Department of Experimental Medicine,
Via Luigi De Crecchio 7,
80138 Napoli ITALY.
- Studies on Retinoblastoma gene family
- He is interested in the studies on genes involved in cell cycle regulation, differentiation, apoptosis and senescence such as the Retinoblastoma (RB) family. He has evaluated the role of Retinoblastoma genes in the regulation of cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis in cancer and normal stem cells. In detail, his group has analyzed the biology of neural stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells. These studies prompted the attention also on chromatin remodeling factors that interact with RB family members and play a key role in the life of stem cells. Senescence of stem cells Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are of particular interest because they are being tested in cell and gene therapy for a number of human diseases. MSCs represent a rare population in tissues. Therefore, it is essential to grow MSCs in vitro before putting them to therapeutic use. This is compromised by senescence, limiting the proliferative capacity of MSCs. He is studying the in vitro senescence of rat and human MSCs: In detail, he is interested in analyzing genes involved in DNA repair, whose expression is downregulated with aging. Senescence was accompanied by downregulation of several genes involved in stem cell self-renewal. He studies also the characteristic changes in the expression patters of Retinoblastoma gene family expression that occur during senescence.
- Epigenetic regulation of stem cell biology Chromatin state is fundamental for gene expression. Self-renewal, proliferation and differentiation properties of stem cells are controlled by key transcription factors. However, their activity is modulated by chromatin remodeling factors that operate at the highest hierarchical level. Studies on these factors can be especially important to dissect molecular pathways governing the biology of stem cells.
- - SWI/SNF complexes are ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling enzymes that have been shown to be required for cell cycle control, apoptosis and cell differentiation in several biological systems. The aim of our research was to investigate the role of these complexes in the biology of MSCs.
- - DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that occurs almost exclusively in the context of CpG dinucleotides. MECP2 is a member of a family of proteins that preferentially bind to methylated CpGs. We are analyzing the specific contribution of MECP2 in physiology of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).
- - Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) have received great attention for their anti-tumoral properties. This anti-cancer action can be obtained by reversion of silenced genes, induction of cell cycle arrest, differentiation and/or apoptosis. HDACi-based therapy can have side effects that impair functions of bone marrow microenvironment, including MSCs. We are studying the biological effects of HDACi on MSCs. Mesenchymal stem cells from basic to applied sciences Restenosis following vascular injury remains a pressing clinical problem, despite continuous improvements of medical strategies. The possible therapeutic role of MSCs in a model of vascular injury in vivo has not been determined so far. His group is testing the homing and the effectiveness of MSCs in reduction of (re)stenosis in a model of arteriotomy of rat common carotid.
- Professor at the School of Medicine, Dept. of Medicina Sperimentale, 2nd University of Naples.
- Adjunct Professor, Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
- National Association of Italian Biologist.
- ISSCR (International Society for Stem Cell Researches).
- International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT).
- Founder and President of Stem Cell Research Italy, scientific association of researchers involved in stem cell studies (www.stemcellitaly.org).
- Centro di Ricerca Interdipartimentale di Scienze Computazionali e Biotecnologiche (C.R.I.S.C.E.B.) 2.nd University of Napoli.
- Centro Interdipartimentale Ricerca e Management (C.I.R.M.) 2.nd University of Napoli.
- Centro di Ricerca Interdipartimentale sui Biomateriali (C.R.I.B.) University “Federico II” of Napoli.
Work experiences in Italy and abroad:
- 1992/1994 Post-doctoral fellowship, P.F. FATMA, National Research Council (C.N.R.), Rome, Italy.
- 1995 Post-doctoral fellowship at CRA (Agriculture Research Center), Portici, Italy.
- 1996 Researcher at "Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle" in Paris, France.
- 1996/1997 Post-doctoral fellowship at CRA (Agriculture Research Center), Portici, Italy.
- 1997/1999 Senior Researcher at CEINGE (Biotechnology and Molecular Biology Center), Napoli, Italy.
- 1998, 1999 Visiting Researcher at Department of Pathology, Anatomy & Cell Biology, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
- 1999/2001 Post-doctoral fellowship at Department of Experimental Medicine, Second University of Napoli, Italy.
- 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009 Visiting Researcher at Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
- 2002 Visiting Scientist Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (lab of del Prof. K. Weber), Gottingen, Germany.
- 2003 Visiting Researcher at Center for Gene Theraphy, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA.
- 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 Visiting Scientist at Heinrich Pette Institut of Hamburg University, Germany.
- 2001 Winner of Selection for Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology, Second University of Napoli, Italy.
- 2005 Winner of Selection for Associate Professor of Molecular Biology, University of Genova, Italy.
- 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 Adjunct Associate Professor, College of Science and Technology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
- 2009 to present: President of Stem Cell Research Italy Association (www.stemcellitaly.org).
Member of the following Editorial Boards:
- World Journal of Stem Cells
- World Journal of Experimental Medicine
- Stem Cell Discovery
- Stem Cell Review and Reports
- ISRN Stem Cell