- Discovering Padova
- Il Bo
1994 High School Diploma, Liceo Classico Sperimentale “A. Pigafetta”, Vicenza, Italy
2000 Graduated cum laude in Biological Sciences, University of Padova, Italy
2004 PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Pathology, University of Padova, Italy
2004-2008 Post-doctoral research activity, Dept. of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, Italy
2005 Short-term EMBO fellowship at the Cancer Research Institute, London
2008 – present: Assistant Professor, General Pathology, University of Padova
Member of the Ph.D. program in Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova
I have been working for several years on a group of snake presynaptic neurotoxins from Elapid snakes endowed with PLA2 activity. Our laboratory has clarified their molecular mechanism of action by discovering that: i) lysophospholipids and fatty acids are generated at the plasma membrane by the enzymatic activity of these neurotoxins; ii) their action mimicks the activity of the toxins; iii) they induce conformational changes in the lipid bilayer, thus favouring the exocytosis of the ready-to-release pool of vesicles and inhibiting vesicle retrieval; iv) they alter plasma membrane permeability to calcium, with massive calcium influx within nerve terminals. In turn, this triggers nerve degeneration and paralysis of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ). A remarkable aspect is the reversibility of the neuroparalysis: within few days the NMJ recovers functionally both in mice and humans.
I am currently studying the molecular mechanisms underlying peripheral nerve regeneration, focusing on the role of a special class of glial cells, named terminal or peripheral Schwann cells (PSCs). Following damage of the presynaptic nerve terminal, these cells undergo important morphological and functional changes aimed at assisting nerve recovery. I am investigating the mediators involved in the cross-talk between nerve and PSCs, the signaling pathways activated in PSCs during regeneration and their changes in terms of micro- and mRNAs.
Italian Ministry of Health, Young Investigator Grant
Fondazione Cariparo, PhD fellowship
University of Padova