Molecular oncology and pathology

identification of molecular targets and drug development

Several IBBC researches are focused on the investigation of molecular and cellular mechanisms leading to cell transformation, cancer development and progression. This requires the integration of different experimental approaches, including profile-based screening of gene expression, bioinformatics analysis, phenotypical and biochemical characterization of genetically modified cellular and murine models.
Numerous cancer-associated processes are investigated. These include gene expression (mRNA, lncRNA, and miRNA), genome instability, lipid metabolism, DNA damage response, cell growth, apoptosis, hormone-dependency, differentiation, angiogenesis, cell invasion, cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix interactions. The most investigated tumor models comprise leukemias, epithelial tumors (breast, lung, thyroid, head and neck, prostate, ovarian), brain and nervous system tumors.
A better understanding of the mechanisms regulating the activation of selected oncogenes and tumor suppressors genes, signaling pathways and mediators are instrumental in identifying cellular, biochemical, and molecular pathways involved in cancer biology and mechanisms of resistance to target therapies and valuable targets for the development of innovative anti-cancer drugs and treatments for unmet medical needs.

Read More

Muscle biology and pathology

Striated muscle (skeletal and cardiac) is the most abundant tissue of the body and plays an essential role in systemic metabolism and movement. Skeletal and cardiac muscles can be affected by many severe pathological conditions, including diseases of genetic and traumatic origin, systemic metabolic disorders, neuromuscular and age-associated chronic pathologies. The research projects in this area focus on defining pathogenetic regulatory mechanisms and identifying disease modifiers. To these aims, researchers at IBBC exploit home-generated or existing cellular and animal models of neuromuscular diseases, such as Duchenne, Myotonic and FSHD muscular dystrophies, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy.

The ultimate goal of these different research interests converge on the development of novel strategies for tissue regeneration and for treatment of neuromuscular disease, as well as innovative prognostic/diagnostic tools

Read More

Immunity and Infection

The IBBC Immunity and Infection groups address different aspects of immunity and infection in order to exploit evolution, physiology and pathology from basic life science and molecular mechanisms studies to the design of innovative tools and strategies for disease prevention and therapy. To this end, IBBC Immunity and infectious diseases groups tackle the following aspects:
• Evolutionary studies for better understanding the mechanisms at the basis of the adaptive immune response. Design of novel diagnostic/therapeutic tools (engineered high performance antibodies; innate, B- and T-cell receptors)
• Targeted vaccination and immunotherapeutic strategies using novel nano-carriers
• Dissecting the interaction between food proteins, microflora and gastrointestinal immune system in health and disease; devising the immunomodulatory approaches for treatment of chronic intestinal  diseases
• Exploiting knowledge of inflammation and innate memory mechanisms in the induction of protective immunity (antigen delivery and adjuvanticity of vaccines), and in the therapeutic approach to tissue-specific diseases (chronic inflammatory, degenerative and autoimmune diseases)
• Schistosoma mansoni biology studies mainly focused on male and female reproductive organs and egg production. Identification and characterization of potentially relevant targets and novel anti-schistosomal compounds to tackle schistosomiasis, one the 17 NTDs Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)  prioritized by the WHO , and affecting the most poor and vulnerable populations in the world

Read More


structure of proteins and lipids and related biotechnologies

Several groups at the IBBC work on the area of “Biochemistry and structure of protein and lipids” studying different and complementary aspects of protein and lipid structure, function and applications. The Groups are focused on the following topics:

• Assessing the structure-function relationship in proteins and enzymes through in vitrobiochemical and biophysical studies including the resolution of 3D structures, the identification of post-translational modifications, and protein-protein interactions.
• Identifying mutations that underlie diseases and conceive pharmacological therapeutic approaches by screening using functional assays, enzymatic analyses, studies using inhibitors and bioinformatics.
• Studying cell (sub)proteoma and its variation under different conditions by mass spectrometry, mass imaging and vibrational spectroscopy including protein interactions with other cellular components (RNA, DNA, lipids, carbohydrates, metabolites) and define dynamics and localization of cellular lipids and proteins.
• Developing applications of enzymes and proteins in different fields, including pharmaceutics and environment, exploiting a vast array of protein biochemistry approaches, including protein engineering.

Read More

Two postdoctoral positions

Two postdoctoral position are available to work on a project titled “A therapeutic approach for rare genodermatoses caused by aberrant connexin hemichannels” funded by a grant awarded to Professor Fabio Mammano1 (PI) by Italy’s Fondazione Telethon2.

Read More