Carmen Gianfrani

Napoli – Area di Ricerca NA1
+39 0816132224(office)
+39 081 6132615 (Lab)

Laboratory of Mucosal Immunology and Immune Nutrition (MIIN LAB)

Dr Carmela (Carmen) Gianfrani, the head of MIIN LAB, is a mucosal immunologist interested in studying the interaction between food proteins and gastrointestinal immune system. Her research is mainly focused on the disregulation of immune tolerance to wheat gluten and on defining immunomodulatory strategies to recover the oral tolerance to gluten in celiac disease patients. Particularly, Dr Gianfrani has contributed to develop enzymatic strategies to detoxify wheat gluten that are currently in clinical trials.

Dr Gianfrani is also interested to investigate the role of HLA risk gene expression in the inflammatory response to gluten proteins, with implication for celiac disease prevention. In the recent years, Dr Gianfrani’s LAB has been interested in the immunopathogenesis of paediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), in particular on the role of ATG16L1 gene polymorphisms in autophagy alteration in IBD patients. Dr Gianfrani has co-authored more than 70 original papers and reviews in international journals, as well as of book chapters on mucosal immunology and organic chemistry. Dr Gianfrani is the author of several articles and reviews for science outreach, and of interviews to mass media, as expert of celiac disease.

The main scientific interests of MIIN LAB are:        

  • Immune pathogenesis of celiac disease and pediatric inflammatory bowel disease
  • Role of HLA class II gene expression in shaping the pathogenic immune response in autoimmunity
  • Characterization of gluten peptides stimulating helper and cytotoxic T cell response in celiac disease patients
  • Identification of ancient wheat crops with reduced content of toxic gluten sequences and with high in vivo digestibility



  • 1992: Laurea degree cum laude in Biological Science in 1992 at the University, Federico II of Naples with a thesis on organic chemistry.
  • 2017: National academic qualification as associate professor in “General and Clinical Pathology” 06/A2, (D.D. 1532/2016).
  • 2013: National academic qualification as associate professor in “Applied Biology” 05/F1, (D.D. 222/2012).

Reseacher and Group Leader of MIIN LAB at IBBC, CNR Naples. 


  • May 2020, German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Member of the evaluating committee of a research funding call.
  • November 2018 to date: Member of the Advisory Board of Nemysis L.T.D Dublin, Ireland.
  • September 2018 to date, Executive Member, Working Group on Prolamin Analysis and Toxicity.
  • January 2011 to date, Editor of Pediatric Research, Gastroenterology Section.
  • December 2012 to date, Member of the Scientific Committee of the Italian Celiac Disease Foundation (FC).
  • January 2001 to date, Member of the Scientific Council of the European Laboratory for the Study of Food-Induced Diseases (ELFID), University of Naples Federico II.
  • 2010: CNR Short-term mobility for research activity at Autoimmunity and Transplantation Division, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Melbourne, Australia (Dr. Robert Anderson’s LAB).
  • 2006: CNR Short-term mobility for research activity at Autoimmunity and Tolerance Laboratory, Department of Medicine, University of Los Angeles, California (prof. Antonio La Cava’s LAB).
  • 2003: Contract funded by NOVARTIS for research activity at Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy (TIGET), Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan (prof. Maria Grazia Roncarolo’s LAB).
  • 1997-1998: CNR fellowship for research activity at Epimmune Corporation, San Diego, California (prof. Alessandro Sette’s LAB).


Treatment of cereal flours for food consumption by celiac patients. Inventors: Dr. Mauro Rossi, Carmen Gianfrani, Rosa Anna Siciliano. National patent. Filed with the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Crafts and Agriculture of Milan. MI 2006 A 002080 C12N A21D, 30.10.06. Ref CNR 1838. PCT 2008/053310 A2 of 05/08/2008.

Picascia S, Camarca A, Malamisura M, Mandile R, Galatola M, Cielo D, Gazza L, Mamone G, Auricchio S, Troncone R, Greco L, Auricchio R, Gianfrani C. In Celiac Disease Patients the In Vivo Challenge With the Diploid Triticum Monococcum Elicits a Reduced Immune Response Compared to Hexaploid Wheat. Mol Nutr&Food Res 2020. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201901032.

Vitale S, Santarlasci V, Camarca A, Picascia S, Di Pasquale A, Maglio M, Maggi E, Cosmi L, Annunziato F, Troncone R, Auricchio R, Gianfrani C. The intestinal expansion of TCRγδ+ and disappearance of IL4+ T cells suggest their involvement in the evolution from potential to overt celiac disease. Eur J Immunol. 2019. doi: 10.1002/eji.201948098.

Pisapia L, Camarca A, Picascia S, Bassi V2, Barba P, Del Pozzo G, Gianfrani C. HLA-DQ2.5 genes associated with celiac disease risk are preferentially expressed with respect to non-predisposing HLA genes: Implication for anti-gluten T cell response. J Autoimmun. 2016. doi: 10.1016/j.jaut.2016.03.016.

Strisciuglio C, Miele E, Wildenberg M.E, Giugliano F.P, Andreozzi M, Vitale A, Capasso F, Camarca A, Barone M.V, Staiano A,  Troncone R, Gianfrani C. T300A variant of autophagy ATG16L1 gene is associated with decreased antigen sampling and processing by dendritic cells in paediatric Crohn’s disease. Inflamm Bowel Dis, 2013. doi: 10.1097/MIB.0b013e3182a6a11c.

Mazzarella G, Stefanile R, Camarca A, Giliberti P, Casentini E, Marano C, Iaquinto G, Giardullo N, Auricchio S, Sette A, Troncone R, Gianfrani C. Gliadin activates HLA Class I-restricted CD8+ T-cells in coeliac intestinal mucosa and induces the enterocyte apoptosis. Gastroenterology. 2008.

Post-doctoral fellows:
Stefania Picascia
Serena Vitale

Graduate student:
Ilaria Mottola (University Federico II, Naples)

  • Italian Ministry of University and Research PNR 2011- 2013. Flagship Interomics 2015 and 2017.
  • Italian Association of Celiac Disease (AIC/FC), 2017
  • Italian Ministry of Health. Bando Ricerca Finalizzata, 2016.
  • National Health and Medical Research Council Australia – NHMRC, 2012.
  • Italian Ministry of University and Research, PRIN, 2009.