Alessia Finotti achieved the Master Degree in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technologies in 2001 (110/110 cum laude) and the Ph.D. title in Biotechnology in 2005, at Ferrara University, Italy.
She is presently Assistant Professor (RTD-A) in Biochemistry (SSD BIO/10) at the Department of Life Sciences and Biotechnology. Since 2015 she was Professor of the Courses: Cellular and Molecular Therapies, Recombinant and Molecular Technologies, Omics and Molecular Diagnosis, Advanced Biomolecular Technologies (Biotechnology Degree); Biomolecular Drugs (Pharmacy Degree); Molecular Biology of the Cell (Biological Sciences Degree); Applied Biochemistry (Chemical and Pharmaceutical Technologies Degree, laboratory).
During the last ten years, she is involved as PI, Co-Investigator, internal and external collaborator to national and international projects (Italian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation – FFC Grants, Italian Shwachman-Diamon Syndrome – AISS Foundation Grants, AIFA, Wellcome Trust, H2020 and FP7 European projects, WADA program Grants, AIRC, Telethon, PRIN, University Research Founds FAR and FIR). In particular, she contributed with important scientific improvements in the development of novel molecular strategies to modify gene expression for therapeutic purposes in β-thalassemia, cystic fibrosis, Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome (SDS) and in cancers and worked on the identification and characterization of biomarkers using liquid biopsy. She has gained appreciable expertise in the field of mRNA and microRNA analysis and profiling, using standard molecular biology approaches, such as RT-qPCR, and more recently developed platforms like droplet digital PCR (ddPCR), microarray and small-RNAs NGS sequencing. Furthermore, she worked in enhancing the expression of CFTR using microRNA targeting strategies, including antisense molecules, such as peptide nucleic acids (PNA), against microRNA involved in cystic fibrosis, and for the development of innovative strategies to modulate the inflammatory response in respiratory cells from patients with cystic fibrosis.
Alessia Finotti interests and expertise are: (a) study of microRNAs involved in human pathologies for the development of new approaches capable of modify gene expression; (b) biomedical and biotechnological applications of peptide nucleic acids (PNA) and structural analogues directed against mRNA and microRNA; (c) development of novel therapeutic molecular strategies in the treatment of cystic fibrosis, β-thalassemia, Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome and cancer, including Genome Editing approaches; (d) PNA as molecular probes for innovative diagnosis tools; (e) study of transcription factors in gene transcriptional regulation; (f) biological evaluation of novel compounds as inducers of erythroid differentiation for possible use in the therapy of hematological diseases as β-thalassemia; (g) proteomics and transcriptomics analysis in erythroleukemia cultured cells and in erythroid precursors isolated from β-thalassemia patients peripheral blood; (h) Identification of changed levels in circulating (plasma) microRNA in auto-hemotransfused athletes; (i) in vitro diagnostic systems for colorectal cancer early diagnosis, prognosis, patient follow-up and therapy efficacy assessment based on molecular analysis of peripheral blood (liquid biopsy); (l) Read-through strategy for the treatments of genetic rare diseases caused by nonsense mutations.
She is author of 92 publications in peer-reviewed International Journals, 6 book’s chapters, more than 50 meeting abstracts, with h-index 22 and total citations 1414 (Jan 2021). Complete list in researcher unique identifiers: 0000-0002-7638-515X (ORCID-ID), C-6268-2012 (Researcher ID), 6506289571 (Scopus ID).
She is co-inventor of two patents concerning the development of novel systems for nucleic acids (microRNA)/peptide nucleic acids (PNA) delivery in cells.
Since 2016, she is member of the Medical Sciences and Biotechnology Ph.D., at Ferrara Universit.y She is also member of the Italian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (SIB), Stem Cell Research Italy Association (SCR) and the International Society of Precision Cancer Medicine (ISPCM).
From 2020, she is member of the Steering Committee of the Center for Innovative Therapies for Cystic Fibrosis.