MOLECULAR & CELLULAR PATHOLOGY OF AGING-RELATED DISEASES

Curriculum Coordinator: Prof. Cinzia Domenicotti

The Curriculum of Cellular and Molecular Pathology of Aging-related Diseases aims to train experienced researchers in various fields of Experimental Pathology. It has as its primary objective the study of the pathogenetic mechanisms responsible for various human diseases including diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. The research areas concern the cellular pathology from oxidative stress and in particular, the role of redox equilibrium in the modulation of the activity of the signaling molecules (kinases, transcription factors, stress proteins) involved in the pathogenesis of neoplasia and age-related degenerative diseases. In the field of neurodegenerative diseases there is an area of research focused on the pathogenetic mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease and in particular the functional role of β-amyloid in the biochemical and electrochemical processes involved in memory formation.

The Curriculum provides a training path during which the PhD students, through teaching and application in the field of Experimental Pathology, acquire the basic preparation and the scientific method useful for autonomously conducting preclinical and clinical research in the fields of pathophysiological interest . PhD students are supervised by a tutor in the performance of their activities and during their journey they learn to plan experiments, to collaborate and to develop critical skills and interpretation of experimental data. In addition, the possibility to spend a period abroad, in highly-qualified laboratories involved in scientific collaborations with the teachers of the Curriculum, is encouraged. Experimental research is carried out in the laboratories of the General Pathology Section of the Department of Experimental Medicine (DIMES).

The projects of the PhD students of the Curriculum concern the following research areas:

  • Role of glutathione and oxidative metabolism in the staminality and multiresistance of human neuroblastoma;
  • Role of intracellular signaling pathways in the resistance acquired by human BRAF mutated and long-term treated BRAF melanoma cells with BRAF inhibitors;
  • Evaluation of oxidative and glycoxidative stress in various experimental systems;
  • Role of Nrf2/HO-1 in the survival of neuronal cells exposed to oxidative and/or proteotoxic stress;
  • Role of HO-1 in melanoma response to BRAF inhibitors;
  • Role of Nrf2/HO-1 in endothelial activation;
  • Study of the molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease, with particular reference to amyloidogenic processing;
  • Study of the role of β-amyloid and cyclic nucleotides cAMP and cGMP in the biochemical and electrochemical processes involved in memory formation;
  • Study of the amyloidogenic component in the retinal neurodegeneration of human glaucoma.