Maria Rosaria Coscia

Research Areas: immnunology

Research Area NA 1 – Naples
+39 0816132556 (office)
+39 0816132629 (Lab)

Dr Coscia’s main research line focuses in the field of comparative immunology, with particular attention to the immune response of fish living in an apparently hostile marine environment such as the Antarctic marine ecosystem. To study the adaptation to low temperature, her model system is provided by fishes of the suborder Notothenioidei which represents the most speciose and abundant fish taxon found in the Antarctic ocean. She studies the genetics, biochemistry, physiology of Notothenioidei with a special focus on the immunoglobulin molecule (Ig),  as a key mediator of the humoral immune response. Investigations performed on IgM and IgT isotypes and on the genes encoding them disclosed several peculiarities that are unique to Antarctic fish Ig.

Her group was also interested  in investigating the host-nematode parasite relationships and in defining the molecular structure of other molecules of immunological interest in Antarctic teleosts such as Toll-like receptors, and the complement factor C3. More recently, she has been studying the effects of the Antarctic environmental stressors on human health by analyzing the relationship between altered stress reactivity and immune functions of volunteers in the long-term stay in Antarctica. Using the CRISPR-Cas9 technology, her lab is also interested in the design and
production of engineered high performance antibodies as innovative diagnostic/therapeutic tools.

Main Expertise in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology, Comparative Immunology and Evolution.
Dr. Coscia has a strong collaboration with Dr Paola Italiani, Lab Innate Immunity, Inflammation and Nanosafety.*


1988: Degree in Biological Sciences with honors, Department of Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, with a dissertation in Biochemistry: “Production of monoclonal antibodies specific from the allergen Po-15”.

1988-1989: Post lauream apprenticeship at the Institute of Protein Biochemistry (IBP), CNR, Naples (Italy)

1989-1991: CNR-MISM Research Fellow, laboratory of immunochemistry of allergens at IBP



1998 to present: Researcher at the Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (formely Institute of Protein Biochemistry), CNR, Naples

1992-1998: Professional Research Assistant, Comparative Immunology laboratory at IBP, CNR

1991-1992: Guest Investigator, laboratory of Biochemistry at the Rockefeller University, NYC (USA)

2016 to present: Co-founder and coordinator of the CNR Immunology Network (CIN)

  • D’Apice L, Cuccaro F, Varriale S, Cipria D, Sartorius R, Circosta P, Cignetti A, Salerno M, Coscia MR, Oreste U, Marzullo VM, Martini G, Acuto O, De Berardinis P. An Ig Transmembrane domain motif improves the function of TCRs transduced in human T cells: implications for immunotherapy. J Immunother (2019)42:97-109.
  • Coscia MR, Varriale S, De Santi C, Giacomelli S, Oreste U. Evolution of the Antarctic teleost immunoglobulin heavy chain gene. Mol Phylogenet Evol (2010), 55: 226-233
  • Coscia MR, Giacomelli S, De Santi C, Varriale S, Oreste U. Immunoglobulin light chain isotypes in the teleost Trematomus bernacchii. Mol Immunol (2008), 45:3096-3106
  • Abelli L, Coscia MR, De Santis A, Zeni C, Oreste U. Evidence for hepato-biliary transport of immunoglobulin in the Antarctic teleost fish Trematomus bernacchii. Dev Comp Immunol (2005), 29:431-442
  • Coscia MR, Oreste U. Plasma and bile antibodies of the teleost Trematomus bernacchii, specific for the nematode Pseudoterranova decipiens. Dis Aquat Org (2000), 41:37-42

Associates Researcher Emeritus:
Umberto Orete

Phd Student
Alessia Ametrano








2018-2020: PNRA16_00099. “How key components of the coastal Antarctic food web respond to global change: an “omic” approach”

2018-2020: PNRA16_00047. “Effects of extreme environments on psychophysiology, energy metabolism and immunity: neuropsychological, immunohistochemical, proteomic and fMRI studies”

2019-2021: PNRA18_00077. “Antarctic marine and freshwater eukaryotic biodiversity as a promising source of bioactive substances”

2019-2021: PNRA18_00071. “Impact of the Antarctic environment on human homeostasis, psychology, physiology and immunity