Genextra can rely on its world reknowed scientific founders and advisors who support the management team in evaluating new opportunities as well as the the development of the scientific programs
Prof. Umberto Veronesi, MD
Umberto Veronesi, Scientific Director of the European Institute of Oncology since 1995, is one of the major world experts in the cure for cancer. In 2000 he was nominated Minister of Health by the Italian government and before 1994, he directed the Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, in Milan, for 18 years.
He is reknown especially for his innovative techniques that revolutionized breast surgery procedures. For his fundamental contribution to the field Prof. Veronesi has also been nominated president of the most important organizations for the study and cure of cancer and was warded several important prizes such as: the King Faisal International Prize Award (2003), the gold medal from the Health Minister of Italy (1975) and the National Award from the American Cancer Society (1977).
Prof. Umberto Veronesi graduated from medical school in 1950 and is author of more than 650 peer-reviewed publications.
Prof. Pier Giuseppe Pelicci, MD
Pier Giuseppe Pelicci is Director of Dept. of Experimental Oncology, European Institute of Oncology. He is also Full Professor of General Pathology at University "Vita e Salute", Milan.
Prof. Pelicci's primary scientific interest is the investigation of molecular mechanisms responsible for ageing and cancerous cell transformation. In the past, Prof. Pelicci's research resulted in an innovative protocol for the treatment of Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia that still today remains the treatment of choice for patients affected by a disease which was, until then, essentially incurable.
Pier Giuseppe's research projects are currently focused on investigating of the role of the p66Shc protein, through which he has demonstrated that it is possible to genetically modify the life span of mammals. This study opens the way to the possibility of pharmacologically slowing down the human ageing process and identifies in p66Shc an important therapeutic target.
Prof. Pier Paolo Di Fiore, MD
Prof. Pier Paolo Di Fiore is the Scientific Director of FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology, Milan and Full Professor of General Pathology at the University of Milan.
Prof. Di Fiore's group studies cell mechanisms of "signalling" and "signal transduction pathways" (essentially, the communication processes that occur between cells on the basis of which single cells take important decisions such as the start of a proliferation cycle) and how these mechanisms are altered in cancer cells.
The group has made fundamental contributions to the understanding of the mechanisms of cell "endocytosis" (the process that cells use to "receive" a signal from outside the cell wall that is then processed to encode, destroy or recycle it). Prof. Di Fiore has recently found a new 'signalling circuit', the "mono-ubiquitination" of proteins (a process used in building proteins and in the control of cell proliferation)
Prof. Saverio Minucci, MD
Prof. Minucci has been Genextra's Chief Scientific officer until July 2009. Saverio continues to supervise his research projects at Experimental Oncology Dpt., European Institute of Oncology, and is an Associate Professor of General Pathology at the University of Milan.
Prof. Minucci's research is involved in the molecular dissection of the mechanisms of neoplastic transformation. One of his most significant results is the discovery of a new mechanism through which certain cell proteins adopt oncogenic properties together with the demonstration that the inhibition of this mechanism can lead to the death of tumor cells.
Molecules that interfere with this mechanism (histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDAC inhibitors)) are currently in the preliminary phase of clinical experimentation conducted at DAC, one Genextra's subsidiary focused on oncology. Among the current interests of Prof. Minucci's is the possibility that HDAC inhibitors could play a positive role in controlling the ageing process, given that the same mechanism involved in tumorigenesis is also altered in cell senescence.
Prof. Paolo Bernardi
The principal human pathologies are linked to two opposites, an excess of dead cells (degenerative diseases, heart attacks) or a shortage of them (proliferative diseases, tumors). Dr Bernardi's group studies the physiology and pathology of mitochondria (the cell's power source) with particular attention to their role in programmed cell death (apoptosis) and in accidental cell death (necrosis). By studying mitochondria, Dr. Bernardi studies the development of active compounds on these processes. His group is one of the major contributors in showing that mitochondria plays a fundamental role in cell death. These studies are also important as they show that mitochondria are a potential selective target for the development of active compounds against neoplastic and degenerative diseases.
Prof. Paolo Milani
Full Professor at the Department of Physics, University of Milan, He is one of the founders of Tethis and its current President.
In 2004, he was appointed Director of the Centre of Excellence for Nanostructured Materials and Interfaces (CIMAINA) by the Italian Ministry for University Research. In July 2000 Paolo Milani received the "U. Campisano" award from the Italian Institute for the Physics of Matter (INFM) for his outstanding research contributions. Previously, Prof. Milani joined the Department of Physics of the University of Milan in 1992, where he founded and still manages the Laboratory of Molecular Beams and Nanocrystalline Materials (LGM). He holds four international patents in the nanotechnology field that are currently exploited industrially and is co-author of more than 120 scientific publications and international reviews. Prof. Milani earned his PhD at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Lausanne and previously graduated in Physics at the University of Pavia.
Dr. Mario Varasi, PhD
Mario Varasi joined Genextra at the end of 2005 as Director, Dpt of Chemistry where he remained until June 2009.
Dr. Varasi has more than 25 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry during which he served in companies such as Zambeletti, Lepetit, Farmitalia, Pharmacia & Upjohn, Pharmacia, Pfizer, Nerviano Medical Sciences. Mario is a specialist in drug discovery mainly focusing on diseases of the Central Nervous System and Oncology.
He is an author of more than 60 peer reviewed publications and books, and an inventor of over 60 patents in the area of Central Nervous System and Oncology.
Mario completed his postdoctoral training (1977-1979) at the Institute of Organic Chemistry-Syntex Research, Palo Alto, Cal and obtained his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry and Technology from the University of Rome in 1977.
Dr. Marco Giorgio, PhD
Marco Giorgio has been part of the scientific staff of the European Institute of Oncology since 1996. Over the years he has gained great experience in the molecular mechanisms related to degenerative diseases, completing his PhD project on the p66Sch mouse mutant in 1997 and previously gaining experience at the Dept. of Human Genetics of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center working on transgenic models. Before that, spent two years at the Dept of Genetics of the IRBM, Pomezia, and later received a fellowship from the Italian Association for Cancer Research to investigate cancer models at the transgenic laboratory of the "Regina Elena" Institute in Rome. Marco gained his B.Sc. in 1991 specializing transgenic mouse models of viral oncogenesis.