Research interests

My research interests are directed towards the study of sequence-specific transcription factors, their regulated gene networks and the mechanisms linking transcriptional activation at promoter level, mRNA translation efficiency and cell outcome. The main focus is on the tumor suppressor protein p53 and, to some extent, its family members p63 and p73. In the recent past, I have also studied transcriptional cooperation between p53 and Estrogen Receptors or NF-kB. The lab employs model systems, including different established cancer cell line and also specialize in exploiting the yeast S. cerevisiaeas it provides a highly defined, genetically tractable, and tunable assay system, in vivotest tube. Presently we are focusing on mechanisms that coordinate transcriptional selection and mRNA translation efficiency resulting in p53-dependent apoptosis of cancer cells treated with small molecules targeting MDM2.
We are also continuing studies aiming at: -Dissecting features of p53 binding sites contributing to p53 transactivation –Validating new small molecules reactivating the p53 pathway in cancer cells; -Functionally classify SNVs in 5’UTR of CDKN2A p16/INK4a gene associated with melanomas. -Developing yeast-based assay to study transcription regulation as well as DNA repair and recombination pathways.

Research work

Research Financial support as Principal Investigator


IG grant from Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro, AIRC: "Synergy between p53 and ERa on the VEGF receptor FLT-1 gene: mechanisms and implications for human cancer." 


IG grant from Associazione Italiana Ricerca sul Cancro, AIRC “Crossroads of the p53, ER, NFkB stress response networks in cancer: mechanisms, targets and implications”. 


IG grant from Associazione Italiana Ricerca sul Cancro, AIRC "p53-directed post-transcriptional / translational control of gene expression: decoding the p53 translatome." 


CIBIO start-up fund #40201028 Laboratory of Transcriptional Network: 5’UTR variants at the p16/INK4a melanoma susceptibility gene; translatome analysis of p53-directed gene expression programs 


IG grant from Associazione Italiana Ricerca sul Cancro, AIRC “Dissecting and exploiting the p53-directed apopto- regulon”.

Research Output

Data from Scopus as of December 6 2017:

110 documents

2464 total citations

h-index: 26

Last author papers: 18

First author papers: 12

Memberships in societies and scientific committees

Since 2009- Italian Genetics Society

Since 2004- Member American Association for Cancer Research

Since 1995- Member Italian Society of Environmental Mutagenesis, now called SIMAG

Other work

Institutional Duties

Since March 2016

CIBIO director’s delegate for “Quality Assurance

Since October 2016

Member of CIBIO Executive Committee (Giunta) 

Since March 2009

Faculty Member PhD program in Biomolecular Sciences, University of Trento

Since June 2012

Vice-coordinator, PhD program in Biomolecular sciences

Since October 2013

Member of the Executive Committee of the PhD program in Biomolecular Sciences