Division of Genetics and Cell Biology

Director: Alessandra Boletta
Deputy Director: Luca Rampoldi

Presently, the Division of Genetics and Cell Biology (DGCB) hosts 18 research groups (14 basic and 4 clinical) and 2 facilities, totalling over 150 staff.

DGCB’s mission is the mechanistic comprehension of biological and pathological phenomena, as this is fundamental to cure disease and create novel biotechnologies. DGCB hosts curiosity-driven projects of innovative investigators, and structured programs on areas of particular interest and strength. We try to balance curiosity driven research and team-networking organization, fostering high quality science, and producing knowledge transferable to the Clinics or other thematic Divisions. Recruiting excellent scientists, providing suitable technological platforms, tightening the relationships between basic and clinical scientists and promoting areas of strength are key parts of DGCB mission.

Cutting edge areas in DGCB are the physiopathology of cell stress and iron metabolism, chromatin dynamics, genetics and epigenetics. Internationally competitive groups are working in cell adhesion, migration and polarity. A program with fertile interdivisional links is bone and cartilage physiopathology (Bonetwork). Molecular mechanism underlying diseases (conformational diseases, cystic kidney disorders, neuromuscular diseases, inflammation, iron-related diseases, disorders of human reproduction, osteoporosis and bone diseases) are being investigated by many groups with robust animal and cellular models and patients’ biological samples. These lines of investigation address important medical issues in which existing synergies between basic and clinical sciences are being fostered, increasing our funding potentials and translational outputs. On these areas the Division is building, creating a fertile environment, organizing grassroots programs and satisfying the emerging technological needs. Not only DGCB provides the clinics with concepts and protocols to be tested: as important is reverse translation, where detailed analysis of cohorts of patients can help unravel physiological mechanisms. Identifying mutational hotspots in patients, for instance, sheds light on the structure and function of the normal product, whilst loci/genes associated with complex traits/disorders may clarify new biological pathways responsible for disease.

In strict collaboration with other Divisions, DGCB develops state of the art technological platforms. DGCB aims at providing clinical sciences with novel concepts and protocols and develops robust cellular and animal models for their testing. As important is reverse translation, where the detailed analysis of cohorts of patients can unravel physiological mechanisms. The iterative process of translation is a key asset for DGCB.

Training opportunities
DGCB hosts both PhD and Postdoctoral training programs, where positions are offered on a competitive basis for a minimum of 3 and 2 years, respectively.


Research units/clinic research groups