VIMM SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR
Tumor microenvironment, neoplastic cell growth and traffic regulation in patients with leukemia. Research efforts undertaken in our Unit are aimed to dissect molecular pathways involved in: i) mechanisms accounting for growth and survival of malignant hematopoietic cells and their interactions with the microenvironment; ii) normal and malignant hematopoietic cell invasiveness, migration, trafficking and homing.
Our research is aimed at pursuing two main goals:
1) to unravel novel mechanisms involved in normal blood cell development;
2) to contribute insights into the understanding of blood cancer pathogenesis. In particular, we would like to investigate the processes underlying hematopoiesis by looking at regulators of signaling cascades involved in stem cell maintenance as well as progenitor cell survival and proliferation.
The autonomic nervous system continuosly adjusts cardiac activity to the needs of the body in the different environmental conditions, from rest to acute stresses.
i) How do sympathetic neurons communicate to cardiac cells to achieve flexible and reliable control over heart function?
ii) How does intercellular communication operate in diseases characterized (e.g. Heart Failure, Myocardial Infarction) dysfunction of the neurogenic control of the heart?
The lab is devoted to improving basic understanding of the mechanisms of neural regulation of cardiac function. In particular the lab focuses on autonomic nervous system and its effects in the regulation of cardiac cell structure as well as its involvement in diseases such as stress-dependent arryhthmias and heart failure.
The specificity of connections in the nervous system is essential to translate the electrical activity into meaningful neuronal codes.
The olfactory system is an attractive model for the study of neuronal wiring and information processing in the mammalian brain for several reasons. 1. Its high degree of plasticity allows an ongoing view on circuit formation and function. 2. The principles and the neural circuits underlying the sense of smell have been highly conserved during evolution. 3. The olfactory bulb is a well-layered structure where inputs and outputs, can be easily identified.
How are connexin and lysosomal mutations involved in neurodegeneration?
We are interested in understanding the molecular function of connexin channels and lysosomes in physiology and pathology of the nervous system, in particular related to Charcot-Marie-Tooth and Parkinson’s diseases.
Our investigation is conceived to attain groundbreaking findings using an innovative approach which combines Physics, Biology and Medicine.
Which are the disease mechanisms responsible for inherited cardiomyopathies associated to sudden death?
How to treat such disorders?
The work of the laboratory is focussed on the identification of the molecular mechanisms underlying familial cardiomyopathies, with two main research lines on Arrhythmogenic Cardiomyopathy and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, both representing leading causes of sudden death in the young population. Our purpose is to recognize novel mechanism-driven therapeutic strategies to efficiently counteract disease onset and progression.