protein of the HIV virus, which is responsible for the replication and dissemination process of the infection and the persistence of the infection even in subjects under therapy. In addition, Barbara Ensoli's research led to the discovery that the Tat protein promotes the uncontrolled growth of blood vessels and promotes the progression of Kaposi's Sarcoma, a tumour that is very frequent in HIV-infected individuals. This scientific evidence provided the rationale for selecting Tat as the HIV molecule to be neutralised by a vaccine. 

After animal testing, which provided efficacy results, Barbara Ensoli and her team continued with phase I clinical trials, completed in 2006, conducted on subjects with and without HIV, demonstrating the vaccine's safety for human use. The studies continued with phase II clinical trials, conducted first in Italy and then in South Africa, in subjects with HIV treated with antiretroviral drugs (ART therapy). The Tat vaccine proved to be safe and able to promote an increase in CD4+ lymphocytes, the virus' target cells, promoting the return of the immune system to its normal functioning and reducing chronic activation of the immune system and 'viral reservoirs', thus significantly increasing the effectiveness of therapy. The trial in South Africa was conducted in cooperation with the South African Ministry of Health and Institutions and is part of a larger project funded by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the fight against AIDS, the results of which have been evaluated very positively by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), urging its continuation. Barbara Ensoli and her team are currently working on the search for funds together with South African institutions for the final experimentation, phase III, for the conclusive demonstration of the vaccine's therapeutic effect and its registration and distribution to the population.

Editorial work and publications

She sits on the editorial boards of Lancet Oncology, PLoS ONE, The Open AIDS Journals, Tumor Viruses, Vaccine, Development and Therapy, Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology, Advances in Tumor Virology, Scientific Report.

She has published more than 300 papers in international peer-reviewed journals. Among them: 

(2016) Ensoli B, Nchabeleng M, Ensoli F, Tripiciano A, Bellino S, Picconi O, Sgadari C, Longo O, Tavoschi L, Joffe D, Cafaro A, Francavilla V, Moretti S, Pavone Cossut MR, Collacchi B, Arancio A, Paniccia G, Casabianca A, Magnani M, Buttò S, Levendal E, Ndimande JV, Asia B, Pillay Y, Garaci E, Monini P. HIV-Tat immunization induces cross-clade neutralizing antibodies and CD4+ T-cell increases in antiretroviral-treated South African volunteers: a randomized phase II clinical trial. Retrovirology, 13(1):34. 

(2015) Ensoli F, Cafaro A, Casabianca A, Tripiciano A, Bellino S, Longo O, Francavilla V, Picconi O, Sgadari C, Moretti S, Pavone Cossut MR, Arancio A, Orlandi C, Sernicola L, Maggiorella MT, Paniccia G, Mussini C, Lazzarin A, Sighinolfi L, Palamara G, Gori A, Angarano G, Di Pietro M, Galli M, Mercurio VS, Castelli F, Di Perri G, Monini P, Magnani M, Garaci E, Ensoli B. HIV-1 Tat immunization restores immune homeostasis and attacks the HAART-resistant blood HIV DNA: results of a randomized phase II exploratory clinical trial. Retrovirology, 12:33. 

(2012) Monini P, Cafaro A, Srivastava IK, Moretti S, Sharma VA, Andreini C, Chiozzini C, Ferrantelli F, Cossut MR, Tripiciano A, Nappi F, Longo O, Bellino S, Picconi O Fanales-Belasio E, Borsetti A, Toschi E, Schiavoni I, Bacigalupo I, Kan E, Sernicola L, Maggiorella MT, Montin K, Porcu M, Leone P, Leone P, Collacchi B, Palladino C, Ridolfi B, Falchi M, Macchia I, Ulmer JB, Buttò S, Sgadari C, Magnani M, Federico MP, Titti F, Banci L, Dallocchio F, Rappuoli R, Ensoli F, Barnett SW, Garaci E, Ensoli B. HIV-1 Tat promotes integrin-mediated HIV transmission to dendritic cells by binding Env spikes and competes neutralization by anti-HIV antibodies. PLoS One, 7:e48781. 

(2003) Sgadari C, Monini P, Barillari G, and Ensoli B, Use of HIV protease inhibitors to block Kaposi's sarcoma and tumour growth. The Lancet Oncology, 4:537-547. 

(2002) Sgadari C, Barillari G, Toschi E, Carlei D, Bacigalupo I, Baccarini S, Palladino C, Leone P, Bugarini R, Malavasi L, Cafaro A, Falchi M, Valdembri D, Rezza G, Bussolino F, Monini P & Ensoli B. HIV protease inhibitors are potent anti-angiogenic molecules and promote regression of Kaposi's sarcoma. Nature Medicine, 8:225-232. 

(1999) Cafaro A, Caputo A, Fracasso C, Maggiorella MT, Goletti D, Baroncelli S, Pace M, Sernicola L, Koanga-Mogtomo ML, Betti M, Borsetti A, Belli R, Åkerblom L, Corrias F, Buttò S, Heeney J, Verani P, Titti F & Ensoli B. Control of SHIV89.6P-infection of cynomolgus monkeys by HIV-1 Tat protein vaccine. Nature Medicine, 5:643-650.

(1994) Ensoli B, Gendelman R, Markham P, Fiorelli V, Colombini S, Raffeld M, Cafaro A, Chang HK, Brady JN & Gallo RC. Synergy between basic fibroblast growth factor and HIV-1 Tat protein in induction of Kaposi's sarcoma. Nature, 371:674-680. 

(1990) Ensoli B, Barillari G, Salahuddin SZ, Gallo RC & Wong-Staal F. Tat protein of HIV-1 stimulates growth of cells derived from Kaposi's sarcoma lesions of AIDS patients. Nature, 344:84-86. 

(1989) Ensoli B, Nakamura S, Salahuddin SZ, Biberfeld P, Larsson L, Beaver B, Wong-Staal F & Gallo RC. AIDS-Kaposi's sarcoma-derived cells express cytokines with autocrine and paracrine growth effects. Science, 243:223-226. 

(1989) Ensoli B, Lusso P, Schachter F, Josephs SF, Rappaport J, Negro F, Gallo RC & Wong-Staal F. Human herpes virus-6 increases HIV-1 expression in co-infected T cells via nuclear factors binding to the HIV-1 enhancer. EMBO J., 8:3019-3027.

Awards and prizes

She has received many national and international scientific awards. Among them: “San Valentino d’Oro” International Award for  professional activity against AIDS, “Marisa Bellisario” International Award for professional activities, “Domenico Marotta”  Award for year 2000, conferred for professional merits by the National Academy of Sciences (also known as “National Academy of XL”), “Santa Caterina” Award for year 2002, “Paul Harris Fellow” International Award, conferred by the Rotary Foundation “Eminent Scientist of the year 2005 (International Research Promotion Council – World Scientist Forum International Award Science and Medicine), Melvin Jones (Lion’s Club), “The Abraham White Distinguished Science Award” (The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences - USA and University of Rome Tor Vergata), “Top Italian Women Scientist 2016” award conferred  by Onda, “AcademiaNet-Expert Database for Oustansing Female Scientists and Scholars” (EMBO). She has been appointed as Ufficiale dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana in 2001 by the President of the Italian Republic Mr. A. Ciampi.

Ilaria Ferlenghi
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: microbiology, structural biology, virology

Keywords: EMBL, iNext, meningococcus, structural biology, vaccines

Region: Tuscany


Position/Role

Head of Structural Vaccinology at GSK Research and Development, Siena, Italy

Professional career

After graduating in Biophysics at the University of Tor Vergata in 1993, she continued her studies through a specialization in Plant Biology at the C.R.I.B.I. (Interdepartmental Research Center for Innovative Sciences), at the University of Padua. She then began her research activities for her doctorate at the EMBL laboratories. In 1998 she obtained a PhD in Structural Biology at Ruprecht-Karls-Universitat in Heidelberg, Germany. During her studies she spent several periods of training abroad: in 1996 she performed a stage of 6 months in the Department of Virology of the Medical University of Vienna, in 1998 she did part of her PostDoctoral Fellow at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Children's Hospital, Howard Medical School in Boston, MA, USA. In 1999 she was PostDoctoral fellow in the Department of Structural Virology at the C.N.R.S. of Gif-sur-Yvette, France. At the same time (from 2000 to 2003) she collaborated with the Department of Molecular Genetics at the Ecole Normale Superiore in Paris, France. Her training then continued in Italy in 2004 at the GSK Vaccines Research Center (formerly Novartis, in Siena, Italy) firstly as a researcher, then as a Senior Research Investigator and finally in 2009 as Head of Structural Vaccinology. 

Scientific results

Her scientific interests are currently focused on the correlation between bacterial and viral surface protein structures and their functionality. She contributed to the development of the "Structural Vaccinology", a new approach that allows, starting from the knowledg of the three-dimensional structure of the surface proteins, to determine the most effective epitopes of a protein and to engineer them in order to make them more immunogenic and to use them as vaccines. This approach has been instrumental in the development of Bexsero ™, a recently approved FDA vaccine to protect against Meningococcus B infection. The same approach is currently in use in the identification of new vaccine candidates against additional human viral and bacterial pathogens. Since recent years she bacome member of the board of European Networks dedicated to the structural biology (iNext).

Editorial work and publications

She has authored scientific publications and chapters of scientific book, including: 

[2016] Vilas JL, Navas J, Gómez-Blanco J, de la Rosa-Trevín JM, Melero R, Peschiera I, Ferlenghi I, Cuenca J, Marabini R, Carazo JM, Vargas J, Sorzano CO. Fast and automatic identification of particle tilt pairs based on Delaunay triangulation. Journal of Structural Biology, 196(3):525-53.

[2016] Fiaschi L, Di Palo B, Scarselli M, Pozzi C, Tomaszewski K, Galletti B, Nardi-Dei V, Arcidiacono L, Mishra RP, Mori E, Pallaoro M, Falugi F, Torre A, Fontana MR, Soriani M, Bubeck Wardenburg J, Grandi G, Rappuoli R, Ferlenghi I, Bagnoli F. Auto-Assembling Detoxified Staphylococcus aureus Alpha-Hemolysin Mimicking the Wild-Type Cytolytic Toxin. Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, 6;23(6):442-50.

[2016] Biagini M, Spinsanti M, De Angelis G, Tomei S, Ferlenghi I, Scarselli M, Rigat F, Messuti N, Biolchi A, Muzzi A, Anderloni G, Brunelli B, Cartocci E, Buricchi F, Tani C, Stella M, Moschioni M, Del Tordello E, Colaprico A, Savino S, Giuliani MM, Delany I, Pizza M, Costantino P, Norais N, Rappuoli R, Masignani V. Expression of factor H binding protein in meningococcal strains can vary at least 15-fold and is genetically determined.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 8;113(10):2714-9.

[2015] Prevato M, Ferlenghi I, Bonci A, Uematsu Y, Anselmi G, Giusti F, Bertholet S, Legay F, Telford JL, Settembre EC, Maione D, Cozzi R. Expression and Characterization of Recombinant, Tetrameric and Enzymatically Active Influenza Neuraminidase for the Setup of an Enzyme-Linked Lectin-Based Assay. PLoS One, 17;10(8).

[2015] Prevato M, Cozzi R, Pezzicoli A, Taddei AR, Ferlenghi I, Nandi A, Montomoli E, Settembre EC, Bertholet S, Bonci A, Legay F. An Innovative Pseudotypes-Based Enzyme-Linked Lectin Assay for the Measurement of Functional Anti-Neuraminidase Antibodies.PLoS One, 12;10(8).

[2015] Ultrastructural Visualization of Vaccine Adjuvant Uptake In Vitro and In Vivo. Giusti F, Seubert A, Cantisani R, Tortoli M, D'Oro U, Ferlenghi I, Dallai R, Piccioli D. Microsc Microanal. 2015 Aug;21(4):791-5.

[2015] Toniolo C, Balducci E, Romano MR, Proietti D, Ferlenghi I, Grandi G, Berti F, Ros IM, Janulczyk R. Streptococcus agalactiae capsule polymer length and attachment is determined by the proteins CpsABCD. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 10;290(15):9521-32.

[2014] Malito E, Biancucci M, Faleri A, Ferlenghi I, Scarselli M, Maruggi G, Lo Surdo P, Veggi D, Liguori A, Santini L, Bertoldi I, Petracca R, Marchi S, Romagnoli G, Cartocci E, Vercellino I, Savino S, Spraggon G, Norais N, Pizza M, Rappuoli R, Masignani V, Bottomley MJ.Structure of the meningococcal vaccine antigen NadA and epitope mapping of a bactericidal antibody. Proceedings of th National Academy of Sciences, 2;111(48):17128-33.

[2014] Rossi O, Pesce I, Giannelli C, Aprea S, Caboni M, Citiulo F, Valentini S, Ferlenghi I, MacLennan CA, D'Oro U, Saul A, Gerke C. Modulation of endotoxicity of Shigella generalized modules for membrane antigens (GMMA) by genetic lipid A modifications: relative activation of TLR4 and TLR2 pathways in different mutants.Journal of Biolical Chemestry, 5;289(36):24922-35.

[2012] Berlanda Scorza F, Colucci AM, Maggiore L, Sanzone S, Rossi O, Ferlenghi I, Pesce I, Caboni M, Norais N, Di Cioccio V, Saul A, Gerke C. High yield production process for Shigella outer membrane particles. PLoS One, 7(6).

Cecilia Garlanda
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: immunology

Keywords: cancer cure, coronavirus, Covid-19, Covid-19: associated inflammatory response, immunology, immunopathology, infections, inflammation, preclinical studies

Region: Lombardy


Position/Role

Head of the Experimental Immunopathology Laboratory of the Humanitas Clinical Institute in Milan and Associate Professor of Clinical Pathology at Humanitas University of Milan

Professional career

After graduating in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Milan in 1990, she specialized in immunopathology working in Italian and foreign laboratories, such as the Immunology Laboratory of the "Mario Negri" Institute of Pharmacological Research from 1990 to 2005, and the Department of Molecular Biology of the Grenoble Nuclear Studies Center for the two-year period 1994-1995. She is currently in charge of the Laboratory of Experimental Immunopathology at the Humanitas Clinical Institute. Her interests concern the cells of the immune system and the characterization of their biological activity, innate immunity to pathogens and regulation of inflammatory processes.

Scientific results

The research group in charge of Cecilia Garlanda is focused on the study of the PTX3 molecule, the innate immunity molecule involved in resistance to fungal, bacterial and viral infections, and in the regulation of inflammation. Recently the group pointed out that PTX3 creates an environment hostile to tumor growth, regulating the inflammation that is generated in the tumor microenvironment. Cecilia Garlanda also engages in pre-clinical studies and in studies aimed at the possibility of transferring the information obtained to clinical activity.

Editorial work and publications

She has authored numerous scientific publications, including:

(2015) Doni A, Musso T, Morone D, Bastone A, Zambelli V, Sironi M, Castagnoli C, Cambieri I, Stravalaci M, Pasqualini F, Laface I, Valentino S, Tartari S, Ponzetta A, Maina V, Barbieri SS, Tremoli E, Catapano AL, Norata GD, Bottazzi B, Garlanda C, Mantovani A. An acidic microenvironment sets the humoral pattern recognition molecule PTX3 in a tissue repair mode. J Exp Med, 1;212(6):905-25.

(2015) Bonavita E, Gentile S, Rubino M, Maina V, Papait R, Kunderfranco P, Greco C, Feruglio F, Molgora M, Laface I, Tartari S, Doni A, Pasqualini F, Barbati E, Basso G, Galdiero MR, Nebuloni M, Roncalli M, Colombo P, Laghi L, Lambris JD, Jaillon S, Garlanda C, Mantovani A. PTX3 is an extrinsic oncosuppressor regulating complement-dependent inflammation in cancer. Cell, 12;160(4):700-14.

(2014) Jaillon S, Moalli F,  Ragnarsdottir B, Bonavita E, Riva F,  Barbati E, Nebuloni M, Cvetko Krajinovic L, Markotic A, Valentino S,  Doni A, Tartari S, Graziani G, Montanelli A, Delneste Y, Svanborg C, Garlanda C,  Mantovani A. The humoral pattern recognition molecule PTX3 is a key component of innate immunity against urinary tract infection. Immunity, 17;40(4):621-32.

(2013) Garlanda C, Dinarello CA, Mantovani A, The interleukin-1 family: back to the future. Immunity, 12;39(6):1003-18.

(2010) Moalli F, Doni A, Deban L, Zelante T, Zagarella S, Bottazzi B, Romani L, Mantovani A, and Garlanda C. Role of complement and Fcg receptors in the protective activity of the long pentraxin PTX3 against Aspergillus fumigatus. Blood, 9;116(24):5170-80. 

(2007) Garlanda C, Riva F, Veliz T, Polentarutti N, Pasqualini F, Radaelli E, Sironi M, Nebuloni M, Zorini EO, Scanziani E, Mantovani A. Increased susceptibility to colitis-associated cancer of mice lacking TIR8, an inhibitory member of the interleukin-1 receptor family. Cancer Research, 1;67(13):6017-21.

(2005) Garlanda C, Bottazzi B, Bastone A, Mantovani A. Pentraxins at the crossroads between innate immunity, inflammation, matrix deposition, and female fertility. Annual Review of Immunology, 23: 337-366.

(2004) Garlanda C, Riva F, Polentarutti N, Buracchi C, Sironi M, De Bortoli M, Muzio M, Bergottini R, Scanziani E, Vecchi A, Hirsch A, Mantovani A. Intestinal inflammation in mice deficient in Tir8, an inhibitory member of the IL-1 receptor family. Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences of the United States of America, 101: 3522-3526.

(2002) Garlanda C, Hirsch E, Bozza S, Salustri A, De Acetis M, Nota R, Maccagno A, Riva F, Bottazzi B, Peri G, Doni A, Vago L, Botto M, De Santis R, Carminati P, Siracusa G, Altruda F, Vecchi A, Romani L, Mantovani A. Non-redundant role of the long pentraxin PTX3 in anti-fungal innate immune response. Nature, 420: 182-186.(2000) Hirsch E, Katanaev V L, Garlanda C, Azzolino O, Pirola L, Silengo L, Sozzani S, Mantovani A, Altruda F, Wymann MP. Central role for G protein-coupled phosphoinositide 3-kinase gamma in inflammation. Science, 287: 1049-1053.

Amalia Gastaldelli
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: biomedical engineering, physiopathology, translational medicine

Keywords: diabetes, liver, metabolic diseases, metabolism, obesity, pollutant endocrine disruptors, preventive medicine

Region: Tuscany


Position/Role

She is director of the Cardiometabolic Risk Laboratory and Coordinator of human metabolic research at the Clinical Physiology Institute of the CNR of Pisa, she is also Adjunct associate professor at the Division of Diabetes, University of Texas Health at San Antonio, USA.

Professional career

After graduating in 1990 in Electronic Engineering with a specialization in Bioengineering at the University of Padua, she continued her education with a PhD in Bioengineering at the Polytechnic University of Milan and a PhD in Preventive Medicine and Community Health, specialized in Human Physiology , at the University of Texas Medical Branch of Galveston, where she was a fellow from 1991 to 1995. In that period her research focused on the physiological mechanisms that regulate the metabolism of sugars, lipids and proteins using innovative techniques based on the infusion of tracers marked with stable isotopes measured in mass spectrometry, and on their kinetics’ analysis by mathematical models. In 1995 she returned to Italy to found the Stable Isotope Laboratory at the Institute of Clinical Physiology of the CNR, in the Unit of Metabolism and Nutrition of Pisa. From 2008 to 2009 she was Director of the Mass Spectrometry Laboratory of the G. Monasterio Foundation of Pisa and then in 2009 she returned as a researcher to the CNR Clinical Physiology Institute of Pisa to the CNR, where she founded the Cardiometabolic Risk Laboratory and coordinated research metabolic in humans. In addition to research, she has also been involved in the academic career since 2011: she was first Assistant, then Associate Professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Diabetes Division, in San Antonio; from 2006 to 2011 she was a contract professor at the Faculty of Engineering (a degree course in Biomedical Engineering) of the University of Pisa.
Since 2010 she has been a member of the board of directors of the American College of Nutrition (ACN) and she has been directing its European Chapter. In 2012 she founded the study group on non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis (NAFLD) of the European Society for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), and since then she has been leading it.

 

Scientific results

Amalia Gastaldelli is a PhD specialized in human physiology, an expert in the study of human metabolism, cardio-metabolic risk and glucose and lipid metabolism pathologies, such as insulin resistance, non-insulin-dependent diabetes and non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis. Her multidisciplinary training allowed her to carry out translational research to study human metabolism. Using tracers marked with stable isotopes and mathematical models she showed that the liver is central to proper metabolic functioning. She was among the first to show how fasting hyperglycemia in diabetic patients is mainly due to excessive hepatic glucose production by gluconeogenesis and how patients with fatty liver (NAFLD) have an altered metabolism not only in the liver, but also in the muscle and adipose tissue. She holds several European grants that study the physiopathological mechanisms of NAFLD. At the same time she was a co-investigator in many clinical trials that studied the mechanism of action of antidiabetic drugs such as: PPAR + receptor agonists (TZD), able to increase insulin sensitivity in various organs and to decrease liver fat; the agonists of the GLP-1 hormone produced by the intestine which act as incretins stimulating the production of insulin; and DPP4 enzyme inhibitors responsible for its degradation. A new line of research investigates the impact of pollutants that act as endocrine disruptors on the health of adults and children.

Editorial work and publications

Amalia Gastaldelli is an Associate Editor and a member of the Commitee for the publication of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, she is on the Editorial Board of the World Journal of Hepatology and World Journal of Diabetes, and is a reviewer for over twenty international peer review journals. She is the author of over 200 scientific articles and book chapters including:

 

(2016) Gastaldelli A, Gaggini M, Daniele G, Ciociaro D, Cersosimo E, Tripathy D, Triplitt C, Fox P, Musi N, DeFronzo R, Iozzo P. Exenatide improves both hepatic and adipose tissue insulin resistance: A dynamic positron emission tomography study. Hepatology, 64(6), 2028-2037.

 

(2016) EASL, Marchesini G, Day CP, Dufour JF, Canbay A, Nobili V, Ratziu V, Tilg H, EASD, Roden M, Gastaldelli A, Yki-Järvinen H, Schick F, EASO, Vettor R, Frühbeck G, Mathus-Vliegen L. EASL-EASD-EASO Clinical Practice Guidelines for the management of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Journal of Hepatology, 64(6), 1388-1402.

 

(2014) Salehi M, Gastaldelli A, D'Alessio DA. Blockade of glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor corrects postprandial hypoglycemia after gastric bypass. Gastroenterology, 146(3), 669-680 e662.

 

(2013) DeFronzo RA, Tripathy D, Schwenke DC, Banerji M, Bray GA, Buchanan TA, Clement SC, Henry RR, Kitabchi AE, Mudaliar S, Ratner RE, Stentz FB, Musi N, Reaven PD, Gastaldelli A, Study AN. Prediction of diabetes based on baseline metabolic characteristics in individuals at high risk. Diabetes Care 36(11):3607-3612.

(2012) Bradley D, Conte C, Mittendorfer B, Eagon JC, Varela JE, Fabbrini E, Gastaldelli A, Chambers KT, Su X, Okunade A, Patterson BW, Klein S. Gastric bypass and banding equally improve insulin sensitivity and beta cell function. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 122(12), 4667-4674.

 

(2009) Gastaldelli A, Kozakova M, Hojlund K, Flyvbjerg A, Favuzzi A, Mitrakou A, Balkau B, Risc Investigators. Fatty liver is associated with insulin resistance, risk of coronary heart disease, and early atherosclerosis in a large European population. Hepatology, 49(5), 1537-1544.

 

(2007) Gastaldelli A, Cusi K, Pettiti M, Hardies J, Miyazaki Y, Berria R, Buzzigoli E, Sironi AM, Cersosimo E, Ferrannini E, DeFronzo RA. Relationship between hepatic/visceral fat and hepatic insulin resistance in nondiabetic and type 2 diabetic subjects. Gastroenterology, 133(2), 496-506.

 

(2006) Belfort R, Harrison SA, Brown K, Darland C, Finch J, Hardies J, Balas B, Gastaldelli A, Tio F, Pulcini J, Berria R, Ma JZ, Dwivedi S, Havranek R, Fincke C, DeFronzo R, Bannayan GA, Schenker S, Cusi K. A placebo-controlled trial of pioglitazone in subjects with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. The New England Journal of Medicine, 355(22), 2297-2307.

 

(2004) Gastaldelli A, Ferrannini E, Miyazaki Y, Matsuda M, DeFronzo RA, San Antonio Metabolism study. Beta-cell dysfunction and glucose intolerance: results from the San Antonio metabolism (SAM) study. Diabetologia, 47(1), 31-39.  

(2000) Gastaldelli A, Baldi S, Pettiti M, Toschi E, Camastra S, Natali A, Landau BR, Ferrannini E. Influence of obesity and type 2 diabetes on gluconeogenesis and glucose output in humans: a quantitative study. Diabetes, 49(8), 1367-1373.

 

Awards and prizes

During her university career, Amalia Gastaldelli received numerous awards, including over 80 readings by invitation in national and international congresses. In 1998, she was awarded the Glaxo Wellcome / EASD Burden of Diabetes prize for the study of gluconeogenesis and in 2016 she joined the Top Italian Scientist for Biomedical Sciences. She participated in many scientific commissions for the organization of national and international congresses and for the selection of international research projects (grant), and is a member of several international scientific societies.
She is also the scientific director of the European Chapter of the American College of Nutrition (ACN), a professional organization created to promote scientific research in the field of nutritional sciences; she is president of the European study group for non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis NAFLD-EASD and member of the Steering Committee of the EGIR group (European Group for the Study of Insulin Resistance).

 

Raffaella Giavazzi
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: oncological biology, pharmacology, translational research

Keywords: angiogenesis, anticancer drugs, cancer, coronavirus, Covid-19, metabolism, microenvironment, ovarian cancer, pancreatic adenocarcinoma, tumor metastases

Region: Lombardy


Position/Role

Director of the Laboratory of Biology and Therapy of Tumour Metastases at IRCCS Mario Negri

Professional career

After graduating in Biological Sciences from the University of Milan in 1979, Raffaella Giavazzi qualified as a biologist. She continued her studies with a PhD in Biology and Pharmacology, at the Post-graduate School of Professional Education at the Mario Negri Institute, and a specialisation in Pharmacology at the University of Milan. After several experiences abroad, both as a researcher at the Cancer Metastasis and Treatment Laboratory of the National Cancer Institute, in Maryland, and as a university teaching assistant at the Department of Cell Biology of the M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, University of Texas, she came back to Italy. Since 1986 she has been head of the Laboratory of Biology and Therapy of Tumour Metastases at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research. From 2005 to 2007 she was President of the Italian Society of Cancerology and from 2008 to 2012 she was a member of the Executive Committee of the European Association for Cancer Research. Since the same year she has been a member of the Board of Directors of the University of Trento.

Scientific results

Raffaella Giavazzi’s research interests are in the field of tumor biology and pharmacology with a specific interest in the metastatic process and tumor angiogenesis. She is involved in the pre-clinical and clinical development of new therapeutics against cancer, with particular involvement in ovarian and pancreatic cancer.

Editorial work and publications

Raffaella Giavazzi has published approximately 200 articles in the field of Cancer Research, including: 

(2018) Resovi A, Bani MR, Porcu L, Anastasia A, Minoli L, Allavena P, Cappello P, Novelli F, Scarpa A, Morandi E, Falanga A, Torri V, Taraboletti G, Belotti D, Giavazzi R. Soluble stroma-related biomarkers of pancreatic cancer.Embo Molecular Medicine, 10(8), pii: e8741, doi: 10.15252/emmm.201708741.

(2016) Cesca M, Morosi L, Berndt A, Fuso Nerini I, Frapolli R, Richter P, Decio A, Dirsch O, Micotti E, Giordano S, D’Incalci M, Davoli E, Zucchetti M, Giavazzi R. Bevacizumab-induced inhibition of angiogenesis promotes a more homogeneous intratumoral distribution of paclitaxel, improving the antitumor response. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics,15(1):125-35. 

(2014) Ricci R, Bizzaro F, Cesca M, Guffanti F, Ganzinelli M, Decio A, Ghilardi C, Perego P, Fruscio R, Buda A, Milani R, Ostano P, Chiorino G, Bani MR, Damia G, Giavazzi R. A platform of patient-derived tumor xenografts (EOC-xenografts) to recapitulate the clinicopathology and genetic alterations of ovarian cancer. Cancer Research, 74(23):6980-90. 

(2013) Rovida A, Castiglioni V, Decio A, Scarlato V, Scanziani E, Giavazzi R, Cesca M. Chemotherapy counteracts metastatic dissemination induced by antiangiogenic treatment in mice.Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 12(10):2237-47.

(2012) Moschetta M, Pretto F, Berndt A, Galler K, Richter P, Bassi A, Oliva P, Micotti E, Valbusa G, Schwager K, Kaspar M, Trachsel E, Kosmehl H, Bani MR, Neri D, Giavazzi R. Paclitaxel enhances the therapeutic efficacy of the F8-IL2 immunocytokine to EDA-fibronectin positive metastatic human melanoma xenografts. Cancer Research, 72(7):1814-24. 

(2007) Giavazzi R, Bani MR, Taraboletti G. Tumor-host interaction in the optimization of paclitaxel based combination therapies with vascular targeting compounds. Cancer Metastasis Reviews, 26:481-88. 

(2005) Rybak JN, Ettorre A, Kaissling B, Giavazzi R, Neri D, Elia G. In vivo protein biotinylation for identification of organ-specific antigens accessible from the vasculature. Nature Methods, 2(4):291-98.

(2003) Belotti D, Paganoni P, Manenti L, Garofalo A, Marchini S, Taraboletti G, Giavazzi R. Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMP9 and MMP2) Induce the Release of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) by Ovarian Carcinoma Cells: Implications for Acites Formation. Cancer Research, 63:5224-29. 

(1998) Valoti G, Nicoletti MI, Pellegrino A, Jimeno J, Hendriks H, D'Incalci M, Faircloth G, Giavazzi R. Ecteinascidin-743 (ET-743), a new marine natural product with potent antitumor activity on human ovarian carcinoma xenografts. Clinical Cancer Research, 4:1977-1983. 

(1995) Taraboletti G, Garofalo A, Belotti D, Drudis T, Borsotti P, Scanziani E, Brown PD, Giavazzi R. Inhibition of angiogenesis and murine hemangioma growth by Batimastat, a synthetic inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases. Journal of the National Cancer Instistute, 87:293-298. 

(1993) Giavazzi R, Foppolo M, Dossi R, Remuzzi A. Rolling and adhesion of human tumor cells on vascular endothelium under physiological flow conditions. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 92:3038-3044.

Awards and prizes

In 1981 Raffaella Giavazzi was awarded the "Fellowship for Advanced Professional Training" by the Italian Ministry of Labour and the European Economic Community. 

In 2003, she received the Researcher Career Award “Lega Italiana per la lotta contro i tumori”.

In 2012,  she received the “Giorgio Prodi” Lecturship by the Italian Cancer Society.

In 2016, she was included among the "Top Italian Women Scientists"

In 2018, seh received the Researcher Career Award “5th Simon Karpatkin Memorial Lecture”.

Maria Rita Gismondo
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: microbiology

Keywords: anthrax, bioemergencies, bioterrorism, ebola, infections, microbiology, migrants, pandemics, virology

Region: Lombardy


Position/Role

Director of the Laboratori of Clinical Microbiology, Virology and Bioemergency of the Sacco Hospital in Milan and Associate Professor of Clinical Microbiology at the Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences "Sacco" of the University of Milan

Professional career

After graduating in Biological Sciences from the University of Catania in 1976, she continued her training by specialising in Clinical Microbiology and Virology. In 1984 he obtained a second degree in Medicine and Surgery at the same Sicilian university. From 1976 to 1981 she was a member of the Institute of Microbiology at the University of Milan. In 1982 she was an intern in Clinical Microbiology at the London Hospital and in Oral Microbiology at the Hospital Medical School For Dentistry in London. In 1986 she became a resident in Microbiology at the University of Tennessee. Since 1991 she has been Associate Professor in Clinical Microbiology at the University of Milan. She leads several research groups dealing with bioterrorism, SARS, Ebola and infectious emergencies. He has also been a member of the National AIDS Commission since 2007. Since 2014 he has been head of the Clinical Microbiology, Virology and Bioemergency laboratory at the Sacco Hospital in Milan.

Scientific results

Within the UOC (Complex Operational Unit) Clinical Microbiology and Virology, Maria Rita Gismondo has implemented the 'bioemergency' sector consisting of a BSL3 (Bio safety level 3) laboratory and a BSL4 laboratory (one of two existing in Italy) dedicated to serious health crises. Gismondo brought together a research and operational team with the aim of providing a rapid response to infectious emergencies, both of natural origin (pandemics) and voluntary (bioterrorism). Today, the laboratory she directs is the reference point for diagnosing tropical diseases, anthrax risks and risks associated with other potentially infectious elements.

Editorial work and publications

Maria Rita Gismondo is associate editor of several scientific journals and author of numerous articles, including: 

(2016) Rimoldi SG, De Vecchi E, Pagani C, Antona C, Gismondo MR. Use of Dithiothreitol to Dislodge Bacteria From the Biofilm on an Aortic Valve in the Operating Theatre: A Case of Infective Endocarditis Caused by Staphylococcus aureus and Proteus mirabilis. The Annals of thoracic surgery, 102(4):e357-9. 

(2016) Rossotti R, Borghi V, Callegaro AP, Rusconi S, Gismondo MR. Impact of Circulating Resistance-Associated Mutations on HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) efficacy: Modeling from Antiretroviral Resistance Cohort Analysis (ARCA) National Database. Journal of clinical virology: the official publication of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology. 

(2016) Cagnoni G, Rimoldi SG, Pagani C, Gismondo MR. Can Drainage Using a Negative-Pressure Wound Therapy Device Replace Traditional Sample Collection Methods?. Surgical Infections, 17(5):577-82. 

(2016) Caruso I, Santandrea S, Gismondo MR, Sarzi Puttini P. Vaccination with endosomal unknown epitopes produces therapeutic response in rheumatoid arthritis patients and modulates adjuvant arthritis of rats. Journal of Translational Medicine, 14:162. 

(2015) Ridolfo AL, Sara Giordana Rimoldi SG, Pagani C, Gismondo MR. Diffusion and transmission of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae in the medical and surgical wards of a university hospital in Milan, Italy. Journal of Infection and Public Health, 9(1):24-33. 

(2015) D'Alessandro S, Corbett Y, Ilboudo DP, Parapini S, Gismondo MR. Salinomycin and Other Ionophores as a New Class of Antimalarial Drugs with Transmission-Blocking Activity. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 59(9):5135-44. 

(2015) Vocale C, Rimoldi SG, Pagani C, Sambri V, Gismondo MR. Comparative evaluation of the new xTAG GPP multiplex assay in the laboratory diagnosis of acute gastroenteritis. Clinical assessment and potential application from a multicentre Italian study. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 34:33-7. 

(2014) Perrone V, Cattaneo D, Radice S, Clementi E, Gismondo MR. Impact of therapeutic drug monitoring of antiretroviral drugs in routine clinical management of patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus and related health care costs: A real-life study in a large cohort of patients. ClinicoEconomics and Outcomes Research, 6:341-8. 

(2013) Tau P, Mancon A, Mileto D, Rusconi S, Gismondo MR. Favorable Therapeutic Response with an Antiretroviral Salvage Regimen in an HIV-1-Positive Subject Infected with a CRF11-cpx Virus. AIDS research and human retroviruses, 30(5):480-3. 

(2013) de Luca A, Dunn D, Zazzi M, Sloot, PM, Gismondo MR. Declining Prevalence of HIV-1 Drug Resistance in Antiretroviral Treatment-exposed Individuals in Western Europe. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 207(8):1216-20.

Awards and prizes

In 2005 she was awarded the "Ambrogino d'Oro" as director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory of the University Hospital "L. Sacco" in Milan. 

In 2007, she was awarded the Woman of Achievement 2007. 

In 2009, she was awarded the 'Rosa Camuna' Prize by the Lombardy Region. 

She was also appointed representative of the Ministry of Universities on the Board of Directors of the Smith Kline Foundation. 

In memory of her Norwegian microbiologist colleague Tom Bergan, she founded the Tom Bergan Study Centre, which promotes cultural and scientific initiatives, including "Donna in Salute" and the "Sportello Unico per gli anziani".

Caterina La Porta
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: biophysics, cellular biology, computational analysis, molecular biology, systems biology

Keywords: cancer stem cells

Region: Lombardy


Position/Role

Associate professor of General Pathology at the University of Milan, group leader of the Molecular Oncology Lab, founding member of the Center for Complexity and Biosystems, University of Milan.

Professional career

After graduating in medicine in 1989 at the University of Milan and in 1995 she received a Ph. D. in physiology from the same university. From 1990 and 1991, she worked at the Institute for Pharmacological Research Mario Negri in Milan and spent nine months at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. From 1993 to 1994, she worked at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg and then in 1995 she spent five months at the Rockefeller University in New York. From 1994 to 1997 she was a fellow of  the Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro (AIRC). She came back to the University of Milan in 1997 and obtained tenure in 2002. 

 

Scientific results

In 2015, she co-founded the Center for Complexity and Biosystems at University of Milan, where she studies the fundamental mechanisms driving an healthy cell to become cancerous. In the specific case of melanoma, a very aggressive tumor that is hard to treat, here research activity lead to the discovery of a cellular subpopulation denoted as cancer stem cells (CSC).  According to her research, all melanoma cells can transform into CSC when the number of CSC falls  below a critical threshold, an effect due to the activation of a complex network on non coding microRNA. The result of this mechanism is that the number of CSC inside a tumore is held constant. This discovery might lead to reconsider the conventional therapeutic approach to cancer by eliminating the CSC that are feeding tumor growth. The current objective of Caterina La Porta’s  research is now to explore if the CSC is the correct model to describe melanoma progression, using an interdisciplinary approach combining cancer biology, theoretical physics and clinical studies, and to investigate if it is a universal model that can be used for other tumors as well. The long term goal of her research is to understand highly complex systems integrated into the human body. An additional research line focuses on the study of neurodegenerative diseases, in particular on the understanding of protein aggregation such as beta amyloid or neuroserpin and on the development of innovative diagnostic techniques.

Editorial work and publications

She has authored many international publications including:

(2018) Font-Clos F., Zapperi S., La Porta C.A.M. Topography of epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity, PNAS, 115: 5902-5907.

(2018) Chepizhko O., Lionetti M.C., Malinverno C., Scita G., Zapperi S., La Porta C. A. M. From jamming to collective cell migration through a boundary induced transition. Soft Matter, 14 (19): 3774-3782

(2018) Font-Clos F., Zapperi S., La Porta C.A.M. Gene expression signature of obesity in monozygotic twins. Physiol Meas. 39, 044008.

(2017) Font-Clos F., Zapperi S., La Porta C.A.M. Integrative analysis of pathway deregulation in obesity. Nature Publishing group: Systems Biology and Applications, 3:18.

(2017) Bertalan Z., Zapperi S., La Porta C. A. M. Modeling mechanical control of spindle orientationof intestinal crypt stem cells, Journal of Theoretical Biology, 430: 103–108.

(2017) Font F., Zapperi S., La Porta C.A.M. Integrative analysis of pathway deregulation in obesity. Nature Publishing Journal Systems Biology and Applications 3:18.

(2017) Giampietro C., Lionetti M.C., Costantini G., Mutti F., Zapperi S., La Porta C.A.M. Cholesterol impairment contributes to neuroserpin aggregation. Scientific Reports 7, 43669.

(2016) Chepizhko O, Giampietro C, Mastrapasqua E, [...] La Porta CAM. Bursts of activity collective cell migration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(41):11408-11413. 

(2016) Costantini G, Budrikis Z, Taloni A, [...] La Porta CAM. Fluctuation in protein aggregation: design of preclinical screening for early diagnosis of neurodegenerative disease. Physical Review Applied, 6, 034012.

(2015) Bertalan Z, Budrikis Z, La Porta CAM, Zapperi S. Role of the Number of Microtubules in Chromosome Segregation during Cell Division. PLoS One, 10(10):e0141305.

Awards and prizes

Caterina La Porta is also a member of several national and international scientific societies, such as the (International) Metastasis Research Society, the International Angiogenesis Association, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the International Society for stem cell research (ISSCR) and the American Physical Society and Complex System Society.

In 2008, she was nominated for the "Genomic Pioneers Award".

In 2009, she was selected by Faculty of 1000 Biology for a paper published in PLoS One. 

Sonia Levi
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: cellular biology

Keywords: iron, protein engineering, proteins

Region: Lombardy


Position/Role

Full Professor in Applied Biology, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University and Head of the "Proteomics of Iron Metabolism" Research Unit of the San Raffaele Scientific Institute of Milan

Professional career

After graduating in Biological Sciences at the University of Milan in 1982, Sonia Levi continued her training in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Technologies of the San Raffaele Hospital. In 1984, she obtained a fellowship from the European Molecular Biology Organization at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany. Two years later, she received a three-year post-doctoral research fellow to continue her research activity and, in 1989, she was hired as a researcher in the "Iron Metabolism" Research Unit of the San Raffaele Scientific Institute. In 2005 she became associate professor and then full professor of Applied Biology in the Faculty of Medicine of the University Vita-Salute San Raffaele. She is currently also Head of the research unit "Proteomics of Iron Metabolism" at the San Raffaele Institute in Milan and President of the San Raffaele University Quality Presidium.

Scientific results

Sonia Levi has been interested for years in the study of iron metabolism and associated diseases. When she was at the EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory), she learned the pioneering techniques of recombinant DNA applied to protein expression. After returning to Italy, she imported these new methodologies to the "Iron Metabolism" laboratory of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, where she has been successful in obtaining the recombinant human ferritins and their mutants, useful in the study of the assembly of complex protein structures. From 1992 to 2002, she continued her research in the "Protein Engineering" laboratory at the Department of Biotechnological Research (DIBIT) of the San Raffaele Scientific Institute where she developed eucariotic cellular models overexpressing iron proteins to analyze their biological functions. In 2001 she identified and isolated a new human ferritin located in the mitochondrion (small cellular organelle). The biological and functional characterization of this new protein is one of its main topics of interest. Her recent research is focused to clarify the relationship between iron and neurodegeneration. With this aim, she developed and studied cellular and animal models of neurodegenerative disease, like neuroferritinophaty, PKAN and Friedreich's ataxia. More recently, she is applying the technology of cellular reprogramming to obtain human neuronal models for the disorders defined as Neurodegeneration with Brain Iron Accumulation.

Editorial work and publications

Author of more than one hundred Italian and international publications including:

(2016) Orellana DI, Santambrogio P, Rubio A, Yekhlef L, Cancellieri C, Dusi S, Giannelli SG, Venco P, Mazzara PG, Cozzi A, Ferrari M, Garavaglia B, Taverna S, Tiranti V, Broccoli V, Levi S. Coenzyme A corrects pathological defects in human neurons of PANK2-associated neurodegeneration. EMBO Molecular Medicine, 8 (10):1197-1211. 

(2015) Maccarinelli F, Pagani A, Cozzi A, Codazzi F, Di Giacomo G, Capoccia S, Rapino S, Finazzi D, Politi LS, Cirulli F, Giorgio M, Cremona O, Grohovaz F, Levi S. A novel neuroferritinopathy mouse model (ftl 498instc) shows progressive brain iron dysregulation, morphological signs of early neurodegeneration and motor coordination deficits. Neurobiology of Disease, 81:119-33. 

(2013) Cozzi A, Santambrogio P, Privitera D, Broccoli V, Rotundo LI, Garavaglia B, Benz R, Altamura S, Goede JS, Muckenthaler MU, Levi S. Human L-ferritin deficiency is characterized by idiopathic generalized seizures and atypical restless leg syndrome. Journal of Experimental Medicine, 210(9):1779-91. 

(2009) Campanella A, Rovelli E, Santambrogio P, Cozzi A, Taroni F, Levi S. Mitochondrial ferritin limits oxidative damage regulating mitochondrial iron availability: hypothesis for a protective role in Friedreich ataxia. Human Molecular Genetics, 18(1):1-11. 

(2004) Campanella A, Isaya G, O'Neill HA, Santambrogio P, Cozzi A, Arosio P, Levi S. The expression of human mitochondrial ferritin rescues respiratory function infrataxin-deficient yeast. Human Molecular Genetics, 13(19):2279-88. 

(2002) Arosio P, Levi S. Ferritin, iron homeostasis, and oxidative damage. Free Rqical Biology and Medicine, 33(4):457-463. 

(2001) Levi S, Corsi B, Bosisio M, Invernizzi R, Volz A, Sanford D, Arosio P, Drysdale J. A Human mitochondrial ferritin encoded by an introless gene. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 276(27):24437-40. 

(1994) Levi S, Santambrogio P, Cozzi A, Rovida E, Corsi B, Tamborini E, Spada S, Albertini A, Arosio P. The role of the L-chain in ferritin iron incorporation. Studies of homo and heteropolymers. Journal of Molecular Biology, 238(5):649-54. 

(1991) Lawson DM, Artymiuk PJ, Yewdall SJ, Smith JM, Livingstone JC, Treffry A, Luzzago A, Levi S, Arosio P, Cesareni G, et al. Solving the structure of human H ferritin by genetically engineering intermolecular crystal contacts. Nature, 349(6309):541-544

(1988) Levi, S., Luzzago A, Cesareni G, Cozzi A, Franceschinelli F, Albertini A & Arosio P. Mechanism of ferritin iron uptake: activity of the H-chain and deletion mapping of the ferro-oxidase site. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 263: 18086-18092.

Awards and prizes

2016-2018 Member of the “Top Italian Women Scientist”

 

Fiorella Lo Schiavo
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: cellular biology, genetics

Keywords: arabidopsis, plant senecence, plant somatic embryogenesis

Region: Veneto


Position/Role

Full Professor of Plant Physiology, University of Padua

Professional career

In July 1974 she graduated in Biology from the University of Naples, Federico II. In October 1974 she won a post as a postgraduate student at the Normale University in Pisa. From 1975 to 1976 she worked in the laboratory of Developmental Genetics and Molecular Biology of Prof. Garcia-Bellido at the University of Madrid. From 1976 to 1982 she was a CNR researcher at the Institute of Mutagenesis and Differentiation in Pisa. From 1983 to 1984 she was a Research Fellow in the Dept. of Genetics and Plant Pathology at the University of Berkeley, California. In 1987 she became Associate Professor of Plant Physiology and taught, until 1990, at the University of Basilicata, and then at the University of Padua where in October 2000 she became Full Professor at the Faculty of Science, now Department of Biology.

Scientific results

Her scientific activity began with a thesis on bacterial molecular genetics, carried out at the International Institute of Genetics and Biophysics of the CNR in Naples. The activity continued with developmental genetics studies on the Drosophila model system in Madrid and then with plant somatic genetics studies in Pisa. In 1982 she started a project aiming at the isolation and characterisation of temperature-sensitive cell mutants altered in the somatic embryogenesis process of carrot (model system for plant differentiation studies). The study of alterations in plant cell differentiation was the subject of two consecutive three-year European Community programmes, which resulted in numerous publications that constituted the core of scientific production until the end of the 1990s. Subsequently, Fiorella Lo Schiavo studied mechanisms of hormone signal perception and transduction, initially of auxin and more recently of cytokinins, in different plant cell systems.  She then carried out studies on some channel proteins, in particular potassium channels, also investigating their function in some plant differentiation processes. She then investigated some basic mechanisms of organ senescence processes using cell cultures as model systems, in particular studying the final stages of programmed cell death in senescence. Recently, she analysed, by means of imaging techniques, the role of important cell signalling molecules, such as calcium and reactive oxygen species (ROS) induced by abiotic stress in model plants and rice. 

Editorial work and publications

She is author of more than 100 scientific papers, including:

[2018] Formentin E, Sudiro C, Perin G, Riccadonna S, Barizza E, Baldoni E, Lavezzo E, Stevanato P, Sacchi GA, Morosinotto T, Zottini M, Lo Schiavo F.   Transcriptome and cell physiological analyses in different rice cultivars provide novel insights into adaptive and salinity stress responses.Frontiers in Plant Science, 9: 204.

[2017] Teardo E, Carraretto L, Wagner S, Formentin E, Behera S, De Bortoli S, Larosa V, Fuchhs P, Lo Schiavo F, Raffaello A, Rizzuto R, Costa A, Schwarzländer M and Ildiko Szabò  Physiological characterization of a plant mitochondrial calcium uniporter in vitro and in in vivo. Plant Physiology, 173: 1-16.

[2015] D’Alessandro S, Golin S, Hardtke, Lo Schiavo F, Zottini M. The co-chaperone p23 controls root development through the modulation of auxin distribution in the Arabidopsisroot meristem. J. of Experimental Botany,  66(16): 5113-5122.

[2015] Teardo E, Carraretto L, De Bortolis S, Costa A, Behera S, Wagner R, Lo Schiavo F, Formentin E, Szabo I. Alternative splicing-mediated targeting of the Arabidopsis Glutamate Receptor 3.5 to mitochondria organelle morphology. Plant Physiology, 167 (1): 216-227.

[2014] Ruberti C, Costa A, Pedrazzini E, Lo Schiavo F, Zottini M. FISSION1A, an Arabidopsis tail-anchored protein, is localized to three subcellular compartments. Molecular Plant,7: 1393–1396,  doi: 10.1 093/mp/ssu027.

[2013] Vescovi M, Zaffagnini M, Trost P, Lo Schiavo F, Costa A. Nuclear Accumulation of Cytosolic Glyceraldehyde-3-Phoshate Dhydrogenase in cadmium-Stressed Arabidopsis Roots.Plant Physiology, 162: 333-346, ISSN: 0032-0889.

[2012] Vescovi M, Riefler M, Gessuti M, Novak O, Schmulling T,  Lo Schiavo F. Programmed cell death induced by high levels of cytokinin in Arabidopsis cultured cells is mediated by the cytokinin receptor CRE1/AHK4. Journal of Experimental Botany,  63: 2825-2832. 

[2012]Loro G, Drago I, Pozzan T,  Lo Schiavo F,  Zottini M, Costa A. Targeting of Cameleon to different subcellular compartments reveals a strict cytoplasmic/mitochondrial Ca2+ handling relationship in plant cells.Plant Journal, 71(1): 1-13.

[2011] Horie T, Brodsky DE, Costa A, Kaneko T, Lo Schiavo F, Katsuhara M, Schroeder JI. K+ transport by the OsHKT2;4 transporter from rice (Oryza sativa) with atypical Na+ transport properties and competition in permeation of K+ over Mg2+ and Ca 2+ ions. Plant Physiology, 156(3):1493-507.

[2010] Costa A, Drago I, Behera S, Zottini M., Pizzo P, Schroeder Ji, Pozzan T, Lo Schiavo F. H2O2 in plant peroxisomes: an in vivo analysis uncovers a Ca(2+)-dependent scavenging system. Plant Journal,  62: 760-772.

[2009] De Michele R, Vurro E, Rigo C.Costa A, Elviri L, Di Valentin M, Careri M, Zottini M, Sanita' Di Toppi L, Lo Schiavo F. Nitric Oxide is involved in cadmium-induced programmed cell death in Arabidopsis suspension cultures.  Plant Physiology, 150: 217-228.

[2009] De Michele R, Formentin E, Todesco M, Toppo S, Carimi F, Zottini M., Barizza E, Ferrarini A, Delledonne M, Fontana P, Lo Schiavo F. Transcriptome analysis of Medicago truncatula leaf senescence: similarities and differences in metabolic and transcriptional regulations as compared with Arabidopsis, nodule senescence and nitric oxide signalling.New Phytologist, 181: 563-575.

Awards and prizes

In 1975, she won the Scoffone-Cremona Prize for the best dissertation in Molecular Biology. 

From the 1980s onwards, she has been responsible for national (PF. Genetic Engineering, IPRA, RAISA, MIPA, Biotechnologies and PRIN) and international (EU) projects, scientific advisor to the National Science Foundation and the European Union and for various international scientific journals. 

During the four-year period '90-'94 she was general secretary of the International Association Plant Tissue Culture. 

In May 1997, she directed the NATO course "Cellular Integration of Signalling Pathway in Plant Development" (Maratea). 

From 1995 to 2002 she was on the board of the Society of Plant Physiology and from 2009 to 2014 on the board of the Society of Plant Biology. 

In September 2012 she was elected for the first time Italian delegate in the board of FESPB, now PBE (Plant Biology Europe); position renewed in February 2018. 

She has been coordinator of the teaching board, Biotechnology department, of the PhD School of Biosciences and Biotechnology at the University of Padova since its establishment until 2013. 

Since the beginning of 2014 she has been a member of the new PhD course in Biosciences at the University of Padua and referent of the "Biochemistry & Biotechnology" curriculum. 

Since 2016 she has been President of the ASN Committee for the field of Plant Physiology.

Adriana Maggi
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: cellular pharmacology, pharmacological biotechnologies

Keywords: aging, coronavirus, Covid-19, drugs, estrogen receptors, gender pharmacology, hepatic metabolim, innovative vaccines, menopause, metabolic diseases, neuroinflammation, RNA or DNA vaccines, vaccines

Region: Lombardy


Position/Role

Full professor of Pharmacology and Biotechnology and Coordinator of the Center of Excellence for Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Milan

Professional career

After graduating in Biological Sciences at the University of Milan in 1973, she continued her scientific interests with a scholarship at the Institute of Pharmacology and Pharmacognosy directed by Professor Rodolfo Paoletti. Winner of the Salk Institute - University of Texas Award, she continued her education initially at the Department of Pharmacology and Neurobiology of the University of Texas, in Houston, in the United States and then at the Department of Cell Biology of the Baylor College of Medicine under the guidance of Professor Bert O'Malley. Back to Italy in 1982 as a researcher, she founded and directed a University-Industry model collaboration center, the result of an initiative by the University of Milan and the Hoffman-LaRoche Pharmaceutical Company: the Milan Molecular Pharmacology Lab (MPL). At the end of the 1980s, as an associate professor, she continued her research at the Department of Pharmacological Sciences of the University of Milan. Since 2002 she has directed the Center of Excellence on Neurodegenerative Diseases of the University of Milan, an experimental center financed by a fund organized by the Ministry of University and Research in which she is directly responsible for a research group made up of 20 researchers and young graduates. From 2006 to 2014 she founded and presided over the TOP srl, a spin-off of the University of Milan. As an expert in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology she holds various ministerial positions: she is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Italian Prime Minister in the field of Biotechnology, Biosafety and Life Sciences, of the Scientific Committee "Innovative Medicine Initiative" of the European Union, of the European ESFRI Working Group for Health and Food, of the Council of the European Society for Molecular Imaging (ESMI) and delegate of the MIUR for the European Pilot Initiative on Joint Programming on Neurodegenerative Diseases of which she is Vice-President since 2010. She is currently nominated by the American Society of Endocrinology member of the Endocrine Society EU Task force for Endocrine Disrupters and collaborates with the Innovative Medicine Initiative2 as a member of the SSG Panel on Neurodegeneration.

Scientific results

The research carried out by Adriana Maggi has always focused on the study of the physiological activity performed by estrogens, with particular reference to non-reproductive organs. Initial studies are associated with the discovery that the estrogen receptor is present in all brain cells (oligodendrocytes, astrocytes, microglia and neurons), even in brain areas not associated with reproductive functions, but linked to the control of emotional activities (frontal cortex, hippocampus). More recently, the study of the anti-inflammatory activity of estrogens active in microglia has led to new hypotheses about the higher incidence of neurodegenerative diseases in female subjects and the role of sex in the response to different stimuli and ischemic insults. In order to better understand the action of estrogens, Adriana Maggi designed and created a unique model for the study of the action of these hormones in living organisms and for the identification of new drugs active through these receptors: the ERE reporter mouse Luc. This reporter system was subsequently used to generate other model systems for the study of other receptors (for example the PPAR receptor) and complex processes such as oxidative stress, inflammation, calcium transport, apoptosis and others. The availability of the ERE-Luc model for the study of estrogen receptor activity has shown for the first time that estrogen is very active in the liver in mammals. Recent studies show that in female organisms estrogens control hepatic metabolism and lipid synthesis in close relationship with reproductive activity. This action is fundamental in differentiating energy metabolism in mammals of the two sexes and the discovery made has significant significance not only for a better understanding of sex-dependent hepatic metabolism, but also for understanding the etiopathogenetic mechanisms of a series of diseases associated with aging and, in women, closely related to post-menopause.
The results of the research carried out have opened up a new way of understanding the metabolic differences between males and females, allowing the understanding of gender / gender differences in the prevalence of a very wide range of diseases that include most of the diseases associated with aging (from diabetes to neurodegenerative diseases) and in the hepatic metabolism of drugs and xenobiotics in general. Furthermore, the discovery of the relevance of estrogen activity in the liver suggests a new way to generate more effective postmenopausal hormone replacement formulas with fewer side effects.
The research activity of Adriana Maggi has been recognized and supported by numerous national and international funding bodies. On funding from the European Commission, the professor coordinated 4 European research consortia for the study of the physiology and aging of women and endocrine disruptors, and more recently her research was funded by the Nationals Institutes of Health with a RO1 grant for the study of the aging of women and ERC for the study of gender physiology. 

Editorial work and publications

She is the author of more thab 200 scientific publications, 6 patents and 3 monographs- Among the most recent publications:

(2017) Della Torre S, Maggi A.Sex Differences: A Resultant of an Evolutionary Pressure? Cell Metabolism, 25:499-505.

(2017) Rizzi N, Rebecchi M, Levandis G, Ciana P and Maggi A. Identification of novel loci for the generation of reporter mice. Nucleic Acids Reserach, 45:e37.

(2016) Della Torre S, Mitro N, Fontana R, Gomaraschi M, Favari E, Recordati C, Lolli F, Quagliarini F, Meda C, Ohlsson C, Crestani M, Uhlenhaut NH, Calabresi L, Maggi A. An Essential Role for Liver ERα in Coupling Hepatic Metabolism to the Reproductive Cycle. Cell Reports, 15:360-71.

(2016) Villa A, Vegeto E, Poletti A, Maggi A.Estrogens, Neuroinflammation, and Neurodegeneration. Endocrine Reviews. 37:372-402.

Benedusi V, Martini E, Kallikourdis M, Villa A, Meda C and Maggi A. Ovariectomy shortens the life span of female mice. Oncotarget  (2015) 6:10801-11.

(2014) Della Torre S, Benedusi V, Fontana R, Maggi A, Energy Metabolism and reproduction, an ancestral balance to be preserved for women health. Nature Review Endocrinology, 10:13-23.

(2012) Villa A, Della Torre S, Stell A, Cook J, Brown M, Maggi A. Tetradian oscillation of estrogen receptor α is necessary to prevent liver lipid deposition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 109:11806-11.

(2011) Della Torre S, Rando G, Meda C, Stell A, Chambon P, Krust A, Ibarra C, Magni P, Ciana P. and Maggi A. Amino Acid-dependent activation of liver Estrogen Receptor alpha integrates metabolic and reproductive functions via IGF-1. Cell Metabolism, 13: 205-214.

(2010) Rando G, Horner D, Biserni A, Ramachandran B, Caruso D, Ciana P, Komm B. and Maggi A. An innovative method to classify SERMs based on the dynamics of estrogen receptor transcriptional activity in living animals. Molecular Endocrinology, 24: 735-744.

(2009) Brufani M, Ceccacci F, Filocamo L, Garofalo B, Joudioux R, La Bella A, Leonelli F, Migneco LM, Bettolo RM, Farina PM, Ashcroft GS, Routley C, Hardman M, Meda C, Rando G, Maggi A. Novel locally active estrogens accelerate cutaneous wound healing. A preliminary study. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 6: 543-56.

(2003) Ciana P, Raviscioni M, Mussi P, Vegeto E, Que I, Parker MG, Lowik C and Maggi A. In vivo imaging of transcriptionally active estrogen receptors. Nature Medicine, 9: 82-6.

Awards and prizes

Adriana Maggi won many awards and recognitions during her professional career, including the Salk-Institute-University of Texas Award; the NATO Award for exchange studies, the Lecture Award of the British Endocrine Society, the Farmindustria-Telethon Research Award, the PFIZER Investigator-Initiated Research Award, the ERC Advanced Grant Award. 

 

Natalia Malara
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: cancer research, molecular medicine, oncology, translational medicine

Keywords: biosensors, cancer stem cells, circulating endothelial cells, circulating molecular biomarkers, circulating tumour cells, coronavirus, Covid-19, Covid-19 in cancer patients, Covid-19: pathogenesis, liquid biopsies, tissue regeneration

Region: Calabria


Position/Role

Senior researcher Bionem (Bio- and Nano-Engineering for Medicine) nanotechnology laboratories Experimental and Clinical Medicine Department, Magna Graecia, University of Catanzaro.

Professional career

Graduated from the University of Messina in Medicine and Surgery, she continued her studies at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, where she specialized in Medical Oncology. After getting her PhD in Cell and Human Biology at the University of Messina, as winner of the two-year AIRC scholarship, she has carried out her research as contract professor at the Magna Graecia University of Catanzaro. She has collaborated with the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) of Genoa in the post-doc position, for the development of devices aimed at characterizingprognostic biomarkers in cancer patients. NM in 2005 worked as consultant for the Consulate of the Italian Embassy in Nosy-Be, Madagascar, for evaluating oncological risks linked to territorial problems, especially in paediatric age. In the project "Monitoring and early diagnosis of tumours linked to exposure to environmental toxic substances in the Calabrian population", in 2009, she worked as consultor for ARPACAL - Regional Agency for Environmental Protection of Calabria. In 2011 she was a scientific consultant for the project "Centro del Farmaco" IRCS San Raffaele Pisana in Rome. 

Since 2013 she has been appointed Scientific Director of the CHARACTEX research project (Characterization of circulating tumour cells from peripheral, medullary and cord blood, and tissue tumour cells by cytometric flow evaluation and in vitro expansion). She takes part into the national project as scientific coordinator and coordinator of the Germaneto section, Magna Graecia University, for the SCENIC project (immunophenotypic characterization of circulating endothelial cells from peripheral, medullary and cord blood by cytometric flow evaluation in standardized instrumental, reagents and protocol conditions) commissioned by Becton Dickinson (BD). In 2015 she was the scientific director of the ENDOFIRE research project, (immunophenotypic characterization of circulating endothelial cells and peripheral blood exosomes by cytometric flow evaluation in patients with atrial fibrillation) and of the observational study ENXOCORE, (immunophenotypic characterization of circulating differentiated (CEC) and progenitor endothelial cells (EPC) and peripheral blood exosomes, by cytofluorimetric evaluation, in patients with acute myocardial infarction without ST segment elevation (NSTEMI). Since 1999 she has been member of the Italian Association of Medical Oncologists (AIOM) and from 2017 she has been Member of the Royal Society of Medicine. 

In 2017 she qualified as associate professor in the scientific disciplinary sectors MED06 (Medical Oncology) and MED46 (Translational Medicine) For the academic year 2017-18 she has been director and didactic coordinator of the Post-graduate Course inScreening, diagnosis,  prognosis and efficacy assessment of in vitro drugs using liquid biopsy" at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University Magna Graecia. For the academic year 2018-19 she is director and didactic coordinator of the 1st level Master in "Liquid Biopsy in Tumours and other Complex Diseases". At BionemL@b laboratory, Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Magna Graecia University, she works on designing and creating devices or lab-on-chips aimed at isolating and characterizing circulating tumour cells.

Scientific results

Natalia Malara has helped to develop a neoadjuvant protocol for membrane immunomodulation in patients with lung cancer to increase the anti-tumor immune reaction (degree thesis awarded with "Fondazione Bonino-Pulejo Award") and to characterize the impact of paraphysiological mechanisms linked to aging in breast cancer biology (with particular interest on alterations of cell cycle control proteins) (2004). Furthermore, she has developed innovative protocols to isolate and characterize the subset of non-haematological cells found in the blood, aimed at defining the identity of biological marker and establishing the degree of biological conformity to the pathology. In particular, she has developed a standardized protocol for the isolation and culture of circulating tumour cells for their cytofluorimetric, morpho-immunocytochemical and genetic-mutational characterization (2018). NM has helped standardizing the normal values range ​​of different biomarkers such as circulating endothelial cells, and assessing their prognostic impact in tumour and cardiovascular pathology (2018). Author of books on  oncology (2009, 2019) and holder of national and international patents (2018), NM has developed, in the field of personalized medicine, a test that investigates the in vitro sensitivity of cancer stem cells, isolated from tissue biopsies (removal of tumour tissue) and from liquid biopsies (peripheral blood sampling), to chemotherapeutic agents (2007, 2014, 2016). She developed a protocol to isolate and expand in vitro human stem cells from different sources (adult tissues and embryonic appendages) to be used in tissue regeneration (2015). She participates and collaborates in the creation of devices with nanoscale architectures (2014) for the separation and detection of biological species for applicative purposes in clinical field, with particular interest in their use in the field of personalized preventive medicine (2018).

Editorial work and publications

Natalia Malara has authored more than 80 scientific publications, including:

[2021] Ferraro E, Germanò M, Mollac R, Mollace V, Malara N, HIF-1, the Warburg Effect, and Macrophage/Microglia Polarization Potential Role in COVID-19Pathogenesis, Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 8841911.

[2021] Di Vito A, Donato A, Presta I, Mancuso T, Brunetti FS, Mastroroberto P, Amorosi A, Malara N, Donato G. Extracellular Matrix in Calcific Aortic Valve Disease: Architecture, Dynamic and Perspectives, International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22(2): 913.

[2020] Aquila I, Sacco MA, Abenavoli L, Malara N, Arena V, Grassi S, Ausania F, Boccuto L, Ricci C, Gratteri S, Oliva A, Ricci P. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Pandemic: Review of the Literature and Proposal for Safe Autopsy Practice, Archives of pathology & laboratory medicine 144 (9): 1048-1056.

[2019] Gandolfo G, Temperilli F, Amoroso A. “La Medicina di Laboratorio nell’emergenza”, seconda edizione, Malara N. capitolo “Emergenze in Oncologia” e capitolo “Recenti applicazioni cliniche della citofluorimetria a flusso, in rapido sviluppo: le cellule tumorali circolanti, le cellule endoteliali circolanti, le cellule staminali circolanti” Delfino editore, Roma.

[2018] Malara N, Gentile F, Coppedè N, Coluccio ML, Candeloro P, Perozziello G, Ferrara L, Giannetto M, Careri M… et al.  Superhydrophobic Lab-on-chip exploring protonation state in secretome assess personalized onset-risk of sporadic tumour. Nature Precision Oncology 2:26/2018.

[2018] Lanuti P, Simeone P, Rotta G, Almici C, Avvisati G, Azzaro R, Bologna G, Budillon A, Di Cerbo M, …Malara N …et al. Standardized flow cytometry network study for the assessment of circulating endothelial cell physiological ranges. Sci Rep. Apr 11;8(1):5823. 

[2016] Malara N, Trunzo V, Foresta U, Amodio N, De Vitis S, Roveda L, Fava M, Coluccio ML, Macrì R…et al. Ex-vivo characterization of circulating colon cancer cells distinguished in stem and differentiated subset provides useful biomarker for personalized metastatic risk assessment. Journal of Translational Medicine 14(1) 12/2016.

[2016] Malara N, Guzzi G, Mignogna, C, Trunzo V, Camastra C, Della Torre A, Di Vito A, Lavecchia A M… et al.  Non-invasive real-time biopsy of intracranial lesions using short time expanded circulating tumor cells on glass slide: Report of two cases.BMC Neurology 16(1) 12/2016

[2015] Malara N, Musolino G, Trunzo V, Minniti AM, Cristodoro L, Polistina M, Renzulli A, Mollace V. Novel application of mesenchymal stem cells from mammary artery. International Journal of Cardiology 182C:466-468 01/2015. 

[2014] Malara N. “Il Tessuto Tumorale”, editore Eurolink, distributore Feltrinelli 

[2014] Malara N, Givigliano F, Trunzo V, Macrina L, Raso C, Amodio N, Aprigliano S, Minniti A M, Russo… et al.  In vitro expansion of tumour cells derived from blood and tumour tissue is useful toredefine personalized treatment in non-small cell lung cancer patients.Journal of biological regulators and homeostatic agents 28(4):717-31.

[2014] Malara N,Coluccio ML, Limongi T, Asande M,  Trunzo V, Cojoc G, Raso C, Candeloro P, Perozziello  G….et al. Folic Acid Functionalized Surface Highlights 5-Methylcytosine-Genomic Content within Circulating Tumor Cells.Small 07/2014; 10(21). 

Awards and prizes

In 1994 she received the Umberto Bonino & Maria Sofia Pulejo Messina Foundation Award.

In 1997 she received the AIRC (Italian Association for Cancer Research) award.

In 2010 she received the "Artemisia" award for cancer research from the Rhegium Julii Association.

In 2014 she received the '"Giovanni Scarcea" award for cancer research.

Paola Mosconi
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: life quality, methods of clinical research, transfer of scientific information

Keywords: empowerment and engagement della popolazione, health literacy, public health, transfer of scientific information

Region: Lombardy


Position/Role

Head of the Laboratory for medical research and consumer involvement of the Department of Public Health at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research IRCCS

Professional career

After graduating in Biological Sciences from the University of Milan in 1982, she specialised in Pharmacological Research at Mario Negri. Initially a researcher in the fields of Clinical Pharmacology and Clinical Epidemiology, since 1987 she has been involved in projects on the active participation of citizens and patients in the health debate, on medical-scientific information and training, and in research projects and partnerships with voluntary associations.

From 2006 to 2009 she was a member of the Ethics Committee of the IRCCS Multimedica, from 2007 to 2013 president of the Ethics Committee of the Azienda USL of Bologna and in 2013 of the Provincial Ethics Committee of Reggio Emilia.

Paola Mosconi is a founding member, vice-president and European delegate of EUROPA DONNA Italia, an opinion movement for the fight against breast cancer, present in 46 European countries. She is president of the Nerina and Mario Mattioli Onlus Foundation for research in the field of gynaecological oncology. She was vice-president of the Alessandro Liberati Association - Italian Cochrane Network, an association founded to contribute to the dissemination and growth of the culture of effectiveness and appropriateness in the field of health. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the AIOM Foundation, EUPATI Italia, Pofferi Foundation and of the Technical and Scientific Committee of Acto-Alleanza contro il tumore ovarico. 

Scientific results

As head of the "Research Laboratory on Citizens' Involvement in Health Care" at the Mario Negri Institute in Milan, Paola Mosconi is responsible for planning, coordinating and analysing the results of various research activities aimed at the involvement and participation of the general population, or specific patient groups and their representatives, in public health choices and decisions. She was, and is, responsible for operational units in medical and scientific research programmes, aimed, for example, at the early diagnosis of breast cancer, through the promotion of correct information on mammography screening, the promotion of an information model for people suffering from multiple sclerosis on the use of drugs and tests for diagnostic and prognostic purposes, the involvement of people suffering from AIDS/HIV for the development of an agenda of priorities in health care, assistance, prevention, information and research.

In particular, Paola Mosconi is an expert in research methodology (consensus conferences, citizens' juries, guidelines, ad hoc surveys with associations, surveys on knowledge/attitudes/behaviour of citizens/patients, pathology registers, reviews), information (assessment of the type of information provided and to be provided on screening, diseases and treatments, ways of communicating health information also through the development of websites, development of decision-making tools, development of leaflets for the general population), training (courses on clinical research methodology for activists of voluntary associations), design of projects to assess the quality of life and health of citizens and the degree of satisfaction with the National Health Service.

Editorial work and publications

Paola Mosconi erves as referee for several scientific journals and she has published numerous articles in international and national journals. Here below, a seletion:

(2017) Roberto A, Colombo Cinzia, Candiani G, Giordano L, Mantellini P, Paci E, Satolli R, Valenza M, Mosconi P. Personalised informed choice on evidence and controversy on mammography screening: protocol for a randomized controlled trial. BMC Cancer, 17:429.

(2016) Mosconi P, Colombo C, Satolli R, Carzaniga S. Involving a citizens’ jury in decisions on individual screening for prostate cancer. PLOS One; 11: e0143176.

(2016) Mosconi P, Antes G, Barbareschi G, Burls A, Demotes-Mainard J, Chalmers I, Colombo C, Garattini S, et al. A European multi-language initiative to make the general population aware of independent clinical research: The European Communication on Research Awareness Need project. Trials, 17:19.

(2015) Mosconi P, Castellani C, Villani W, Satolli R. Cystic fibrosis: to screen or not to screen? Involving a Citizens’ jury in decisions on screening carrier. Health Expectations, 8: 1956.

(2013) Mosconi P, Roberto A. Non-publication of large randomized clinical trials: cross sectional analysis. BMJ, 347: f7590.

(2013) Donati S, Satolli R, Colombo C, Senatore S, Cotichini R, Da Cas R, Spila Alegiani S, Mosconi P. Informing women on menopause and hormone therapy: Know the menopause a multidisciplinary project involving local healthcare system. PLOS One, 8 (12).

(2012) Mosconi P, Roberto A. Open-access clinical trial registries: An Italian scenario. Trials; 13: 194.

(2012) Mosconi P, Lionello L, Di Spazio L, Alberghini L. Are the voice of women and men equally represented in ethics committees? An Italian survey. J Clinical Research Bioethics, 3: 129.

(2012) Colombo C, Moja L, Gonzalez-Lorenzo M, Liberati A, Mosconi P. Patient empowerment as a component of health system reforms: rights, benefits and vested interests. Internal and Emergency Medicine; 7: 183.

(2007) Mosconi P, Colombo C, Satolli R, Liberati A. PartecipaSalute, an Italian project to involve lay people, patients’ associations and scientific-medical representatives on the health debate. Health Expectations, 10: 194.

(2004) Mosconi P, Buchanan M, Kyriakides S, Fernandez-Marcos A, Horvatin J, O'Connell D, Zernik N, EUROPA DONNA. EUROPA DONNA: has strenght in its heterogeneity. European Journal of Cancer; 40: 1145.

(1998) Apolone G, Mosconi P. The Italian SF-36 Health Survey: Translation, validation and norming. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 51: 1025.

Elena Pacella
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: cellular pharmacology

Keywords: drugs, eye trauma, rare and degenerative diseases of the eyeball, retinal thrombosis

Region: Lazio


Position/Role

Associat professor of Ophthalmology at La Sapienza University of Rome and Manager at of the Ophtalmic Emergency Room at D.A.I. Testa Collo, General Hospital  Umberto I in Rome

Professional career

After graduating in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Bari in 1988, she continued her studies by specialising in Ophthalmology at La Sapienza University of Rome. In 1993 she won a three-year scholarship from the Istituto Superiore di Sanità for research on the fight against AIDS abroad (Barcelona, Spain).

In 1996 she graduated from the European Board of Ophthalmology. At the same time she continued her training and research, first as an adjunct professor and then in 1998 as a researcher.

Since 2011 she has been Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the La Sapienza University of Rome, where she also carries out research activities and is responsible for the educational pathway of the students of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy and Ophthalmology residents. Also in 2011 she became first level manager at the Policlinico Umberto I, where she is currently in charge of the Ophthalmic Emergency Department. 

Scientific results

Her scientific interests were initially focused on pharmacological therapies of ocular complications of HIV and the use of laser technologies for the correction of ametropia. Currently her studies are particularly focused on the physiopathological roles of intravitreal therapies of diabetic macular oedema and retinal vascular occlusion regulating vascular growth factors in the framework of a Clinical Trials.gov NCT02257333 National Register Retinal Venous Thrombosis and Atherosclerosis (HEART VISION).

Elena Pacella together with her research group, as highlighted in her publications, was among the first researchers in Italy to demonstrate that the intravitreal administration of slow-release cortisone molecules (device) has an important anti-inflammatory effect,  they block the production of the cascade of inflammation mediators (prostaglandins and thromboxanes derived from the synthesis of arachidonic acid) and thus retinal neovascularisation in diabetics with macular oedema that does not respond to anti-VEGF, improving visual function and also blocking complications, for the period of therapy, if we consider that currently 13% of diabetics in full activity suffer from visual impairment.

Editorial work and publications

Elena Pacella is founder and editorial board of the scientific journal Senses&Sciences  Since 2016 she is a member of the editorial board of the scientific journal La Clinica Terapeutica.

She is referee of Cineca research projects for the following journals: Clinical OphthalmologyClinical Interventions in AgingInternational Medical Case Reports JournalClinical Optometry, Patient Preference and Adherence, Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management

She has signed numerous scientific publications, including:

2017) Pacella F, La Torre G, Basili S, Autolitano M, Pascarella A, Lenzi T, Pacella E. Comparison between "early" or "late" intravitreal injection of dexamethasone implant in branch (BRVO) or central (CRVO) retinal vein occlusion: six-months follow-up. Cutaneus and Ocular Toxicology, 36(3):224-230. doi: 10.1080/15569527.2016.1254648. Epub 2017 Jan 11.

(2016) Pacella F, Romano MR, Turchetti P, Tarquini G, Carnovale A, Mollicone A, Mastromatteo A, Pacella E. An eighteen-month follow-up study on the effects of Intravitreal Dexamethasone Implant in diabetic macular edema refractory to anti-VEGF therapy. International Journal of Ophthalmology, 9(10):1427-1432. eCollection 2016.

(2016) Pacella F, Agostinelli E, Carlesimo SC, Nebbioso M, Secondi R, Forastiere M, Pacella E. Management of anterior chamber dislocation of a dexamethasone intravitreal implant: a case report. Journal of Medical Case Reports,10(1):282.

(2016) Pacella E, Mipatrini D, Pacella F, Amorelli G, Bottone A, Smaldone G, Turchetti P, La Torre G. Suspensory Materials for Surgery of Blepharoptosis: A Systematic Review of Observational Studies. PLoSOne, 11(9):e0160827. doi: 0.1371/journal.pone.0160827. eCollection 2016. Review.

(2016) Grancara S, Dalla Via L, García-Argáez AN, Ohkubo S, Pacella E, Manente S, Bragadin M, Toninello A, Agostinelli E. Spermine cycling in mitochondria is mediated by adenine nucleotide translocase activity: mechanism and pathophysiological implications. Amino Acids, 48(10):2327-37. doi: 10.1007/s00726-016-2264-6. Epub 2016 Jun 2.

(2016) Pacella F, Ferraresi AF, Turchetti P, Lenzi T, Giustolisi R, Bottone A, Fameli V, Romano MR, Pacella E. Intravitreal Injection of Ozurdex(®) Implant in Patients with Persistent Diabetic Macular Edema, with Six-Month Follow-Up. Ophthalmology and Eye Diseases, 8:11-6. doi: 10.4137/OED.S38028. eCollection 2016.

(2015) Pacella E, Pacella F, De Paolis G, Parisella FR, Turchetti P, Anello G, Cavallotti C. Glycosaminoglycans in the human cornea: age-related changes. Ophthalmology and Eye Diseases, 7:1-5. doi: 10.4137/OED.S17204. eCollection 2015.

(2015) Taurone S, Ripandelli G, Pacella E, Bianchi E, Plateroti AM, De Vito S, Plateroti P, Grippaudo FR, Cavallotti C, Artico M. Potential regulatory molecules in the human trabecular meshwork of patients with glaucoma: immunohistochemical profile of a number of inflammatory cytokines. Molecular Medicine Reports, 11(2):1384-90. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2014.2772. Epub 2014 Oct 27.

(2014) Fehér J, Kovács I, Pacella E, Radák Z. Correlation of the microbiota and intestinal mucosa in the pathophysiology and treatment of irritable bowel, irritable eye, and irritable mind syndrome. Orvosi Hetilap, 155(37):1454-60. doi: 10.1556/OH.2014.29987. Review. Hungarian.

(2014) Pacella E, Arrico L, Santamaria V, Turchetti P, Carbotti MR, La Torre G, Pacella F.  Dorzolamidechlorhydrate versus acetazolamide in the management of chronic macular edema in patients with retinitis pigmentosa: description of three case reports. Ophthalmology Eye Disease, 6:21-6. doi: 10.4137/OED.S13617. eCollection 2014.

(2014) Pacella E, Nisi G, Campana M, Pacella F, Mazzeo F, Brandi C, De Santi MM, Malagnino V, Tanganelli P, D'Aniello C. Histological and ultra-structural effects of rapid muscle expansion through intramuscular administration of carbon dioxide: an intra-operative study in an animal model. European Review for Medical Pharmacology Sciences, 18(3):416-20.

Awards and prizes

In 2010 she received the "Kallistos Award" for scientific and medical research,

In 2018 she was insiegned of the prize "Professionalism and Competence" by SAPIENTIA MUNDI Foundation.

Annalisa Pastore
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: structural biology

Keywords: bioinformatics, coronavirus, coronavirus proteins, coronavirus structure, Covid-19, LLPS, RNA_binding

Region: ABROAD


Position/Role

Professor of Chemistry & Molecular Biology at King's College of London

Professional career

Graduated in Chemistry at the University Federico II of Naples, she moved in 1982 to the United States where she worked for a year at the Department of Biochemistry of the University of Wisconsin. In 1984, thanks to an exchange project between Italy and Switzerland, she joined the research team of Nobel Prize winner Richard Robert Ernst, at the ETH in Zurich. In 1987, she obtained her PhD and moved as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford. In 1988 she began working at the EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory) in Heidelberg, Germany, where in 1991 she was appointed head of the first NMR laboratory at EMBL. In 1997 she became team leader at the National Institute for Medical Research of the Medical Research Council in London where she remained until 2013 when she became full professor at King's College in London. She continued to teach with a part-time assignment until 2018, spending the other half of the time as full professor at the University of Pavia. In 2018 she was appointed professor at the Normal University of Pisa, as the first and only female lecturer in the Normal Science class in 208 years of the school life. At the beginning of 2019, she resigned following bureaucratic-administrative obstacles that prevented her from maintaining her position at King's College in London where she has now returned full-time.

Scientific results

Annalisa Pastore has worked for more than 30 years on the relationship between structure and function of peptides and proteins. After starting to work on structural muscle proteins, she has been dealing with proteins involved in neurodegeneration for many years. She has two main research lines: the first concerns mitochondrial diseases with particular attention to Friedreich's ataxia, which she has been working on since the responsible gene was discovered in 1996. Of this protein she has studied the structure and binding properties and discovered that it is part of a protein complex responsible for the formation of iron sulfur clusters, essential groups that provide electrons in proteins. The second main interest concerns proteins that take part in aggregative processes such as those that take place in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

 

Editorial work and publications

Annalisa Pastore is author of abotu 300 scientific publications including:

Y(2018) Yan, R., Yalinca, H., Paoletti, F., Gobbo, F., Marchetti, L, Kuzmanic, A., Lamba, D., Gervasio, F.L., Konarev, P.V., Cattaneo, A., Pastore, A. The structure of the Pro-domain of mouse proNGF in contact with the NGF domain. Structure, 27(1):78-89.

(2017) Alfano C, Sanfelice D, Martin SR, Pastore A, Temussi PA.  An optimized strategy to measure protein stability highlights differences between cold and hot unfolded states. Nature Commun. 8:15428.

(2016) Corvino, A., Severino, B., FiorinoF., Frecentese, F., MagliE., Perissutti, E., SantagadaV., Bucci, M., CirinoG., KellyG., ServilloL., PopowiczG., PastoreA., Caliendo, G.  Fragment-based de novo design of a cystathionine y-lyase selective inhibitor blocking hydrogen sulfide production. Scientific Reports, 6, 64398.

(2015) Ruggeri, F.S., Longo, G., Faggiano, S., Lipiec, E., Pastore, A*., Dietler, G.* Infrared nanospectroscopy characterization of oligomeric and fibrillar aggregates during amyloid formation. Nature Comm., 6, 7831. 

(2013) Yan, R., Konarev, P.V. Iannuzzi, C., Adinolfi, A., Roche, B.., Kelly, G.,  Simon, L., Martin, S.R. Py, B., Barras, F., Svergun, D.I., Pastore, A.  Ferredoxin competes with bacterial frataxin in binding to the desulfurase IscS. JBC 288: 24777-87.

(2010) Prischi, F., Konarev, P.V., Iannuzzi, C., Pastore, C., Adinolfi, S., Martin, S.R., Svergun, D.I., Pastore, A. Structural bases for the interaction of frataxin with the central components of iron-sulfur cluster assembly. Nature Communications 1, 95.

(2005) Nicastro, G., Menon, R., Masino, L., McDonalds, N.O., Pastore, A. The solution structure of the Josephin domain of ataxin-3: Structural determinants for molecular recognition. PNAS 102: 10493-10498.

(2001) Atkinson, R. A., Joseph, C., Kelly, G., Muskett, F.W.,Frenkiel, T.A., Nietlispach, D.,  Pastore, A.  Ca2+-independent binding of an EF-hand domain to a novel motif: an alpha-actinin/titin complex. Nature Struct. Biol. 8: 853-857.

(1996) Musco, G., Stier, G., Joseph, C., Castiglione Morelli, M.A., Nilges, M., Gibson, T.J., Pastore, A.  Three-dimensional structure and stability of the KH domain: Molecular insights into the Fragile X syndrome. Cell 85: 237-245.

(1994) Pfuhl M., Winder S. and Pastore, A.  Nebulin, a helical actin binding protein. EMBO J. 1782-1789.

Awards and prizes

In 2000 she was appointed EMBO Membership and since 2013 she is a member of the Academia Europeae.

Valeria Poli
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: molecular biology

Keywords: cancer, coronavirus, Covid-19: impact on schools, Covid-19: impact on women's work, Covid-19: vaccines, inflammation, mammary tumors, stat factors

Region: Piedmont


Position/Role

Full Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Turin

Professional career

Valeria Poli obtained her degree in Biology in 1984, and then a doctorate in human biology in 1992, at the University of Turin. From 1988 to 1990 she was a post-doctoral fellow at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, and from 1990 to 1992 at Columbia University in New York. From 1992 to 1997 she was Principal Investigator at the Research Institute of Molecular Biology P. Angeletti of Rome. From 1997 to 2001 she worked at the University of Dundee, in England, as Principal Investigator, Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow, Honorary Senior Lecturer and Head of the Transgenic Unit, which she established at the Department of Biochemistry.
In 2001 she became associate professor of molecular biology at the University of Turin, and then, since 2005, Full professor.
She is currently President of the Italian Society of Biophysics and Molecular Biology.

Scientific results

Valeria Poli has contributed to fundamental advances in the understanding of the mechanisms that mediate the activity and function at the transcriptional level of cytokines (molecules produced by various types of cells and secreted in the surrounding medium, usually in response to a stimulus capable of modifying the behavior of other cells inducing new activities such as growth, differentiation and death), in both physiological and pathological conditions. In particular, she contributed to the discovery of the transcription factor IL-6DBP-C/EBPbeta, which mediates many of the functions of Interleukin 6 (IL-6), a protein that acts as a multifunctional cytokine, both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory; the generation and characterization of mutant mouse strains for the C/EBPbeta and IL-6 genes, mice then widely used by the scientific community to understand the physiological and pathological functions of the two factors; the generation of mouse strains genetically manipulated for the pro-oncogenic transcription factor STAT3; and finally the pathogenic role of STAT3 in mediating auto-immune myocarditis.
Currently the activities of her laboratory mainly concern the study of the biological functions of the transcription factor STAT3, the main mediator of the cytokine signaling belonging to the IL-6 family, using in vivo cellular and murine models. In particular she is focusing on the understanding of the fundamental mechanisms that mediate STAT3 protein activity as an oncogene, at the crossroads between inflammation, immune response, stem and cancer cells niche and tumor transformation, analyzing its interactions with other tumorigenic/tumor suppressor genes and trying to identify specific pro-oncogenic target genes. She is currently engaged in research on the relationship between breast cancer cells and cancer associated fibroblasts in the tumor niche, on the role of STAT3 in the regulation of energy metabolism and calcium homeostasis in the tumor as well as in normal cells, and on the role of STAT3-dependent long non coding RNAs in stemness and differentiation.

Editorial work and publications

Valeria Poli is and has been in the editorial board of prestigious scientific journals such as Cell Communication and Signaling, American Journal of Cancer Research, Cancers and Frontiers in Molecular and Cellular Oncology. She acts as regular scientific reviewer for international journals such as Nature, the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the EMBO Journal, the European Journal of Immunology, Cancer Research, the Journal of Cell Science, the Biochemical Journal, Circulation Research, Cell Death and Differentiation and PLOS ONE.

She is co-author of more than 150 publications, including those listed below.

[2018] Avalle L, Camporeale A, Morciano G, Caroccia N, Ghetti E, Orecchia V, Viavattene D, Giorgi C, Pinton P, Poli V. STAT3 localizes to the ER, acting as a gatekeeper for ER-mitochondrion Ca2+ fluxes and apoptotic responses. Cell Death & Differentation, 26: 932-942.

[2017] Avalle L, Incarnato D, Savino A, Gai M, Marino F, Pensa S, Barbieri I, Stadler MB, Provero P, Oliviero S, Poli V.MicroRNAs-143 and -145 induce epithelial to mesenchymal transition and modulate the expression of junction proteins. Cell Death & Differentation,  24: 1750-1760. 

[2014] Demaria M, Camporeale A, Poli V STAT3 and metabolism: How many ways to use a single molecule?  Int J Cancer, 135 (9): 1997-2003.

[2013] Camporeale A, Marino F, Papageorgiou A, Carai P, Fornero S, Fletcher S, Page BDG, Gunning P, Forni M, Chiarle R, Morello M, Jensen O, Levi R, Heymans S, Poli V. STAT3 activity is necessary and sufficient for the development of immune-mediated myocarditis in mice and promotes progression to dilated cardiomyopathy. EMBO Molecular Medicine, 5: 572–590.

[2012] Demaria M, Misale S, Giorgi C, Miano V, Camporeale A, Campisi J, Pinton P and Poli V. STAT3 can serve as a hit in the process of malignant transformation of primary cells, Cell Death and Differentiation, 19:1390-1397.

[2010] Barbieri I, Pensa S, Pannellini T, Quaglino E, Maritano D, Demaria M, Voster A, Turkson J, Cavallo F, Watson CJ,Provero P, Musiani P and Poli V. Constitutively active Stat3 enhances Neu-mediated migration and metastasis in mammary tumors via upregulation of Cten, Cancer Research, 70:2558-67.

[2009] Vallania F, Schiavone D, Dewilde S, Pupo E, Garbay S, Calogero R, Pontoglio M, Provero P andPoli V. Genome-Wide Discovery of Functional Transcription Factor Binding Sites by Comparative Genomics: the Case of Stat3, Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106:5117-22.

[2004] Maritano D, Sugrue ML, Tininini S, Dewilde S, Strobl B, Fu XP, Murray-Tait V, Chiarle R and Poli V. The STAT3 isoforms, a and b, play unique and specific roles, Nature Immunology, 5:401-409.

[2001] Alonzi T, Maritano D, Gorgoni B, Rizzuto G, Libert C, Poli V. Essential role of STAT3 in the control of the acute phase response as revealed by inducible gene inactivation in the liver. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 21:1621-1632.

[1996] Screpanti I, Musiani P, Bellavia D, Cappelletti M, Aiello FB, Maroder M, Frati L, Modesti A, Gulino A and Poli V. Inactivation of the Interleukin-6 gene prevents development of Castleman's disease in C/EBPß-deficient mice, The Journal of Experimental Medicine, 184:1561-1566.

Awards and prizes

Valeria Poli was elected member of two of the most prestigious international scientific communities, the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), and the Academia Europaea.

She was a member of the Life Science panel for the Advanced European Research Council and she is among the expert evaluators of the Horizon 2020 projects. Regular reviewer for the technical-scientific evaluation of research projects for MIUR and for various international bodies and institutions such as the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council , the American Institute for Cancer Research, the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, the Austrian Science Fund, the Foundation for Scientific Research Belgium.

 

Silvia Giuliana Priori
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: cardiovascular pathophysiology, molecular cardiology, rehabilitative cardiology

Keywords: cardiology, rehabilitative cardiology, sudden death syndrome, telethon

Region: Lombardy


Position/Role

Scientific Director at the IRCSS Salvatore Maugeri Foundation of Pavia and Full Professor of Cardiology at the University of Pavia

Professional career

Silvia Giuliana Priori graduated in Medicine and Surgery in 1986 at the University of Milan, then specialized in Cardiology at the same university, obtaining a PhD in Cardiac Pathophysiology in 1995. After a period of training abroad, in the Cellular Electrophysiology laboratories of the Cardiology Department of Washington University, she returned to Italy to carry out a research internship in molecular biology at the Telethon Institute for Genetics and Medicine (TIGEM) in Milan. From 2008 to January 2016 she is Professor of Medicine and Director of the Genetics Program at the Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology at the University of New York. She is currently Full Professor of Cardiology at the University of Pavia. In addition to the academic activity, Silvia Giuliana Priori coordinates several laboratories and departments: she is the Central Scientific Director of the Salvatore Maugeri Foundation Clinic of Labor and Rehabilitation IRCCS and Director of the Department of Rehabilitation Cardiology and of the Molecular Cardiology Service at the same Foundation. She also directs and coordinates international programs, such as the Cardiovascular Genetics Genetic Cardiovascular Program at the National Center for Investigations Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC) in Madrid.

Scientific results

Since 1997 she has begun the development of an autonomous research line in the laboratories that she directs. By merging the clinical activity on arrhythmogenic diseases (cardiac diseases that cause arrhythmias) to the skills of molecular biology and cell electrophysiology, she created the first center in Italy, and one of the first in the world, of Molecular Cardiology where she studies the mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmias that cause sudden deaths in children and adolescents. She achieved important successes in research on long QT syndrome (LQTS, from the English "Long QT Syndrome"), a rare cardiac anomaly characterized by delayed repolarization of myocardial cells and associated with syncope, and Brugada syndrome, also a heart condition with disorders of the electrical activity of the heart that leads to cardiac arrest. The team she directs is involved in a wide-ranging project based on the creation of innovative animal models of genetic diseases and on the development of advanced molecular strategies to correct gene defects through the use of adeno-associated viruses (able to integrate into the cell genome host even in the absence of cell proliferation) to silence sick genes and to re-express healthy ones.

Editorial work and publications

She has autored numerous national and international publications, including:

(2016) Mosca B, Eckhardt J, Bergamelli L, Priori SG, et al. Role of the JP45-calsequestrin complex on calcium entry in slow twitch skeletal muscles. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 291(28):14555-65.

(2016) Mazzanti A, Priori SG. Brugada Syndrome. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 68(6):624-625.

(2016) Faragli A, Underwood K, Priori SG, Mazzanti A. Is There a Role for Genetics in the Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death?. Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology.

(2016) Mosca B, Eckhardt J, Bergamelli L, Priori SG, et al. Role of the JP45-Calsequestrin Complex on Calcium Entry in Slow Twitch Skeletal Muscles. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 291(28).

(2016) Chyou JY Fredman D, Cerrone M, Priori SG, et al. Electrocardiographic features of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, Epilepsia.

(2016) Curcio A, Mazzanti A, Bloise R, Priori SG, et al. Clinical Presentation and Outcome of Brugada Syndrome Diagnosed With the New 2013 Criteria. Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology, 27(8):937-43.

(2016) Mazzanti A, Maragna R, Faragli A, Priori SG, et al. Gene-Specific Therapy With Mexiletine Reduces Arrhythmic Events in Patients With Long QT Syndrome Type 3. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 67(9):1053-1058.

(2016) Imberti JF, Underwood K, Mazzanti A, Priori SG. Clinical Challenges in Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia. Heart, Lung and Circulation, 25(8).

(2015) Priori SG, Blomstorm-Lundqvist C, Mazzanti A, et al. 2015 ESC Guidelines for the Management of Patients With Ventricular Arrhythmias and the Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death. Revista Española de Cardiología, 69(2):176.

(2015) Ferrantini C, Coppini R, Scellini B, Priori SG, et al. R4496C RyR2 mutation impairs atrial and ventricular contractility. The Journal of General Physiology, 147(1).

Sabrina Sabatini
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: biology

Keywords: biophysics, genetics, molecular biology, plant development biology, plant stem cells

Region: Lazio


Position/Role

Associate professor of Molecolar Biology at La Sapienza University of Rome

Professional career

After graduating in Biological Sciences at the Sapienza University of Rome in 1998, she obtained a PhD in Molecular Biology at the same university. She then moved to Holland for a post doc at the University of Utrecht, in the Department of Genetics and Cell Biology from 1998 to 2003. There she worked on the molecular mechanisms of plant hormones such as auxin. These studies reveal the crucial role of this hormone in regulating fundamental processes such as the division, polarity and fate of a cell. From 2003 to 2006 she returned to Italy as a contract professor at the Faculty of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences of Sapienza University in Rome thanks to the "Incentives for the mobility of Italian and foreign teachers working abroad" and to the assignment of the prestigious Career Development Award by the Giovanni Armenise - Harvard Foundation of Harvard University (USA). This is the first time this award has been given to a Plant Biology project. In 2008 she became a researcher at the General Department of Molecular Biology at Sapienza University and since 2010 she has been working as an associate professor in the "Charles Darwin" Department of Biology and Biotechnology. In 2010 she won a very prestigious ERC starting grant awarded by the European Reasercher Council for a value of € 1,500,000.

Scientific results

Sabrina Sabatini has established herself as an international leader in plant development biology. By studying the root of the Arabidopsis thaliana, Sabatini and her collaborators were able to understand the mechanism of action of the phytohormones, a discovery that opens up a new way to accelerate the evolutionary processes of the cultivated species. From this discovery derives, among other things, the possibility of speeding up and increasing the growth of the roots to make them sink into the ground until they reach the aquifer or, vice versa, prevent the roots from descending too deeply and avoid reaching areas with excessively high salt concentrations . Future applications of this discovery would therefore mark a turning point in the production of the much hated / loved GMOs, which could be outclassed.

Editorial work and publications

She is the author of numerous articles, including:

(2015) Pacifici E, Polverari L, Sabatini S. Plant hormone cross-talk: the pivot of root growth. Journal of Experimental Botany, 66(4):1113-21. 

(2014) Heidstra R, Sabatini S. Plant and animal stem cells: similar yet different. Nature Reviews Molecolar Cell Biology, 15(5):301-12.

(2013) Perilli S, Perez-Perez JM, Di Mambro R, Peris CL, Díaz-Triviño S, Del Bianco M, Pierdonati E, Moubayidin L, Cruz-Ramírez A, Costantino P, Scheres B, Sabatini S. RETINOBLASTOMA-RELATED protein stimulates cell differentiation in the Arabidopsis root meristem by interacting with cytokinin signaling. Plant Cell, 25(11):4469-78.

(2013) Mattei B, Sabatini S, Schininà ME. Proteomics in deciphering the auxin commitment in the Arabidopsis thaliana root growth. Journal of Proteome Research, 12(11):4685-701.

(2013) Moubayidin L, Di Mambro R, Sozzani R, Pacifici E, Salvi E, Terpstra I, Bao D, van Dijken A, Dello Ioio R, Perilli S, Ljung K, Benfey PN, Heidstra R, Costantino P, Sabatini S. Spatial coordination between stem cell activity and cell differentiation in the root meristem. Developmental Cell, 26(4):405-15.

(2011) Perilli S., Di Mambro R., Sabatini S. Growth and development of the root apical meristem. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 15(1):17-23. 

(2011) Kim K, Ryu H, Cho YH, Scacchi E, Sabatini S, Hwang I. Cytokinin-facilitated Proteolysis of ARABIDOPSIS RESPONSE REGULATOR2 Attenuates Signaling Output in Two-component Circuitry. Plant Journal, 69(6):934-45.

(2011) Aichinger E, Villar CB, Di Mambro R, Sabatini S, Köhler C. The CHD3 chromatin remodeler PICKLE and polycomb group proteins antagonistically regulate meristem activity in the Arabidopsis root. Plant Cell, 23:1047-60.

(2010) Moubayidin L., Perilli S, Dello Ioio R., Di Mambro R, Costantino P and Sabatini S. Root meristem growth is controlled by an increase in the rate of cell differentiation relative to cell division. Journal of Biotechnology,150, Supplement 1, S110. 

(2010) Moubayidin L, Perilli S, Dello Ioio R, Di Mambro R, Costantino P and Sabatini S. The rate of cell differentiation controls the Arabidopsis root meristem growth phase. Current Biology, 20:1138-1143. 

Awards and prizes

In 2003 she won the Career Development Award from the Giovanni Armenise-Harvard Foundation of Harvard University (USA), for the first time assigned to a Plant Biology project. In 2010 she won a prestigious ERC starting grant awarded by the European Reasercher Council.

 

 

Paola Giuseppina Sacerdote
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: basic pharmacology, clinical pharmacology, pharmacology

Keywords: acute pain, analgesic drugs, chronic pain, neuroinflammation, opioids, palliative care, physiopathology of pain, substances of abuse

Region: Lombardy


Position/Role

Full professor of Pharmacology at the University of Milan.

Professional career

After the Degree in Biology at the University of Milano in 1983 and a period of research experience in the Dept. of Pharmacology of the same University, she spends a 3 year period at the National Institute of Health (Bethesda, USA), where she gets a PhD degree in Neuropharmacology.  She returns in Italy at the Department of Pharmacology, where she continues her career and research experience, as staff researcher and then as Associate Professor of Pharmacology. From 2017 she is full Professor of Pharmacology at the Department of Pharmacological and Biomolecular Sciences where she  is the Head of the laboratory of “ Pain Therapy, neuroimmunology and drug of abuse” composed of young Italian and foreign scientists.

 

Scientific results

Paola Sacerdote since many years is involved in studies focused on the relationship between the Central Nervous System and the Immune System with particular reference to inflammation and pain.

Her research interest is the study of the mechanisms at the basis of onset, maintenance and resolution of chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain, with the aim to identify novel more effective and safer therapeutic approaches. The group has demonstrated that at the  basis of pain there is a pathological interaction between neurons, glia, microglia and immune cells in the central and peripheral nervous system and  has identified the role of a new family of chemokines, the prokineticin, in pain and inflammation.

Recently the group has demonstrated in several animal models the efficacy of  stem cells and their secretome to modulate nociceptive pathways, due to the ability of stem cells to modulate endogenous cell activity and inflammation.  
Moreover, over the years, she has studied in deep the basic and clinical pharmacology of the analgesic drugs opioids.  In this context, her research group was the first to identify the role of the opioid peptide beta-endorphin in the modulation of immune responses. She analyzed the immune-pharmacological profiles of different analgesic drugs, in order to identify molecules devoid of immunosuppressive properties to propose in pain therapy. She collaborates with several National and International Clinical Centers for the treatment of pain to reach the best therapeutic approach for each patient.

Editorial work and publications

She authored of about 190 scientific publications, and has participated in Consensus Conferences in the field of pain and opioids that have led to important publications widely used by Pain Therapists. She has written chapters for numerous books with national and international distribution.

Below is a list of her main scientific publications:

(2017) Brini A, Amodeo G, Ferreira LM, Milani A, Niada S, Moschetti G, Franchi S, Borsani E, Rodella LF, Panerai AE, Sacerdote P. Therapeutic effect of human adipose-derived stem cells and their secretome in experimental diabetic pain. Scientific Reports, 7(1):9904.

(2017) Franchi S, Amodeo G, Gandolla M, Moschetti G, Panerai AE, Sacerdote P. Effect of Tapentadol on splenic cytokine production in mice. Anesthesia and Analgesia, 124:986-995.

(2016) Castelli M, Amodeo G, Negri L, Lattanzi R, Maftei D, Gotti C, Pistillo F, Onnis V, Congu C, Panerai AE, Sacerdote P, Franchi S. Antagonism of the prokineticin system prevents and reverses allodynia and inflammation in a mouse model of diabetes. Plos One, 11(1):e0146259.

(2014) Maftei D, Marconi V, Florenzano F, Giancotti LA, Castelli M,vMoretti S, Borsani E, Rodella LF, Balboni G, Luongo L, Maione S, Sacerdote P, Negri L and Lattanzi R. Controlling the activation of the Bv8/Prokineticin system reduces neuroinflammation and abolishes thermal and tactile hyperalgesia in neuropathic animals. British Journal of Pharmacology, 171:4850-65.

(2014) Moretti S, Castelli M, Franchi S, Raggi MA, Mercolini L, Protti M, Somaini L, Panerai AE, Sacerdote P. D-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol-induced anti-inflammatory responses in adolescent mice switch to proinflammatory in adulthood. Journal of Leukocyte Biology, 96:523-34.

(2013) Sacerdote P, Franchi S, Moretti S, Castelli M, Procacci P, Magnaghi V, Panerai AE. Cytokine Modulation is Necessary for Efficacious Treatment of Experimental Neuropathic Pain. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, 8:202-11.

(2013) Sacerdote P, Niada S, Franchi S, Arrigoni E, Rossi A, Yenagi V, De Girolamo L, Panerai AA, Brini AT. Systemic administration of human Adipose-derived Stem Cells (hASCs) reverts nociceptive hypersensitivity in an experimental model of neuropathy. Stem Cells And Development, 22:1252-63.

(2012) Franchi S, Valsecchi AE, Borsani E, Procacci P, Ferrari D, Zaffa C, Sartori P, Rodella LF, Vescovi A, Maione S, Rossi F, Colleoni M, Sacerdote P, Panerai AE. Intravenous Neural Stem Cells abolish nociceptive hypersensitivity and trigger nerve regeneration in experimental neuropathy. Pain, 153:850-861.

(2012) Sacerdote P, Franchi S, Panerai AE. Non-Analgesic Effects of Opioids: Mechanisms and Potential Clinical Relevance of Opioid-Induced Immunodepression. Current Pharmaceutical Design,18(37):6034-42.

(2009) Giannini E, Lattanzi R, Nicotra A, Campese Af, Grazioli P, Screpanti I, Balboni G, Salvadori S, Sacerdote P, Negri L. The chemokine Bv8/prokineticin 2 is up-regulated in inflammatory granulocytes and modulates inflammatory pain. Proceedings of the National Acadademy of Sciences USA, 106:14646-51.

(2008) Gironi M, Martinelli-Boneschi F, Sacerdote P, Solaro C, Zaffaroni M, Cavarretta R, Moiola L, Bucello S, Radaelli M, Pilato V, Rodegher M, Cursi M, Franchi S, Martinelli V, Nemni R, Comi G, Martino G. A pilot trial of low-dose naltrexone in primary progressive multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis, 14: 1076-83.

(2008) Pergolizzi J, Böger RH, Budd K, Dahan A, Erdine S, Hans G, Kress HG, Langford R, Likar R, Raffa RB, Sacerdote P. Opioids and the management of chronic severe pain in the elderly: consensus statement of an international expert panel with focus on the six clinically most often used WHO step III opioids (buprenorphine, fentanyl, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone). Pain Practice. 8:287-313.

Serena Sanna
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: epidemiological statistical analysis, genetic statistical analysis

Keywords: aging, dna, genes, genetics, longevity, sardinia

Region: ABROAD


Position/Role

Head of Research at National Council of Reasearch.

Professional career

Serena Sanna holds a bachelor and master degree in mathematics from the University of Cagliari, Italy (2003). After her studies, she worked at Istituto di Ricerca Genetica e Biomedica (IRGB) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR), and on 2005 she moved at the School of Public Health, of the University of Michigan as “statistical geneticist”. At the end of 2007, she comes back to IRGB but continues her research studies in close collaboration with scientists at University of Michigan. On 2016, she obtains a doctorate degree in medical genetics at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, where she is at present an Assistant Professor in Genetics.

In 2019 she became a researcher at National Council of Research, CNR, and in 2020 Head of Research at CNR, Monserrrato, Sardinia, Italy.

Scientific results

Serena Sanna carried out most of her research studies within the project “SardiNIA/ProgeNIA: genetic and epidemiology of aging associated conditions” on which more than 6 thousands volunteers from the east part of the Sardinia island where enrolled. Using cutting edge technologies to assess the genome of such individuals combined with novel statistical techniques, she identified hundreds of genetic factors that influence disease susceptibility (such risk for cardiovascular diseases) or that affect disease risk factors (such as cholesterol or blood pressure).

Her approach is to use statistical inferential methods to reduce at minimum the cost required to characterize the genome of an individual – in brief by only looking at a portion of his/her DNA and then look at human similarity, she is able to predict the rest of the genome. She is particularly involved in the whole-genome sequencing characterization of the entire genomes of Sardinian volunteers, with the aim to identify all existing genetic variants – including those that are Sardinian specific – that affect health and disease status.  

Editorial work and publications

Serena Sanna has authored numerous publications, including:

(2015) Sidore C, Busonero F, Maschio A, Porcu E, Naitza S, Zoledziewska M, Mulas A, Pistis G, Steri M, Danjou F, Kwong A, Ortega del Vecchyo VD, Chiang CWK, Bragg-Gresham J, Pitzalis M, Nagaraja R, Tarrier B, Brennan C, Uzzau S, Fuchsberger C, Atzeni R, Reinier F, Berutti R, Huang J, Timpson NJ, Toniolo D, Gasparini P, Malerba G, Dedoussis G, Zeggini E, Soranzo N, Jones C, Lyons R, Angius A, Kang HM, Novembre J, Sanna S, Schlessinger D, Cucca F, Abecasis GR. Genome sequencing elucidates Sardinian genetic architecture and augments GWAS findings: the examples of lipids and blood inflammatory markers. Nature Genetics, 47:1272-1281. 

(2013) Orrù V, Steri M, Sole G, Sidore C, [....], Schlessinger D, Abecasis GR, Fiorillo E, Sanna S, Cucca F. Genetic Variants Regulating Immune Cell Levels in Health and Disease. Cell, 155(1):242-256.

(2011) Sanna S, Li B, Mulas A,Sidore C, Kang HM, Jackson AU, Piras MG, Usala G, Maninchedda G, Sassu A, Serra F, Palmas MA, Wood WH 3rd, Njølstad I, Laakso M, Hveem K, Tuomilehto J, Lakka TA, Rauramaa R, Boehnke M, Cucca F, Uda M, Schlessinger D, Nagaraja R, Abecasis GR. Fine mapping of five loci associated with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol detects variants that double the explained heritability. PLoS Genetics, 7(7):e1002198.

(2008) Uda M, Galanello R, Sanna S, Lettre G, Sankaran VG, Chen W, Usala G, Busonero F, Maschio A, Albai G, Piras MG, Sestu N, Lai S, Dei M, Mulas A, Crisponi L, Naitza S, Asunis I, Deiana M, Nagaraja R, Perseu L, Satta S, Cipollina MD, Sollaino C, Moi P, Hirschhorn JN, Orkin SH, Abecasis GR, Schlessinger D, Cao A. Genome-wide association study shows BCL11A associated with persistent HbF and amelioration of the phenotype of β-thalassemia. Proceeding of the National Academy Society of the United States of America, 105(5):1620-5. 

(2008) Willer CJ, Sanna S, Jackson AU, Scuteri A, et al . Newly identified loci that influence lipid concentrations and risk of coronary artery disease. Nature Genetics, 40(2):161-9. 

Full list of publications available at https://scholar.google.nl/citations?hl=en&user=6hjWp7sAAAAJ&view_op=list_works&sortby=pubdate

Awards and prizes

In 2008 she won the Best Young Scientist award given by the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG)

In 2009 and 2010, two of her publications (Peufer et al 2009; and Sanna et al 2010) were selected among the top publications from scientists of the CNR on those years. 

In 2013 she was recogneised as the Best young CNR scientist in the biomedics.

In 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, she is present in the list of Highly Cited Scientists released by Thomson Reuters, NY, which includes top 1% scientists in their field.

In 2018 she received the “Guido Dorso” award by the Guido Dorso association and Italian Senate as the best scientist from south Italy.

Velia Siciliano
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: biotechnologies, medica biotechnology

Keywords: aystems biology, synthetic biology

Region: Campania


Position/Role

Group Leader, Synthetic and Systems Biology for Biomedicine Laboratory of Italian Insitute of Technology, Naple, University Federico II.

Professional career

Velia Siciliano graduated cum Laudein Medical Biotechnology, BSc and MSc degree at the University of Naples Federico II.  In 2012 she obtained a PhD in Human Genetics from the Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine Naples supervised by Prof. di Bernardo (Systems and Synthetic Biology lab) 

 then moved to Boston as a Postdoctoral fellow in the Biological Engineering Department and Synthetic Biology Centre at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 2015 she won a fellowship for Junior Independent Investigator from Imperial College London. Here, in the Department of Medicine she started to build her independent research line in mammalian synthetic biology. 

In September 2017 she was appointed as Principal Investigator at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia-IIT after passing an international scientific committee evaluation through the Tenure Track program of IIT. She established a new Research Line in Synthetic and Systems Biology. She is also honorary fellow of Imperial College London where she still supervises research activities.

Scientific results

Velia Siciliano’s research is published in high impact journals including Nature Communications, Nature Biotechnology etc. She is a co-inventor of a patent with MIT.

She was recently awarded with the most prestigious research grant in Europe, the ERC Starting Grant, receiving funding for 1.5M euro from EU. She is also partner in other grants, including an ERC Advanced (coordinated by Prof. Di Leonardo, Università la Sapienza, Roma) and the Cosy-Bio  (FET-grant, from EU coordinated by Prof. Di Bernardo).

Velia Siciliano attended more than 10 conferences and meetings as invited speaker, and she is member of scientific committee of the Synthetic and Systems Biology summer school, Member of scientific committee ofMammalian Synthetic Biology workshop, and chair of the Cell Therapies + Bioengineering Conference. She was recognized as one of 10  most promising scientists under 40 in Italy by Fortune (https://www.fortuneita.com/2019/07/14/40-under-40-i-10-giovani-ricercatori-da-tenere-docchio/), and one of 1000 women with most impact in Italy for science and innovation (https://startupitalia.eu/unstoppablewomen). Velia was among the 20 women in the final selection of women of 2019 by DonnaD (La Repubblica). 

Editorial work and publications

Velia Siciliano is Review Editor in Nanobiotechnology,  Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences, Bioengineering and Biotechnology and Materials) and she was invited to join the editorial board of BioDesign Research, an international, peer-reviewed, open-access journal, part of the Science Partner Journal (SPJ) family; she is ad-hocreviewer for multiple journals.  

She is an author/coauthor in several important scientific papers, including:

[2020] Tedeschi F, Siciliano V., Mammalian synbio sensorsin Hanbook of Cell Biosensor, Springer.

[2019] Dipalo M, Caprettini V, Bruno G, Caliendo F, Garma L,  Melle G, Dukinova M,  Siciliano V,  Santoro F,  De Angelis F. Membrane Poration Mechanisms at the Cell–Nanostructure Interface, Advanced Biosystems, 3(12): 1900148.

[2019] Pennacchio FA, Caliendo F, Iaccarino G, Langella A, Siciliano V, Santoro F. 3D-patterned scaffolds modulate the biointerface at the nanoscale, Nano Letters19 (8), 5118-5123.

[2019] Cella F. Siciliano V., Protein-based parts and devices that respond to intracellular and extracellular signals in mammalian cells, Current Opinion in Chemical Biology, 52, 47-53.

[2019] Caliendo F., Dukhinova M., Siciliano V., Engineered cell-based therapeutics: synthetic biology meets immunology, Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology.

[2018] Cella F., Wroblewska L., Weiss R, Siciliano V. Engineering of protease sensitive RNA-Binding protein in mammalian cellsNature Communications, 7, 43.

[2018] Siciliano V., Di Andreth B., Monel B., Beal J., Huh J.,Clayton K.,Wroblewska L.,McKeon Am., Walker BD.,Weiss R. Engineering modular intracellular protein sensor-actuator devices. Nature Communications, 9(1):1881.

[2015] Wroblewska L, Endo K, Kitada T, Siciliano V, Saito H, Weiss R. Engineering mammalian cells with RNA-encoded synthetic translational circuits. Nature Biotechnology, 33(8):839-41.

[2014] Stanton B, Siciliano V, Ghodasara A, Wroblewska L, Clancy K, Trefzer A, Chesnut J, Weiss R, Voigt C. Systematic transfer of prokaryotic sensors and circuits to mammalian cells. ACS Synthetic BiologyDec 19;3(12):880-91.

[2013] Siciliano V, Garzilli I, Fracassi C, Ventre S, Criscuolo S, di Bernardo D. miRNAs confer phenotypic robustness to gene networks by suppressing biological noise: a synthetic biology approach. Nature Communications, 4:2364.

[2012] Menolascina F, Siciliano V, di Bernardo D. Engineering and Control of Biological Systems: A New Way to Tackle Complex Diseases and Biotechnological Innovation. FEBS Letter, 586(15):2122-8.

Awards and prizes

2014 Prize for scientific innovation in synthetic biology. Synberc fall retreat

2016 Proof-of concept grant, Synbicite (UK)

2018 Award Young Innovator  MIT Italy 

2018 Award Galilei, 2032 Rotary International

2019 Mortari Award, Merck

In September 2021 she is named among the 50 most inspiring Italian women in the world of technology with the award InspiringFifty for Italy.

 

 

Maria Pia Sormani
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: biostatistics, research methods

Keywords: autotransplant, biostatistics, cancer, coronavirus, Covid-19, Covid-19 in people with multiple sclerosis, data analysis, MRI, multiple sclerosis, vaccines in people with multiple sclerosis

Region: Liguria


Position/Role

Full Professor of Medical Statistics  at the University of Genoa, Italy

Professional career

After graduating in Physics with Biophysical specialization at the University of Genoa in 1992, she continued her education through a specialisation in Medical Physics, Statistical Analysis of Medical Data and Biomedical Imaging at the University of Pisa. In 1998 she obtained a specialisation in Medical Statistics at the University of Milan. In 1998 she joined the Clinical Epidemiology group of the National Institute for Cancer Research (IST) in Genoa as a research fellow, where she worked on clinical trials in oncology. For 10 years she collaborated as a statistical consultant with the Neuroimaging Research Unit of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan and devoted herself to research on Multiple Sclerosis. Since 2005, she has been Professor of Medical Statistics at the University of Genoa.

Scientific results

Maria Pia Sormani's research work focuses on the study of methodological issues related to the use of magnetic resonance imaging in multiple sclerosis, which she has been investigating for the past ten years while collaborating with the Neuroimaging Research Unit at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, and on the definition of the study design for testing new drugs in this pathology. Recently, she has been involved in studies on the efficacy of autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation in cases of aggressive multiple sclerosis. On this topic, she presented a meta-analysis at the European Multiple Sclerosis Congress (ECTRIMS), which should form the basis for planning and conducting a randomised trial of this therapy. She is also participating in the MESEMS study, the first worldwide study evaluating stem cell transplantation in multiple sclerosis, directed by Prof. Uccelli of the Neurological Clinic of the University of Genoa. Other research areas concern bone marrow transplantation in leukaemia, endpoint definition in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and the study of surrogate endpoints in breast cancer studies, in collaboration with the San Martino-IST of Genoa.

Editorial work and publications

She is in the editorial Board of Multiple Sclerosis Journal and Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders. She published more than 350 papers on peer reviewed journals.

Awards and prizes

In 2016 whe was recognised one of the 38 Top Italian Scientist italiane by ONDA (Osservatorio Nazionale sulla Salute della Donna).

Daniela Trabattoni
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: clinical cardiology, invasive cardiology

Keywords: coronavirus, Covid-19, Covid-19: acute coronary syndromes, Covid-19: gender medicine, gender-specific medicine, preventive medicine

Region: Lombardy


Position/Role

Chief of the Operative Unit Invasive Cardiology and Director of the "Monzino Women"  at the Centro Cardiologico Monzino, IRCCS, Milan 

Professional career

Graduation in Medicine at the University of Milan in 1992; board in Cardiology at the University of Milan in 1997.

Visiting fellow in the Intravascular Ultrasound Laboratory, Catheterization Lab, Washington Hospital Center (1997-1998).

In 1998 she becomes staff member of the Cath Lab at the Centro Cardiologico Monzino and Assistant Director in 2014. She is elected Chief of the Invasive Cardiology Unit at the same Institute in October 2017 and Director of the Women Heart Center, she founded in 2017, focused on cardiovascular prevention in women. 

Teaching clinical cardiology at the postgraduate cardiology school, University of Milan.

She is elected committee member of the National Superior Institute of Health (ISS) for cardiovascular devices evaluation in 2011 and member of the ISS committee for a ministerial consensus document on gender-based medicine.

Scientific results

Daniela Trabattoni focuses her research interests in interventional cardiology section, evaluating factors possibly affecting PCI outcomes, according to different coronary devices use. She has studied cardioprotective tools adopted during primary angioplasty as adjunctive therapy for a faster left ventricle function recovery, after acute myocardial infarction. She has studied potential correlations between patent foramen ovale and migraine and compared different occluder devices in PFO closure. She actively contributed to the writing of the national consensus document on antiplatelet treatment management in patients with previous coronary stenting addressed to any surgery, by the GISE (Italian Society of Invasive Cardiology). She has studied safety and efficacy of short-term antiplatelet therapy after drug-eluting and drug-coated stents in high-bleeding risk patients.

Editorial work and publications

Daniela Trabattoni is reviewer for several international and national cardiology journals: Giornale italiano di CardiologiaJournal of Cardiovascular MedicineInternational Jorunal of CardiologyCatheterization & Cardiovascular InterventionsCephalalgiaCirculation Cardiovasc Interventions.

She has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Endovascular Therapy (2010-2013) and is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Hypertension and Immunotherapy.

She has signed numerous scientific publications.

Awards and prizes

Since 1995 he has been a member of the Italian Society of Cardiology.

Since 2001 she has been a member of the European Society of Cardiology and a member of the Italian Group of Invasive Cardiology.

Since 2005 she is a member of the American College of Cardiology.

Since 2007s he is a member of the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions (EAPCI).

In 2007 she received the "Rosa Camuna" award from the Lombardy Region.

Katia Varani
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: cellular pharmacology

Keywords: anxiety, cancer, chronic diseases on an inflammatory basis, chronic pain, Huntington's korea, multiple sclerosis

Region: Emilia-Romagna


Position/Role

Full professor of Pharmacology,Department of Medical Sciences and University Center for Studies on Gender Medicine, University of Ferrara

Professional career

After graduating in Biological Sciences at the University of Ferrara in 1988, she continued her studies obtaining a Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology in 1996. After that, she became Assistant Researcher in Pharmacology and from 2009 to date is Associate Professor in Pharmacology, Department of Medical Sciences, University Center for Studies on Gender Medicine, University of Ferrara.

Scientific results

The research themes of Katia Varani and her group are well represented by the pharmacological, biochemical and molecular study of adenosine receptors that have an important role in the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system and the immune response. The interaction of adenosine receptors is studied in neurodegenerative diseases (Huntington's chorea, Parkinson's disease and Multiple Sclerosis), in chronic and neuropathic pain, in cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension and heart failure, inflammatory diseases and cancer. Some studies show that A3 adenosine receptors represent a possible therapeutic target for preventing the development of mesothelial pleural tumors after exposure to asbestos. Other studies have shown that stimulated A2A adenosine receptors have an anti-inflammatory role in chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Recently, preclinical studies have shown that allosteric modulators of A1 adenosine receptors are endowed of analgesic and anxiolytic properties. The development of new potential drugs acting on adenosine receptors could constitute a valid and innovative pharmacological tool that could be very useful in clinical therapy.

Editorial work and publications

Katia Varani has authored more than 200 scientific papers in international journalis, including:

(2018) Borea PA, Gessi S, Merighi S, Vincenzi F, Varani K. Pharmacology of Adenosine Receptors: The State of the Art. Physiology Review, 98(3):1591-1625.

(2017) Borea PA, Gessi S, Merighi S, Vincenzi F, Varani K. Pathologic overproduction: the bad side of adenosine. British J Pharmacology, 174:1945-1960.

(2016) Tabrizi M, Baraldi PG, Borea PA, Varani K (2016). Medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, and potential therapeutic benefits of cannabinoid CBreceptor agonists. Chemical Reviews, 116:519-560.

(2016) Borea PA, Gessi S, Merighi S, Varani K. Adenosine as a multi-signalling guardian angel in human diseases: when, where and how does it exert its protective effects?. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, S0165-6147(16)00041-9. 

(2015) Preti D, Baraldi PG, Moorman AR, Borea PA, Varani K. History and perspectives of A2A adenosine receptor antagonists as potential therapeutic agents. Medicinal Research Reviews, 35(4):790-848. 

Antonella Viola
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: biology, immunology

Keywords: cancer cure, coronavirus, Covid-19, immune system, immunology, immunotherapy, inflammation, stamina cells

Region: Veneto


Position/Role

Full Professor of General Pathology at the University of Padua and Scientific Director at Istituto di Ricerca Pediatrica (IRP) Foundation

Professional career

After graduating in Biological Sciences at the University of Padua in 1991, prof. Viola continued her education with a PhD in Evolutionary Biology, which she obtained in 1995 at the same university. She then joined the scientific community of the Basel Institute of Immunology (BII), first as visiting scientist and then as BII scientific member. In 2001 she went back to Padua as assistant professor and head of the Immunology Laboratory at the Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine (VIMM). In 2007, she moved to Milan to direct the Adaptive Immunity Laboratory at the Humanitas Research Center. In 2014 she became full professor of General Pathology at the University of Padua and in 2017 scientific director of the Pediatric Research Institute (IRP). She has been a member of the scientific committee of the Italian Association for Cancer Research (AIRC) and a reviewer for the European Commission (FP7 and ERC). She has coordinated international (Prostate Cancer Research Program), European (E-rare) and national projects (AIRC, Telethon, MIUR, Ministry of Health) and has been partner of two ambitious projects of the European community, SYBILLA and MERLIN.

Scientific results

After the studies on T lymphocytes (capable of killing virus-infected cells or helping B cells in the production of antibodies), prof. Viola has expanded her research in the field of tumor immunology and, subsequently, of mesenchymal stromal cells. More recently, she decided to focus on the study of macrophages (cells responsible for phagocytizing pathogens and involved in all inflammatory processes) and she proposed to the European Commission the project “STePS”, which was awarded the ERC Advanced Grant. The results of her research are of great importance in basic research but also in other areas, from cancer immunotherapy (ability to exploit our own immune system to directly and focused treat certain diseases) to autoimmune diseases (diseases caused by improper activation of our immune system).

Editorial work and publications

Author of numerous scientific publications, including:

(2011) Molon B, Ugel S, Del Pozzo F, Soldani C, Zilio S, Avella D, De Palma A, Mauri PL, Monegal A, Rescigno M, Savino B, Colombo P, Jonjic N, Pecanic S, Lazzarato L, Fruttero R, Gasco A, Bronte V, Viola A. Chemokine nitration prevents intratumoral infiltration of antigen-specific T cells. The Journal of Experimental Medicine,208(10):1949-62.

(2010) Contento RL, Campello S, Trovato AE, Magrini E, Anselmi F and Viola A. Adhesion shapes T cells for prompt and sustained T cell receptor signaling. EMBO Journal, 29:4035-47.

(2008) Viola A & Luster AD. Chemokines and Their Receptors: Drug Targets in Immunity and Inflammation. Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology, 48:171-197.

(2007) Viola A & Gupta N. Tether and Trap: Regulation of membrane rafts by actin-binding proteins. Nature Reviews Immunology, 7:889-96.

(2006) Campello S, Lacalle RA, Bettella M, Manes S, Scorrano L & Viola A. Orchestration of leukocyte chemotaxis by mitochondrial dynamycs. The Journal of Experimental Medicine, 203:2879-2886.

(2006) Tavano R, Contento RL, Baranda SJ, Soligo M, Tuosto L, Manes S & Viola A. CD28 interaction with filamin-A controls lipid raft accumulation at the T cell immunological synapse. Nature Cell Biology, 8:1270-1276.

(2005) Molon, Gri G, Bettella M, Goumez-Mouton C, Lanzavechia A, Martinez-A C, Manes S & Viola A. T cell costimulation by chemokine receptors. Nature Immunology, 6:465-71.

(2005) Bronte V, Kasic T, Gri G, Gallana K, Borsellino G, Marigo I, Battistini L, Iafrate M, Prayer-Galetti T, Pagano F & Viola A. Boosting anti-tumor responses of T lymphocytes infiltrating human prostate cancers. The Journal of Experimental Medicine, 201:1257-68.

(1999) Viola A, Schroeder S, Sakakibara Y & Lanzavecchia A. T lymphocyte costimulation mediated by reorganization of membrane microdomains. Science, 283:680-2.

(1996) Viola A & Lanzavecchia A. T cell activation determined by T cell receptor number and tunable thresholds. Science, 273:104-6.

Awards and prizes

In 2010 she won the Cancer Reseach Institute Investigator Award (CRI, New York) and in 2008 the "Donne Eccellenti" award and the prestigious "Chiara D'Onofrio" award. In 2013 Antonella Viola received the ERC Advanced Grant and a € 2.5 million financing to continue her STEPS project. In 2016 she was elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), a prestigious recognition that was preceded in 2006 by the appointment as EMBO Young Investigator.

Ann Zeuner
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: cellular biology, molecular biology

Keywords: cancer, cancer stem cells, chemotherapy, disclosure, school, stamina cells

Region: Lazio


Position/Role

Biotechnology Group Leader, Department of Oncology and Molecular Medicine, Istituto Superiore di Sanità (National Institute of Health), Rome, Italy

Professional career

After graduating in Biological Sciences from the University La Sapienza of Rome in 1994, he continued his academic training at the same university with a PhD in Immunological Sciences, which he obtained in 1998. In the meantime, he began his research activities at the Immunology Laboratory of the Institute of General Pathology of the Tor Vergata University of Rome and the Immunology Laboratory of the CNR in Rome. In 1997 she was appointed to a research post at the Department of Haematology, Oncology and Molecular Medicine of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, where in 2005 she became First Researcher. In 2009 she obtained a Master in Science Communication at the Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA) in Trieste. From 2008 to 2017 she is Director of the Department of Hematological and Oncological Biotechnology, Department of Oncology and Molecular Medicine. She has been coordinating for many years projects funded by AIRC (Italian Association for Cancer Research) and the Ministry of Health including the COLOMED project (COLOrectal cancer in MEDiterranean countries, www.colomed.it) for the creation of an inter-Mediterranean coordination against colon cancer. 

Scientific results

Ann Zeuner is a biomedical researcher specialising in cancer stem cell biology and the development of new cancer therapies. She has patented important new technologies applied to the treatment of cancer patients, including a method to alleviate chemotherapy toxicity and a new anti-cancer drug that is cheap, effective and has minimal side effects. She is constantly involved in science education for schools, and is the author of a textbook for high schools (Le cellule staminali, ed. Istituto Superiore di Sanità); she gives lectures and seminars in schools of all levels and training courses for teachers. He has collaborated with the Accademia dei Lincei in the programme "I Lincei per una nuova didattica nella scuola: una rete nazionale" (The Lincei for a new didactics in the school: a national network) and she leads within the ISS an operative unit for the training of students within the programme "Alternanza Scuola Lavoro" of the MIUR. Finally, it promotes important initiatives in favour of international cooperation among scientists as well as training and resource exchange activities in the Mediterranean area.

Editorial work and publications

Ann Zeuner sits on the editorial board of Frontiers in Molecular Targets and Therapeutics and of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità Newsletter. She has published numerous articles in international scientific journals, including the most authoritative ones in the scientific field such as Science, Nature, Stem Cell, Blood, Cancer Research. 

(2017) Colace L, Boccia S, De Maria R, Zeuner A. Colorectal cancer: towards new challenges and concepts of preventive healthcare. Ecancer medical science. 2017 Nov 28;11:ed74. doi: 10.3332/ecancer.2017.ed74. eCollection 2017.

[2017]  Manic G, Signore M, Sistigu A, Russo G, Corradi F, Siteni S, Musella M, Vitale S, De Angelis ML, Pallocca M, Amoreo CA, Sperati F, Di Franco S, Barresi S, Policicchio E, De Luca G, De Nicola F, Mottolese M, Zeuner A, Fanciulli M, Stassi G, Maugeri-Saccà M, Baiocchi M, Tartaglia M, Vitale I, De Maria R. CHK1-targeted therapy to deplete DNA replication-stressed, p53-deficient, hyperdiploid colorectal cancer stem cells. Gut. 2017 Apr 7 (Epub ahead of print).

[2015] Francescangeli F, Contavalli P, Gambara G, De Angelis ML, Baiocchi M, Pagliuca A, Fiorenzano A, Prezioso C, Boe A, Todaro M, Stassi G, Castro NP, Watanabe K, Salomon DS, De Maria R, Minchiotti GZeuner A. Dynamic regulation of the cancer stem cell compartment by Cripto-1 in colorectal cancer. Cell Death & Differentiation, 22(10):1700-13.

[2014] Zeuner A, Todaro M, Stassi G, De Maria R. Colorectal Cancer Stem Cells: From the Crypt to the Clinic. Cell Stem Cell. 2014 Dec 4;15(6):692-705.

[2014] Zeuner A, Francescangeli F, Contavalli P, Zapparelli G, Apuzzo T, Eramo A, Baiocchi M, De Angelis ML, Biffoni M, Sette G, Todaro M, Stassi G, De Maria R. Elimination of quiescent/slow-proliferating cancer stem cells by Bcl-XL inhibition in non-small cell lung cancer. Cell Death & Differentiation, 105.

[2013] Todaro M, Turdo A, Bartucci M, Iovino F, Dattilo R, Biffoni M, Stassi G, Federici G, De Maria R, Zeuner A. Erythropoietin activates cell survival pathways in breast cancer stem-like cells to protect them from chemotherapy. Cancer Research, 73(21):6393-400.

[2012] Francescangeli F, Patrizii M, Signore M, Federici G, Di Franco S, Pagliuca A, Baiocchi M, Biffoni M, Vitiani LR, Todaro M, De Maria R, Zeuner A. Proliferation State and Polo-like Kinase1 Dependence of Tumorigenic Colon Cancer Cells. Stem Cells, 30(9):1819-30.

[2011] Bartucci M, Dattilo R, Martinetti D, Todaro M, Zapparelli G, Di Virgilio A, Biffoni M, De Maria R, Zeuner A. Prevention of chemotherapy-induced anemia and thrombocytopenia by constant administration of stem cell factor. Clinical Cancer Research, 17(19):6185-91.

[2009] Zeuner A, Pedini F, Francescangeli F, Signore M, Girelli G, Tafuri A, De Maria R. Activity of the BH3 mimetic ABT-737 on polycythemia vera erythroid precursorcells Blood, 113:1522-5.

[2007] Zeuner A, Signore M, Martinetti D, Bartucci M., Peschle C., De Maria R. Chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia derives from the selective death of megakaryocyte progenitors and can be rescued by Stem Cell Factor. Cancer Research, 67:4767-4773.

[1999] De Maria R, Zeuner A, Eramo A, Domenichelli C, Bonci D, Grignani F, Srinivasula SM, Alnemri ES, Testa U, Peschle C. Negative regulation of erythropoiesis by caspase-mediated cleavage of GATA-1. Nature, 401:489-493. 

Monica Zoppé
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: grafical representation of cellular, molecular and structural biology, interdisciplinary research, molecular biology, structural biology, women and science

Keywords: 3D Computer Graphic, gender and science, molecular animation, structural biology

Region: Lombardy


Position/Role

Researcher at Institute of BioPhysics of the Italian National Council of Research, Milan

Professional career

After graduating in Biology, in 1987 in Milan, she moves for a series of post-docs in different laboratories in Italy (CNR, ICGEB of Trieste) and abroad (UK, Biochemistry Department at the University of Birmingham, and USA, at the Salk Institute, in the laboratory of Inder Verma).

After 15 years in several laboratories, she gets a position as a researcher at the Institute of Clinical Physiology (IFC) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR) of Pisa. Here after a short period, following a serious accident, of which she is not responsible, she is forced to leave the laboratory.

She then embarks on a new phase of her scientific career, dedicating to Biological Representation, with the idea of virtually recreating the cellular world using the techniques developed in the field of Computer Graphics (film, video and video games). Today the discipline is recognized as 'Molecular Graphics'. In 2006 she founded the Scientific Visualization Unit at IFC, and obtained the first funding, with which she obtained the scientific results listed below. In 2019 she moves to Milan at the Institute of BioPhysics of the CNR. In this period, she starts a collaboration with groups of Cuban computer scientists, bioinformaticians and biologists, with whom she has active and funded projects, always related to the visualization, in this case of the Dengue virus.

Today Monica Zoppé is considered a pioneer of the 'Art and Science of Scientific Visualization', and is recognized as one of the major theorists of the field, often invited to mostly international conferences and meetings.

In parallel, she also actively participates in the Donne e Scienza (Women and Science) association, she is a member of the board since few years. It is in the context of this activity that she contributed substantially to the organization of the European #WeTooInScience congress, held in Pisa in 2018.

Scientific results

The results obtained in the experimental biology field are documented in the publications available online on the ORCID website.

For the works in the 'Molecular Graphics' field, the main result is the transposition into a graphic system, therefore visible, of the molecular world which is a very rich world, indeed in cells operate specific and different forces: for example, gravity does not count while thermal vibration counts, and many of the forces at play can be calculated as potentials (electrical, lipophilic, osmotic and thermodynamic flows), for which we have no visual perception. 

In detail, the main results obtained in this area can be summarized as follows:

  • development of the theoretical and operative bases of the new discipline, scientific visualization, dedicated to the narrative of the cellular and molecular biology
  • foundation of the interdisciplinary working group Scientific Visualization: www.scivis.it;
  • development and release of multiple versions of BioBlender, a tool that allows one to introduce rigorous scientific data in Blender, one of the most advanced Computer Graphics tools, and the only completely Open Source, developed for cinema and video games;
  • Production of a series of short cellular animations, all freely available on the website www.scivis.it and on the major channels, which have obtained important awards both in the scientific, cinematographic and technical fields (see list);
  • introduction to the concept of a visual code with which to represent invisible, not unknown, elements.

Editorial work and publications

[2019] Zoppè, Monica G. Improving Gender Diversity in ScienceIn #WeTooInScience - Sexual Harassment in Higher Education Institutions and Research Organizations, CNR-IRPPS e-Publishing 235–41. Rome, Italy.

[2019] Zoppè, M., Loni,T., Carlone,I., Cianchetta,S.. Making of The Dark Anim: Technical and Scientific Notes. In 2019 International Conference on Cyberworlds (CW), 45–52. Kyoto, Japan: IEEE, 2019

[2018]  Caudai, C., Salerno, E., Zoppè, M. and Tonazzini, A.  ChromStruct 4: A Python Code to Estimate the Chromatin Structure from Hi-C Data. IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. 

[2017] Zoppè, M  Towards a perceptive understanding of cellular biology.  Nat Meth 14(7): 662-665 .

[2015] Zoppè, M  La sindrome dell’impostore: Non sono davvero brava come sembra. In: Scienza, genere e società. Prospettive di genere in una società che si evolve. S. Avveduto, M. L. Paciello, T. Arrigoni, C. Mangia, L. Martinelli (eds.). Roma: CNR-IRPPS e-Publishing. 

[2015] Zoppè, M. and Loni, T. The Representation of Electrostatics for Biological Molecules. In: W. Rocchia and M. Spagnuolo (eds.), Computational Electrostatics for Biological Applications, Springer International, Switzerland. 215-225.

[2014] Zoppè, M. Comunicare l’invisibile. La rappresentazione visiva di concetti biofisici / Communicating the Invisible. The Visual Representation of Biophysical Concepts. In: Scrittura e immagini nel dominio della scienza / Text and Image in the sicentific realm. A cura di/Edited by: R. Falcinelli, A. Filippini, G. Liberti, L. Perondi e L. Romei. Progetto Grafico, 25:50 

[2012] Andrei, R., Callieri, M., Zini, M.F., Loni, T., Maraziti, G. and Zoppè, M. Intuitive representation of surface properties of proteins using BioBlender. BMC Bioinformatics, 13(Suppl 4):S16

[2011] Zoppè, M. Vedere l'invisibile. Le Scienze – Italian version of Scientific American. Roma, 515: p. 64-9. 

Selection of VIDEO

[2015] The Dark Anim, (5', 23''). A description of the serotoninergic synapse, and its activity in the healthy and depressed states. With subtitles in English, French and Italian.

[2012] TSH receptor on Red Blood cells, 2011 (3', 48''). Thyrotropin is a hormone that elicit response from thyroid gland. However, its receptor is also found on the surface of red blood cells. After binding, the dimeric receptor splits into two subunits, each of which leaves the lipid raft to associate with other proteins of the cellular surface. 

[2010] PROTEIN EXPRESSIONS - Study N.3 (5', 01''). The video, also produced in 3D, is the final one in a series of tests in the development of BioBlender. It shows several moments of cellular life, from the surface to the cytoplasm and back to cell periphery and out. Watched >70.000 times (Vimeo statistics).

Awards and prizes

The video PROTEIN EXPRESSIONS- Study n.3  has been awarded in several occasions:

[2009] Suzanne Award of the  Blender Foundation, Amsterdam 2009

[2010] Prize of the Jury, at Melzo Film Festival, Milan. Italy. 2010

[2011] Selected as finalist at DogVille-Viladecan Film Festival, Barcelona, Spain. 2011

[2012], First prize.  NANOPLANET was awarded the First Prize in the  ‘Art&Science contest’ at BioPhysical Society meeting, San Francisco (CA. USA).

[2013]  The video The Challenge of HIV Research, reached the Fourth classification in the 'AutoPACK visualization contest’ by the Computer Graphics Society – Autodesk.

[2018] Invitation to the restricted Shonan Meeting on ‘Web Molecular Graphics: Emerging

Technologies & Standards’, Japan. 

Francesca Zoratto
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STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: behavioural neuroscience, ethology

Keywords: animal behaviour, basic research, collective anti-predator behaviours, gamble, human behaviour, preclinical research, predation, risk appetite

Region: Lazio


Position/Role

Research Scientist at the Centre for Behavioural Sciences and Mental Health, Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), Rome 

Professional career

After graduating in Ecological Biology from the University of Parma in 2005, she continued her studies and in 2008 obtained a Master's degree in Ecology with a focus on Animal Behaviour at the same university. In 2013 she obtained a PhD in Ethology, Animal Ecology and Anthropology at the University of Florence. In 2014 she has a 14-month project research contract at the Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù (RM), research area "Multifactorial diseases and complex phenotypes", the following year she wins a Noopolis Foundation scholarship to work at the Department of Behavioural Neuroscience of the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, the same Department hosts her also the following year. In 2016 she won the "L'Oréal-UNESCO Prize for Women and Science", thanks to which she carried out research at the Institute of Cognitive Science and Technology of the CNR. Today she is a Researcher at the Reference Centre for Behavioural Sciences and Mental Health of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS).

Scientific results

Francesca Zoratto's research interests range from ethology, the study of animal behaviour, to understanding human behaviour. Her latest research project at the Cognitive Primatology Unit of the Institute of Cognitive Science and Technology (ISTC) of the CNR tests the social modulation of risk-taking in two different animal species, monkeys and rats. The main aim of this and other studies is to apply the findings in the field of ethology to human behaviour, specifically to the world of pathological gambling. Risk-taking is not unique to humans, and studying animal behaviour under the same conditions can help to better understand the psycho-biological mechanisms that underlie our addictions. Increasing knowledge in the field of human behaviour is intended to provide more insight to the medical community, but also to develop proposals for policy makers to devise more effective strategies in the prevention and treatment of pathological gambling.

Editorial work and publications

Francesca Zoratto has authored numerous papers in international peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Here below, a selection:

(2018)  Zoratto F., Sbriccoli M., Martinelli A., Glennon J.C., Macrì S., Laviola G. Intranasal oxytocin administration promotes emotional contagion and reduces aggression in a mouse model of callousness. Neuropharmacology, 143:250-267

(2018) Zoratto F., Oddi G., Gori E., Micucci A., De Petrillo F., Paglieri F., Adriani W., Laviola G, Addessi E. 2018. Social modulation of risky decision-making in rats (Rattus norvegicus) and tufted capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.). Behavioural Brain Research, 347:37-48.

(2018) Zoratto F., Cordeschi G., Grignani G., Bonanni R., Alleva E., Nascetti G., Mather J.A., Carere C. 2018. Variability in the “stereotyped” prey capture sequence of male cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) could relate to personality differences. Animal Cognition, 21(6):773-785.

(2017) Zoratto F., Romano E., Pascale E., Pucci M., Falconi A., Dell’Osso B., Maccarrone M., Laviola G., D’Addario C., Adriani W. 2017. Down-regulation of serotonin and dopamine transporter genes in individual rats expressing a gambling-prone profile: a possible role for epigenetic mechanisms. Neuroscience, 340:101-116.

(2015) Canese R., Zoratto F., Altabella L., Porcari P., Mercurio L., De Pasquale F., Butti E., Martino G., Lacivita E., Leopoldo M., Laviola G., Adriani W. 2015. Persistent modification of forebrain networks and metabolism in rats following adolescent exposure to a 5-HT7 receptor agonist. Psychopharmacology, 232(1):75-89.

(2013) Zoratto F., Laviola G., Adriani W. 2013. Gambling proneness in rats during the transition from adolescence to young adulthood: a home-cage method. Neuropharmacology, 67:444-454.

(2012) Koot S., Zoratto F., Cassano T., Colangeli R., Laviola G., van den Bos R., Adriani W. 2012. Compromised decision-making and increased gambling proneness following dietary serotonin depletion in rats. Neuropharmacology, 62(4):1640-1650. 

(2010) Zoratto F., Carere C., Chiarotti F., Santucci D., Alleva E. 2010. Aerial hunting behaviour and predation success by peregrine falcons Falco peregrinus on starling flocks Sturnus vulgaris. Journal of Avian Biology, 41(4):427-433.

Awards and prizes

Francesca Zoratto has received numerous awards and recognitions for her academic career. In 2016 she received a L’ORÉAL-UNESCO For Women in Science 2016 Award from the “Fondation L’ORÉAL” in collaboration with L’ORÉAL Italia and the Italian National Commission for UNESCO.