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Research Interests

Sandro De Falco is the group leader of Angiogenesis Laboratory at IGB. Currently his main interest is the study of biochemical and functional interaction of VEGF family members and related receptors involved in physiological and pathological angiogenesis. To unveil the role of these factors in different pathologies in which angiogenesis is involved, studies are performed using in vitro, cell-based and in vivo methodologies. The disease models mainly used are xenograft tumors, hind limb ischemia, corneal and choroid neovascularization. More recently, his group starts also to use gene therapy approach to modulate pathological angiogenesis.
Prior to IGB he was senior scientist at molecular biology lab of Biotech Company Tecnogen (Piana di Monteverna, Caserta, Italy) and the main interests have been Hepatitis B infection and autoimmune disease. During this permanence Dr. De Falco has acquired a large experience of screening of chemical libraries, in particular combinatorial peptide libraries, to search for inhibitors of protein-protein interaction. This approach at IGB has allowed the identification of an anti-VEGFR-1 peptide able to modulate angiogenesis, and, in collaboration with Gabriella Minchiotti, of a Cripto blocking peptide modulating stem cell differentiation. This expertise has been now extended to screening of plant extracts.
The expertise on chemical libraries screening has been recently translated in the Stem Cell Fate Lab (, to search for modulators of stem cell differentiation in HTS.  Sandro De Falco is one of the co-founders and scientific coordinators of this laboratory.

Short CV

Sandro De Falco joined the IGB as CNR-researcher in 2001, in the group of Graziella Persico. In 2006 he became CNR-Senior researcher. From 2005 is the group leader of Angiogenesis Laboratory. From 2007 is Scientific Director of IGB animal house.
In 2000 he spent six month at the Center for Transgene Research and Technology, KU Leuven, Belgium, in the group of Prof. Peter Carmeliet as EMBO short-term fellow.
From 1994 to 2000 he was first senior scientist and successively head of molecular biology laboratory of biotech Company Tecnogen S.C.p.A. (Piana di Monteverna, Caserta, Italy).
Previously he was post-doctoral fellow at Laboratoire de Biophysique, Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France in the laboratory of prof. Claude Hélène, and at Department of Biochemistry and Medical Biotechnology, Faculty of Medicine, University "Federico II", Naples Italy.
He holds his PhD in Biochemical Sciences in 1990, and the degree in Biological Sciences in 1985, at University "Federico II" of Naples, Italy.

Selected Publications
  • Tudisco L, Della Ragione F, Tarallo V, Apicella I, D'Esposito M, Matarazzo MR, De Falco S.  Epigenetic control of hypoxia inducible factor-1α-dependent expression of placental growth factor in hypoxic conditions. Epigenetics 9: 600 – 610 (2014)
  • De Falco S. Antiangiogenesis therapy: an update after the first decade. The Korean Journal of Internal Medicine 29: 1-11 (2014)
  • Chavala SH, Kim Y, Tudisco L, Cicatiello V, Milde T, Kerur N, Claros N, Yanni S, Guaiquil VH, Hauswirth WW, Penn JS, Rafii S, De Falco S, Lee TC, Ambati J. Retinal angiogenesis suppression through small molecule activation of p53. Journal of Clinical Investigation  123(10): 4170-81 (2013) 
  • Tarallo V, Bogdanovich S, Hirano Y, Tudisco L, Zentilin L, Giacca M, Ambati J, De Falco S. Inhibition of choroidal and corneal pathologic neovascularization by Plgf1-de gene transfer. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 53(13): 7989-7996 (2012).
  • Ferlosio A, Arcuri G, Doldo E, Scioli MG, De Falco S, Spagnoli LG, Orlandi A. Age-related increase of stem marker expression influences vascular smooth muscle cell properties. Atherosclerosis 224(1): 51-7 (2012). Commentary: R. Stoehr, M. Federici. Do stem cells cause aging-related intimal medial thickening? Atherosclerosis 224: 39e40 (2012)
  • De Falco S. The discovery of placenta growth factor and its biological activity. Experimental Molecular Medicine 44(1): 1-9 (2012)
  • Ruvo M,  Sandomenico A, Tudisco L and De Falco S. Branched peptides for the modulation of protein-protein interactions: more arms are better than one? Current Medicinal Chemistry, 18(16): 2429-2437 (2011) 
  • Tarallo V, Lepore L, Marcellini M, Dal Piaz F, Tudisco L, Ponticelli S, Wendelboe Lund F, Roepstorff P, Orlandi A, Pisano C, De Tommasi N, and De Falco S. The biflavonoid Amentoflavone inhibits neovascularization preventing the activity of pro-angiogenic vascular endothelial growth factors Journal of  Biological  Chemistry  286(22):19641–19651 (2011)
  • Tarallo V, Vesci L, Capasso O, Esposito MT, Riccioni T, Pastore L, Orlandi A, Ambati J, Pisano C, and De Falco S. A placental growth factor variant unable to recognize vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor-1 inhibits VEGF-dependent tumor angiogenesis via heterodimerization. Cancer Res. 70(5):1804-1813 (2010).
  • Kong JS,  Yoo SA, Kim JW, Yang SP, Chae CB, Tarallo V, De Falco S, Ryu SH, Cho CS, Kim WU. Anti-neuropilin-1 peptide inhibits synoviocyte survival, angiogenesis, and experimental arthritis. Arthritis & Rheumatism 62(1):179-90 (2010) - Commentary: Pondrom S. Highlights from this issue, Arthritis & Rheumatism, 62(1): A14, (2010)
  • Orlandi A, Ferlosio A, Arcuri G, Scioli MG, De Falco S, Spagnoli LG. Flt-1 expression influences apoptotic susceptibility of vascular smooth muscle cells through NF-kappaB / IAP-1 pathway. Cardiovascular Research 85(1): 214-23 (2010)
  • Cho WG, Albuquerque RJC, Kleinman ME, Tarallo V, Greco A, Nozaki M, Rich MG, Baffi JZ, Ambati BK, De Falco M, Alexander JS, Brunetti A, De Falco S, Ambati J. Small Interfering RNA Induced TLR3 Activation Inhibits Blood and Lymphatic Vessel Growth. PNAS USA,  106: 7137–7142 (2009) - Commentary: Literature Watch. Lymphatic Research and Biololy 7:113 (2009)
  • Yoo SA, Yoon HJ, Kim HS, Chae CB, De Falco S, Cho CS, Kim WU. Role of placental growth factor and its receptor Flt-1 in rheumatoid inflammation: A link between angiogenesis and inflammation.  Arthritis & Rheumatism 60(1): 345-354 (2009) - Commentary: Research Highlight, Nature Reviews Rheumatology, 5: 182 (2009)
  • Ponticelli S, Marasco D, Tarallo V, Albuquerque RJC, Mitola S, Takeda A, Stassen JM, Presta M, Ambati J, Ruvo M, and De Falco S. Modulation of angiogenesis by a tetrameric tripeptide that antagonizes vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1. J Biol Chem.  283:34250-9 (2008)
  • Ambati BK, Nozaki M, Singh N, Takeda A, Jani PD, Suthar T, Albuquerque RJ, Richter E, Sakurai E, Newcomb MT, Kleinman ME, Caldwell RB, Lin Q, Ogura Y, Orecchia A, Samuelson DA, Agnew DW, St Leger J, Green WR, Mahasreshti PJ, Curiel DT, Kwan D, Marsh H, Ikeda S, Leiper LJ, Collinson JM, Bogdanovich S, Khurana TS, Shibuya M, Baldwin ME, Ferrara N, Gerber HP, De Falco S, Witta J, Baffi JZ, Raisler BJ, Ambati J. Corneal avascularity is due to soluble VEGF receptor-1. Nature, 443: 993-997 (2006). -  Commentary:  Elizabeth M. Adler, et al. “2006: Signaling Breakthroughs of the Year” Sci. STKE 367, January 2007. Barbara Marte,  News and Views, Nature, 443, p.928, 26th October 2006


  • Prof. Jayakrishna Ambati,  Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, U.S.A.
  • Prof. Desiré Collen (president) and Dr. Jean Marie Stassen (R&D Director), Thrombogenics, Leuven, Belgium.
  • Dr. Sergey Tetin, Abbott Diagnostics, Abbott Park, Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
  • Prof. Wan-Uk Kim, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology,_ School of Medicine Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.


  • Dr. Menotti Ruvo, Institute of Bioimaging and Biostructures, CNR, Napoli, Italy.
  • Prof. Augusto Orlandi, Anatomic Pathology Institute, Department of Biopathology and Image Diagnostics, Tor Vergata University, Roma, Italy.
  • Prof. Nunziatina De Tommasi and Dr. Fabrizio Dal Piaz, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Salerno, Fisciano (SA), Italy.
  • Dr. Mauro Giacca and Dr. Lorena Zentilin, Molecular Medicine Laboratory, ICGEB, Trieste, Italy.
  • Dott. Roberto Bianco. Department of Endocrinology and Molecular and Clinical Oncology, University ‘Federico II’; Napoli, Italy.


  • Dr. Gabriella Minchiotti
  • Dr. Maurizio D’Esposito


Keywords: Angiogenesis, Cancer, Ocular Neovascular Diseases, Stem cells

Sandro De Falco

CNR Researcher (Primo Ricercatore)

+39 081 6132354-721

Staff Members:

Valeria Cicatiello
CNR Researcher (Ricercatore)

Luca D'Orsi
External Collaborator

Sara Magliacane Trotta
Undergraduate Student (Tesista)

Grazia Mercadante
Technician (Operatore Tecnico)

Paola Pignata
Fellow (Borsista)

Valeria Tarallo
CNR Researcher (Ricercatore)