Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology

Responsabile: Lupacchini Leonardo

The study of molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases is the focus of the laboratory’s research projects. Through multidisciplinary approach, the Laboratory has achieved cutting-edge results in the study of neurodegenerative processes and synaptic dysfunction, which characterize neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. In particular, we have developed an innovative model in the field of neurodegenerative diseases, which is based on the production of human neurons derived from fibroblasts, employing a purely chemical protocol, without the use of exogenous genetic factors (chemical-inducedneurons – ciNs). This protocol was applied to microfluidics to cultivate ciNs in polydimethylsiloxane microtubes. Prominent potentials of this technology are replication of mechanisms within organs and tissues, disease modeling for pathogenesis studies and diagnostic tests, and drug testing without the use of animals.

Interessi di Ricerca

  • Role played by proteins involved in DNA double-strand damage repair in neurodegeneration and synaptic plasticity.
  • Chemically induced fibroblast-derived neurons (ciNs) as a potential human cell model for studies in pathogenesis, diagnostics, drug testing, and personalized medicine.
  • Using ciNs to study the role of expanded noncoding repeat sequences in a rare genetic disease called FAME (Familial Adult Myoclonic Epilepsy).


  • Mollinari C, De Dominicis C, Lupacchini L, Sansone L, Caprini D, Casciola CM, Wang Y, Zhao J, Fini M, Russo M, Garaci E, Merlo D. Detection of Pathological Markers of Neurodegenerative Diseases following Microfluidic Direct Conversion of Patient Fibroblasts into Neurons. International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2022) 23(4):2147. DOI:
  • Cardinale A, Saladini S, Lupacchini L, Ruspanti I, De Dominicis C, Papale M, Silvago F, Garaci E, Mollinari C, Merlo D. DNA repair protein DNA-PK protects PC12 cells from oxidative stress-induced apoptosis involving AKT phosphorylation. Molecular Biology Reports (2022) Feb 49(2):1089-1101. DOI: 10.1007/s11033-021-06934-5

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