The Principal Investigator
The Principal Investigator (PI) of the Program is Gabriella Sozzi, biologist with a board certification in Human Genetics.
From 1980 dr. Sozzi was Associate Researcher, from 1998 head of the laboratory of “Cytogenetics and Molecular Cytogenetics” and from 2009 head of Complex Research Unit “Tumor Genomics” in the Department of Experimental Oncology and Molecular Medicine at Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori in Milan.
She was Visiting Research Fellow at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, in 1988 and at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston in 1993. In 1996 she spent a year as visiting scientist in the laboratories of Prof. C. Croce at the Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia. She also served as Teaching Professor at the PhD School of Oncology, University of Ferrara and at Master School in Oncology, University of Torino, Italy.
She is President Elected of SIC (Italian Society Cancerology), Associate Editor in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology (Wolters Kluver), member of the Scientific Advisory Board American-Italian Cancer Foundation (AICF) and of Fellowship Committee (CBS) of Associazione Italiana Ricerca Cancro (AIRC).
Dr. Sozzi has published 192 original articles on impacted International Journals.
Her main research activity is focused on cytogenetic and molecular characterization of human lung cancer and on cytogenetic diagnostics of human solid tumors. Dr. Sozzi contributed to identification and characterization of key genetic events along lung carcinogenesis through molecular and cytogenetic analysis of bronchial tissue, of precancerous lesions and of invasive tumors. She identified abnormalities of the onco-suppressor gene FHIT and clarified its functional role in lung carcinogenesis. Recently she focused on lung cancer stem cells and on miRNAs in normal and tumor tissue and in plasma of lung cancer patients or high-risk individuals, in order to evaluate their predictive, diagnostic and prognostic role.
Concerning biomarkers useful for lung cancer early diagnosis, dr. Sozzi has developed sensitive methods aimed at evaluating circulating free DNA. Recently, she set up a low invasive, molecular diagnostic test to evaluate levels of 24 circulating miRNAs in the peripheral blood of smokers, able to predict risk of lung cancer up to 2 years before diagnosis through spiral CT. This test allows early identification of lung cancer, particularly of its more aggressive forms, therefore reducing costs and risks associated to repeated radiological exams.
Currently, dr. Sozzi is focusing her attention on origin and functional role of miRNAs, by using in vitro models and clinical series, and on their use as innovative therapeutical approach in the treatment of lung cancer.
PI role in the Program
The PI is in charge of communication and heads the administrative, financial and scientific management of the Program. The PI coordinates all the scientific projects and provides both technical-scientific and administrative-financial support to the research groups, based on their specific needs. In agreement with the Group Leaders, the PI oversees the integration of the different research areas and ensures the provision of the same development opportunities to all participants.
The PI is formally in charge of the communication between the Program and AIRC, and provides regular updates on the scientific output and the financial status of the Project.
A Scientific Internal Board (SIB) helps the PI monitor scientific activity in preclinical and clinical research and evaluate adherence to timeline and achievement of objectives; coordination among groups is continual thanks to specific and regular meetings.
A Project Management Team (PMT) consisting of an accountant and a science expert supports the PI in the coordination of administrative and budget related tasks, ensuring that the scientific objectives are met. Moreover, the PMT manages the relations with AIRC concerning administrative, economic and scientific matters.
Scientific Internal Board (SIB)
Dr. Mario Paolo Colombo (preclinical area)
Dr. Licia Rivoltini (clinical area)
Project Management Team (PMT)
Dr. Chiara Casati
Dr. Isabella Russo
Biologist, PhD, Director
PharmD, Senior Researcher
Chiara Maura Ciniselli
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