Valeria Marigo
Valeria Marigo
affiliation: Università di Modena-Reggio Emilia
research area(s): Molecular Biology, Genetics And Genomics
Course: Molecular and Regenerative Medicine
University/Istitution: Università di Modena-Reggio Emilia
03/1987 Degree in Biology (Laurea), Summa cum laude;University of Padua, Italy, Supervisor: Prof. M. Bortolussi;
06/1993: Ph.D. in Morphogenetic and Cytological Sciences; University of Padua, and University of Rome La Sapienza Italy; Supervisors: Profs. D. Volpin and G. M. Bressan;
04/1993-11/1996: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Supervisor: Prof. Clifford J. Tabin;
12/1996- 09/2000: Researcher, Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine (TIGEM), Milan, Italy; Director: Prof. A. Ballabio;
10/2000- 10/2005: Group Leader, Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine (TIGEM), Naples, Italy; Director: Prof. A. Ballabio;
06/2000-06/2005: Supervisor of the RNA In Situ Hybridization Core, TIGEM, Naples, Italy;
11/2001- current: Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of “The Vision of Children Foundation” (San Diego, CA);
11/2004- 10/2005: Member of the New York Academy of Sciences;
11/2005- current: Associate Professor of Molecular Biology at Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.


April 1988 Award by Centro Regionale Specializzato per la Epidemiologia e la Prevenzione dell’Arteriosclerosi (University of Padua)
October 2007 Best poster at 14th European Society for Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research, Bari (Italy)
October 2009 European Vision Award 2009
November 2010 Best poster at 23° Convegno Annuale dell’Associazione Italiana di Colture Cellulari, Milan (Italy)


03/1993 – 08/1994: Borsa di Studio per Attività di Perfezionamento all'Estero (University of Padua, Italy) at the Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, (USA) in the laboratory of Prof. Clifford J. Tabin.

07 –09/1998: Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) at the Institute of Genetics, GSF-Neuherberg (Germany) in the laboratory of Prof. Jochen Graw.

03/2003: EMBO Short term Fellowship at Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Toronto, Canada in the laboratory of Dr. Derek van der Kooy.
The focus of the laboratory is basic and preclinical research on genetic diseases affecting vision: retinal degeneration and albinism. Retinal degenerations are the major cause of incurable blindness. The genetic defect has been identified for some of them, however the pathogenetic mechanism causing photoreceptor cell death is still not well understood. We are currently studying the molecular mechanisms underlying cell death during retinal degeneration and developing molecular tools to delay and inhibit programmed cell death in the retina. The second approach aimed at the cure of these blinding diseases is based on the use of retinal derived stem cells. We are currently studying the biology of retinal stem cells dissected from the ciliary body of adult murine eyes. We developed protocols to differentiate these cells either into retinal pigment epithelium or into functional rod photoreceptors, the cells affected in retinitis pigmentosa.
− Aruta C., Giordano F., De Marzo A., Comitato A., Raposo G., Nandrot E.F., Marigo V. (2011) In vitro differentiation of retinal pigment epithelium from adult retinal stem cells. Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research 24: 233-240.
− De Marzo A., Aruta C., Marigo V. (2010) PEDF Promotes Retinal Neurosphere Formation and Expansion In Vitro. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 664: 621-630.
− Paquet-Durand F., Sanges D., McCall J., Silva J., van Veen T., Marigo V., Ekström P. (2010) Photoreceptor rescue and toxicity induced by different calpain inhibitors. Journal of Neurochemistry 115: 930-940.
− Giordano F., Bonetti C., Surace E.M., Marigo V.*, Raposo G.*. (2009) The Ocular Albinism type 1 (OA1) G-Protein Coupled Receptor functions with MART-1 at early stages of melanogenesis to control melanosome identity and composition. Human Molecular Genetics 18: 4530-4545. (* corresponding authors).
− Trifunović D., Karali M., Camposampiero D., Ponzin D., Banfi S., Marigo V. (2008) A high-resolution RNA expression atlas of Retinitis Pigmentosa genes in the human and mouse retinas. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 49: 2330-2336.
− Comitato A., Spampanato C., Chakarova C., Sanges D., Bhattacharya S.S., Marigo V. (2007) Mutations in splicing factor PRPF3, causing retinal degeneration, form detrimental aggregates in photoreceptor cells. Human Molecular Genetics 16: 1699-1707.
− Sanges D., Comitato A., Tammaro R., Marigo V. (2006) Apoptosis in retinal degeneration involves cross-talk between apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) and caspase-12 and is blocked by calpain inhibitors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 103: 17366-17371.
− Vetrini F., Tammaro R., Bondanza S., Surace E.M., Auricchio A., De Luca M., Ballabio A., Marigo V. (2006) Aberrant splicing in the ocular albinism type 1 (OA1) gene is corrected in vitro by morpholino antisense oligonucleotides, Human Mutation 27: 420-426.
− Sanges D., Marigo V. (2006) Cross-talk between two apoptotic pathways activated by endoplasmic reticulum stress: differential contribution of Caspase-12 and AIF. Apoptosis 11: 1629-1641.
Project Title:
Molecular mechanisms underlying cone cell death in advanced retinitis pigmentosa
Retinitis pigmentosa is a progressive disease causing complete blindness in later life. As rod photoreceptors die, cone viability is also compromised and the disease proceeds toward loss of peripheral field with tunnel vision and finally blindness. The fact that cones die in the retina of patients with mutations in rod specific genes suggests the existence of a non-cell autonomous mechanism of death. The aim of the project is the identification of molecular mechanisms underlying cone cell death to be targeted in therapeutic approaches.