Translational Oncogenomic Laboratory

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Meet the Lab


Giovanni Blandino

Dr. Blandino performed his postdoctoral research activities in the lab of prof. Moshe Oren studying the role of gain of function mutant p53 proteins in the chemoresistance of human cancers. Since the establishment of his research group at Regina Elena Cancer Institute Dr. Blandino has been mainly pursued the following research objectives:
a) elucidation of the molecular mechanisms underlying gain of function of mutant p53 proteins;
b) elucidation of the role of YAP in the anti-tumoral activities of p53 family;
c) miRNAs as potential biomarkers for early diagnosis, prognosis and response to therapy of human cancers"





Giulia Fontemaggi
Young Investigator

Dr. Fontemaggi was previously involved in the identification of ID4 (inhibitor of differentiation 4) as a downstream target of the transcriptional complex mutant p53/E2F1 in breast cancer (BC) (Fontemaggi et al., 2009). ID4 protein promotes the synthesis of pro-angiogenic cytokines, such as Interleukin-8 and CXCL-1, by binding to their 3’-UTR and inducing their translation in BC cells. BC tissues overexpressing ID4 protein are indeed characterized by higher microvessel density compared to ID4-negative tissues. The mechanisms through which ID4/mutant p53 post-transcriptionally control gene expression, leading to an enhanced neo-angiogenesis in breast cancer are object of current investigations.

Silvia Di Agostino
Young Investigator

Dr. Di Agostino is the Principal Investigator in project titled “Role of Polo-like kinase 2 in tumor progression and in the maintenance of genomic instability in cancer cells”financed for three years by AIRC association (My First AIRC Grant). The aims of her research are to study the molecular mechanism underlined the maintenance of genomic instability of cancer cells expressing mutant p53 proteins, the insurgence, maintaining, the spreading and the chemoresistance of mutant p53 tumor cells.

Frauke Goeman
Senior Postdoc

The goal of Dr. Goeman's work is to identify the global transcriptional signature of a specific transcription factor after pharmacological treatment. This treatment is leading to a growth arrest in breast cancer cells. She is studying the microRNAs but also the mRNAs that are differentially regulated by this pharmaceutic to identify those that are involved in the cell cycle arrest.

Sara Donzelli

Dr. Donzelli during her PhD focused her research on the characterization of the molecular mechanisms involved in the gain of function activity of mutant p53 protein. In particular she identified a microRNA that is modulated by mutant p53 protein and that contributes to its gain of function activity. She is also involved in translational research projects aimed to characterize molecular signature involved in the pathogenesis of cancer

Federica Ganci

Dr. Ganci during her PhD focused her research on the identification of deregulated microRNAs in head and neck cancerusing microarray approach At the same time, She performed TP53 sequencing analysis for each tumor and normal biopsy in order to identify an association between TP53 status and microRNAs expression. Molecular information obtained from these analyses was then correlated with clinical information and follow up of patients in order to identify TP53-related microRNAs having prognostic power. In addition, I’m also involved in other translational research projects aimed to identify signature of deregulated microRNAs involved in the pathogenesis of different types of cancer, like malignant mesothelioma one.

Federica Lo Sardo
Postdoc - AIRC Fellow

Dr. Lo Sardo is a Post Doc with a 3 year AIRC fellowship involved in the study of the dual role (pro-proliferative orpro-apoptotic) of YAP protein, a downstream effector of the Hippo pathway. In particular, the study will focus on different microRNA differently regulated upon the two exclusive cellular responses.

Fabio Valenti

Dr.Valenti PhD at the Laboratory of Translational Oncogenomics, where he completed his PhD in Clinical Neurosciences. Since 2008, he deals with the role of gain of function mutantp53 proteins in human tumors with particular focus on the role of the oncogenic complex mutant p53/p73. He collaborates with dr. Silvia DiAgostino to investigate the role of mutant p53 in genomic instability.

Valeria Canu
PhD Student
Fellow AIRCS

She focused her study on microRNA’s involved in transformation of cholangitis in cholangiocarcinoma. In particular, through translational studies she analyzed tumoral and normal tissues to identify microRNA signatures that are leading to cancer transformation. Modulation of aberrant expression of microRNAs might hold promise for preventive and therapeutic strategies of cancer.

Etleva Korita
PhD Student

She focused her passion on the analysis of expression profiles of microRNAs that can participate in the development of the mesothelioma and thymoma, this is to better understand the role of bio-pathological and elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved in the process of malignant transformation.

Tania Frixa PhD Student

Dr. Frixa is involved in different translational research projects aimed at the identificator of molecular signatures in human tumors; in collaboration with dr. Sara Donzelli she's studing the role of microRNAs involved in the pathogenesis of brain metastasis.




Francesca Biagioni Istituto Europedo di Oncologia - Milan Italy

Mario Cioce Albert Einstein Institute New York USA

Stefania Dell'Orso NIAMS Bethesda USA

Eleonora Lapi Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Oxford UK

Silvia Masciarelli Università La Sapiensa - Rome Italy

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