Laboratory of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics

We are interested in understanding the function and regulation of TERRA in human cancer cells. To this aim, we have developed a live-cell imaging assay to visualize and study endogenous TERRA transcripts expressed from a single telomere in living human cancer cells. By combining live-cell imaging with biochemical and molecular biology approaches we aim to define the dynamics of TERRA expression and localization at telomeres and characterize the role of TERRA in telomere maintenance of human cancer cells.

PI: Emilio Cusanelli

Laboratory of Molecular Virology

Recent years have witnessed tremendous advancements in the development of technologies for genome editing in particular with the exploitation of programmable nuclease, such as CRISPR/Cas.
Our laboratory is interested in developing molecular tools for precise and efficient gene therapy strategies by exploiting viral and non-viral delivery systems as well as programmable nucleases.

PI: Anna Cereseto

Laboratory of RNA Regulatory Networks

RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) and their impact on gene expression have long been studied in isolation. However, considering one RBP at a time leads to models of post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression that are unable to account for the sheer complexity of this regulatory layer. The main focus of the laboratory is thus to study the concurrent action of multiple RBPs by modeling post-transcriptional regulatory networks through computational and molecular biology tools. We are particularly interested in exploring the cooperative and competitive interplay of RNA-binding proteins, and how alterations of these mechanisms affect the onset and progression of cancer.

PI: Erik Dassi

Laboratory of RNA Biology and Biotechnology

RNA impacts nearly every aspect of gene expression and it is now clear that the majority of human genetic diseases are caused by mistakes in RNA metabolism. It has become progressively evident that RNA is not just a carrier of genetic information, but also a catalyst and a guide for sequence-specific recognition and processing of other RNA molecules.
Progress in our understanding of RNA biology has made it possible to identify RNA molecules as targets of therapeutic intervention and to use RNA as a tool for functional studies and as a novel therapeutic molecule to treat human disease. Since a few years, RNA-based techniques (RNA interference, antisense RNA etc.) are becoming more and more useful in therapy and applied research.

PI: Michela Alessandra Denti

Laboratory of Transcriptional Networks

We study sequence-specific transcription factors, their regulated gene networks and the mechanisms linking transcriptional activation at promoter level, mRNA translation efficiency and cell outcome.

PI: Alberto Inga