Elisa Duranti

Curriculum Vitae

I was born on July 10 1992. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences in 2015 and Master’s degree in Biology in March 2018, both at the Department of Bioscience of the University of Milano-Bicocca. During my research internship thesis (November 2016-March2018), I gained experience with the study of DUX-4 protein in muscle differentiation in Facio Scapulo Humeral Dystrophy (FSHD). Subsequently, I continued my research activities as Visiting Researcher at the Molecular Biology Lab. of Prof. Raffaella Meneveri at the Department of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Milano-Bicocca, where I concluded my thesis research.

From March to October 2019 I took the Advanced Course in Transfusion Medicine at Department of Biomedical science of the University of Milano, learning techniques for analyzing blood samples in laboratory research. 

Currently I am a PhD student in Neuroscience, School of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Milano-Bicocca. In particular, I work in the Neurobiology Lab. of Professor Carlo Ferrarese and with the supervision of Professor Lucio Tremolizzo I study the mechanisms of TDP-43 accumulation in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (SLA), analyzing in particular DUX-4 and HSC70, aiming at developing biomarkers and novel therapeutic perspectives for ALS.

PhD Project

Mechanisms of TDP-43 accumulation in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

  • Tutor: Prof. Lucio Tremolizzo
  • Track: Experimental Neuroscience

Many neurodegenerative diseases including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) belong to the large category of proteinopathies, conditions characterized by the presence of proteinaceous inclusions within and/or outside the degenerating neurons. The identification of such aggregates supports the view that misfolded proteins represent a basic requirement for the neurodegenerative process and provides input to verify the existence of possible dysfunctions of the biological systems influencing protein homeostasis. In ALS, both environmental and genetic factors contribute to altering the physiological processes involved in the synthesis of a disease-specific protein, namely TDP-43, resulting in over production or in the generation of post-translationally modified protein forms more prone to aggregation. Furthermore, the impairment of intracellular protein catabolic systems plays a crucial role in proteotoxicity, and the prion-like spreading of pathological TDP-43 further amplifies neuronal damage. A better comprehension of the molecular mechanisms responsible for TDP-43 proteotoxicity in ALS can allow the identification of both new therapeutic targets and useful biomarkers for this devastating disorder. 

TDP-43 is the protein accumulating in ALS and spreading damage. 

Interestingly, in recent years a relation between ALS aggregates and DUX-4 (Double homeobox transcription factor 4) protein, is emerging. The espression of DUX-4 is normally associated to onset of the Facio-Scapulo-Homeral Dystrophy (FSHD). Recent studies have shown that exogenous expression of DUX-4 in mouse myoblast cell line can alter TDP-43 proteostasis inducing protein aggregation.

This project will focus on the involved mechanisms, with a special focus on marking them in peripheral mononuclear cells. Interactors, such as Hsc70 and DUX-4 will be specifically studied, aiming at developing biomarkers and novel therapeutic perspectives for ALS. 

Workshop and congresses partecipation

  • 5th NeuroMI International Meeting- Food for Brain: promoting health and preventing diseases. Università di Milano- Bicocca. Milan, 20-22 November 2019
  • 6th NeuroMI International Virtual Meeting, 18 December 2020 “L’alimentazione nelle patologie neurodegenerative” Virtual seminary, March 2020

Posters and oral presentazions:

  Duranti, Sala, D’Orlando, Gerardi, Isolani, Arosio, Riva, Lunetta, Meneveri, Ferrarese, Tremolizzo. “Dux4 expression is increased in als lymphomonocytes: possible role in tdp-43 aggregation?”. 6th NeuroMI International Virtual Meeting, 2020

Duranti, Sala, D’Orlando, Gerardi, Riva, Lunetta, Sirtori, Meneveri, Tremolizzo, Ferrarese. “Dux4 expression is increased in lymphomonocytes of patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: possible involvement in TDP-43 aggregation?” World Congress Of Neurology 2021

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