Marzia Maria Lecchi


After  the Degree in Biological Science, I obtained the PhD in Physiology in which I acquired the fundamentals for the electrophysiological characterization of ion channels. In the years from 2002 to 2007 I was Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Geneva, using  flat-mounted retinas as a model to study nicotinic acetylcholine receptors during retinal maturation and to develop a prototype of subretinal prosthesis for patients affected by retinitis pigmentosa. Since then, the retina and the eye remain among my research interests. Since December 2007 I am Assistant professor in Physiology at the Department of Biotechnology and Biosciences.


  • Functional analysis of mutations in ion channels associated with neurologic and muscular diseases. They are performed by the electrophysiological patch-clamp technique on tsA cells, transiently transfected with the channel under study.
  • Study of retina electrical activity from models of pathologies such as diabetes and Alzheimer disease (AD). These analysis could reveal the mechanisms that cause retinal dysfunction in Diabetic Retinopathy or in AD patients, also providing important information on the alterations which the same pathologies cause in the brain.
  • Analysis of neuronal differentiation on neoglycosylated biocompatible matrices.


A research project that I have recently started concerns the mechanisms which are involved into cellular differentiation, especially related to the interactions with the extracellular matrix. These interactions are mediated by glycosylated proteins which, in the nervous system, have crucial roles in neurite outgrowth and in synapse formation and modulation. Since glycosylation levels vary during the developmental stages of the nervous system, it is possible that glycosylation influences neuronal differentiation. In collaboration with Prof. Laura Cipolla from the same Department, I have started studying the behaviour of neuroblastoma cells seeded on patches of collagen, neoglycosylated by different types of glycans. Analysis by the confocal microscope and functional studies by the patch-clamp technique have shown an effect of collagen on neuronal differentiation. Preliminary data were presented at the XXXIII Riunione della Società Italiana per lo Studio del Connettivo (Pavia, October 2013). Considering these results, we will verify the effects of other neoglycosylated substrates on differentiation and we will use the most promising scaffolds to study the pathways which they activate during neuronal differentiation.


  1. Clinical evaluation and cellular electrophysiology of a recessive CLCN1 patient. Lucchiari S, Ulzi G, Magri F, Bucchia M, Corbetta F, Servida M, Moggio M, Comi GP, Lecchi M. J Physiol Pharmacol.  October 2013; 64(5).
  2. Exact distinction of excitatory and inhibitory neurons in neural networks: a study with GFP-GAD67 neurons optically and electrophysiologically recognized on multielectrode arrays. Becchetti A, Gullo F, Bruno G, Dossi E, Lecchi M, Wanke E. Front Neural Circuits 2012; 6: 63.
  3. Local and global calcium signals associated with the opening of neuronal alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Gilbert D, Lecchi M, Arnaudeau S, Bertrand D, Demaurex N. Cell Calcium 2009; 45: 198-207.
  4. Functional properties of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the chick retina during development. Lecchi M, McIntosh JM,  Bertrand S, Safran AB, Bertrand D. Eur J Neurosci. 2005; 21:3182-3188.
  5. Isolation of a long-lasting eag-related gene-type K+ current in MMQ lactotrophs and its accommodating role during slow firing and prolactin release. Lecchi M, Redaelli E, Rosati B, Gurrola G, Florio T, Crociani O, Curia G, Cassulini RR, Masi A, Arcangeli A, Olivotto M, Schettini G, Possani LD, Wanke E. J Neurosci 2002; 22(9):3414-3425.