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| Paola Ricciardi-Castagnoli|Paola Ricciardi-Castagnoli Wikipedia
Professor Paola Ricciardi-Castagnoli (born September 14, 1948), is an Italian Immunologist presently Scientific Director of Toscana Life Sciences Foundation (TLS) in Siena and former Scientific Director and founder of the Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), a research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).
Between 1998 and 2010 Professor Ricciardi-Castagnoli was Chair of Immunology and General Pathology at the University of Milano-Bicocca. From 1975-1998 she was a member of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR) in Milan and has also been a visiting scientist at MIT and a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University. She graduated at the University of Florence in Biological Sciences and did a PhD in Immunology at the University Catholic of Louvain.
Professor Paola Ricciardi-Castagnoli is a member of EMBO and of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. Since 2002 she has been the President of the European Network of Immunology Institutes (ENII) and Chair of the IFREC-SIgN Winterschool on Advanced Immunology. In 2006 she was awarded a Marie Curie Chair at the Pasteur Institute of Paris by the European Council (6FWP). She has been the founder and president of Genopolis Consortium in Milan.
Paola Ricciardi-Castagnoli, former adjunct Professor of Immunology at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Max Planck Institute for Infectiology in Berlin and of the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) Biology and Health Strategic Board in Paris. She was a former member of the Scientific Council of the Pasteur Institute in Paris. In 2007, together with Professor Philippe Kourilsky, she founded the Singaporean Society of Immunology (SgSI). She has been a member of the Board of FIMSA (Federation of the Immunological Societies of Asia-Oceania) which is part of the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS) where she is a council member. Recently she has been awarded with the Order of the Star of Italy as Officer for her support in the development of Scientific and Industrial Collaborations between Singaporean and Italian institutions. She is a member of the ASPEN Community, as part of the “Italian talent abroad”.
Paola Ricciardi-Castagnoli has studied innate immunity over the last 30 years. Her laboratory is involved in the study of myeloid cells, and in particular dendritic cells (DC), significantly contributing to the identification of the central role of DC in regulating immunity. The present focus of her laboratory is dissecting the molecular mechanisms that DC employ to regulate immunity. Over the course of her career she has formed close collaborative links with many leading groups in the dendritic cell field. In 1996 she organized the 4th International Symposium of Dendritic Cells. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the International Society for Dendritic Cells founded by Ralph Steinman. Her laboratory was among the first to identify the key role that DC play in both innate and adaptive immune responses via the use of innate receptors such as the Toll-Like Receptors (TLRs). She contributed to the discovery that TLR4 is the receptor for LPS, a finding that led to the award of the Nobel Prize for Medicine to Bruce Beutler in 2011. With her research group, Professor Paola Ricciardi-Castagnoli has published 298 publications in extenso in international peer reviewed journals, with 29.700 citations to date (2016) with an H-index of 71.
One of the most relevant discoveries of her group is that DC are able to produce interleukin 2 (IL2) upon activation with appropriate microbial or sterile signals. The IL2 cytokine was thought to act only during adaptive immune responses, but is now recognized as a key player in both innate and adaptive immunity. To activate the transcription of IL2, DC (and their progenitors) use the calcineurin/NFAT (nuclear factor of activated T cells) mediated signaling pathway. In addition to their work on IL2, her group has shown that DC play a key role in mucosal tissues, such as the lamina propria of the intestinal villi where DC have a sentinel functions and sense the gut commensal flora with dendrites. This discovery has opened the way to novel studies on the role of the gut microbiome in regulating immune-mediated diseases.German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina honorary member
European Molecular Biology Organization honorary member
Order of the Star of Italy Medal of Ufficiale dell'Ordine della Stella della solidarietà italiana
Marie Curie Chair European Council award
Top Italian Women Scientists 2016 award
Member of the Scientific Council of the Institut Pasteur, Paris
Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin
Member of the FIMSA Board and International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS) Council
Member of the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) Biology and Health Strategic Board