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Fig.1: ER-mitochondria contacts in Control and Familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD) fibroblasts carrying the N141I mutation in PS2.
1988: graduated with full marks in Biological Sciences at the University of Padua, Italy.
1989-1993: Ph.D. in "Experimental Pathology", at the Institute of General Pathology, University of Padua, Italy.
1993-2001: research associate at the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padua, Italy
2001-2014: Assistant Professor, General Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Padua, at the Department of Biomedical Sciences, Italy
January 2014: National Academic Qualification as Associate and Full Professor of General Pathology
October 2014: Associate Professor, General Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Padua, at the Department of Biomedical Sciences, Italy
1992-1993: Visiting scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, in the laboratory of Prof. David Yaffe.
2012 July-August: Visiting scientist at the Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, USA, in the laboratory of Dr. Philip Washbourne.
2013 July-August: Visiting scientist at the McKusick-Nathans, Institute of Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, USA, in the laboratory of Prof. Steven Leach.
1992: EMBO short term fellowship recipient at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.
1993: Telethon fellowship recipient for the study of neuromuscular diseases, at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, in the laboratory of Prof. David Yaffe.
The main scientific interest of Dr. Pizzo regards the mechanisms of Ca2+ homeostasis in mammalian cells and the role of Ca2+ as second messenger in cellular physio-pathology.
In the last 15 years, she has started a project on Ca2+ dysregulation in Familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD). In particular, using different disease cell models, it has been defined how FAD-linked mutated forms of presenilin 2 (PS2) alter cellular Ca2+ handling, reducing the intracellular Ca2+ store content but increasing the mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake. Her research pointed out that PS2, indeed, is able to modulate the tethering between mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), the major intracellular Ca2+ store, with its FAD mutants increasing it and thus favouring mitochondria Ca2+ uptake upon ER Ca2+ release. Her studies are now aimed to understand whether and how this new PS2 function might be involved in the pathogenesis of the disease altering, for instance, mitochondria function.
Dr. Pizzo collaborates with Dr. Pozzan on research projects dealing with Ca2+ handling by different intracellular organelles, using a new family of probes, genetically encoded, based on FRET (Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer), and with several other groups to study the role of Ca2+ in diverse physio-pathological processes. She has published more than 90 papers in international journals.
Telethon • Grant GGP16029A • Mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake in the pathogenesis of familial Alzheimers disease • 2017-2021.
University of Padua Grant SID2019 • Mitochondrial metabolism in Alzheimer’s disease • 2019-2021.
Progetti di Ricerca di Rilevante Interesse Nazionale (PRIN 2017; Italian Ministry of Research Grant 2017XA5J5N) • A shape to fit the need: how cells rearrange their organelle composition and architecture during development and stress • 2019-2023.