Research Groups

Molecular Medicine

Research Interests and Description
Group Members

Mauro Giacca

Director-General ICGEB
Group Leader

International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
Padriciano 99
34149 Trieste, Italy

Office tel: +39-040-3757324
Lab tel: +39-040-3757325
Office fax: +39-040-3757380


Faculty of Medicine, University of Trieste, Italy, MD, 1984
Admitted to the Medical Doctors and Surgeons Register, 1985
University of Genova, Italy, PhD, 1989

Career History

Since July 2014, Director-General of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, ICGEB
2004-2014, Director of the Trieste Component, ICGEB Trieste, Italy.
2000-2004, Director of the Molecular Biology Laboratory of the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy.
Since 1995, Senior Scientist and Group Leader of the Molecular Medicine Laboratory of the ICGEB in Trieste.
1988-1994, Assistant Research Scientist at ICGEB, Trieste.
1986-1987, PhD student at the IGBE, CNR, Pavia.
1980-1985, Pre-doctoral student and fellow at the Institute of Microbiology of the University of Trieste.

Teaching Activity

Since 2005, Full Professor, University of Trieste.
2000-2005, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa.
Since 2001, external Professor in the course Gene Therapy at the Medical School at the University of Trieste.
1989-1999, external Professor in different courses of Microbiology and Medical Genetics at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Trieste.
1991-1996, Lecturer in the PhD Course of Molecular Genetics of the International School for Advanced Studies (ISAS) of Trieste, Italy.

Scientific Activity

Current research interest focuses on the development of novel biotherapeutics for cardiovascular disorders, with special emphasis on the identification of growth factors and microRNAs able to induce new blood vessel formation and cardiac regeneration in patients with myocardial infarction or heart failure. He also maintains a strong interest in the molecular biology of HIV-1 infection.
Research activity is funded through grants from various public and private bodies, including the European Research Council (ERC Advanced Investigator Grants), the Italian Ministry for Education and Research, the World Antidoping Agency (WADA) Canada, the JDRF USA, the Telethon Foundation Italy, among others.
M. Giacca regularly reviews scientific manuscripts for international journals in the fields of gene therapy, cardiovascular disorders and HIV infection, and grant applications in the context of calls from the European Commission and various granting bodies throughout Europe and has published over 240 papers in peer-reviewed international journals and 20 reviews or chapters in published books and university text books. He is the author of the book "Gene Therapy", Springer ed., 2010. He regularly presents his research activity at meetings and seminars worldwide.

Selected publications

Giacca M on PubMed

Selected publications (out of a total of over 300:

Lesizza, P., Prosdocimo, G., Martinelli, V., Sinagra, G., Zacchigna, S., Giacca, M. 2017. Single-Dose Intracardiac Injection of Pro-Regenerative MicroRNAs Improves Cardiac Function After Myocardial Infarction. Circ Res 120, 1298-1304

Eschenhagen, T., Bolli, R., Braun, T., Field, L.J., Fleischmann, B.K., Frisen, J., Giacca, M., Hare, J.M., Houser, S.R., Lee, R.T., Marban, E., Martin, J.F., Molkentin, J.D., Murry, C.E., Riley, P.R., Ruiz-Lozano, P., Sadek, H.A., Sussman, M.A., Hill, J.A. 2017. Cardiomyocyte Regeneration: A Consensus Statement. Circulation

Agostini, S., Ali, H., Vardabasso, C., Fittipaldi, A., Tasciotti, E., Cereseto, A., Bugatti, A., Rusnati, M., Lusic, M., Giacca, M. 2017. Inhibition of Non Canonical HIV-1 Tat Secretion Through the Cellular Na+,K+-ATPase Blocks HIV-1 Infection. EBioMedicine, in press

Carroll, K.J., Makarewich, C.A., McAnally, J., Anderson, D.M., Zentilin, L., Liu, N., Giacca, M., Bassel-Duby, R., Olson, E.N. 2016. A mouse model for adult cardiac-specific gene deletion with CRISPR/Cas9. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113, 338-43

Woitek, F., Zentilin, L., Hoffman, N.E., Powers, J.C., Ottiger, I., Parikh, S., Kulczycki, A.M., Hurst, M., Ring, N., Wang, T., Shaikh, F., Gross, P., Singh, H., Kolpakov, M.A., Linke, A., Houser, S.R., Rizzo, V., Sabri, A., Madesh, M., Giacca, M., Recchia, F.A. 2015

Intracoronary Cytoprotective Gene Therapy: A Study of VEGF-B167 in a Pre-Clinical Animal Model of Dilated Cardiomyopathy. J Am Coll Cardiol 66, 139-53

Ruozi, G., Bortolotti, F., Falcione, A., Dal Ferro, M., Ukovich, L., Macedo, A., Zentilin, L., Filigheddu, N., Gortan Cappellari, G., Baldini, G., Zweyer, M., Barazzoni, R., Graziani, A., Zacchigna, S., Giacca, M. 2015. AAV-mediated in vivo functional selection of tissue-protective factors against ischaemia. Nat Commun 6, 7388

Marini, B., Kertesz-Farkas, A., Ali, H., Lucic, B., Lisek, K., Manganaro, L., Pongor, S., Luzzati, R., Recchia, A., Mavilio, F., Giacca*, M., Lusic*, M. 2015. Nuclear architecture dictates HIV-1 integration site selection. Nature 521, 227-31; * last co-authorship

Mano, M., Ippodrino, R., Zentilin, L., Zacchigna, S., Giacca, M. 2015. Genome-wide RNAi screening identifies host restriction factors critical for in vivo AAV transduction. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112, 11276-81

Giacca, M., Zacchigna, S. 2015. Harnessing the microRNA pathway for cardiac regeneration. J Mol Cell Cardiol 89, 68-74

Zacchigna, S., Zentilin, L., Giacca, M. 2014. Adeno-associated virus vectors as therapeutic and investigational tools in the cardiovascular system. Circ Res 114, 1827-46

Zacchigna, S., Giacca, M. 2014. Extra- and intracellular factors regulating cardiomyocyte proliferation in postnatal life. Cardiovasc Res 102, 312-20

Puente, B.N., Kimura, W., Muralidhar, S.A., Moon, J., Amatruda, J.F., Phelps, K.L., Grinsfelder, D., Rothermel, B.A., Chen, R., Garcia, J.A., Santos, C.X., Thet, S., Mori, E., Kinter, M.T., Rindler, P.M., Zacchigna, S., Mukherjee, S., Chen, D.J., Mahmoud, A.I., Giacca, M., Rabinovitch, P.S., Aroumougame, A., Shah, A.M., Szweda, L.I., Sadek, H.A. 2014. The Oxygen-Rich Postnatal Environment Induces Cardiomyocyte Cell-Cycle Arrest through DNA Damage Response. Cell 157, 565-79

Felician, G., Collesi, C., Lusic, M., Martinelli, V., Ferro, M.D., Zentilin, L., Zacchigna, S., Giacca, M. 2014. Epigenetic modification at Notch responsive promoters blunts efficacy of inducing Notch pathway reactivation after myocardial infarction. Circ Res 115, 636-49

Aguirre, A., Montserrat, N., Zacchigna, S., Nivet, E., Hishida, T., Krause, M.N., Kurian, L., Ocampo, A., Vazquez-Ferrer, E., Rodriguez-Esteban, C., Kumar, S., Moresco, J.J., Yates, J.R., 3rd, Campistol, J.M., Sancho-Martinez, I., Giacca, M., Izpisua Belmonte, J.C. 2014. In vivo activation of a conserved microRNA program induces mammalian heart regeneration. Cell Stem Cell 15, 589-604

Martinelli, V., Cellot, G., Toma, F.M., Long, C.S., Caldwell, J.H., Zentilin, L., Giacca, M., Turco, A., Prato, M., Ballerini, L., Mestroni, L. 2013. Carbon nanotubes instruct physiological growth and functionally mature syncytia: nongenetic engineering of cardiac myocytes. ACS Nano 7, 5746-56

Lusic, M., Marini, B., Ali, H., Lucic, B., Luzzati, R., Giacca, M. 2013. Proximity to PML Nuclear Bodies Regulates HIV-1 Latency in CD4+ T Cells. Cell Host Microbe 13, 665-77

Heymans, S., Corsten, M.F., Verhesen, W., Carai, P., van Leeuwen, R.E., Custers, K., Peters, T., Hazebroek, M., Stoger, L., Wijnands, E., Janssen, B.J., Creemers, E.E., Pinto, Y.M., Grimm, D., Schurmann, N., Vigorito, E., Thum, T., Stassen, F., Yin, X., Mayr, M., de Windt, L.J., Lutgens, E., Wouters, K., de Winther, M.P., Zacchigna, S., Giacca, M., van Bilsen, M., Papageorgiou, A.P., Schroen, B. 2013. Macrophage microRNA-155 promotes cardiac hypertrophy and failure. Circulation 128, 1420-32

Ganesan, J., Ramanujam, D., Sassi, Y., Ahles, A., Jentzsch, C., Werfel, S., Leierseder, S., Loyer, X., Giacca, M., Zentilin, L., Thum, T., Laggerbauer, B., Engelhardt, S. 2013. MiR-378 controls cardiac hypertrophy by combined repression of mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway factors. Circulation 127, 2097-106

Eulalio, A., Mano, M., Dal Ferro, M., Zentilin, L., Sinagra, G., Zacchigna, S., Giacca, M. 2012. Functional screening identifies miRNAs inducing cardiac regeneration. Nature 492, 376-81

Manganaro, L., Lusic, M., Gutierrez, M.I., Cereseto, A., Del Sal, G., Giacca, M. 2010. Concerted action of cellular JNK and Pin1 restricts HIV-1 genome integration to activated CD4+ T lymphocytes. Nature Med 16, 329-33

Paolinelli, R., Mendoza-Maldonado, R., Cereseto, A., Giacca, M. 2009. Acetylation by GCN5 regulates CDC6 phosphorylation in the S phase of the cell cycle. Nature Struct Mol Biol 16, 412-20

Zacchigna, S., Pattarini, L., Zentilin, L., Moimas, S., Carrer, A., Sinigaglia, M., Arsic, N., Tafuro, S., Sinagra, G., Giacca, M. 2008. Bone marrow cells recruited through the neuropilin-1 receptor promote arterial formation at the sites of adult neoangiogenesis in mice. J Clin Invest 118, 2062-75

Collesi, C., Zentilin, L., Sinagra, G., Giacca, M. 2008. Notch1 signaling stimulates proliferation of immature cardiomyocytes. J Cell Biol 183, 117-28

Zentilin, L., Giacca, M. 2007. Competitive PCR for precise nucleic acid quantification. Nature Protoc 2, 2092-104

Fischer, C., Jonckx, B., Mazzone, M., Zacchigna, S., Loges, S., Pattarini, L., Chorianopoulos, E., Liesenborghs, L., Koch, M., De Mol, M., Autiero, M., Wyns, S., Plaisance, S., Moons, L., van Rooijen, N., Giacca, M., Stassen, J.M., Dewerchin, M., Collen, D., Carmeliet, P. 2007. Anti-PlGF Inhibits Growth of VEGF(R)-Inhibitor-Resistant Tumors without Affecting Healthy Vessels. Cell 131, 463-75

Zentilin, L., Tafuro, S., Zacchigna, S., Arsic, N., Pattarini, L., Sinigaglia, M., Giacca, M. 2006. Bone marrow mononuclear cells are recruited to the sites of VEGF-induced neovascularization but are not incorporated into the newly formed vessels. Blood 107, 3546-54

Secchiero, P., Candido, R., Corallini, F., Zacchigna, S., Toffoli, B., Rimondi, E., Fabris, B., Giacca, M., Zauli, G. 2006. Systemic tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand delivery shows antiatherosclerotic activity in apolipoprotein E-null diabetic mice. Circulation 114, 1522-30

Todorovic, V., Giadrossi, S., Pelizon, C., Mendoza-Maldonado, R., Masai, H., Giacca, M. 2005. Human origins of DNA replication selected from a library of nascent DNA. Mol Cell 19, 567-75

Fittipaldi, A., Giacca, M. 2005. Transcellular protein transduction using the Tat protein of HIV-1. Adv Drug Deliv Rev 57, 597-608

Abdurashidova, G., Deganuto, M., Klima, R., Riva, S., Biamonti, G., Giacca, M., Falaschi, A. 2000. Start sites of bidirectional DNA synthesis at the human lamin B2 origin. Science 287, 2023-2026

Marzio, G., Tyagi, M., Gutierrez, M.I., Giacca, M. 1998. HIV-1 Tat transactivator recruits p300 and CBP histone acetyl transferases to the viral promoter. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 95, 13519-13524

Giacca, M., Zentilin, L., Norio, P., Diviacco, S., Dimitrova, D., Contreas, G., Biamonti, G., Perini, G., Weighardt, F., Riva, S., Falaschi, A. 1994. Fine mapping of a replication origin of human DNA. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 91, 7119-7123

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