Alessandro Marcello

Group Leader, Molecular Virology
International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
Padriciano 99
34149 Trieste, Italy
E-mail: [email protected] 
Tel: +39-040-3757384/85

Pathogenic Virus Manipulation (BL3)
Fluorescence Microscopy (FMCF)


Faculty of Sciences, University of Padova, Italy, MSc, 1990
Member of the National College of Biologists of Italy, 1993
University of Kent at Canterbury, UK, PhD Biochemistry, 1994

Career History

Since 2020, Coordinator of the PhD Programme of the ICGEB
2010-2015, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Nova Gorica, Slovenia
Since 2005, Group Leader of the Molecular Virology Laboratory of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Trieste, Italy.
2001-2004, Staff Scientist, ICGEB, Trieste, Italy.
1998-2001, Postdoc, ICGEB, Trieste, Italy.
1996, Visiting research fellow at the University of Kent at Canterbury (UK)
1994-1998, Postdoctoral fellow, Institute of Microbiology, University of Padova, Italy
1991-1994, PhD student in Biochemistry at the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK
1990 Visiting student at the Department of Genetics of the University of Leicester, UK.
1988-1991, Student and fellow at the Institute of Microbiology of the University of Padova, Italy.

Scientific Activity

The main focus of my laboratory is the molecular dissection of virus-host interactions and in the development of antivirals and diagnostics. I have a longstanding interest in HIV-1 transcriptional and post-transcriptional nuclear regulation during latency and then became interested in Flaviviruses such as tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV), Dengue, Zika and hepatitits C virus (HCV). To this end, my lab has developed a platform of tools for the study of the virus-host crosstalk: from single protein-protein interactions to the 3D dynamics of host and viral components. Great effort has been devoted to the development of techniques that enable the study of virus-host interactions at high resolution and in living cells. We are also interested in implementing viral diagnostics for developing countries by technically supporting local scientists and by developing point-of-care portable devices in collaboration with industrial partners. Finally, chemical compounds synthesized in collaborating laboratories are tested for antiviral activity. Since 2020 most activities are focussed on the SARS-CoV-2 emergency. To this end, the virus has been isolated and sequenced from local isolates, virological and diagnostic tools have been implemented and antiviral screens are in progres.

Teaching Activity

I am involved in the organization of the ICGEB Workshop on Human RNA Viruses and the ICGEB Practical Course of Fluorescent Microscopy. My teaching activity is focused on Virology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Functional Genomics through courses or seminars at various universities and institutions. I regularly trains undergraduate and PhD students in the laboratory.

Other activities include:

Reviewer of the following organizations: the European Research Council (ERC), the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP), the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Czech Science Foundation, the National Research Centre  of Poland, Research Fonds de la Reserche Scientifique (FNRS) of Belgium, the Austrian Science Fund, Istituto Superiore di Sanità of Italy, the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), the Health Research Board (HRB) of Ireland, the Helmholtz Association of Germany, the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation.

Panel Member for the award of PhD degrees at the: Open Univeristy, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, SISSA, Université Libre de Bruxelles, University of Nova Gorica, University College Dublin.

Panel member for the “Habilitation de Diriger les Recherches” (HDR) CNRS, Montpellier, France.

Chair of the French AERES visiting committee established to assess the research activity of the research unit: “Fundamental Microbiology and Pathogenicity”, on 12 and 13 February 2015 in Bordeaux.

Committee Member of the COMSTECH-TWAS Joint Research Grants Programme of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) since 2009.

Member of the The Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance Early Career Fellowship Selection Committee from 2019.

Member of the International Review Panel of the National Research Centre of Poland (Life Sciences) since 2019.

Editor (Guest) of Amino Acids, BBRC and Frontiers of Microbiology. Member of the editorial board of: Retrovirology, Virus Research, Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, Frontiers in Virology, PLOS One.

Selected publications

Published more than 100 papers in international peer-reviewed scientific journals: Link to publications

Baba M. M, Bitew M, Fokam J, Lelo E. A, Ahidjo A, Asmamaw K, Beloumou G. A, Bulimo W. D, Buratti E, Chenwi C, Dadi H, D’Agaro P, De Conti L, Fainguem N, Gadzama G, Maiuri P, Majanja J, Meshack W, Ndjolo A, Nkenfou C, Oderinde B. S, Opanda S. M, Segat L, Stuani C, Symekher S. L, Takou D, Tesfaye K, Triolo G, Tuki K, Zacchigna S, Marcello A. Diagnostic performance of a colorimetric RT -LAMP for the identification of SARS-CoV-2: A multicenter prospective clinical evaluation in sub-Saharan Africa, EClinicalMedicine 2021, doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.101101

Rajasekharan S, Milan Bonotto R, Nascimento Alves L, Kazungu Y, Poggianella M, Martinez-Orellana P, Skoko N, Polez S, Marcello A. Inhibitors of Protein Glycosylation Are Active against the Coronavirus Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, Viruses 2021, doi: 10.3390/v13050808

E, Arduino I, Boni F, Lembo D, Marcello A, Mastrangelo E. Combined in silico and in vitro approaches identified the antipsychotic drug lurasidone and the antiviral drug elbasvir as SARS-CoV2 and HCoV-OC43 inhibitors, Antiviral Res. 2021, doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2021.105055

Licastro D, Rajasekharan S, Dal Monego S, Segat L, D’Agaro P, Marcello A. Isolation and Full-Length Genome Characterization of SARS-CoV-2 from COVID-19 Cases in Northern Italy, J Virol. 2020, doi: 10.1128/JVI.00543-20

Marcello A, Civra A, Milan Bonotto R, Nascimento Alves L, Rajasekharan S, Giacobone C, Caccia C, Cavalli R, Adami M, Brambilla P, Lembo D, Poli G, Leoni V. The cholesterol metabolite 27-hydroxycholesterol inhibits SARS-CoV-2 and is markedly decreased in COVID-19 patients, Redox Biology 2020, doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2020.101682

Caracciolo I, Mora Cardenas E, Aloise C, Carletti T, Segat L, Burali MS, Chiarvesio A, Totis V, Avšič – Županc T, Mastrsangelo E, Manfroni G, D’Agaro P and Marcello A. Comprehensive response to Usutu virus following first isolation in blood donors in the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region of Italy: development of recombinant NS1-based serology and sensitivity to antiviral drugs. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2020 Mar 30; 14 (3): e0008156. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0008156.

Mora-Cárdenas E, Aloise C, Faoro V, Knap Gašper N, Korva M, Caracciolo I, D’Agaro P, Avšič-Županc T, Marcello A. Comparative specificity and sensitivity of NS1-based serological assays for the detection of flavivirus immune response.PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2020 Jan 29; 14 (1): e0008039. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0008039

Carletti T, Zakaria MK, Faoro V, Reale L, Kazungu Y, Licastro D, Marcello A. Viral priming of cell intrinsic innate antiviral signaling by the unfolded protein response. (2019) Nat Commun ;10(1):3889. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11663-2

Sarracino A, Gharu L, Kula A, Pasternak AO, Avettand-Fenoel V, Rouzioux C, Bardina M, De Wit S, Benkirane M, Berkhout B, Van Lint C, Marcello A. Posttranscriptional Regulation of HIV-1 Gene Expression during Replication and Reactivation from Latency by Nuclear Matrix Protein MATR3. Mbio (2018) Nov 13;9(6). pii: e02158-18. doi: 10.1128/mBio.02158-18.

Çevik RE, Cesarec M, Filipe A, Licastro D, McLauchlan J and Marcello A. Hepatitis C virus NS5A targets the nucleosome assembly protein NAP1L1 to control the innate cellular response, J Virol. 2017 Jun 28. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00880-17.

Albornoz A, Carletti T, Corazza G, Marcello A. The stress granule component TIA-1 binds Tick-borne Encephalitis Virus RNA and is Recruited to Perinuclear Sites of Viral Replication to inhibit viral translation. J Virol Jun; 88(12):6611-22, 2014.

Miorin, L, Romero-Brey, I, Maiuri, P, Hoppe, S, Krijnse-Locker, J, Bartenschlager, R, Marcello, A. Three Dimensional Architecture of Tick-borne Encephalitis Virus Replication Sites and Trafficking of the Replicated RNA. J Virol 2013 Jun; 87 (11): 6469-81.

Maiuri P, Knezevich A, De Marco A, Mazza D, Kula A, McNally J, Marcello A. Fast transcription rates of RNA Polymerase II in human cells. EMBO Reports. 2011 Dec 1; 12 (12): 1280-5.

Dieudonné M, Maiuri P, Biancotto C, Knezevich A, Kula A, Lusic M, Marcello A. Transcriptional competence of the integrated HIV-1 provirus at the nuclear periphery. EMBO J. 2009 Aug 5; 28(15):2231-43.