Research Group Leader
Institute for Biomedicine
I have been mainly working in the field of cardiac cell biology and physiology since the beginning of my scientific career.
Although I initiated as electrophysiologist, during my PhD and post doc years I moved to cardiac cell biology demonstrating the residual differentiation plasticity of cardiac stromal cells and showing their tissue specificity.
Over the last ten years, my interest has been devoted on cardiac cell function regulation with a focus on the investigation of protein acetylation as modulator of cardiac cell function. With my group, I have demonstrated that altered electrical activity can regulate cardiomyocyte communication by influencing the acetylation status of Cx43. We have also shown that the treatment of cardiomyocytes with deacetylase inhibitors have a positive impact on cardiomyocyte calcium handling, that, at least in part, could be ascribed to improved SERCA2 activity. Further, my group played a role demonstrating that the tissue of origin can have an impact on the cardiomyogenic ability of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). We have set up an efficient method to derive iPSCs from frozen buffy-coats and created several new iPSC lines from patients with caveolinopathies and arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM). We have also given new insights into the genetic and non genetic determinants of ACM and contributed to the clarification of the role of cardiac stromal cells and of oxidative stress in this disease .
My main current scientific interests are not only the molecular and cellular mechanisms of arrhythmias and inherited cardiomyopathies, but also the improvement of current cardiomyopathy models thanks to hetero-cellular co-cultures.
I have a full degree in Biological Sciences (2001) and a PhD in systemic Pathophysiology (2007). I started my scientific career back in 1999 at the Department of Functional and Evolutive Biology of the University of Parma, Italy. There, I studied electrical communication between pairs of isolated cardiomyocytes. My PhD years were spent partly in Oxford (UK) at the Proton Transport Group of the University Laboratory of Physiology, where I contributed to the investigation of the mechanisms of proton diffusion and permeation in adult cardiomyocytes, and partly in Maurizio Capogrossi’s lab at the Istituto Dermopatico dell’Immacolata (Roma, Italy), where we mainly focused on cardiac regeneration. In 2007 I moved to Centro Cardiologico Monzino (Milano, Italy) for a post-doc position. My first experience as Principal Investigator came at the University of Milano, after being awarded with the grant FIRB “Futuro in Ricerca” by the Italian Ministry of the University (MIUR). Since 2013, my role is leader of the “Biology of cardiac health and disease (BCHD)” group at the Institute for Biomedicine (Eurac Research).
The full list of my publication can be found at:
Research Gate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Alessandra-Rossini