Andrea Frontini
Andrea Frontini
affiliation: Department of Public Health, Experimental and Forensic Medicine
research area(s): Cell Biology, Experimental Medicine
Course: Genetics, Molecular and Cellular Biology
University/Istitution: Università di Pavia
BORN: 26 September 1972, Reggio Emilia, Italy.
ADDRESS: Department of Public Health, Experimental and Forensic Medicine, via Forlanini 8, 27100 Pavia, Italy; Ph: 0382 987645; email:
RESEARCH FIELD: Molecular mechanisms that control energy balance. This include central mechanisms of action in the hypothalamus but also peripheral signaling pathways in adipose tissue. I have analyzed the biology of adipose tissue in physiological conditions as well as in pathologies such as obesity and diabetes.
RESEARCH ACTIVITY: I have focused my research mainly on central mechanisms that control food intake and energy expenditure. I have investigated hypothalamic and extra hypothalamic sites of leptin action in several independent works and in collaboration with other laboratories. In the last years, I have participated in a FP7 European Project for the recruitment and activation of brown adipose tissue in humans with the intention to curb obesity and metabolic diseases.
The results of his research work have been published in 46 publications in journal indexed in PUB MED and with impact factor; total impact factor 330, mean 7; H index 25 (ISI), 27 (Scopus; from 2003), 28 (Google Scholar); citations: 3518; 3055 from 2012.
The most important works were published in Nature Review Drug Discovery (2016), Cell (2014); Cell Metabolism (2012; 2010), Journal of Clinical Investigation (2011).
EDITORIAL ACTIVITY: Ad Hoc Reviewer for: Nature Communication; Journal of Lipid research; Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism; Plos One.
Italian Society of Anatomy and Histology
Italian Society for the Study of Obesity

Current position
Associate Professor of Morphology and Human Anatomy, University of Pavia, Italy.

Educational background
Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ph.D. 2006
University of Windsor (ON, Canada) M.Sc. 2002
University of Ancona, Ancona, Italy, B.Sc. 1998

Previous employment
2006-2010 Post Doc at the Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy.
2010-2015 Assistant Professor at the Università Politecnica delle Marche, School of Medicine, Italy
2015- Assistant Professor of Human Anatomy, University of Pavia, School of Medicine, Italy

I have been teaching Functional Anatomy to the Students enrolled in Obstetrics at the Università Politecnica delle Marche from 2013 to 2015.
I currently teach Morphology ad Human Anatomy to med students enrolled in the Golgi Course (Italian) and Cytology, Histology and Microscopic Anatomy to the students Harvey Course (English). Both courses are provided by the University of Pavia, Italy.

I have been involved in several International networks (European and US) of research laboratories. The focus of my research in the last ten years is mainly devoted to adipose tissue biology especially in the characterization of morphological and physiological aspects of brown adipose tissue in humans. The morphological approach is the main to try to solve the biological issues in my hands. I have participated to several National and European projects dealing with obesity and diabetes. I have also acted as Reviewer for several Grants proposed at National level or to international foundation in the same field of research.
My main expertise, in the experimental settings, is related to all types of microscopies (light, TEM, SEM and confocal) but also to molecular biology. In the last few years I used Laser microdissection and PALM. I am now approaching FISH (Fluorescent in-situ hybridization) in order to link the expertise in the morphological examination with gene expression analysis. I have participated as tutors and as supervisor to several (at least 15) autopsies for research purposes.
Chapters in books:
- M.A. Shiffman et al. (Eds.), Stem Cells in Aesthetic Procedures, © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014. The Adipose Organ: Morphological Perspectives of Adipose Tissues. Arianna Smorlesi, Andrea Frontini and Saverio Cinti
- Yihai Cao Ed. Angiogenesis in Adipose Tissue, © Springer Science-Business Media New York 2013. Origin of Adipocyte Precursors from Adipose Vascular Endothelium. Andrea Frontini, Silvia Corvera, and Saverio Cinti
Acts of Congress
• Invited Speaker: VII Congresso Nazionale Società Italiana dell’Obesità, 29 Settembre - 1° Ottobre, Rome, Italy. Title: Uomini e Topi: Studio comparativo sullo sviluppo e sulla distribuzione del tessuto adiposo bruno.
• Invited Speaker: “Symposium on Brown adipose tissue and euthermia” Wenner-Gren Center, Stockholm (Sweden) May 25-28, 2016. Title: Ultrastructure of human brown adipocytes.
• Invited speaker for: BHF Centre of Research Excellence Workshop and 40th UK Adipose Tissue Discussion Group. Title: Browning of the Adipose Organ in Humans. 12- 13 December 2013. THE QUEEN’S MEDICAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE, Edinburgh, Scotland.
- Molecular mechanisms and neuroanatomical characterization of central and peripheral circuits that regulate energy balance in mammals;
- Functional anatomy of white and brown fat tissues;
- Pathogenesis and pathophysiology of obesity, diabetes, and related diseases.
- Since the recent collaboration with the Forensic Medicine of UNIPV, studies have been conducted to investigate the morphological and molecular mechanisms that cause sudden cardiac death due to acute myocardial ischemia.
- Pathobiology of the malignant pleural mesothelioma are investigated from a morphological and molecular point of view using an extremely wide data bank material available in our Department.
1. Giordano A, Frontini A, Cinti S (2016). Convertible visceral fat as a therapeutic target to curb obesity. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 15(6):405-24.
2. Razzoli M, Frontini A, Gurney A, Mondini E, Cubuk C, Katz LS, Cero C, Bolan PJ, Dopazo J, Vidal-Puig A, Cinti S, Bartolomucci A (2015) Stress-induced activation of brown adipose tissue prevents obesity in conditions of low adaptive thermogenesis. Mol Metab. 11;5(1):19-33.
3. Sartini L and Frontini A (2015). Potential novel therapeutic strategies from understanding adipocyte transdifferentiation mechanisms. Expert Rev Endocrinol Metab. 10 (2): 143-152.
4. Cohen P, Levy JD, Zhang Y, Frontini A, Kolodin DP, Svensson KJ, Lo JC, Zeng X, Ye L, Khandekar MJ, Wu J, Gunawardana SC, Banks AS, Camporez JP, Jurczak MJ, Kajimura S, Piston DW, Mathis D, Cinti S, Shulman GI, Seale P, Spiegelman BM (2014). Ablation of PRDM16 and Beige Adipose Causes Metabolic Dysfunction and a Subcutaneous to Visceral Fat Switch. Cell. 156(1-2):304-16.
5. Karbiener M, Pisani DF, Frontini A, Oberreiter LM, Lang E, Vegiopoulos A, Mössenböck K, Bernhardt GA, Mayr T, Hildner F, Grillari J, Ailhaud G, Herzig S, Cinti S, Amri EZ, Scheideler M (2014). MicroRNA-26 family is required for human adipogenesis and drives characteristics of brown adipocytes. Stem Cells. 32(6):1578-90.
6. Frontini A, Vitali A, Perugini J, Murano I, Romiti C, Ricquier D, Guerrieri M, Cinti S (2013). White-to-brown transdifferentiation of omental adipocytes in patients affected by pheochromocytoma. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1831(5):950-9.
7. Jung KM, Clapper JR, Fu J, D'Agostino G, Guijarro A, Thongkham D, Avanesian A, Astarita G, Dipatrizio NV, Frontini A, Cinti S, Diano S, Piomelli D (2012). 2-arachidonoylglycerol signaling in forebrain regulates systemic energy metabolism. Cell Metab. 15(3):299-310
8. Gupta RK, Mepani RJ, Kleiner S, Lo JC, Khandekar MJ, Cohen P, Frontini A, Bhowmick DC, Ye L, Cinti S, Spiegelman BM (2012). Zfp423 expression identifies committed preadipocytes and localizes to adipose
endothelial and perivascular cells. Cell Metab. 15(2):230-9
9. Tran KV*, Gealekman O*, Frontini A*, Zingaretti MC, Morroni M, Giordano A, Smorlesi A, Perugini J, De Matteis R, Sbarbati A, Corvera S, Cinti S (2012). The vascular endothelium of the adipose tissue gives rise to both white and brown fat cells. Cell Metab. 15(2):222-9
*equal contribution as first author
10. Gaidhu MP, Frontini A, Hung S, Pistor K, Cinti S, Ceddia RB (2011). Chronic AMP-kinase activation with AICAR reduces adiposity by remodeling adipocyte metabolism and increasing leptin sensitivity. J Lipid Res. 52(9):1702-11
11. Seale P, Conrow HM, Estall J, Kajimura S, Frontini A, Ishibashi J, Cohen P, Cinti S and Spiegelman B (2011). Prdm16 determines the thermogenic program of subcutaneous white adipose tissue in mice. JCI 121 (1):96-105
12. Frontini A, Cinti S (2010). Distribution and development of brown adipocytes in the murine and human adipose organ. Cell Metabolism 11(4):253-6
13. Frontini A and Giordano A (2010). Leptin-sensitive neurons in mouse preoptic area express alpha(1A)- and alpha(2A)-adrenergic receptor isoforms. Neuroscience Letters 471(2):83-8
14. Zingaretti MC, Crosta F, Vitali A, Guerrieri M, Frontini A, Cannon B, Nedergaard J, Cinti S (2009). The presence of UCP1 demonstrates that metabolically active adipose tissue in the neck of adult humans truly represents brown adipose tissue. FASEB J. 23(9):3113-20
15. Valerio A, Dossena M, Bertolotti P, Boroni P, Sarnico I, Delbarba A, Faraco G, Chiarugi A, Giordano A, Frontini A, Tonello C, Liou HC, De Simoni MG, Spano P, Carruba M, Pizzi M (2009) Leptin protects against cerebral ischemia through inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase-3beta and activation of NF-kappaB/c-Rel-dependent transcription. Stroke 40(2):610-7
16. Frontini A, Tonello C, Nisoli E, Cinti S and Giordano A (2008). Leptin-dependent STAT3 phosphorylation in postnatal mouse hypothalamus. Brain research 1215:105-115
17. Frontini A, Rousset S, Cassard-Doulcier AM, Zingaretti C, Ricquier D and Cinti S (2007). Thymus Uncoupling protein 1 is exclusively localized in surrounding typical brown adipocytes and is absent in thymocytes. The Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry 55(2):183-9.
18. Giordano A, Frontini A, Castellucci M and Cinti S (2004) Presence and distribution of Cholinergic Nerves in Rat Mediastinal Brown Adipose Tissue. The Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry 52(7):923-30
19. Frontini A, Zaidi AU, Hua H, Wolak TP, Greer CA, Kafitz KW, Li W and Zielinski B (2003). Olfactory bulb organization in the larval stage of the sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus: discrete subsetsof olfactory glomeruli with Golf localization and with serotonin innervation. The Journal of Comparative Neurology 465:27-37

No projects are available to students for the current accademic year.