Luiz Zerbini

Group Leader, Cancer Genomics
International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
Wernher and Beit Building (South)
Anzio Road, Observatory 7925
Cape Town, South Africa
Tel: +27-21-650-7627


University of Sao Paulo (USP),Molecular Virology,  São Paulo, Brazil, PhD, 1999
Federal University of Sao Paulo, Paulista Medicine School,  São Paulo, Brazil, Master in Science, 1993
Campinas State University (UNICAMP),  Campinas, Brazil, BSc in Biomedical Sciences, 1989

Career History

Since July 2024, Director, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Cape Town, South Africa
January 2021 – June 2024, Acting Director, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Cape Town, South Africa
December 2016 – December 2020, Interim Director, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Cape Town, South Africa
Since 2009, Group Leader Cancer Genomics Group, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Cape Town, South Africa
2004-2009, Faculty in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
2004-2009, Associate Director, Research Proteomics, BIDMC Genomics Center and DFHC Proteomics Core, Boston, USA
2003-2004, Senior Research Scientist, BIDMC Genomics Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
1999-2003, NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, BIDMC Genomics Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
1994-1995, Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology, Paulista Medicine School, São Paulo, Brazil

Scientific Activity

The overall goals of the laboratory are to utilize genomics and proteomics tools and signal transduction resources to accelerate comparative analysis of aberrant gene expression in carcinogenesis and to study alterations in signal transduction pathways during development of cancers. Areas of research include: regulation of gene expression by transcription factors, the role of receptor tyrosine kinases in cancer malignancies, aberrant gene expression in carcinogenesis and alterations in signal transduction pathways and gene translocations.

Teaching Activity

Since 2010, Organiser, Co-organiser and Faculty at more than 10 ICGEB International Workshops and Courses
Since 2010, Honorary Associate Professor, IBMS, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa
2005-2009, Scientific Advisor, Continuing Umbrella of Research Experience (CURE), Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, Boston USA
2004-2006, Scientific Advisor, Project Success, Office of Diversity and Community Partnership at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
2002, Lecturer, CBAB Course, Brazilian-Argentinean Biotechnology Center/Partnership, São Paulo, Brazil
1996-1999, Lecturer, Biological Science Course, Campinas State University, São Paulo, Brazil
1994-1995, Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology, Paulista Medicine School, São Paulo, Brazil
1992-1993, Lecturer, Biomedical Sciences Course, Paulista School of Medicine, São Paulo, Brazil

Selected publications

Zerbini LF on PubMed

Ahmed D, Cacciatore S, Zerbini LF. Metabolite analyses using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy in plasma of patients with prostate cancer. Methods in Molecular Biology 2675:195-204. 2023

Cacciatore S, Wium M, Licari C, Masieri L, Anderson C, Salukazana AS, Kaestner L, Carini M, Carbone GM, Catapano CV, Loda M, Libermann TA, Zerbini LF. Inflammatory metabolic profile of South African patients with prostate cancer. Cancer & Metabolism 9:29. 2021

Albino D, Falcione M, Uboldi V, Temilola DO, Sandrini G, Merulla J, Civenni G, Kokanovic A, Stürchler A, Shinde D, Garofalo M, Mestre RP, Constâncio V, Wium M, Burrello J, Baranzini N, Grimaldi A, Theurillat JP, Bossi D, Barile L, Enrique RM, eronimo C, Zerbini LF, Catapano CV, Carbone GM. Circulating miR-424 loaded exosomes are oncogenically active in experimental models and prostate cancer patients. Communications Biology 4:119. 2021

Paccez JP, Duncan K, Sekar D, Correa RG, Wang Y, Gu X, Bhasin M, Chibale K, Libermann TL, Zerbini LF. Dihydroartemisinin inhibits prostate cancer via JARID2/miR-7/miR-34a-dependent downregulation of Axl. Oncogenesis 8:14. 2019

Colizzi V, Daniele Mezzana D, Ovseiko PV, Caiati G, Colonnello C, Declich A, Montesano C, Edmunds L, Buzan E, Djilianov D, Zerbini LF, Schmidt EK, Bielawski KP, Elster D, Salvato1 M, Alcantara LC, Minutolo A, Potesta M, Moyankova D, Rusanov K, Wium M, Raszczyk I, Gwizdala JP, Konieczny I, Sledzik K, Barendziak T, Birkholz J, Muller N, Warrelmann J, Meyer U, Filser J, Barreto FK, Milano MJ; Henderson LR, Kiparoglou V, Friesen P, Sheehan M, Bachiddu E, Buchan AM. Structural Transformation to Attain Responsible BIOSciences (STARBIOS2): Protocol for a Horizon 2020 funded European multi-centre project to promote Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), a learning process on RRI-oriented structural change, and an RRI model for biosciences. JMIR Research Protocols Vol 8 No 3. 2019

Wium M; PaccezJD; Zerbini LF. The dual role of TAM receptors in autoimmune diseases and cancer: an overview. Cells 7: pii: E166. 2018

Tamura RE, Paccez JD, Duncan KC, Morale MG, Simabuco F, Dillon S, Correa RG, Gu X, Libermann TA, Zerbini LF. GADD45α and g interaction with CDK11p58 regulates SPDEF protein stability and SPDEF-mediated effects on cancer cell migration. Oncotarget 7:13865-79. 2016

Paccez JD, Duncan K, Correa RG, Parker MI and Zerbini LF. Inactivation of GSK3β and activation of NF-κB pathway via Axl represents an important mediator of tumorigenesis in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 1:821-31. 2015

Paccez J.D., Vogelsang M., Parker MIand Zerbini L.F. 2014. The receptor tyrosine kinase Axl in cancer: biological functions and therapeutic implications. International Journal of Cancer.  134: 1024-33.

Zerbini L.F., Kumar M.K., Vasconcellos J.F., Paccez J.D., Gu X., Kung A.L., Libermann T.A. 2014. Computational repositioning and preclinical validation of pentamidine for renal cell cancer. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. 13:1929-41.

Paccez J.D., Vasques G.J., Bhasin M., Correa R.G., Vasconcellos J.F., Gu X., Libermann T.L. and Zerbini L.F. 2013. The tyrosine receptor kinase Axl is an essential regulator of prostate cancer proliferation and tumor growth. Oncogene. 32:689-98s.

Duncan K., Schäfer G., Vava A., Parker M.I and Zerbini L.F. 2012. Targeting neddylation in cancer therapy. Review. Future Oncology 8: 1461-70.

Tamura R.E, de Vasconcellos J.F, Sarkar D., Libermann T.A, Fisher P.B and Zerbini L.F. 2012.GADD45 proteins: central players in tumorigenesis. Review. Current Molecular Medicine 12(5):634-51.

Bruns I., Czibere A.,  Fischer J.C, Roels F., Cadeddu R.P, Buest S., Bruennert DHuenerlituerkoglu, NH Stoecklein A.N, Singh R, Zerbini L.F, Jager  M, Kobbe G, Gattermann N, Kronenwett R, Brors B and Haas R.2009.  The hematopoietic stem cell in chronic phase CML is characterized by a transcriptional profile resembling normal myeloid progenitor cells and reflecting loss of quiescence. Leukemia. 23:892-9.

Gu X., Zerbini L.F, Otu H, Joseph M.G, Grall F., Correa R.G, Libermann T.A 2007. Reduced PDEF expression leads to an increase in cell motility, invasion and expression of mesenchymal genes in prostate cancer cells. Cancer Research 67: 4219-4226.

Zerbini LF, Czibere A, Wang Y, Correa R.G, Out H, Joseph M, Takayasu Y, Silver M, Gu X, Li L, Sarkar D, Zhou JR., Fisher P.B and Libermann T.A. 2006. A novel pathway involving MDA-7/IL-24 mediates NSAID induced apoptosis of cancer cells. Cancer Research 66: 11922-31.

Libermann T.A and Zerbini L.F. 2006. Targeting Transcription factors for Cancer Gene Therapy. Review. Current Gene Therapy 6: 17-33.

Zerbini L.F and Libermann T.A. 2005. GADD45 deregulation in cancer: frequently methylated tumor suppressors and potential therapeutic targets. Clinical Cancer Research 11: 6409-6413.

Zerbini L.F, Wang Y, Czibere A, Correa R.G, Cho J.Y, Ijiri K, Wei W, Joseph M, Gu X, Grall F, Goldring M.B, Zhou J.R and Libermann T.A. 2004.NF-kB mediated repression of GADD45a and g is essential for cancer cell survival. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101:13618-13623.

Zhou J.R, Yu L, Zerbini L.F, Libermann T.A and Blackburn GL. 2004. Progression to androgen-independent LNCaP human prostate tumors: cellular and molecular alterations. Int J Cancer 110:800-806.

Zerbini L.F, Wang Y, Cho JY and Libermann T.A. 2003. Constitutive activation of NF-kB p50/p65 and Fra-1 and JunD is essential for deregulated IL-6 expression in prostate cancer. Cancer Research 63:2206-2215.