gabriele-bajDr. Gabriele Baj graduated from the University of Milan (2003) and received a Ph.D. in Neuroscience (2007) from the University of Trieste. During the PhD he moved to New York University (NYU) were he started a collaboration aimed at the discovery of neurotrophins role in neuronal development. Since 2008 he works at the Life Science Department in Trieste. He is the manager of the confocal microscopy facility of the University and he is lecturer for the course of Neurobiology techniques. The main research topics is the discovery of elements that controls the neuronal development and maintenance with particular focus on neuronal atrophy. These phenomena are related to several neurological disorders ranging from Rett Syndrome, depression and schizophrenia to dementia. He contributed in the generation of new models and tools for drug discovery. His research is funded by the Italian Ministries of Research and Health and several grants foundations.


paola-conforti(21/05/78) E’ assegnista di ricerca presso l’Università degli Studi di Milano e svolge i suoi studi nel laboratorio diretto dalla Prof.ssa E. Cattaneo. Si è laureata in Scienze Biologiche (2004) e ha conseguito il dottorato di ricerca in Scienze Farmacotossicologiche, Farmacognostiche e Biotecnologie Farmacologiche (2009) presso l’università degli Studi di Milano. Sin dall’inizio della sua carriera, la sua ricerca è stata volta allo studio dei meccanismi di disregolazione trascrizionale causati dall’huntingtina mutata, proteina che causa la patologia di Huntington, una rara malattia neurodegenerativa caratterizzata dalla morte di neuroni striatali. Paola Conforti ha contribuito ad identificare la sequenza RE1/NRSE come il primo target genomico dell’huntingtina, ha validato l’alterata attività di questo target in diversi modelli cellulari e animali e nel cervello di pazienti Huntington. Dal 2010 ha condotto un progetto di ricerca volto a sviluppare nuove strategie genetiche per modulare l’attività della sequenza RE1/NRSE in modelli cellulari e animali. In parallelo ha sviluppato nuove strategie farmacologiche utilizzando un approccio di virtual screening e validando le molecole identificate in modelli malattia.

  • Conforti P., Mas Monteys A., Zuccato C., Buckely N.J., Davidson B., Cattaneo E. “In vivo delivery of DN:REST improves transcriptional changes of REST-regulated genes in HD mice”, Gene Therapy 2013; 20(6):678-85
  • Conforti P., Zuccato C., Gaudenzi G., Ieraci A., Buckley N.J., Mutti C., Camnasio S., Cotelli F., Contini A., Cattaneo E. “Modulation of REST-mSIN3b binding by small molecules restores neuronal gene transcription in Huntington’s disease models”, Journal of Neurochemistry 2013; 127(1):22-35


ada-ledonneDott.ssa Ada Ledonne has taken a degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology, with laude, at the University of Calabria in 2006 and a PhD in Pharmacology and Biochemistry of Cell Death (4 years) in the same University in 2011. During her PhD course she worked mainly in the Department of Experimental Neurosciences of IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation in Rome. Next she has been post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Systems Medicine of the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”. Now she has a post-doctoral fellowship at the IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation in Rome. Her research activity is focused on the investigation of the physiological mechanism regulating basal ganglia activity and their functional alterations in several neuropsychiatric disorders. Recently she contributed to the identification of a modulatory role of the neurotrophic factor Neuregulin 1 on the activity of the mesencephalic dopaminergic system. Her reseach activity is funded by the Brain & Behaviour Research Foundation.


tania-massignanDr. Massignan has over 13 years of experience in neurodegenerative disorders, with specific technical background in cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, proteomics and experimental models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and prion diseases. In 2004, she obtained a Master Degree in Pharmacological Research from the Mario Negri Institute in Milan (Laboratory of Translational Proteomics directed by Dr. Valentina Bonetto), and in 2010 a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from The Open University of London (UK). In 2007, she has been a visiting student at Washington University in St Louis (USA), and between 2010 and 2013 a research associate at Boston University School of Medicine (USA). Dr. Massignan is listed as first or co-author in 21 publications in international scientific journals (indexed in PubMed). She recently developed of a novel cellular assay to study the neurotoxic pathways activated by mutant forms of the prion protein. Her current research is focused on employing this assay to identify new therapeutic agents against genetic and infectious prion diseases.


giuseppe-sciamanna(Ascoli Piceno, 1979) received his B.A. from University of Urbino Carlo Bo’ (2004). In 2008 he got his PhD in Neuroscience at University of Rome TorVergata. From 2008 to 2009 he has been a fellowship researcher at University of Texas at San Antonio, USA (UTSA) under supervison of prof C.J. Wilson. In 2013 he received a three year grant (Futuro in Ricerca, FIRB) from Italian minister of research. In 2014 he got a three year grant from Italian minister of health (Giovani ricercatori, GR). He currently serves as associate researcher at University of Rome TorVergata. Since 2005 he have been involved in experimental research at lab of University of Rome TorVergata (Dept. of Systems Medicine) and at Fondazione Santa Lucia, Rome. By means of electrophysiological, fluorometric and optogenetic techniques his research is aimed to understand the patophysiological mechanism underlying the neurodegenerative diseases of basal ganglia as Parkinson’s disease and Dystonia.


Comments are closed.