Maria Foti


Maria Foti is a researcher at the University of Milano-Bicocca. She has worked for several years in the field of molecular immunology and cell biology of Dendritic Cells. She studied the molecular events associated with Dendritic cell early responses, suggesting the role of Dendritic Cells as the key players in the innate immune responses. Previously, from 1993-1996, she performed her PhD in Applied Biotechnology. She applied the phage display technology to produce rabbit monoclonal antibodies. From 2002-2004, she has been involved in projects for the selection of biomarkers using the microarray technology in the field of cancer and toxicology. Since June 2004 Dott. Foti is working in the research area of ImmunoGenomics where Functional Genomics studies are applied to study Dendritic Cell transcriptomes in chronic inflammatory diseases. Research focuses on the molecular, cellular, and genetic underpinnings of immune system function and development, on host-pathogen interactions, and on autoimmune disorders of CNS.


  • Systems Immunology (ImmunoGenomics and Epigenomics of Immune system cells)
  • Autoimmune Disease of the Central Nervous System (CNS) (Multiple Sclerosis)
  • Regulation of the local and systemic Immune Response
  • Innate Immunity and Host-Pathogen Dinamics
  • Molecular dynamics of MSC and Dendritic Cell Interaction
  • NeuroInflammation and NeuroImmunology


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune inflammatory neurological disorder that can lead to highly debilitating physical conditions. Accurate and timely diagnosis is required for effective treatment of the disease, however diagnosing MS is very difficult as many other autoimmune diseases share symptoms with MS. This research project proposes to investigate how the typical MS lesions present at the CNS level can influence the systemic peripheral inflammatory response and vice versa. The main objective of the research is to understand the molecular basis of the inflammatory process in the development and progression of these pathologies and how this process can be regulated for the benefit of the patient. The project intends to develop new molecular disease markers and propose latest generation therapeutic targets. In this project we used “Genome-Wide” techniques to identify gene expression profiles capable of distinguishing different disease phenotypes. The study will use a genomic approach for mapping microRNAs and epigenetic variations in MS. Our goal is now to study at a functional level, the transcriptional variations observed in model systems in vitro and in vivo.


  1. F. Martorana, M. Foti, A. Virtuoso, D. Gaglio, T. Latronico, R. Rossano, Paolo Riccio, Michele Papa, L. Alberghina and Anna M. Colangelo. “Differential modulation of NF-kB in neurons and astrocytes underlies neuroprotection and anti-gliosis activity of natural antioxidant molecules”. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2019 Aug 14;2019:8056904
  2. Ripamonti, C., Papagna, A., Storini, C., Miglietta, D., Foti, M. NO-Donors exhibits anti-inflammatory properties by modulating inflammatory signatures and by regulating Dendritic Cells life cycle. Journal of Leukocytes Biology. 2017 Dicember.
  3. Fumagalli S, Torri A, Papagna A, Citterio S, Mainoldi F, Foti M. IL-22 is rapidly induced by Pathogen Recognition Receptors Stimulation in Bone-Marrow-derived Dendritic Cells in the Absence of IL-23. Sci Rep. 2016 Sep 22;6:33900. doi: 10.1038/srep33900. PubMed PMID: 27652524; PubMed Central PMCID:  PMC5031995.
  4. Tuana G, Volpato V, Ricciardi-Castagnoli P, Zolezzi F, Stella F, Foti M. Classification of dendritic cell phenotypes from gene expression data. BMC Immunol. 2011 Aug 29;12:50. doi: 10.1186/1471-2172-12-50. PubMed PMID: 21875438;  PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3179938. 
  5. Zanoni I, Ostuni R, Capuano G, Collini M, Caccia M, Ronchi AE, Rocchetti M, Mingozzi F, Foti M, Chirico G, Costa B, Zaza A, Ricciardi-Castagnoli P, Granucci  F. CD14 regulates the dendritic cell life cycle after LPS exposure through NFAT activation. Nature. 2009 Jul 9;460(7252):264-8. Doi 10.1038/nature08118. Epub 2009 Jun 14. PubMed PMID: 19525933.


  • Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Institut de Pharmacologie et de Biologie Structurale Toulouse, France, (Dr. Oliveir Neyrolles)
  • Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles (Belgium) (Dr. Jean-Marie Ruysschaert)
  • Masaryk University, Brno, CZ (Prof. Jaroslav Michalek)
  • Institut Pasteur, Unit of Mycobacterial Genetics, Paris, France (Dr. Ludovic Tailleux)