Mauro Giacca

Group Leader,
Molecular Medicine

International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
Padriciano 99
34149 Trieste, Italy
E-mail: [email protected] 
Tel: +39-040-3757324/25

Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences
King’s College London, England

Department of Medicine, Surgery and Health Sciences, University of Trieste, Italy


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 1995, Group Leader of the Molecular Medicine Laboratory of the ICGEB in Trieste
2014-2019, 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.
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.

Scientific Activity

His 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 is an expert in the use of adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors for cardiovascular applications and also maintains a strong interest in the molecular biology of HIV-1 infection.
Over the last 10 years, esearch activity has been 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. He has published over 320 papers in peer-reviewed international journals and numerous 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 invited seminars worldwide. He also regularly contributes articles to national newspapers and popular science magazines.

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.

Selected publications

Giacca M on PubMed

Selected publications (out of a total of over 320):

Collesi, C., Felician, G., Secco, I., Gutierrez, M.I., Martelletti, E., Ali, H., Zentilin, L., Myers, M.P., Giacca, M. 2018. Reversible Notch1 acetylation tunes proliferative signalling in cardiomyocytes. Cardiovasc Res 114, 103-122

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

Johansen, A.K., Molenaar, B., Versteeg, D., Leitoguinho, A.R., Demkes, C., Spanjaard, B., de Ruiter, H., Akbari Moqadam, F., Kooijman, L., Zentilin, L., Giacca, M., van Rooij, E. 2017. Postnatal Cardiac Gene Editing Using CRISPR/Cas9 With AAV9-Mediated Delivery of Short Guide RNAs Results in Mosaic Gene Disruption. Circ Res 121, 1168-1181

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

Bortolotti, F., Ruozi, G., Falcione, A., Doimo, S., Dal Ferro, M., Lesizza, P., Zentilin, L., Banks, L., Zacchigna, S., Giacca, M. 2017. In Vivo Functional Selection Identifies Cardiotrophin-1 as a Cardiac Engraftment Factor for Mesenchymal Stromal Cells. Circulation 136, 1509-1524.

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

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

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

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

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