Our team


Scientific director


Giovanni Ferrara

I have a master's degree in Pathophysiology and a PhD in Pharmacology. Currently, I’m a research associate postdoc at University of Genoa. My major research interests include autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), a demyelinating disease of the brain and spinal cord that affects people in early adulthood and it can progress over decades causing a range of neurological deficits. Particularly I’m characterizing the role of a membrane-spanning proteoglycan, nerve-glial antigen 2 (NG2) and its possible role during neuroinflammation, as well as the effect of mesenchymal stem cells as treatment for neurological diseases.


Scientific secretary


Jose Lifante Cañavate

I obtained a bachelor's degree in Biology and a master's degree in Biotechnology at the University Autonoma of Madrid, Spain. Then I moved to Genova to work during one year as an external researcher at the laboratory of neuroimmunobiology, department of neuroscience, University Of Genova. Currently I am in my first year of a PhD course in neuroscience obtained at the same lab. The aim of my project is to investigate possible changes in neuroglia activation states through pharmaceutical modulation with Fingolimod -a novel oral treatment approved for the treatment of relapsing-remmiting form of multiple sclerosis- and to understand if this modulation could lead to a potential amelioration of neuroinflammation, ultimately reducting neurodegeneration in the mice model of Multiple Sclerosis experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE)

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Valentina Petrosino

I obtained a master's degree in Medical Biotechnology at University of Naples “Federico II” and my specialization in Clinical Biochemistry at University of Pisa. Currently I am working as phD student at the Neuroimmunobiology laboratory of University of Genoa. Specifically, I am focused on epigenetics and molecular biology aspects that can allow us to unravel new possible therapeutic targets in neurodegenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. In particular, my project is focused on the role of REST transcriptional factor in the pathological process present in the EAE model.


Margherita Romeo

I obtained my degree in Biomolecular Chemistry at the University of Catania (Italy), and in 2014 I accomplished a position as Biomedical Research Specialist at the IRCCS- Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche “Mario Negri”, Milan, Italy.  At the moment, I am undertaking a Phd at the IRCCS- Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche “Mario Negri”.  My project is focused on molecular mechanisms underlying the ability of C.elegans’ pharynx to recognize as toxicant cardiotoxic light chains that cause heart damage in patients suffering of immunoglobulin light chain amyloidosis. More in detail, I am investigating the key role of metal ions, particularly copper, in driving the ROS- mediated proteotoxic effects of light chains. 



Scientific commitee


Alessandra Aldinucci

I obtained a master's degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Florence. After graduation, I worked for one year at Sigma-Tau SpA pharmaceutical company in Rome as fellow researcher in the field of tumor angiogenesis. Next I came back to the University of Florence, where I got a PhD in Neurosciences. In 2015 I obtained a post-graduate diploma in Clinical Biochemistry. Currently, I am a senior postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Neurofarba (University of Florence). My main research interests concern several aspects of autoimmunity, with particular attention to multiple sclerosis: understanding the impact of TCR molecular changes during immunomodulatory therapies in MS patients; studying the possibility to shape the immonumodulatory functions of human dendritic cells under physiological and pathological conditions; characterizing the bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells in MS patients undergoing autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation and  exploiting nanomaterials to engineering T cells for drug delivery into the CNS.



Stefano Angiari

I obtained a master's degree in Molecular Biology and a Phd in Cellular and Molecular Pathology and Biology. In 10 years of research activity at the University of Verona (Italy) I investigated the molecular mechanisms controlling leukocyte trafficking in the central nervous system during neuroinflammatory diseases such as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, epilepsy and Alzheimer disease. I also studied the immuno-modulatory properties of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ASCs) and ASC-derived nanovescicles in neurological diseases. I recently moved to the Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) to develop a research project investigating the metabolic regulation of adaptive immune responses.


Barbara Bettegazzi

I first obtained a master's degree in Medical Biotechnology, and afterwards obtained a PhD in Molecular Medicine at San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, Italy.  I am currently working as a post doctoral researcher in Professor Grohovaz’s laboratory at the same institution. During my PhD I worked mainly on Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis, studying the mechanisms regulating the expression and activity of BACE1, the main β-secretase of the brain. During my PhD I spent two years in Munich, in the laboratory of C. Haass, a pioneer in the Alzheimer’s disease field and our collaboration is still ongoing. More recently I shifted my research focus on studying whether alterations in the control of protein synthesis could contribute to the development of complex diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy. 

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Enrica Boda

I am a neurobiologists currently working as Assistant Professor in tenure track (RTD-B) in Human Anatomy. I take part of the research group of "Physiopathology of neural stem cells" at Neuroscience Institute Cavalieri Ottolenghi and Dept. of Neuroscience, University of Turin. My studies are focused on the molecular mechanisms regulating the self-renewal and differentiation of neural progenitor cells (oligodendrocyte progenitors and neural stem cells) in health and disease, with a special focus on de-/dis-myelinating diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis and neurodevelopmental disorders.


Giovanna Calabrese

 I obtained a PhD in Medical Embryology, Pathology and Experimental Hematology. Currently, I’m a post-doc at the University of Catania, Dept. of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences. My main research topic is regenerative medicine and tissue engineering applied to both neural and osteo/chondral regeneration. Specifically, I’m studying the repairing capabilities of the combination between mesenchymal stem cells and 3D biomimetic materials, both in vitro and in animal model


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Giuseppina DAlessandro

I obtained a master's degree in Industrial Biotechnology at “Federico II” University of Naples. Further I coursed a specialization in Pharmacological Research at Mario Negri Institute, Milan focusing my attention on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Then I took a PhD in Neurophysiology at “Sapienza” University of Rome studying Glioblastoma biology and its effect on tumor brain microenvironment. I worked as  research collaborator at Institute of Neurosciences for Hospitalization and Scientific Research (Neuromed) in Pozzilli, Isernia. From 2015 to present I work as post-doc in a 3-year AIRC founded project on microglia/macrophages and Glioblastoma crosstalk at "Sapienza" University of Rome.


Manuela Medelin

I obtained a master's degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technologie and continued my experimental training in pharmacology at the Goethe University in Frankfurt for few months. Afterwards, I decided to explore a different scientific field and started my PhD in Neuroscience and Cognitive Sciences – specializing in Neurobiology, back again at the University of Trieste. In 2014 I continued my research activities in SISSA as a Postdoctoral Fellow mainly focusing on characterizing neuronal networks in both physiological and pathological conditions and how these are affected when interfaced with nanotechnologies.

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Alessandra Musella

I’m a senior researcher, working at the Università Telematica San Raffaele, Rome, Italy. I was first graduated in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology at “Sapienza” University of Rome, Italy. Immediately after graduation, I started working as electrophysiologist in Prof. D Centonze’s laboratory at “Tor Vergata” University and at IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia. I received my PhD degree in neuroscience and, in 2014, I obtained a 3-year-grant form Italian Ministry of Health. My research interests are related to the role of synaptic transmission in the pathophysiology of Multiple Sclerosis and of its experimental model, and to the mechanisms of the neurodegenerative damage in neurological diseases. On these topics, I have published about 53 original peer-reviewed papers.


Giovanni Nardo

I obtained a master's degree in Biology and a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Parma (Italy). During this period, I was focused on the molecular diagnostics of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Subsequently, I moved to UK as a postdoc at the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SiTRAN) where I was involved in the characterization of ALS pathogenesis in transgenic mouse models. After two years, I became principal investigator at the Mario Negri Institute in Milan by obtaining a two years grant from the Thierry Latran Foundation. Currently, I am working as a senior researcher at the Mario Negri Institute where he investigate the correlation between the inflammation and ALS. I am working on ALS mouse models and the molecular mechanisms underlying the disease. The main goal of my research is to identify promising molecular targets for the patients' treatment.

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Ilaria Prada


I graduated in Pharmacological Biotechnologies at the University of Milan and received a PhD in Molecular Medicine-Neuroscience at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan in 2011. I initially studied intracellular vesicle expression and trafficking in neuroendocrine cells and in astrocytes, specializing in advanced microscopy techniques at the University of Lausanne and at SISSA in Trieste. I then worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at IN-CNR investigating how glial extracellular-vesicles can affect neuronal function in health and disease, with a special focus on neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation. I am currently developing new aspects of the project as Fondazione Umberto Veronesi visiting fellow at the University of Gothenburg.


Matteo Tamborini

I obtained a master's degree in Molecular Biology and Phd in Pharmacology at the Univeristy of Milan. Firstly I studied DNA damage induced by radiations at the nervous system level. During my Phd I approached to the nanotechnology field applied to the Glioblastoma context, focusing my investigation on the potential therapeutic effect of nanovectors combined with radiotherapy. Nowadays I  study the role of radiotherapy in modulating the communication among glioblastoma cancer stem cells and nervous system cells in terms of cancer survival and  invasion. 

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Elisabetta Volpe

I graduated and trained for a PhD course in Immunology in the laboratory of Molecular Pathology at the University of Tor Vergata (Rome, Italy), where I studied the human macrophage and dendritic cell responses to mycobacterial infection, combining molecular, cellular, and microbiological approaches.

From January 2006 to February 2009 I worked in the Department of Immunology at the Curie Institute (Paris, France) as post-doc researcher. In these years I studied the role of inflammatory cytokines in health and disease. In particular I was focused on the study of T helper (Th)17 responses, implicated in the development of autoimmune diseases. I studied the conditions inducing human Th17 cell differentiation by using biological and bioinformatics tools.

In March 2009 I came back to Italy at the Santa Lucia Foundation in Rome, where I developed projects concerning the study of immunological networks implicated in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis, by transferring all knowledge acquired during my previous experiences.

Currently I work on the mechanisms regulating induction and function of cytokines involved in multiple sclerosis. In particular, my interest is focused on interleukin-17, known to promote inflammation, and interleukin-9, which we discovered has an immunoregulatory role in multiple sclerosis. 



Support & Creative content

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Giovanni Caprioli

I am a freelance editor and self-publishing consultant. I am specialist in e-book creation and music publishing. I co-authored a Santiago Way guide (A Santiago lungo il percorso Portoghese, 4th edition 2018) for Terre di Mezzo publisher. In 2017 I started an independent publishing project (Antica Musica/Moderna Pratica) focus on Early Music and Notations.


Paola Lopreiato

I am a part-time PhD student in New Media Art at the University of Plymouth. I received an MPhil in composition from University of Sheffield. My work has been exhibited in: SANTARCANGELO, MANTOVA, Florence; in UK University of Chester and of Bournemouth, Sheffield Drama Studio, Belfast SARC; in USA SEAMUS, New York City Electro acoustic Music Festival, NYU, Stedman Art Gallery NJ; in Greece Corfu Academia Yonica, Cephalonia ICAC gallery, Athens the Athenian I-Club and ICMC; in Mexico Fonoteca National; in Slovenia Ljubljana ICMC; in Australia Perth ICMC; in Brazil Rio de Janeiro CAC4; in Turkey Istanbul Halka project; in South Africa Johannesburg Fak’ugesi conference. My research interests include multisensoriality, acoustic, new technology and virtual reality. I’m production manager of “Diffrazioni Multimedia Festival” organized by the conservatory of Florence.


Ivano Soro

I obtained a certificate as a graphic operator at the professional traning center “E. Fassicomo” at Genoa. Then I continued my studies at higher Institute G. Caboto in Chiavari, where I accomplished a degree as  technician of the commercial services specialized in advertising graphics . Currently  I am studying to become a multichannel manager at the technical college A. Rizzoli at Milano, and at the same I am also working as creative director at Neho Multimedia Studio, a music studio based in Genoa.