Chiara Villa


Chiara Villa, graduated cum laude in Medical Biotechnology in 2006, obtained her PhD in Molecular Medicine at the Department of Neurological Sciences of the University of Milan in 2009. Since August 2020, she is Assistant Professor in Pathology (RTDA) at the Department of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Milano-Bicocca. Her research activity is focused on the study of the etiopathogenesis of different forms of neurological and neurodegenerative disorders by means of cellular biology techniques as well as molecular biology and genetics. In particular, during her first years of research activities at the University of Milan, she mainly focused on the study of novel biomarkers (e.g., microRNAs, pro-inflammatory cytokines) and genetic risk factors in key genes for the early development and progression of neurodegenerative and demyelinating diseases (Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal lobar degeneration and multiple sclerosis), as well as the identification of genetic forms of dementia. From 2014 to date, her work has been now carrying out at the University of Milan-Bicocca, where she is applying her previous research experience in the study of the etiopathogenesis of autism spectrum disorders and different sleep diseases (nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy and restless legs syndrome) through a molecular approach. She is currently author of more than 60 research articles in peer-reviewed journals with a personal H-index of 20 and serves as editorial board member of several International journals. She won some travel grants to attend National and International conferences as well as the 3rd prize for Young Talents Award established by the University of Milan-Bicocca with the sponsorship of the National Academy of Lincei in 2016. 

For more details:



  • Pathogenetic mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative and neurological diseases
  • Genetic bases of neurodegenerative and neurological disorders
  • Identification of novel biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of neurodegenerative disorders
  • Molecular and functional characterization of shared pathways between aging and Alzheimer’s disease in order to identify new therapeutic approaches



  1. Akyuz E, Polat K, Ates S, Unalmis D, Tokpinar A, Yilmaz S, Kaymak E, Doganyigit Z, Villa C. Investigating Cardiac Morphological Alterations in a Pentylenetetrazol-Kindling Model of Epilepsy. Diagnostics (Basel) 2020, 10:388
  2. Akyuz E, Villa C. A novel role of cardiac inwardly rectifying potassium channels explaining autonomic cardiovascular dysfunctions in a cuprizone-induced mouse model of multiple sclerosis. Auton Neurosci. 2020; 225:102647
  3. Cortini F, Roma F, Villa C. Emerging roles of long non-coding RNAs in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. Ageing Res Rev. 2019; 50:19-26
  4. Villa C, Colombo G, Meneghini S, Gotti C, Moretti M, Ferini-Strambi L, Chisci E, Giovannoni R, Becchetti A, Combi R. CHRNA2 and nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy: identification and characterization of a novel loss of function mutation. Front Mol Neurosci. 2019; 12:17
  5. Binda A, Rivolta I, Villa C, Chisci E, Beghi M, Cornaggia CM, Giovannoni R, Combi R. A novel KCNJ2 mutation identified in an autistic proband affects the single channel properties of Kir2.1. Front Cell Neurosci. 2018; 12:76

The complete list of publications can be found at Scopus page:


  • Dr. Enes Akyuz (University of Health Sciences, Istanbul, Turkey)
  • Dr. Claudia Cantoni (Washington University, St Louis, USA)
  • Dr. Yam Nath Paudel (Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)
  • Prof. Mohd. Farooq Shaikh (Monash University, Selangor, Malaysia)
  • Prof. Christina Piperi (University of Athens, Greece)
  • Prof. Dang Khoa Nguyen (University of Montreal, Canada)