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Comune Ravenna



Manuel Alvarez-Dolado (Sevilla, Spain)


Dr. Alvarez-Dolado is Tenure Scientist of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) at the Andalusian Centre for Molecular Biology and Regenerative Medicine (CABIMER) in Seville, Spain, where he leads the Laboratory of Cell-Based Therapies for Neuropathologies. He is also Associate Professor of the Pablo Olavide Univerty of Seville. He completed his PhD in 1997 at the Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas-Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, searching and characterizing thyroid hormone-regulated genes during brain development. After a postdoctoral period in the same institution, he was awarded with a Fulbright intenational fellowship to work in Dr. Alvarez-Buylla’s Lab at Rockefeller University, and later at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF). There, he worked on the migratory and plasticity mechanisms of neural, mesenchymal and bone marrow stem cell. The Alvarez-Buyllas' lab is world recognized and pioneer in the discovery of neurogenesis in the adult brain. During this postdoctoral period was shown for the first time that cell fusion take place between bone marrow derived cells and mature neurons, cardiomyocytes and hepatocytes. In 2003, he returned to Spain with the aim to set up a new Cell Therapy Unit at the Hospital General Universitario of Valencia. In 2006, thanks to his scientific background was recruited by the Centro de Investigación Príncipe Felipe as a Junior Scientist to lead the Cellular Regeneration Laboratory. Finally, in 2008 he obtained a permanent position at CABIMER. During the last years, his research interest has been focus in the application of different stem cell types in Regenerative Medicine for the treatment of neuropathologies. He investigates their mechanism of action trying to develop transplant strategies that can be useful for the treatment of ataxias, cerebral ischemia and epilepsy. Two are the main research lines: The study of the cell fusion mechanism used by bone marrow derived cells for tissue regeneration, and the development of cell therapy with GABAergic neuronal progenitors for the treatment of epilepsy.

Rosa Bernardi (Milan, Italy)


Rosa Bernardi is Assistant Professor (Ricercatore) in the Division of Molecular Oncology at San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, Italy. She received her PhD in Genetics in 1996 from the University of Pavia, where she worked on the role of the enzyme poly-ADP ribose polymerase in apoptosis. She then did her first post-doctoral training at the Fels Institute for Cancer Research of Temple University in Philadelphia, USA, where she worked on the post-translational regulation of the phosphatase and cell cycle protein Cdc25A. From 2001 to 2008 she worked as a post-doctoral fellow first and a Research Associate later in the laboratory of Pier Paolo Pandolfi at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston. During this time, she focused on the role of the promyelocytic leukemia tumor suppressor PML in the regulation of neo-angiogenesis. In 2008 she was appointed Ricercatore at San Raffaele Scientific Institute, where she is now interested in dissecting the role of pro-angiogenic and hypoxia inducible factors in hematological malignancies.

Christer Betsholtz (Stockholm, Sweden)


Dr Christer Betsholtz is Professor of Vascular Biology at Karolinska Institute. His research concerns the interplay between different cell types in the formation and function of blood vessels, the role of platelet-derived growth factors in development, and the development, physiology and pathology of the kidney glomerulus. Professor Betsholtz has published close to 200 original and review articles in peer reviewed journals. He has received several prizes and distinctions for his work, most recently the 2010 Del Monte Medal in Neuromedicine, Rochester University, for his work on pericytes. He is a member of EMBO, Academia Europaea, the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, and the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute. Since 2009 he is recipient of the Söderberg donation Chair in Medicine.

Alessandra Boletta (Milan, Italy)


Alessandra Boletta is Associate Telethon Scientist, a member of the Dulbecco Telethon Institute (DTI) and group leader at Dibit San Raffaele in Milan, Italy. She graduated in Biology at the University of Pavia, Italy in 1992. She carried out her PhD equivalent at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Bergamo Italy, working on a project aimed at achieving gene delivery to the kidney. She performed her postdoctoral training at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine from 1997 to 2002 working on Polycystic Kidney Disease. She has been group leader at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan since 2002 where she continues working on PKD. Her main interest is on studying the function of the PKD1 gene, mutated in the majority of cases of ADPKD, and of its product, Polycystin-1.

Andrea Ciliberto (Milan, Italy)


Andrea Ciliberto received his PhD in Genetics from the University of Pavia (Italy), where with a combination of mathematical models and experimental work he analyzed the pattern of mitosis during sea urchin's early development. He then moved for his first post-doc to Virginia Tech (USA), where under the guidance of John Tyson he developed mathematical models of the cell cycle in different model systems. His staying in Budapest (at Collegium Budapest and in the Bela Novak's group at the Technical University) allowed him to further investigate the mathematical analysis of molecular networks. Six years ago, in 2005, he started his own group at the IFOM-IEO Campus in Milan, where he has worked in collaboration with experimental groups to study the Spindle Assembly Checkpoint and the transition from metaphase to anaphase. Recently, his group has started to couple experimental and theoretical approaches, with particular emphasis on the mechanisms that couple the activity of the cell cycle engine to events induced by the cell cycle.

Luciano Conti (Milan, Italy)


Luciano Conti is Assistant Professor at the Department of Pharmacological Sciences and the Centre for Stem Cell Research at the University of Milan, Italy. In 2001 he obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Brescia, Italy, working on the identification of molecular pathways that regulate neural stem cell (NSC) proliferation and neuronal maturation. In 2001 he began his postdoctoral fellowship in Austin Smith's laboratory at the Institute for Stem Cell Research, Edinburgh, UK, working on the generation of new NSC systems from embryonic stem cells. His research focuses on NSC biology and the molecular determinants that control their fate. Recently, he has extended his interest to the field of neuro-oncology and brain tumour stem cells.

Maria Pia Cosma (Barcelona, Spain)

Maria Pia

Maria Pia Cosma was awarded a “Laurea” cum Laude in December 1993 in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technology at the University of Naples. She received the PhD in Cellular and Molecular Genetics, School of Medicine, Univ. of Federico II in the year 2000. From 1997-2000 she was Marie Curie Post-doc at IMP, Vienna and from 2000 to 2003 she completed her education at Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine (TIGEM), Naples. By the end of 2003 she established her first group at TIGEM in Naples and become also EMBO Young Investigator (YIP). From 2004 to 2010 she has been Lecturer at the European School of Molecular Medicine. She is currently Honorary Associate Investigator at IGB, CNR, Naples from 2009. In April 2010 she moved to Barcelona, Spain, at the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG), as Senior Scientist and ICREA Research Professor. She has given many invited talks at major international conferences and Research Institutes. She received several prizes including: Marie Curie Excellence Award in 2005 and the honor of Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 2007. She is ERC stGrant awardee, 2009 and HFSP Grant awardee, 2010. She has been elected EMBO Member in 2010. Main interests of Cosma’s group are to dissect mechanisms controlling somatic cell reprogramming and tissue regeneration.

Ruggero De Maria (Rome, Italy)


Ruggero De Maria is the Director of the Department of Hematology, Oncology and Molecular Medicine at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) in Rome. He graduated in Medicine in 1989 and specialized in Endocrinology in 1994. During his initial research career, he focussed on immunology and autoimmunity, to move afterwards to the field of cell death in cancer and haematological diseases, working at the two major Universities of Rome and abroad. In 2000, he became Research Director and then Head of the Division of Oncological and Haematological Biotechnologies at the Department currently directed. In addition, since 2003 he is Scientific Director of the Foundation of the Mediterranean Institute of Oncology, a research centre in the South of Italy. In 2006, he was appointed as Affiliate Full Professor at the George Mason University (Virginia, USA), with which he is collaborating within an Italy-USA Program on Oncoproteomics. De Maria sits on several Editorial Boards and has published over a hundred original peer-reviewed scientific articles and reviews. He has recently gained international recognition for his research activity on cancer stem cells (CSCs), a rare population of cells responsible for tumor initiation and growth. His research team was the first to isolate CSCs from colon, lung and thyroid cancers and to develop innovative CSC-based preclinical models of this tumors. Since then, his research team has succeeded to isolate and expand these cells from a series of solid tumours, with the creation of the largest CSC biobank worldwide. De Maria’s current research programs are centred on the molecular characterization of CSCs with the aim of discovering innovative biomarkers and molecular targets to improve cancer management.

Antonella De Matteis (Naples, Italy)


Antonella De Matteis is Programme Director of Cell Biology of Genetic Diseases at the Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine (TIGEM) in Naples. She received a medical degree from the University of L’Aquila, where she also completed her residency in Internal Medicine and in Endocrinology. She then switched to the study of the cell biology of regulated secretion when she joined the Neurobiology Laboratory led by Alberto Luini at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan. She was a co-founder of the Consorzio Mario Negri Sud in Santa Maria Imbaro, and when she was a Group Leader there she was working on the molecular mechanisms governing the structure and function of the Golgi complex. From 2005 to 2010 she was also Director of the Telethon Initiative for the Discovery of Drug Targets for Genetic Diseases (TIDID). In 2010, she moved to establish her research group at TIGEM. Antonella De Matteis is an elected member of EMBO, and she serves on the evaluation panel for European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grants, on the EMBO Course Committee, and on the Editorial Boards of BBA and Faculty of 1000. Her main research interests lie at the interplay between cell signalling and membrane trafficking. A particular focus of her activity is on the study of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying Mendelian disorders of membrane trafficking with the aim to identify drug targets and correctors for the pharmacological treatment of such disorders.

Diego di Bernardo (Naples, Italy)


Diego di Bernardo was born in Naples on 26 June 1972. He was awarded a “Laurea cum laude” Degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Naples "Federico II" in January 1997. In his graduation thesis he developed a mathematical model of the electrical activity of the heart. In June 2001, thanks to a 3-year European Commission “Marie Curie” Fellowship, he was awarded a Ph.D. degree from the School of Medicine of the University of Newcastle, UK, with the supervision of Prof. Alan Murray. His Ph.D. thesis describes an experimental and computational approach to cardiac repolarisation and T wave morphology. Until May 2002 he was a PostDoc at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Center in Cambridge (UK) in the group of Dr Tim Hubbard. From June 2002 to December 2002 he was a PostDoc in the lab of Prof. James Collins at the Department of BioEngineering in Boston University. Since January 2003 he is a Principal Investigatpr at the Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine in Naples (Italy). In January 2004 he also became a lecturer for the “European School of Molecular Medicine” (Italy), a graduate school funded by the Ministry of Health in Italy. Since December 2007 he is a Research Assistant Professor (“Ricercatore”) at the University of Naples “Federico II” in the Dept of Computer Science and Systems. His research interests are in systems and synthetic biology with particular emphasis in reverse-engineering of gene networks to elucidate disease gene function and the mode-of-action of novel pharmacological compounds, and building novel synthetic circuits to modulate gene expression. He is author of more than 30 publications in peer reviewed journals. He co-organised several international workshops and conferences in the area of computational and systems biology.

Emilio Hirsch (Turin, Italy)


Emilio Hirsch is Full Professor in the Department of Genetics, Biology and Biochemistry, at the Molecular Biotechnology Center, School of Medicine, University of Torino. He is author of more than 120 publications in international refereed journals (most recent H index: 42). His research interests are focused on the in vivo and in vitro analysis of signal transduction mechanisms in inflammation, cancer and, more recently, cardiac function. His preclinical studies in mice lacking PI3K? established a role of this enzyme in inflammation, cardiac activity and respiratory function and suggested it as a new promising drug target. The genetic analysis of PI3K? function also revealed that the protein possesses not only a catalytic function but also a scaffold activity that drives protein-protein interactions. This represented the first proof that inactivation of genes is insufficient for the modelling of pharmacological intervention and that selective mutants, for example lacking the catalytic activity, need to be generated to fully model by genetics the effects of pharmacological inhibition.

Tom Kirchhausen (Boston, USA)


Tom Kirchhausen is Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School and an Investigator in the Program of Molecular and Cellular Medicine, Children's Hospital. He received his undergraduate degree in Biology from the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, earned his Ph.D. in Biophysics from the Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientificas and did most of his post-doctoral training at Harvard. He loves science, nice people, windsurfing, dancing and good meals. His group studies the molecular mechanisms that underlie the cell's sorting machineries linked to clathrin responsible for receptor-mediated endocytosis and for secretion, and how they are high-jacked by toxins, viruses and bacterial pathogens to enter cells. They also study how during cell division, cells control their organelle architecture. Their structural studies led to the first X-ray crystal structure determination of clathrin and the AP-1 endosomal clathrin adaptor, the mode of interaction of β-arrestins and adaptors with clathrin and the linkage between the clathrin machinery and the non-canonical Wnt-signaling pathway. They also used cryo-electronmicroscopy to visualize a complete clathrin coat at 8 Å resolution to unveil the basic structure of the triskelion leg, established the way triskelions pack when they form the clathrin coat, and figured out how auxilin and Hsc70 mediate the ATP-dependent uncoating step. Their fluorescent live-cell imaging microscopy techniques are geared to gather in 3D and real time, quantitative, "single-object" data from hundreds of uniquely identified clathrin coated pits and coated vesicles, tracked while they are assembling, recruiting cargo and uncoating, using as probes clathrin, AP-2, auxilin, dynamin and other molecules fused to fluorescent proteins such as EGFP, and fluorescently tagged cargo such as transferrin, LDL, viruses and bacteria. With these type of dynamic studies they integrate molecular snapshots obtained at high resolution with live-cell processes, to generate ‘molecular movies' aimed towards obtaining new frameworks for analyzing some of the molecular contacts and switches that participate in the regulation, availability, and intracellular traffic of the many molecules involved in signal transduction, immune responsiveness, lipid homeostasis, cell-cell recognition and organelle biogenesis.

Neil Lawrence (Sheffield, United Kingdom)


Neil Lawrence received his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southampton in 1994. Following a period as an field engineer on oil rigs in the North Sea he returned to academia to complete his PhD in 2000 at the Computer Lab in Cambridge University. He spent a year at Microsoft Research in Cambridge before leaving to take up a Lectureship at the University of Sheffield, where he was subsequently appointed Senior Lecturer in 2005. In January 2007 he took up a post as a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Computer Science in the University of Manchester where he worked in the Machine Learning and Optimisation research group. In August 2010 he returned to Sheffield to take up a collaborative Chair in Neuroscience and Computer Science.
Neil's main research interest is machine learning through probabilistic models. He focuses on both the algorithmic side of these models and their application. He has a particular focus on applications in computational biology, but happily dabbles in other areas such as speech, vision and graphics.
Neil is an Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence and the Journal of Machine Learning Research. He was the founding editor of the JMLR Workshop and Conference Proceedings and is currently series editor. He has served on the programme committee of several international conferences and was an area chair for the NIPS conference in 2005 and 2006. He was general chair of AISTATS in 2010 (bringing the conference to Europe for the first time) and NIPS Workshop Chair, also in 2010.

Maria Leptin (Heidelberg, Germany)


Maria Leptin received her PHD in 1983 for work on B cell activation carried out at the Basel Institute for Immunology under the supervision of Fritz Melchers. She switched to the study of development in Drosophila when she joined the laboratory of Michael Wilcox at the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, UK, for her postdoctoral work on Drosophila integrins. After a research visit at the lab of Pat O’Farrell at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), where she began her work on gastrulation, she spent the years from 1989 to 1994 as a group leader at the Max Planck Institute in Tübingen. In 1994, she became Professor at the Institute of Genetics University Cologne.
In January 2010, Maria Leptin became the Director of EMBO and established a research group in Heidelberg at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). The group studies the development of complex cell shapes in the respiratory system of Drosophila and the role of RNA localisation in generating such cell shapes. Professor Leptin is an elected member of EMBO and the Academia Europaea. She also serves on the editorial boards of Developmental Cell, Developmental Biology and on advisory boards of several academic institutions. She chairs one of the evaluation panels for ERC Advanced Investigator Grants.

Paolo Macchi (Trento, Italy)


Paolo Macchi worked as PhD student in the lab directed by Prof. Renato Dulbecco at the C.N.R. (National Research Council) in Milan, under the supervision of Dr.s Anna Villa and Paolo Vezzoni. His research focused on the identification and characterization of genes involved in rare immunopathologies. In 1996, he moved as a postdoc to the lab of Prof. Friedrich Bonhoeffer at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany, studying the molecular mechanisms of axon guidance. In 1999, Paolo Macchi joined the lab of Prof. Michael Kiebler at the same institute. In this lab, he was first associate researcher and became group leader when the lab moved to Vienna in 2005 at the Center for Brain Research. In 2007, he obtained the teaching habilitation in neuroscience at the Medical University of Vienna then he moved to Trento (Italy) heading the lab of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology at the CIBIO (Centre for Integrative Biology). In 2008 he became Associated Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Trento and coordinator of the international PhD program in Biomolecular Sciences at the University of Trento. The focus of his lab is on understanding the molecular mechanisms leading to the transport and translation control of messenger RNAs in neurons.

Carla Margulies (Munich, Germany)


Carla Margulies received her PhD in Biochemistry studying the initiation of E. coli chromosomal replication and studied transcriptional repression mechanisms in Drosophila at Michigan State University. During her postdoctoral work at Cold Spring Harbor in the laboratories of Tim Tully and Jerry Yin, where she started to dissect the role of chromatin and transcriptional regulators in animal behavior, specifically focusing on the Drosophila long-term memory formation. She further developed this interest at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg in the laboratory of Andreas Ladurner, where she took advantage of protein engineering techniques and EMBL’s genomics expertise to develop tools that facilitate the analysis of chromatin plasticity and gene activity within highly specific cell-types of a live and behaving Drosophila. This year she started as a group leader at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich where she is establishing her independent research line on the dynamics of chromatin and transcriptional regulation in animal behavior.

Tom Misteli (Bethesda, USA)


Tom Misteli is an internationally renowned cell biologist. He is a Senior Investigator at the National Cancer Institute, NIH, where he heads the Cell Biology of Genomes Group and the NCI Center for Cellular Screening. He obtained his PH. D. from the University of London, UK. During his post-doctoral training at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory he pioneered the use of imaging approaches to study genomes and gene expression in living cells. His laboratory’s current interest is to uncover fundamental principles of spatial genome organization and to apply this knowledge to the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for cancer and aging. He has received numerous awards including the Gian-Tondury Prize, the NIH Director’s Award and an NIH Merit Award. He acts as an advisor for numerous national and international agencies and serves on several editorial boards including Cell. He is the Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Cell Biology and of Current Opinion in Cell Biology.

Pier Giuseppe Pelicci (Milan, Italy)

Pier Giuseppe

Dr Pier Giuseppe Pelicci is Co-Scientific Director of the European Institute of Oncology, Chairman of the Department of Experimental Oncology (DEO) at the European Institute of Oncology, Milan (Italy), Scientific Director of the SEMM Foundation (European School of Molecular Medicine, Milan, Italy) and President of the Cogentech Consortium. IEO is a comprehensive cancer center focused on advanced treatments, diagnostics, clinical trials, cancer prevention, training, higher education and advanced research. SEMM is private foundation whose mission is to foster innovative education in molecular medicine, medical nanotechnology and bio-ethics. Cogentech is a Consortium owned by IEO and IFOM whose mission is the development of biomedical technological platforms for genomic research and Molecular Medicine programs. At IEO, Pelicci is responsible for the strategic planning of the IEO institute research programs, including basic, translational (Molecular Medicine Program) and clinical research. At SEMM, Pelicci is responsible for the development of three PhD programs (Molecular Medicine, Medical Nanotechnology, Life sciences: foundations & ethics) Dr. Pelicci is member of the American Association for Cancer Research, the European Molecular Biology Organization, the European Haematology Association, the European Society for Engineering and Medicine, the European Cytokine Society, The New York Academy of Sciences, the American Society for Microbiology, the Italian Association of Biophysics and Molecular Biology, the Italian Society of Cancerology. He is past president (1998-2000) of the Italian Society of Experimental Hematology. Dr. Pelicci was honored with several prestigious international fellowships and awards, such as the "C. Cioffrese" Prize for Cancer Research (Fondazione Carlo Erba, Italy), the “Foundation Chiara d’Onofrio” (Italy), the “Guido Venosta” Prize of the Italian Foundation for Cancer Research, the Award for “Excellence in Medicine” of the American-Italian Foundation for Cancer Research (New York, US), the H. S. Raffaele Prize (Italy). He is presently Full Professor of Pathology at the University of Milan and cofounder of the Biotech holding Genextra. Genextra controls four Biotech companies (Congenia, DAC, Tethis and Intercept). Dr.Pelicci is co-founder and co-director of the IFOM-IEO Campus, a research infrastructure that host IFOM, the IEO laboratory research activities, SEMM, Genextra and Cogentech.

Francesca Peri (Heidelberg, Germany)


Francesca Peri has studied Biology at the University of Padua and has received her PHD at the University of Cologne for her work on the establishment of dorsoventral polarity during Drosophila oogenesis. In 2002 for her postdoc she joined the laboratory of Christiane Nuesslein Volhard at the Max-Planck for Developmental Biology in Tuebingen working on neuronal-microglial interactions in the living zebrafish brain. In 2008, she became a Group Leader in the Developmental Biology Unit at the EMBL in Heidelberg. The focus of her lab is on understanding how microglia, the phagocytes of the brain, collectively ensure that the entire brain is surveyed by reacting to neuronal cell death promptly and with great precision. Diffusible molecules such as lipids and nucleotides attract microglia in response to neuronal apoptosis and injury, respectively, and the lab investigates how the activity of these diffusible factors is controlled, both in space and time to trigger dynamic changes in microglial motility. The lab exploits the massive imaging potential of the transparent zebrafish embryo and combines forward and reverse genetic approaches with quantitative imaging technology to address directly the mechanisms underlying microglial attraction towards apoptotic, sick and injured neurons. In 2009 Francesca Peri has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant for her work on neuronal-microglial interactions.

Stefano Piccolo (Padua, Italy)


Stefano Piccolo is Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Padua School of Medicine. He worked with Eddy De Robertis at HHMI-UCLA, where he unveiled how extracellular antagonism to growth factors is a key mechanism by which neural tissues is induced. Dr. Piccolo's is interested in how cells integrate and transduce distinct extracellular signals to regulate cell fate in a quantitative and combinatorial fashion. His group contributed to the fields of embryonic development, cancer growth and metastasis.

Stefano Pluchino (Cambridge, United Kingdom)


Stefano Pluchino received his MD and PhD degrees at the University of Siena, Italy, and additional training at Cambridge University, UK. Dr. Pluchino is a non-tenured Professor of Regenerative Neuroscience at the University Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milano (Italy; since 2005). He also serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor in Neurology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington (USA; since 2008) and has recently been appointed to a University Lectureship in Brain Repair and Honorary Consultancy in Neurology at the University of Cambridge, within the Centre for Brain Repair (2010). The major contribution of Dr Pluchino’s studies has been the demonstration of the [constitutive vs inducible] immune modulatory functions of somatic neural stem/precursor cells (NPCs). This seminal observation has lead to a number of pre-clinical studies where NPCs injected trough biological routes, such as the blood stream and the cerebrospinal fluid, protect the nervous system from accumulation of chronic tissue damage (therapeutic plasticity of stem cells). His major recent focus has been the exploitation of the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating the therapeutic plasticity of neural progenitor cells in inflammatory CNS diseases such as multiple sclerosis, ischemic stroke, and spinal cord injury. Having established this, current research projects are exploring the different modalities by which NPCs engage programs of horizontal cell-to-cell communication with cells in the microenvironment. Stefano Pluchino authored more than 40 publications with more than 1600 citations and h-index 15. He is co-inventor of 1 patent on neural stem cells. He has been awarded the 2007 Rita Levi-Montalcini Award, Italy; the 2010 Young Investigator Award, Italian Ministry of Health (Italy) and the 2010 European Research Council (ERC) Starting Independent Researcher Grant.

Maria Gabriella Santoro (Rome, Italy)

Maria Gabriella

Maria Gabriella Santoro is professor of Virology at the University of Rome Tor Vergata. She graduated in Biology at the University of Naples, Italy, and continued her training in cell biology and virology in the US as post-doctoral fellow at the Washington University Medical School in St. Louis, and as lecturer at the SUNY Medical School in New York. Dr. Santoro is a pioneer in the field of the anticancer activity of prostaglandins; she also discovered the antiviral activity of cyclopentenone prostanoids and has unraveled some of the basic molecular mechanisms involved. She has shown that cyclopentenone arachidonic acid metabolites turn on an intracellular defense response by interfering with the activity of two key cellular transcription factors, HSF1 and NF-κB and their signaling pathways. She also identified the chemical structure responsible for the biological activity of cyclopentenone prostanoids, opening new frontiers for developing novel antiviral and anticancer drugs. Her current work focuses on the regulation of the stress response in cancer cells, and on the understanding of the molecular mechanisms utilized by viruses to control cellular signaling pathways and transcription factors that participate in viral pathogenesis. Dr. Santoro is an author of more than 100 original articles in virology, cell biology and biochemistry, and an inventor of several patents on novel IKK inhibitors. She is an elected member of EMBO and has received several prizes and distinctions for her work.

Marco Sardiello (Houston, USA)


My research is focused at investigating whether lysosomal enhancement can prevent or ameliorate disease progression in neurodegenerative storage disorders of childhood. Specifically, we plan to modulate lysosomal-dependent clearance pathways by using genetic and chemical enhancers of autophagy in a mouse model of juvenile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, a fatal neurodegenerative disorder of childhood. As a Ph.D. student in Genetics at the University of Bari, I discovered a gene regulatory network controlling mitochondrial energy metabolism in model organism Drosophila melanogaster. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine, I discovered that the transcription factor EB (TFEB) is a master regulator of lysosomal pathways and demonstrated that its modulation can reduce the accumulation of neurotoxic substances in cells from patients or mouse models of neurodegenerative disorders. My current research stems from my previous work and has potentially great relevance in the area of human health – not only relatively to lysosomal storage disorders, but also to other neurodegenerative diseases characterized by early pathogenic events due to impaired clearance activities of the cell, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.

David Stephens (Bristol, United Kingdom)


Following PhD and postdoctoral training in the UK (London and Bristol), David Stephens was an EMBO Fellow at EMBL Heidelberg within the Advanced Light Microscopy Facility in the lab of Rainer Pepperkok. From 2001-2010 David was an MRC Fellow at the University of Bristol where he continued to apply advanced light microscopy to the study of the early secretory pathway and in particular the integration of membrane traffic with cytoskeletal dynamics. In 2010, David was appointed to a Chair in Cell Biology at the University of Bristol. More recently, his work has included significant electron microscopy as well as incorporating 3D cell culture and the use of zebrafish as a model organism. This progression of David’s work to more physiologically relevant systems has led to significant new findings relating to the organization and dynamics of the early secretory pathway. The lab continues to develop a programme of work to define how the organization and function of the early secretory pathway relates to fundamental cell biology, morphogenesis and vertebrate development.

Elizabeth Williams (New York, USA)


Liz Williams earned her PhD in 2004 from Cornell University based on her work with Dr. Thomas Fox. She then conducted postdoctoral research at the Johns Hopkins and Stanford Schools of Medicine with Dr. Philip Beachy. Liz began her career in scientific publishing in 2008 as an Associate Editor for PLoS Biology and joined The Journal of Cell Biology as Executive Editor in 2010.


Important date

  • Registrations open
    12 April 2011


  • Abstract submissions
    15 July 2011
  • Payment with early bird discount
    20 June 2011
  • Registrations and payment
    31 July 2011
  • Late online registrations
    22 August 2011

Organising Committee

Paolo Pinton (Chair)


Daniela Corda


Giulio Cossu


Giannino Del Sal


Carlotta Giorgi


Bronislava Matoskova


Tullio Pozzan


Roberto Sitia


Silvia Soddu


Guido Tarone