Fernando Gianfrancesco


Fernando Gianfrancesco

Research Director

+39 081 6132255     fernando.gianfrancesco@igb.cnr.it

Genetics, Genomics and Epigenetics of Diseases/Molecular Oncology

Keywords: osteosarcoma, genomic instability, giant cell tumor, bone metabolism, Paget’s disease of bone

Our lab combines genetics and cell biology to study the molecular bases of chromosomal instability and cell fate commitment in bone tumors and diseases. We recently identified two responsible genes: the PFN1 gene, essential to ensure proper cell division and cytoskeleton organization, and the ZNF687 gene, which plays an important role in the maintenance of bone homeostasis and the regulation of osteoblast/adipocyte commitment. To investigate how mutations in these genes affect their function, we use mouse and CRISPR-based cell models.

Fernando Gianfrancesco is Research Director at the Institute of Genetics and Biophysics of the National Research Council of Italy (IGB-CNR) in Naples, where he leads the Bone Diseases and Tumors Laboratory. Since the beginning of his career, his projects focused on the identification of causative genes involved in the pathogenesis of several genetic diseases (Nature Genetics 1996, 13:227-229; Nature 2000, 405:466-72; Am J Hum Genet  2003, 72:1479-91; Hum. Mol. Genet. 2013, 22:3654-3666). He received several important awards, including the “Distinguished Visiting Researcher Award” from Griffith University, Australia (2008), and the “Bone Biology Fellowship” from European Calcified Tissue Society (2012).

He has carried out various research experiences at foreign institutions (EBI-EMBL, United Kingdom; University of Algarve, Portugal; Griffith University, Australia; Duke University, USA; National Institute on Aging (NIA), USA).

From 1995 to date, the scientific activity of Dr. Gianfrancesco has resulted in the publication of 75 manuscripts with a total number of 3192 citations and an H-index of 30.

Federica Scotto di Carlo
Postdoctoral Researcher

+390816132221    federica.scotto@igb.cnr.it 

Project: Federica joined Gianfrancesco’s lab in 2014 for her master thesis. In 2018, she received her PhD in Molecular Life Sciences from University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”. During her PhD thesis, she identified the loss of Profilin 1 as recurrent theme in osteosarcomas, aggressive tumors with a high genomic instability. Currently, Federica’s research is focused on mechanistically defining the role of Profilin 1 in the regulation of mitosis and maintenance of chromosomal stability by using CRISPR/Cas9-based cell models, fixed and live cell imaging, and next-generation sequencing technologies. She received several national and international awards, including the “New Investigator Award” by European Calcified Tissue Society, and the “Young Investigator Award” by American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. She received a postdoctoral fellowship by Fondazione Umberto Veronesi, and is Principal Investigator of a project funded by the Italian Society of Osteoporosis, Mineral Metabolism and Skeleton Diseases (SIOMMMS) to deepen the role of Profilin 1 in genome integrity maintenance in osteosarcoma.

Sharon Russo
PhD student

+390816132221    sharon.russo@igb.cnr.it

Project Title: Understanding the role of ZNF687 in bone metabolism and the effect of the P937R mutation causative of giant cell tumor degeneration in Paget’s disease of bone. Sharon joined Gianfrancesco’s lab in 2018 for her master thesis. Currently, during her PhD in Molecular Life Sciences, she is particular interested in shedding more light on the role of the ZNF687 transcriptional factor during fate commitment of skeletal stem cells. For this purpose, Sharon gained experience in working with mouse models, which she uses to perform histological analyses and in vitro cell differentiation and characterization.

Marianna Ielasi
Graduate student (University of Bologna “Alma Mater Studiorum”)

+390816132221    marianna.ielasi@igb.cnr.it

Daniela Esposito
Graduate student (University of Naples “Federico II”)

+390816132221    daniela.esposito@igb.cnr.it

Rossella Decini
Graduate student (University of Naples “Federico II”)

+390816132221    rossella.decini@igb.cnr.it

Maria Lambiase
Graduate student (University of Naples “Federico II”)

+390816132221    maria.lambiase@igb.cnr.it