Giovanna Liguori


Giovanna Liguori


+ 39 081 6132294

Embryonic Development and Biology of Stem Cells/Molecular Oncology

Keywords: early embryo development, tumor biology, extracellular vesicles, standardization, quality management

My research interests first focused on the study of early embryo development (mainly in neuroectoderm, mesoderm, and cardiac formation) and tumor biology, using mutant mice and primary cell cultures as model systems. The data produced contributed to unravel the role of Cripto, isolated at IGB by Dr. Alfredo Ciccodicola in the lab of Dr. Maria Persico (my former supervisor), as founder member of the Vertebrate EGF-CFC family of genes involved in embryo and post-natal development. Cripto plays a pivotal role in both early embryo development and in the progression of many types of cancers.

My actual research activity focuses on the study of extracellular vesicles (EVs), lipid-membrane encapsulated particles filled of cellular content, comprising proteins, metabolites, nucleic acids, lipids, and even entire organelles. Very far from representing a tool to eliminate waste material, as hypothesized at the beginning, EVs are enriched in specific molecules, reflecting functions and conditions of the cell of origin, travel in body fluids, and are able to precisely target cells, delivering molecules that induce specific cell responses. My research activity aims to study EVs as key mediators of cell communication, mainly in cancer, exploring their potential in clinical applications as both source of new diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers as well as promising therapeutic nanocarriers for drug delivery.

Finally, I am involved in the development and application of methodologies supporting the optimization and standardization of procedures, the reliability and reproducibility of the data and the assessment and management of the risks. I was co-founder of the quality and Project Management OpenLab (qPMO) network (2012-2017), devoted to develop and disseminate models for quality management in both basic and applied research, and leader of the WP on Knowledge Management and the related quality4lab web platform ( Recently, we focused on standardization in EV research. In fact, due to EV complexity and heterogeneity, together to the high technological development and the great exploitation potential of the field, there is an urgent need for rigor and standardization.

  1. Liguori G.L. and Kisslinger A. Quality management tools on the stage: old but new allies for rigor and standardization of extracellular vesicle studies (2022). Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2022.826252
  2. Mancinelli S., Turcato A. , Bongiovanni A. , Kisslinger A., Zazzu V., Lanati A. Liguori G.L. Design of Transfections (DoT): implementation of Design of Experiments for cell transfection fine-tuning (2021). Biotechnology and Bioengineering. 118, 4488 – 4502. Doi: 10.1002/bit.27918.
  3. Adamo G., Fierli D., Romancino D.P., Picciotto S., Barone M.E., Aranyos A., Božič D., Morsbach S., Raccosta S., Stanly C., Paganini C., Gai M., Cusimano A., Martorana V., Noto R., Carrotta R., Librizzi F., Randazzo L., Parkes R., Capasso Palmiero U., Rao e., Paterna A., Santonicola P. Iglič A., Corcuera L., Kisslinger A., Di Schiavi E., Liguori G.L., Landfester K., Kralj-Iglič V., Arosio P., Pocsfalvi G., Touzet N., Manno M., Bongiovanni A. Nanoalgosomes: introducing extracellular vesicles produced by microalgae (2021). Journal of Extracellular Vesicles 10:e12081. Doi: 10.1002/jev2.12081.
  4. Mancinelli S., Vitiello M., Donnini M., Mantile F., Palma G., Luciano A., Arra C., Cerchia L., Liguori G.L. and Fedele M. The POZ/BTB-AT-hook and zinc finger gene PATZ1 is required for the maintenance and proliferation of neural stem cells (2021). Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology 9:657149. Doi: 10.3389/fcell.2021.657149.
  5. Picciotto S., Barone M.E., Fierli D., Aranyos A., Adamo G., Božič D., Romancino D.P. Stanly C., Parkes R., Morsbach S., Raccosta S., Paganini C., Cusimano A., Martorana V., Noto R., Carrotta R., Librizzi F., Capasso Palmiero U., Santonicola P., Iglič A., Gai M., Corcuera L., Kisslinger A., Di Schiavi E., Landfester K., Liguori G.L., Kralj-Iglič V., Arosio P., Pocsfalvi G., Manno M., Touzet N. and Bongiovanni A. Isolation of extracellular vesicles from microalgae: towards the production of sustainable and natural nanocarriers of bioactive compounds (2021). Biomaterials Science. Doi: 10.1039/d0bm01696a.
  6. Terreri S., Mancinelli S., Ferro M., Vitale M.C., Perdonà S., Castaldo L., Vincenzo G., Mercadante V.,De Cecio R., Aquino G., Montella M., Angelini C.,
    Del Prete E., Aprile M., Liguori G.L., Costa V., Calin G., La Civita E., Terracciano D., Febbraio F., Cimmino A. Subcellular localization of uc.8+ as a prognostic biomarker in bladder cancer tissue (2021). Cancers  13, 681. Doi: 10.3390/cancers13040681.
  7. Mantile F., Franco P., Stoppelli M.P., Liguori G.L. Biological role and clinical relevance of extracellular vesicles as key mediators of cell communication in cancer (2021).  In: Bongiovanni A., Pocsfalvi G., Manno M. and Kralj-Iglič V. (eds) Biological Membrane Vesicles: Scientific, Biotechnological and Clinical Considerations. Advances in Biomembranes and Lipid Self-Assembly, 33, 37–117. Doi: 10.1016/bs.abl.2020.05.006.  
  8. Liguori G.L. and Kisslinger A. Standardization and reproducibility in EV research: the support of a Quality management system (2021). In: Bongiovanni A., Pocsfalvi G.,  Manno M. and Kralj-Iglič V. (eds) Biological membrane vesicles: scientific, biotechnological and clinical considerations. Advances in Biomembranes and Lipid Self-Assembly 33, 175–206. Doi: 10.1016/bs.abl.2020.05.005.
  9. Mascia A, Cirafici A.M., Bongiovanni A., Colotti G., Lacerra G., Di Carlo M., Digilio F.A., Liguori G.L, Lanati A. and Kisslinger A. A failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA)-based approach for risk assessment of scientific processes in non-regulated research laboratories (2020). Accreditation and Quality Assurance. Doi: 10.1007/s00769-020-01441.
  10. Pisapia, L., Terreri S., Barba P., Mastroianni M., Donnini M., Mercadante V., Palmieri A., Verze P., Mirone V., Altieri V., Califano G., Liguori G.L., Strazzullo M., Cimmino A. Del Pozzo G. Role of PA2G4P4 pseudogene in bladder cancer tumorigenesis (2020). Biology (Basel) 9, 66. doi: 10.3390/biology9040066.
  11. Bongiovanni A., Colotti G., Liguori G.L., Di Carlo M., Digilio F.A., Lacerra G., Mascia A., Cirafici A.M., Barra A., Lanati A. and Kisslinger A.  Applying Quality principles and Project Management methodologies in biomedical research: a public research network’s case study (2015). Accreditation and Quality Assurance 20, 203–213.
  12. Giorgio E., Liguoro A.,,D’Orsi L., Mancinelli S., Barbieri A., Palmieri G., Arra C., Liguori G.L. Cripto haploinsufficiency affects in vivo colon tumor development (2014). International Journal of Oncology 45, 31-40.
  13. Liguori G.L., Borges, A.C., D’Andrea D., Liguoro A., Gonçalves L., Salgueiro A.M., Persico M.G and Belo J.A. A Cripto-independent nodal signalling promotes positioning of the A-P axis in the early mouse embryo (2008). Developmental Biology 315, 280-289.
  14. Liguori G.L., Echevarria, D., Improta, R., Signore, M., Adamson, E., Martinez, S., Persico, M.G. Anterior neural plate regionalization in cripto null mutant mouse embryos in the absence of node and primitive streak (2003). Developmental Biology 264, 537-549. 
  15. Xu, C., Liguori, G., Persico, M.G. and Adamson, E.D. Abrogation of the Cripto gene in mouse leads to failure of postgastrulation morphogenesis and lack of differentiation of cardiomyocytes (1999). Development 126, 483-494.

Professional Experience

2006 to date Principal Investigator at the Institute of Genetics and Biophysics (IGB) “A. Buzzati Traverso”, National Research Council (CNR), Naples

2001 to date CNR Researcher at the IGB, CNR, Naples

2012-2017 Founder member of the quality and Project Management OpenLab (qPMO) Network. Coordinator of the Knowledge Management Unit

2005 and 2007 Visiting scientist in the lab of Prof. S. Martinez at the Instituto de Neurociencias CSIC-UMH, San Juan Campus, Alicante, Spain

2003-2004 Visiting scientist in the lab of Prof. J.A. Belo at the Gulbenkian Institute, Oeiras, Portugal, in the context of the CNR-GRICES bilateral collaboration agreement

2002-2003 Visiting scientist in the lab. of Prof. S. Martinez at the Instituto de Neurociencias CSIC-UMH, Alicante, Spain. Two Short-term EMBO fellowships were awarded

2000-2001 BIOGEM researcher at the IGB, CNR, Naples

1999 Visiting scientist in the lab of Dr. K. Chien, Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego (UCSD), La Jolla, California, USA

19962000 Ph.D. student in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, under the guidance of Dr. Maria Persico at IGB, CNR, Naples


Supervision and Training Activities

Supervisor of first- and second-level undergraduate degree thesis, PhD students, specialization and post-doctoral fellows, and trained laboratory technicians. Training activities in both doctoral and post-doctoral courses. External referee and/or member of the evaluation committees of international PhD.


Outreach Activities

Educational activity at the IGB for secondary school students. Scientific contribution to exhibitions, such as “Il filo della vita”, 150 anni di genetica a Napoli” (2012), and participation to both national and international scientific events such as Futuro Remoto (2015, 2020), European Biotech Week (2019) and MEETmeTONIGHT 2020 and 2021.


Editorial/Reviewing Activities

Reviewer Editor for Frontiers in Oncology

Reviewer for several journal, including BioTech, Cancers, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Genes, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Life, and PLOs Biology.


Recent Grants

  • HORIZON 2020 FET Open Project “Extracellular vesicles from a natural source from tailor-made nanomaterials” – VES4US (2018-2022).
  • PO FESR 2014‐2020 from Regione Campania “Sviluppo di approcciterapeutici innovativi per patologie neoplastiche resistenti ai trattamenti”- SATIN (2018-2021)
  • FONDAZIONE CON IL SUD “New markers for dementia: a multidisciplinary approach” (2013-2017)
  • Ministero delle Economie e Finanze–FaReBio di Qualità “Quality and Project Management OpenLab”. (2012-2015).