Presentation


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The main aim of this three-year program is to provide a high-level scientific training for students with a background in life sciences, medicine, engineering, physics, chemistry, pharmacology interested in studying organism functions in health and disease with a multidisciplinary approach.

The program offers research and education opportunities for ambitious students who wish to work towards an interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree covering one or more of the following areas: chemistry, biochemistry, bioinformatics and computational biology, genetics, genomics, microbiology, immunology, and cellular, developmental, molecular, structural and systems biology.

A distinguishing feature of this program is the possibility of interacting and networking with fellow students with different background and expertise and of approaching the study of organism function in health and disease in a comprehensive fashion.

The practical work is complemented by lectures, seminars and courses involving all students and faculty members with the aim of developing broader knowledge based on a common language, essential in modern science.

Studied organisms include bacteria, yeast, plants, flies, nematodes, mouse and human systems, with possible clinical connections.

Three curricula are foreseen:
1) BIOLOGY AND GENETICS OF PROKARYOTES AND VIRUSES; HOST-PATHOGEN INTERACTION INCLUDING IMMUNE RESPONSE, AND ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE MECHANISMS
This study program will focus on the molecular mechanisms underlying the fundamental processes in the biology of prokaryotic cells and viruses and their interactions with the host.
Research areas of interest include:
• the interaction between pathogens and the host cell
• the strategies adopted by bacteria/viruses to counteract the stress conditions imposed by the host
• the mechanisms of microbial/viral infection, persistence and avoidance of immune responses
• the cellular pathways involved in the pathogenesis of bacterial/viral infections
• the evolution of the mechanisms of resistance to antibiotics and antivirals
Ongoing projects include studies aimed at understanding:
• the immunometabolic mechanisms underlying the functions of immune cells
• the mechanisms that regulate the phenotype and functions of innate immunity cells during chronic inflammatory processes associated with infections
• immune responses following vaccination in healthy and immunodeficient patients or in individuals with immune system disorders
• the innate immune response in viral zoonoses
• the role of viral genetic variants and the immunopathogenetic mechanisms of respiratory viruses
• the role of cellular factors (metabolic conditions, age, sex) in promoting the replication of respiratory viruses and the inflammatory response of the host
• the evolution of the bacterial genome, the resistome and the mobilome in acquired resistance to antibiotics
• the genetic factors of colonization, adaptation and persistence of bacterial clones of nosocomial and community origin

2) BIOINFORMATICS AND OMICS, STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF MACROMOLECULES, DRUG DISCOVERY.
This curriculum will focus on the properties of biological macromolecules. Different approaches will be exploited, which involve structural biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, drug design and chemistry. The final goal is to provide the conceptual framework necessary to interpret biological complexity in relevant phenomena such as cell reprogramming, cancer, host-pathogen interaction.
Among the ongoing projects, there are:
• studies to unveil mechanisms of initial reaction leading to generation of genetic information;
• the determination of the structure of individual macromolecules to unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying protein stability and folding;
• studies to unveil the founding principles of molecular recognition between biomolecules, including proteomic studies;
• exploitation of structural information on putative targets to design, synthesize and validate antimicrobial and antiviral compounds as well as new or optimized anticancer drugs;
• structural bases of the metabolism in order to find new targets for effective anti-biofilm drugs;
• computational approaches to the interpretation of -omics data;
• development of methods for function and structure prediction of macromolecules.

3) MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR BIOLOGY AND GENETICS OF EUKARYOTIC CELLS; DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY; CELLULAR PHYSIOLOGY.
This curriculum will focus on the molecular mechanisms underlying the fundamental processes of the biology of Eukaryotic cells. In particular, present areas of interest include:
• the interactions of host cell with viral, prokaryotic and eukaryotic pathogens.
• the molecular mechanisms controlling eukaryotic cell biology during physiological and pathological processes.
Ongoing projects include studies aimed at understanding:
• signalling regulatory networks;
• cellular crosstalk and trafficking; physio-patological cell-to-cell communication;
• metabolic reprogramming in cancer and other pathologies.
• expression and function of non protein coding genes: role of small and long non-coding RNAs in gene expression control;
• epigenetic phenomena: epigenetics in DNA replication, recombination and transcription; Poly-ADP ribosylation and DNA methylation in gene expression control;
• chromosome organization and genome stability; nucleosomal organization of telomeres;
• molecular mechanisms driving cellular differentiation: stem cell fate in response to microenviromental factors.
(Logo credits: Giorgio Giardina)


News

[08/07/2024]




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