Francesco Cecconi
Francesco Cecconi
affiliation: Università di Roma Tor Vergata
research area(s): Cell Biology, Molecular Biology
Course: Cell and Molecular Biology
University/Istitution: Università di Roma Tor Vergata
I obtained my Degree (Laurea) in Biological Sciences in 1992, followed in 1996 by a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology (University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy), working on snoRNA regulation in Xenopus. Between 1996 and 1999 I was awarded a number of Long Term fellowships from ESF, EMBO, HFSPO and the MARIE CURIE/TMR from EU (European Union), to work as a PostDoc at the Max-Planck-Institut für Biophysikalische Chemie in Peter Gruss´ laboratory (Göttingen, Germany). There I gained expertise in Developmental Neuroembryology and, in 1997, I described the knockout phenotype of the Apaf1 gene (a master regulator of mitochondria-dependent apoptosis). In November 1999, I was awarded a Telethon Assistant Scientist position, and until June 2005 I have been Group Leader of the Developmental Molecular Biology Lab at the Department of Biology, University of Tor Vergata. My main scientific interest in this period has been the link between the apoptosome and cell death in neurodegeneration. In December 2004, I was appointed as Associate Telethon Scientist and, since January 2005, I am Director of the Laboratory of Molecular Neuroembryology at the IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia in Rome. Since November 2006, I am Full Professor of Developmental Biology at the Faculty of Science of the University of Tor Vergata. After my seminal work on the pro-autophagic molecule Ambra1, I became a world-leader in the field of autophagy in development and disease, while producing in parallel key papers on the role played by apoptotic molecules in synaptic degeneration. I am member of several National and International Societies, such as the Italian Society of Biophysics and Molecular Biology (SIBBM), whose I am a Council member, or the European Cell Death Organization (ECDO).
D’Amelio M, Cavallucci V, Middei S, Marchetti C, Pacioni S, Ferri A, Diamantini A, De Zio D, Carrara P, Battistini L, Moreno S, Bacci A, Ammassari-Teule M, Marie H and Cecconi F, “Caspase-3 triggers early synaptic dysfunction in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s Disease”. Nature Neurosci. (2010), in press.

Di Bartolomeo S, Corazzari M, Nazio F, Oliverio S, Lisi G, Antonioli M, Pagliarini V, Matteoni S, Fuoco C, Giunta L, D’Amelio M, Nardacci R, Romagnoli A, Fimia GM, Piacentini M and Cecconi F, “The dynamic interaction of Ambra1 with the dynein motor complex regulates mammalian autophagy”. J Cell Biol. 2010; 191, 155-168.

Cecconi F and Levine B, “The role of autophagy in mammalian development: cell makeover rather than cell death”. Dev Cell 2008; 15: 344-357.

Ferraro E, Pulicati A, Cencioni MT, Cozzolino M, Navoni F, di Martino S, Nardacci R, Carrì MT and Cecconi F, “Apoptosome-deficient cells lose cytochrome c through proteasomal degradation but survive by autophagy-dependent glycolysis”. Mol Biol Cell 2008; 19: 3576-3588.

Tasdemir E, Maiuri MC, Galluzzi L, Vitale I, Djavaheri-Mergny M, D'Amelio M, Criollo A, Morselli E, Zhu C, Harper F, Nannmark U, Samara C, Pinton P, Vicencio JM, Carnuccio R, Moll UM, Madeo F, Paterlini-Brechot P, Rizzuto R, Szabadkai G, Pierron G, Blomgren K, Tavernarakis N, Codogno P, Cecconi F, Kroemer G, “Regulation of autophagy by cytoplasmic p53”. Nat Cell Biol 2008; 10: 676-687.

Zermati Y, Mohuammad S, Stergiou L, Besse B, Galluzzi L, Boehrer S, Pauleau A.-L, Rosselli F, D'Amelio M, Amendola R, Castedo M, Hengartner M, Soria J.-C, Cecconi F, Kroemer G, “Non-apoptotic role for Apaf-1 in the DNA damage checkpoint”. Mol Cell 2007; 28: 624-637.

Fimia GM, Stoykova A, Romagnoli A, Giunta L, Di Bartolomeo S, Nardacci R, Corazzari M, Fuoco C, Ucar A, Schwartz P, Gruss P, Piacentini M, and Cecconi F, “Ambra1 regulates autophagy and development of the nervous system”. Nature 2007; 447: 1121-1125.

Project Title:
Role of mitophagy in synaptic degeneration

Project Title:
Role of mitochondrial dynamics in synaptic degeneration