Ilenia Savinetti


Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology from University of Milano-Bicocca (2015) and Master of Science in Neurobiology from University of Pavia (2018).

From march 2018 to October 2018 , Visiting Researcher at Molecular and Cellular Immunology Laboratory headed by Dr. Maria Foti (University of Milano-Bicocca).

From November 2018, Ph.D. Student in Experimental Neuroscience (University of Milano-Bicocca) under Dr. Maria Foti supervision.


Gene Expression Profiling Identifies Specific Signatures in Peripheral Blood Monocytes of Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis Patients.

  • Track: Experimental Neuroscience
  • Tutor: Maria Foti

Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the Central Nervous System (CNS) leading to demyelination, axonal and neurological damage, often affecting young adults. MS is considered to be a T cell mediated disease but in recent years different studies have shown that monocytes and monocyte-derived macrophages are also crucial for the development of MS. In this project we aimed to investigate the contribution of the innate immune system in the MS pathology. Peripheral blood monocytes from three groups of individuals: healthy controls, RRMS and PPMS patients have been studied by using a Transcriptomics approach. With this technology, we were able to identify a number of dysregulated pathways specifically induced in monocytes of Primary Progressive Patients (PP) compared to Relapsing Remitting (RR) patients and Healthy controls. We focus our analysis on specific metabolic changes observed in PP-derived monocytes and in a subgroup of RR-monocytes. These pathways will be studied on monocytes mRNA by qRT-PCR and their protein level by ELISA assay on sera of patients. Gene expression analysis will be focused on modulated receptors identified by transcriptomics analysis. The receptors complex will be validated by qRT-PCR in PPMS monocytes and the receptor regulation will be studied in ex vivo monocytes. To understand which cellular types within the brain and/or the periphery will be affected by the monocytes activation state, a co-culture systems of activated monocytes with purchased primary human microglia, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and neurons will be established and studied by FACS analysis and functional assays.


  • BraYn Conference (2nd Brainstorming Research Assembly for Young Neuroscientists), Milan, 14-16 November 2019.
  • SIICA (XII National Congress), 26-28 May 2021.


Savinetti, I.; Papagna, A.; Foti, M. Human Monocytes Plasticity in Neurodegeneration.  Biomedicines  20219, 717.