Daniela Alfano


Daniela Alfano


  +39 081 6132 409     daniela.alfano@igb.cnr.it

Embryonic Development and Biology of Stem Cells

Keywords: Cell migration, cell-extracellular matrix interactions, cardiac progenitor biology 

Since many years, I am interested in understanding the regulatory circuits that govern cells dynamics, in physiological and pathological contexts.  In the last years, my research interest focused on the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the incorporation of cardiac progenitors into a functional heart, which represents a major hurdle in cardiac regeneration research. I am currently investigating whether ECM dynamics may be a determinant for tissue architecture of cardiac progenitors niche by studying how signals from extracellular matrix regulate cell polarity, cell division and control cell migration during cardiac morphogenesis.

Modulation of cellular function by the urokinase receptor signalling: a mechanistic view. Alfano D*, Franco P, Stoppelli MP. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 April 8; 10:818616. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2022.818616. *corresponding author


TBX1 and Basal Cell Carcinoma: Expression and Interactions with Gli2 and Dvl2 Signaling.  Caprio C, Varricchio S, Bilio M, Feo F, Ferrentino R, Russo D, Staibano S, Alfano D, Missero C, Ilardi G, Baldini A. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Jan 17;21(2):607. doi: 10.3390/ijms21020607.


Tbx1 regulates extracellular matrix-cell interactions in the second heart field.  Alfano D*, Altomonte A, Cortes C, Bilio M, Kelly RG, Baldini A. Alfano D, Altomonte A, Cortes C, Bilio M, Kelly RG, Baldini A. Hum Mol Genet. 2019 Jul 15;28(14):2295-2308. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddz058. *corresponding author


Urokinase receptor and CXCR4 are regulated by common microRNAs in leukaemia cells. Alfano D*, Gorrasi A, Li Santi A, Ricci P, Montuori N, Selleri C, Ragno P. J Cell Mol Med. 2015 Sep;19(9):2262-72. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.12617. *corresponding author


c-Myc modulation: a key role in melanoma drug response. Fico A, Alfano D*, Valentino A, Vasta V, Cavalcanti E, Travali S, Patriarca EJ, Caputo E. Cancer Biol Ther. 2015;16(9):1375-86. *equal contribution


Discovery of new small molecules inhibiting 67 kDa laminin receptor interaction with laminin and cancer cell invasion. Pesapane A, Di Giovanni C, Rossi FW, Alfano D, Formisano L, Ragno P, Selleri C, Montuori N, Lavecchia A. Oncotarget. 2015 Jul 20;6(20):18116-33. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.4016.


The urokinase receptor takes control of cell migration by recruiting integrins and FPR1 on the cell surface. Gorrasi A, Li Santi A, Amodio G, Alfano D, Remondelli P, Montuori N, Ragno P. PLoS One. 2014 Jan 21;9(1):e86352. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086352.


uPAR regulates pericellular proteolysis through a mechanism involving integrins and fMLF-receptors. Montuori N, Cosimato V, Rinaldi L, Rea VE, Alfano D, Ragno P. Thromb Haemost. 2013 Feb;109(2):309-18. doi: 10.1160/TH12-08-0546.


RhoB regulates uPAR signalling. Alfano D, Ragno P, Stoppelli MP, Ridley AJ. J Cell Sci. 2012 May 15;125(Pt 10):2369-80. doi: 10.1242/jcs.091579.


PED/PEA-15 interacts with the 67 kD laminin receptor and regulates cell adhesion, migration, proliferation and apoptosis. Formisano P, Ragno P, Pesapane A, Alfano D, Alberobello AT, Rea VE, Giusto R, Rossi FW, Beguinot F, Rossi G, Montuori N. J Cell Mol Med. 2012 Jul;16(7):1435-46. doi: 10.1111/j.1582-4934.2011.01411.x.


The cross-talk between the urokinase receptor and fMLP receptors regulates the activity of the CXCR4 chemokine receptor. Montuori N, Bifulco K, Carriero MV, La Penna C, Visconte V, Alfano D, Pesapane A, Rossi FW, Salzano S, Rossi G, Ragno P. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2011 Jul;68(14):2453-67. doi: 10.1007/s00018-010-0564-7.


Modulation of cellular migration and survival by c-Myc through the downregulation of urokinase (uPA) and uPA receptor. Alfano D, Votta G, Schulze A, Downward J, Caputi M, Stoppelli MP, Iaccarino I. Mol Cell Biol. 2010 Apr;30(7):1838-51. doi: 10.1128/MCB.01442-09.


Inhibition of migration and invasion of carcinoma cells by urokinase-derived antagonists of alphavbeta5 integrin activation. Vocca I, Franco P, Alfano D, Votta G, Carriero MV, Estrada Y, Caputi M, Netti PA, Ossowski L, Stoppelli MP. Int J Cancer. 2009 Jan 15;124(2):316-25. doi: 10.1002/ijc.23933.


Structure, function and antagonists of urokinase-type plasminogen activator. Vincenza Carriero M, Franco P, Vocca I, Alfano D, Longanesi-Cattani I, Bifulco K, Mancini A, Caputi M, Stoppelli MP.

Front Biosci. 2009 Jan 1;14(10):3782-94. doi: 10.2741/3488.


Urokinase signaling through its receptor protects against anoikis by increasing BCL-xL expression levels. Alfano D, Iaccarino I, Stoppelli MP. J Biol Chem. 2006 Jun 30;281(26):17758-67. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M601812200.


Activation of urokinase receptor by a novel interaction between the connecting peptide region of urokinase and alpha v beta 5 integrin. Franco P, Vocca I, Carriero MV, Alfano D, Cito L, Longanesi-Cattani I, Grieco P, Ossowski L, Stoppelli MP. J Cell Sci. 2006 Aug 15;119(Pt 16):3424-34. doi: 10.1242/jcs.03067.


 The urokinase plasminogen activator and its receptor: role in cell growth and apoptosis. Alfano D, Franco P, Vocca I, Gambi N, Pisa V, Mancini A, Caputi M, Carriero MV, Iaccarino I, Stoppelli MP. Thromb Haemost. 2005 Feb;93(2):205-11. doi: 10.1160/TH04-09-0592.

Current Position

2011-  Research Scientist, IGB-ABT, CNR, Naples, Italy



2006 PhD in Advanced Biology, University of Naples “Federico II”, Naples, Italy,

2001 Bachelor cum laude in Biological Sciences, University of Naples “Federico II”, Naples, Italy.


Research Appointments

2008-2011 Post-doc fellow, Dept. Chemistry and Biology, University of Salerno, Italy.

2007-2008 Research Associate, Randall Division of Cell & Molecular Biophysics, King’s College, London (Prof. Anne Ridley’s lab).

2005-2007 Post-doctoral fellow, IGB-ABT, CNR, Naples.

2002-2005 PhD student, IGB-ABT, CNR, Naples.

2000-2001 Undergraduate student, IGB-ABT, CNR, Naples.



2007 EMBO Short Term Fellowship

2008 FEBS Short Term Fellowship


Research Funding

2019-2023 MIUR (Ministero Istruzione Università e Ricerca) PRIN 20179J2P9J, “Unraveling cardiac progenitor biology: in vivo mechanistic insights and significance for congenital heart disease” (Funds/unit €280.000).  



Christopher Turner (Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY, USA)


Olimpia Iacolare
Undergraduate student

+39 081 6132 409   olimpia.iacolare@igb.cnr.it

Project title: Study of cell-extracellular matrix signals in heart development: in vivo and in vitro approaches.