Gabriella Nicolini


Born in Milan on May 25, 1970. She graduated in Biological Sciences (1996) and received the Professional Biologist certification (1997) and PhD in Morphological Sciences (2001) at University of Milan. From 2001 to 2007 she worked at Department of Neuroscience, University of Milano-Bicocca with a fellowship funded by the University and as a contract researcher. Since 2007 she was hired at the same department (now School of Medicine and Surgery) as a researcher (BIO17). Assistant professor of histology, embryology and microscopic anatomy in Bachelor and Master of Science program, member of the PhD school in neuroscience, author of 35 publications in international journals.


  • In vitro and in vivo study of antineoplastic agents’ neurotoxicity mechanisms
  • In vivo and in vitro study of pharmacological neuroprotection of neurotoxic damage
  • Study of the effect of Photon activation therapy on normal and tumoral cells and tissues
  • In vitro study of the possible antineoplastic effect of silica nanoparticles
  • Development of a novel device for Total Liquid Ventilation and evaluation of the biological and biomechanical effects induced on therespiratory system. Grant FIRB giovani (scientific head of the research unit)
  • Study of the molecular pathways involved in precancerous lesion and head and neck tumors


In vitro and in vivo study of the combination of antineoplastic agents and synchrotron radiation therapy

In this project the cytotoxic activity of CTX (conventional and new heavy-metal based) and synchrotron radiation (SR) will be combined and explored in vitro and in vivo on “big killers” (breast, colon and lung) cancer cells selected for their resistance to CTX. In the earliest stages of the study several human colon, lung, breast cancer and healthy cell lines will be tested in vitro in order to select the most resistant ones to be tested in vivo. The anticancer effectiveness of the selected treatments will be also characterized in immunodeficient mice xenografted with human tumor cell lines and treated with anticancer agents and SR. Besides the effectiveness of the combined treatment, its toxicity on kidney, liver, bone marrow, gastrointestinal tract and nervous system will be assessed. A further aim of the project is the identification of the molecular targets of the combined CTX and SR strategy in cancer cells as well as the investigation of the type of programmed cell death (apoptosis, paraptosis and necrosis) triggered by the combined treatments. The project will be performed in collaboration with the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF, Grenoble, Francia; with which a cooperation is already in place.


  1. Functionalized mesoporous silica nanoparticles: a possible strategy to target cancer cells reducing peripheral nervous system uptake. Ceresa C, Nicolini G, Rigolio R, Bossi M, Pasqua L, Cavaletti G. Curr Med Chem. 2013;20(20):2589-600.
  2. Apigenin impairs oral squamous cell carcinoma growth in vitro inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Maggioni D, Garavello W, Rigolio R, Pignataro L, Gaini R, Nicolini G. Int J Oncol. 2013;43(5):1675-82.
  3. The effect of Photon Activation Therapy on cisplatin pre-treated human tumour cell lines: comparison with conventional X-ray irradiation. Ceresa C, Nicolini G, Requardt H, Le Duc G, Cavaletti G, Bravin A. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2013;27(2):477-85.
  4. The fundamental role of morphology in experimental neurotoxicology: the example of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neurotoxicity. Marmiroli P, Nicolini G, Miloso M, Scuteri A, Cavaletti G. Ital J Anat Embryol. 2012;117(2):75-97.
  5. Different effects of erythropoietin in cisplatin- and docetaxel-induced neurotoxicity: an in vitro study. Maggioni D, Nicolini G, Chiorazzi A, Meregalli C, Cavaletti G, Tredici G. J Neurosci Res. 2010 1;88(14):3171-9.