- Discovering Padova
- Il Bo
1991-1992: Research Associate (University of Padova)
1992-1998: Assistant Professor of General Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Padova
1998-2002: Associate Professor of General Pathology, School of Pharmacy, University of Ferrara
2002-2008: Professor of General Pathology, School of Pharmacy, University of Ferrara (Dean of the School of Pharmacy in 2007-08)
2008-date: Professor of General Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Padova (Chairman of the Dept. of Biomedical Sciences in 2009-date)
By developing an innovative methodology, organelle targeting of recombinant luminescent (aequorin, luciferase) and fluorescent (GFP) proteins, that allowed novel insight in the fields of calcium signalling, cellular metabolism and organelle morphology (Rizzuto et al., Nature 358, 325-328, 1992; Curr. Biol. 5, 635-642, 1995; Jouaville et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 96, 13807-13812, 1999).
These new concepts include the participation of mitochondria in cellular Ca2+ homeostasis and their role in translating calcium signals in effects as diverse as stimulation of metabolism and induction of cell death (Rizzuto et al. Science 262, 744-747, 1993; Brini et al., Nat. Med. 5, 951-954, 1999; Pinton et al. J. Cell Biol. 148, 857-862, 2000; EMBO J. 20, 2690-2701, 2001), the occurrence of tight signalling interactions between the ER and mitochondria (Rizzuto et al. Science 280, 1763-1766, 1998), the identification of the Golgi apparatus as an agonist-sensitive Ca2+ store (Pinton et al., EMBO J. 18, 5298-5308, 1998), the major Ca2+ rises occurring under the plasma membrane upon cell stimulation (Marsault et al. EMBO J. 16, 1575-1581, 1997), to cite a few.
In 2011, Dr. Rizzuto has identified the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU), the only fundamental component of the cellular calcium signalling machinery yet to be discovered (De Stefani et al., Nature 476, 338-340, 2011). This result has opened the molecular era of mitochondrial Ca2+ homeostasis, that combines molecular insight into the structure/function relationship of MCU and its regulators (Raffaello et al., EMBO J. 32, 2362-2376; Patron et al. Mol. Cell 53, 726-37) and the possibility of manipulating mitochondrial Ca2+ handling in cultured cells and animal models, to clarify its role in the physiological regulation of tissues and in the pathogenesis of the most prevalent human diseases (neurodegenerative disorders, ischemic heart disease, cancer).
Dr. Rizzuto published 239 article in peer-reviewed journals (19756 citations, h-index 72, data from Web of Science)
The research in Dr. Rizzuto’s lab is funded by grants form the European Research Council (Ideas Advanced grant), the NIA (Program Project), The Italian Ministries of Education (FIRB) and Health (Ricerca Finalizzata), the Italian Association for Cancer Research (AIRC) and Telethon-Italy, and the Cariparo and Cariplo bank foundations.