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Group Leader Mucosal immunology and microbiota Unit – Humanitas Research Hospital
Academic Background and Education
Maria Rescigno graduated in Biology in 1990 at the University of Milan. From 1991 to 1994 she worked at the University of Cambridge, UK, in the Department of Biochemistry, as a visiting scholar. From 1995 to 1999, she worked at the National Research Council of Milan where she received her PhD in Pharmacology and toxicology in 1999. From 1999 to 2001 she worked at the University of Milano-Bicocca where she specialized in Applied Biotechnology. From 2001 to 2017 she was the director of the Dendritic cell biology and immunotherapy Unit at the Department of Experimental Oncology at the European Institute of oncology. She authored more than 130 publications. In 2008-2013 she was visiting professor at the University of Oslo. In 2016 Maria Rescigno founded Postbiotica a microbiota start-up.
Scientific and Research Interests
The lab major field of interest is mucosal immunology and in particular the interaction between host and microbes at mucosal sites. She was the first to show that dendritic cells actively participate to bacterial uptake in the gut, and that the local microenvironment dictates immune homeostasis. She also discovered the existence in the intestine of a vascular barrier that resembles the blood brain barrier and that restrains bacteria from entering the blood stream and disseminate systemically. Another field of interest is the development of new cancer immunotherapy strategies based on bacteria as immunostimulators. She has shown that bacteria can drive the establishment of gap junctions between tumor cells and immune cells for an efficient priming of anti-tumor immunity. She also developed tumor-specific bacteria that act as intelligent missiles to kill only tumor cells.
- Rimoldi, M., Chieppa, M., Salucci, V., Sonzogni, A., Nespoli, A., Viale, G., Allavena, P., Rescigno, M. Intestinal immune homeostasis is regulated by the cross-talk between epithelial cells and dendritic cells. (2005) Nat Immunol. 6:507-14.
- Saccheri F, Pozzi C, Avogadri F, Barozzi S, Faretta M, Fusi P, Rescigno M. Bacteria-induced gap junctions in tumors favor antigen cross-presentation and antitumor immunity. Sci Transl Med. 2010 Aug 11;2(44):44ra57.
- Spadoni I, Zagato E, Bertocchi A, Paolinelli R, Hot E, Di Sabatino A, Caprioli F, Bottiglieri L, Oldani A, Viale G, Penna G, Dejana E, Rescigno M. A gut-vascular barrier controls the systemic dissemination of bacteria. 2015 Nov 13;350(6262):830-4. doi: 10.1126/science.aad0135.
- Guglietta S, Chiavelli A, Zagato E, Krieg C, Gandini S, Ravenda PS, Bazolli B, Lu B, Penna G, Rescigno Coagulation induced by C3aR-dependent NETosis drives protumorigenic neutrophils during small intestinal tumorigenesis. Nat Commun. 2016 Mar 21;7:11037. doi: 10.1038/ncomms11037.
- Pozzi C, Cuomo A, Spadoni I, Magni E, Silvola A, Conte A, Sigismund S, Ravenda PS, Bonaldi T, Zampino MG, Cancelliere C, Di Fiore PP, Bardelli A, Penna G, Rescigno M. The EGFR-specific antibody cetuximab combined with chemotherapy triggers immunogenic cell death. Nat Med. 2016 Jun;22(6):624-31. doi: 10.1038/nm.4078. Epub 2016 May 2.
Academic honors, awards and prices
- 1996: Winner of the Award from the “Fondazione Adriano Buzzati Traverso”
- 1998: 998 Cell Biology Roche Award received in Viterbo during the XXVI Convegno Nazionale del Gruppo di cooperazione in Immunologia (GCI).
- 1999: Winner of the Premio per le colture cellulari Mascia Brunelli
- 2006: Elected EMBO Young Investigator
- 2007: Associate Editor Mucosal Immunology
- 2007: Awarded an ERC starting grant (Dendroworld)
- 2008: Nominated member of the Henry Kunkel Society.
- 2008-13: Visiting Professor University of Oslo
- 2008: Associate Editor European Journal of Immunology, Beneficial Microbes, Immunology and Cell Biology
- 2011: Winner of the Avon prize as the woman symbol of the city of Milan
- 2011: Elected EMBO member
- 2012: Awarded an ERC Proof-of-concept grant
- 2013: Awarded an ERC Consolidator grant (HomeoGUT)
- 2017: Board of editors of Cellular and molecular gastroenterology and hepatology and EMBO Molecular medicine
- 2017: Winner of Bioupper with Postbiotica S.r.l.
- 2017: Winner of Mystart BCN (Barcelona, Spain) with Postbiotica S.r.l.