First Year

Michela Bosetti
After a PhD in Molecular Medicine, in 2001 she was enrolled as research leader group and assistant Professor in Human Anatomy at the School of Pharmacy (UPO) and from 2015 she was appointed Associate Professor. Her research interests include the development and evaluation of novel biomaterials and tissue regeneration of bone and cartilage.
Armando Genazzani
For complete biography, see the Key Staff page
Carla Distasi
After a PhD in Physiological Sciences, she performed research at Laboratoire de Biologie Cellulaire et Moléculaire – CNRS – Gif−sur−Yvette – France, at the Département de Physiologie – Centre Médical Universitaire – Geneve – Switzerland and at the Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell’Uomo – University of Torino – Italy. Currently, she is Associate Professor in Physiology and head of the Laboratory of Cellular Physiology and Biophysics (UPO). Her research interests include ionic channels, growth factors (bFGF), neurotransmitters, hormones and calcium signals.
Letizia Fracchia

In 2004, she received the title of PhD in Environmental Science at the Department of Science and Advanced Technologies (UPO). Currently, she is Associate Professor of General Microbiology at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UPO). Her main interests include biosurfactant-based coatings for the inhibition of microbial adhesion and multi-species biofilms on materials for medical use, the lipoaspirate as an antimicrobial and bioactive scaffold in wound healing, the activity of cosmetic products preservatives on skin microbiota and the study of the antimicrobial and anti-biofilm activity of Guayule resin.

Chiara Porta
She received her PhD in Biotechnology applied at the Medical Sciences, at the University of Milan in 2003. In 2002 she visited the Laboratorie d’Oncologie Virale, directed by Dr Mounirà Chelbi-Alix, at the Institute André Lwoff, CNRS, Villejuif, France. She worked as Post-Doctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Molecular Immunology directed by Professor Sica at Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, at Istituto Clinico Humanitas and at UPO. Since 2011, she is Assistant Professor of Pathology at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UPO). Her research has been mainly focused on the molecular mechanisms underlying the functional link between inflammation and cancer.
Sarah Cargnin
She received her degree in Pharmacy in 2011 and her PhD in Pharmaceutical and Food Biotechnologies in 2016 at UPO. At present, she is a post-Doc in Pharmacology at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Novara. Her main research interest focuses on pharmacogenetics, systematic reviews and meta-analysis.
Francesco Barone Adesi
After a PhD in Environmental Medicine at University of Bari, Italy, in 2012 he received a post-graduate degree in Medical Statistics at the University of Milan, Italy. He was a Post-doctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA and a Lecturer in Epidemiology, St. George’s, University of London, UK. Currently, he is associate professor of public health (UPO). His main research interests include pharmacoepidemiology, evaluation of public health interventions, with a special interest to interventions aimed to the promotion of healthy aging trough life-style modifications, occupational and environmental epidemiology, statistical methods for epidemiology and public health, systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
Ubaldina Galli
After a PhD in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Turin and an experience as chemistry laboratory technician, she became Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UPO).  Her research interests include the design and synthesis of novel antitumoral agents, especially in the field of nicotinamide phosphoribosyl transferase, PI3Ks and tubulin.
Mariagrazia Grilli
After an MD and a PhD in Experimental Medicine, University of Brescia, Italy, she spent more than four years as Visiting Scientist at the NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA. In 1997 she became Principal Scientist and then in 2000 Section Head, Cellular and Molecular Biology, at the Schering Plough Research Institute, San Raffaele Biomedical Science Park, in Milan, Italy. Currently, she is Associate Professor of Pharmacology at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UPO). Her main current research interests include: i) the role of adult neurogenesis and the cross-communication between neural stem cells and non-neuronal cells in the adult neurogenic niche in the physiopathology of neuropsychiatric disorders; ii) hippocampal and hypothalamic adult neural stem cells as targets of psychoactive drugs; iii) the contribution of neural stem cell abnormalities to cognitive impairment associated with Down Syndrome; iv) the role of NF-kB mediated signalling in the modulation of adult neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.
Alberto Minassi
He obtained his PhD in Science of Bioactive Compounds in 2004 and he was a visiting scientist at Endocannabinoid Research Group – CNR – Pozzuoli (Italy) and at the laboratory of Prof. Clayden – University of Manchester (UK). He is currently Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UPO). His research interests include the chemistry of natural products and the development of novel synthetic methodologies in the synthesis of natural compounds.
Silvia Morel
After a PhD in Chemistry of Drugs and a Post-Doc at the University of Turin, she became Assistant Professor at the Department of Drug Science and Technology (University of Turin). At present, she is Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Technology at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UPO). Her interests include biocompatible colloidal systems, semi-solid preparations for pharmaceutical and cosmetic use and Italian and European legislation on medicinal and healthy products.
Gian Cesare Tron
He received his PhD in Organic Chemistry in 2001 at the Università di Torino (Italy) and, at present, he is an Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at UPO. He spent sabbatical leaves in the laboratory of Prof. Jieping Zhu (Institut de Chimie des Substances Naturelles – Gif-surYvette, France), Varinder K. Aggarwal (School of Chemistry – Bristol, UK) and Valery Fokin (The Scripps Institute – La Yolla, USA). In 2007 he was awarded the Farmindustria Prize for his achievements in medicinal chemistry. His research interests concern the discovery of new multicomponent reactions and their application in the field of medicinal chemistry.
Tracey Pirali
For complete biography, see the Key Staff page
Alberto Massarotti
During his PhD in Medicinal Chemistry, in 2007 he spent six months in the laboratory of Prof. Roberto Pellicciari (Dipartimento di Chimica e Tecnologia del Farmaco, Perugia, Italy), working on 3D QSAR of bile acids as agonist of farnesoid X receptor. He then spent one year in the laboratory of Dr. Andrea Brancale (Cardiff University), where he was involved in the development of new methodologies in de novo drug design. He received his doctoral degree in 2009. After a post-doc period, he became Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UPO). His research interests include computer-aided drug design, especially in the fields of cystic fibrosis and tubulin inhibitors.
Erika Del Grosso
She received her PhD in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Turin in 2003 and at present she is Assistant Professor at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UPO), where she is lecturer in lecturer in Pharmaceutical Analysis and Analytical Chemistry. Her research interests include the study of the activity, inhibition and enzyme kinetics via LC-MS, the structure-metabolism relationships of drugs via LC-MS, the development of quali/quantitative analytical methods for the characterization of complex mixtures and/or the metabolic products of drugs via LC-UV and LC-MS,  the characterization and determination via LC-MS of the degradation products of molecules of pharmaceutical interest, and the development and validation of analytical methods used in ongoing studies of stability of active ingredients and their formulations (LC-UV and LC-MS).
Riccardo Miggiano
He is a Researcher of the Biochemistry group at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Piemonte Orientale. He received the master degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology at the University of Parma and then the PhD in Pharmaceutical and Food Biotechnologies at the University of Piemonte Orientale. Dr. Miggiano was visiting PhD student at the Institute of Biosciences and BioResources of CNR in Naples and at Luis Serrano’s group at the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcellona where he get familiar with innovative biochemical assays for testing enzyme activity and for protein/protein interaction analysis. In 2018, he conducted part of his research at the City University of New York (CUNY). During the experience at CUNY he performed cryo-EM studies on protein complexes involved in DNA repair. His activity resulted in 15 published papers and 17 protein structures deposited in the Protein Data Bank. Moreover, Dr. Miggiano is a co-founder of the IXTAL spin-off (, a biotech company that operates in the field of protein science. His research activity mainly focus on i) the biochemical and structural characterization of individual enzymes involved in alkylated-DNA repair in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb); ii) the identification and characterization of macromolecular complexes participating to the maintenance of Mtb genome stability; iii) protein engineering studies for the design of self-labeling fluorescent protein-tag.


Davide M. Ferraris
After graduating in Chemistry at the University of Turin (Italy), he received in 2008 a PhD in Infection Biology at the Medical School of Hannover (Germany) with an experimental thesis in Structural Biology at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI, Braunschweig, Germany). He is researcher at the Department of Pharmaceutical Science at the University of Eastern Piedmont (Novara, Italy) in the research group directed by Prof. Menico Rizzi. His research interests include the structural and functional elucidation of virulence factors of M. tuberculosis and the development of protein technologies for biotechnological applications.
Paola Lucchini
She received her Degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology at UPO in 1999 and since 2001 she has worked as chemistry laboratory technician at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UPO). She tutors many different laboratories for students, ranging from analytics to pharmaceutical technology.
Federica Pollastro
She received her PhD, sponsored by Indena S.p.a. (Milano- Italy), in Science of Bioactive Substances at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UPO). At present, she is Researcher at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UPO), where she is lecturer of the course Medicinal Plants and Phytochemistry and of the Laboratory of herbalist preparation and coordinates a phytochemical lab group. Her research interests include phytochemistry, isolation and purification of natural compounds, with a focus on Burseraceae plant family, Cannabis sativa and sesquiterpenic lactones.
Franca Rossi
Upon graduation in Biological Sciences at the University of Pavia (Italy) in 1992, she worked for several years as research fellow first at the Italian CNR (IGBE-CNR, Pavia; Italy) and then abroad (INSERM, Nice; France), acquiring a broad knowledge of technologies for the functional characterization of proteins of medical and biotechnological relevance. Skilled in recombinant protein production and protein-protein interactions analysis, she was involved in multi-disciplinary projects, as the reference team member for macromolecular interactions investigations. In 2001, she joined the Biochemistry Unit of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Eastern Piedmont (DSF-UPO, Novara; Italy), where she contributed her expertise to the pre-existing high-standard know-how in structural biology, thus creating a new blend of complementary skills that resulted in the establishment of new research lines. In 2002, she obtained a permanent position as Researcher of DSF-UPO, where she teaches the “Applied Biochemistry” and “Molecular Biology” courses. Her current projects are mainly focused on studying the structure-function relationship of single proteins and macromolecular complexes from different sources, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis in humans and the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae, as well as human enzymes involved in tryptophan degradation.
Lorella Giovannelli
She received her degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology at the University of Turin in 1998. Currently, she is Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Technology at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UPO). Her research interests focus on the preformulation of pharmaceutical and cosmetic molecules by interaction with excipients/technological adjuvants, formation of supra-molecular inclusion compounds with cyclodextrins and modification of the physical state by techniques such as freeze drying and spray drying.
Silvio Aprile
He received his PhD in Science of Bioactive Compounds at UPO in 2008 and in the same year he visited the laboratory of “Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacovigilance” Department at the University Hospital of Limoges (FR).  At present, he is post-Doctoral researcher and lecturer in Pharmaceutical Analysis at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UPO). His research interests focus on chemical stability and ADME properties evaluation of drugs and bioactive substances: in vitro/vivo drug metabolism, development and validation of HPLC-UV/MS analytical and bioanalytical methods for the determination of active pharmaceutical ingredients, their degradation products and metabolites.
Elisa Zavattaro

She graduated in Medicine and Surgery in 2000, and then completed her residency in Dermatology and Venereology in 2005 at the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara. In 2007 she obtained the II Level Surgical Dermatology Master at the University of Siena. In 2009 she received the title of PhD in Clinical and Experimental Medicine at the UPO, and started a post-doc fellowship at the Molecular Virology Lab (Prof Gariglio), UPO, with a project on the promoting role of Beta-Papillomaviruses in skin carcinogenesis.
Since 2012 she is working at the Dermatology Unit, University-Hospital Maggiore della Carità Novara. Her main fields of interest are represented by cutaneous oncology (including melanoma and Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers), and the dermatologic management of Organ Transplant Patients. She is currently involved in clinical trials on the Hedgehog-pathway inhibitors for the treatment of Basal Cell Carcinoma.

Fausto Chiazza
Fausto Chiazza is a Researcher at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Piemonte Orientale in Novara. He received a master degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology at the University of Turin and a PhD in ‘Pharmaceutical and Biomolecular Sciences’ at the School of ‘Science of nature and innovative technologies’ of the University of Turin with a project entitled: ”Development of original experimental models of “diabesity” to identify innovative therapeutic targets”. Fausto Chiazza spent part of his PhD as a visiting PhD student in the laboratories of “Diabetology and Endocrinology” of Children Hospital of Zurich. After obtaining his PhD, Fausto Chiazza continued its research at the University of Turin, at the Department of Clinical Science and Education Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm and, eventually, at University of Piemonte Orientale. This Activity led to the publication of 43 scientific papers in international peer reviewed journals. His research regards:
the characterization of the molecular basis of metabolic diseases, mainly focusing on the investigation of inflammatory pathways and identification of mediators of inter-organ communication in these settings;
the study of the cellular mechanisms at the basis of the neurological complications of diabetes;
the pharmacological modulation of these pathways aimed at the prevention/management of the health consequences of metabolic related inflammation (“metaflammation”), as one of the key drivers of metabolic disorders and related neurological/cardiovascular co-morbidities.
Maurizio Rinaldi

Maurizio Rinaldi obtained a PhD degree in Elementary Particles Physics at the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste (Italy).
Afterwards he got Postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University, Cambridge (MA), USA and a Postdoctoral fellowship at the Milan University (Italy).

He as been researcher of Mathematical Analysis (1995-1999) and subsequently from 1999 Associate Professor of Geometry and from 2004 in Complementary Mathematics.
He taught in Harvard University, Università degli studi di Trieste, and Università del Piemonte Orientale.
He worked in different areas of mathematical physics, geometry and analysis.
He also devoted his attention to the teaching of mathematics to students of not math-oriented undergraduate courses.
Currently he works as a mathematician and statistician with research groups of his University applying statistical learning techniques, bioinformatics and simulation of complex systems in different topics of research mainly in the chemical-biological area.

Second Year – Option A

Antonio Ferrer Montiel
For complete biography, see the Key Staff page
Asia Fernández Carvajal
For complete biography, see the Key Staff page
Gregorio Fernández Ballester
Gregorio Fernández obtained his degree in Chemistry in 1987. His research work has focused mainly on the study of the conformation of soluble and membrane proteins, and their conformational changes associated after interaction with effectors or other proteins. He has specialized in the computational design of proteins, and in the development of methodologies to predict “in silico” the protein-protein interactions at the level of soluble interaction domains, being able to extend these predictions to the complete genome of specific species. These techniques have been used successfully to improve the affinity and specificity of already known ligands, or to discover new effectors to regulate protein function. He is founder of a spin-off biotechnological company (Antalgenics SL), focused on the discovery of active molecules for dermocosmetic and biomedical applications. At present, he is a Full Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the responsible for the Degree in Biotechnology, as Vice Dean of the Faculty of Experimental Sciences at Miguel Hernandez University.
Isabel Devesa
Pharmacist and PhD in Pharmacology University of Valencia (2005). From 2015, Chief Scientist Officer at AntalGenis SL, a company centred in the development of novel therapies for skin diseases and related disorders. Her professional and scientific skills focused and developed in drug development, immunology, chronic inflammation, neurobiology, and pain field. As Marie-Curie postdoctoral researcher (2005-2006) at the preclinical Research Department of Bioxell SpA, (Italy), she contributed to the development of new therapies to treat psoriasis and arthritic pain. As researcher at preclinical department at Newron Pharmaceuticals SpA, Italy (2007-2009), research line centred in the preclinical development of novel molecules to treat chronic painful diseases. Her scientific experience and knowledge in immunology wasdeveloped at Experimental Rheumatology and Advanced Therapeutics Laboratory, University Medical Centre Nijmegen, The Netherlands (2006-2007, 2002-2004). Finally, she specialized in sensory neurobiology at Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche (2009-2015). Here, she focused understanding the molecular mechanism involved in the inflammatory sensitization processes, and discovery novel molecules as potential novel analgesics.
Enrique Barrajón-Catalán
Enrique Barrajón-Catalán obtained his degree in Biochemistry in 1999 and in Pharmacy in 2011. At present, he is professor in Pharmacy Faculty of Universidad Miguel Hernández (Spain) and participates in the Master on Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Master on Clinic Pharmacokinetics and Individual Posology and in the PhD Program on Molecular and Cellular Biology of this university. His research is focused in biological activity of natural compounds, with special interest on cosmetic, antimicrobial, antiobesity and anticancer activities. He has agreements of collaboration and contracts with companies for the evaluation of the efficacy, quality, safety and development of new bioactive compounds. He is founder of Ilice Effitech S.L. a biotechnology Spin-off recently created and focused in the new developments for cosmetics industries.
Vicente Micol
Vicente Micol (1963, Lérida, Spain) is the head of the research group “Development and Design of Bioactive Molecules” at the Instituto de Investigación, Desarrollo e Innovación en Biotecnología Sanitaria de Elche” (IDiBE) of the Miguel Hernández University (UMH). He obtained his PhD at the University of Murcia (Spain) on biomembranes and made his postdoctoral research at the Division of Biology of CALTECH (Pasadena, CA) in mitochondrial diseases. Currently he is Full Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the UMH. His research group is focused on the biological activity and mechanism-of-action of polyphenols and their application to alleviate human chronic diseases such as cancer, obesity and non-communicable diseases using cell and animal models and human trials. The group has also an intense activity on technology transfer and services to companies belonging to areas such as food market, functional beverages, nutraceuticals and dermocosmetics. Founding member of several spin-off and technology-based companies, two of them focused on nutraceuticals (Nutracitrus and Mitra SolTech) and another one on efficacy assays for cosmetics (Ilice Effitech).
María Herranz-Lopez
María Herranz-Lopez obtained her degrees in Human Nutrition and Dietetics (2006) and Food Science and Technology (2008) with an extraordinary prize upon graduation. At present, she is an Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department and participates in the Master on Biotechnology and Bioengineering and in the PhD Program on Molecular and Cellular Biology of the IDiBE. She has close relationship with biotechnological companies, where she has obtained experience not only in applied research, but also in team development and supervision. She has been working in Mitra Sol. Technologies and participating in contracts and projects in others biotechnological companies such as MONTELOEDER and INVITROTECNIA for the evaluation of the efficacy, quality, safety and development of cosmetics and nutricosmetics. Recently, she is co-founder of Ilice Effitech, SL., a Spin-off company focused in R&D for cosmetics and functional ingredients.

Second Year – Option B

Jean-Pierre Gillet
For complete biography, see the Key Staff page
Laurent Ravez
Laurent Ravez has a master in philosophy and a PhD in bioethics. Since 2005, he has been head of the Center of Bioethics of the University of Namur. Professor at the University of Namur, he also teaches research ethics and ethics of public health at the Saint Joseph University of Beirut and University of Mahajanga (Madagascar). After a 12 years grant with Fogarty International (NIH) “Strengthening capacities in bioethics and justice in health”, he is now focused on publishing the research outputs.
Marc André
Professor Marc André is the current Head of the department of Hematology at the CHU UCL Namur, Yvoir, Belgium. He is the Vice-President of the LYmphoma Study Association (LYSA), member of the scientific board of LYSA and President of the Hodgkin Lymphoma Committee of LYSA. Professor André is President of the JACIE committee at the CHU UCL Namur, Yvoir, Belgium. He is also Professor of Clinical Trial Management at the Université de Namur, Namur, Belgium. He received his medical degree from the Université Catholique de Louvain in 1989, a professional training at the Hôpital Saint-Louis in Paris, France (1994-95) and became a board certified Hematologist. Prof. André has a broad range of translational scientific and clinical interests, spanning Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas and late toxicities, design and conduction of clinical trials, and clinical management. Currently, he is a principal investigator of the international H10 and BREACH studies. He has published over 70 peer-reviewed papers and several book chapters.
Lionel D’Hondt
He received a MD in 1990. After completion of residency in medical oncology in 1996, he worked 3 years as research associate at the Cancer Center of the University of Massachusetts. He got a PhD in 2002. He is currently involved in many academic, clinical and translational studies. His interests are mainly urologic and gynecologic cancers, neuro-oncology and digestive cancers.
Jonathan Douxfils
After being graduated in pharmaceutical sciences in 2011, Dr. Jonathan Douxfils obtained his PhD in biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences in 2015. In 2018, he gained an academic position at the University. The researches directed by Dr. Douxfils play a leading role in the establishment of guidelines for the laboratory measurement of DOACs in the routine setting. These recommendations have been used so far by several Expert Societies involved in the field of thrombosis and hemostasis. He also exercises his expertise as a pharmacovigilance expert at the European Medicine Agency, is co-chairmen of the SSC Control of Anticoagulation at the International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) and is also the co-founder and the CEO of QUALIblood, a Contract Research Organization (CRO) aiming to provide the industries, hospitals and universities with all the analytical services for blood investigations and hemocompatibility testing.

Passionate about clinical and laboratory research, he is involved in several projects aiming to solve pharmacological and/or epidemiological problems especially in thrombosis and hemostasis. Thanks to his translational view, i.e. from basic research to post-marketing pharmacovigilance, of the pharmaceutical and biomedical market, his collaborations with key opinion leaders but also with field practitioners, Dr. Jonathan Douxfils puts its expertise and know-how at the services of projects aiming to improve the safety and effectiveness of therapeutic agents in order to promote public health.

Florence Libon

Dr. Florence Libon graduated as medical doctor in 2012 and as a Dermatologist in 2016. She received her PhD degree on physiological question between vitamin D and the skin in 2018. She authored 18 articles referenced in Pubmed/Medline and gave many presentations at international dermatology congresses. She is currently head of clinic in the Dermatology Department of the University Hospital of Liège in Belgium. Her clinical interests are mainly allergologic skin diseases, including allergic contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis. Furthermore, she teaches dermatology and venereology to medical students and resident in dermatology. She also coaches several master thesis of medical student. She is also actively involved in as investigator in clinical studies evaluating new systemic biological treatments related to Dermatology. Dr F. Libon is member of the Royal Belgium Society of Dermatology and Venereology.

Last modified: January 10, 2023