Academic position: Full Professor
Phone number: +39 0382 985574 (office); +39 0382 985575 (lab)
Fax: +39 0382 528496
Department: Department of Biology and Biotechnology “Lazzaro Spallanzani”
Born May 2nd, 1952, Golferenzo, Pavia (Italy).
1972- High School Diploma, Scientific Liceum “T. Taramelli” – Pavia.
1976 – Doctoral Degree cum laude in Biology (University of Pavia).
1977-1984 – Fellowships aimed to work in microbiology fields, at the Institute of Microbiology and Plant Physiology, University of Pavia.
1979 – EMBO Short-Term fellowship, University of Liverpool.
1984-1998 – Researcher at the Department of Genetics and Microbiology, University of Pavia.
1999-2002 – Associate Professor of Microbiology at the Department of Experimental, Environmental and Applied Biology, University of Genoa.
From October 2002 – Full Professor of Microbiology, at the Department of Genetics and Microbiology, University of Pavia.
From January 2010 to December 2012 – President of the SIMGBM (Italian Society of General Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnologies).
From August 2011 – Member of the European Academy of Microbiology.
From January 2016 – Member of the University Board of Pavia.
Courses taught: Microbiology and Molecular Microbiology for the degrees in Biotechnology, Biology, and Molecular Biology and Genetics, respectively.
2004 – In quality of President, she coordinates the ministerial commission for the qualification of biologists.
2005 – She collaborates to The Institute for Advanced Study (IUSS) of the University of Pavia.
From 2005 – She is member staff of PhD School in Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology, IUSS Pavia.
2003-06 – She is involved in SOCRATES program for students’ and staff exchanges.
2006-07 – In quality of President, she coordinates the entrance examination for Biotechnology degree.
2007-08- Supervisor of a “Leonardo da Vinci” Programme.
2014- Supervisor of a “TEMPO” Project.
Two main lines of research are actually pursuing:
1) Identification of targets for new drugs in Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Tuberculosis (TB) remains the leading cause of mortality due to a bacterial pathogen, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Moreover, M. tuberculosis strains that are resistant to an increasing number of second-line drugs used to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB, XDR-TB, and TDR-TB) are becoming a threat to public health worldwide. Consequently, there is an urgent necessity of new TB drugs. More precisely, our laboratory is aimed to find the target and the mechanism of action of new drugs.
Within the EC-VI framework cluster “New Medicines for Tuberculosis” we have identified the target of a new drug, belonging to the class of benzothiazinones, whose antitubercular activity has been well demonstrated in vitro, ex vivo, and in a mouse model of TB. The drug is now in preclinical-test. The achieved results have been published in SCIENCE and the article has been cited as one of the “key papers” published in 2009 (see: Nature Medicines 15: 1349).
The target has been patented (US 2011/0262361 A1) and the license sold to an International Pharmaceutical Company (http://www.sentinel.it/uk/).
2) Deciphering the role of RND efflux transporters in Burkholderia cenocepacia
Burkholderia cenocepacia J2315 is representative of a highly problematic group of cystic fibrosis (CF) pathogens with the antimicrobial therapy being ineffective due to its high resistance to clinically relevant antimicrobial agents. RND (Resistance-Nodulation-Cell Division) efflux pumps are known to be among the mediators of multidrug resistance in Gram-negative bacteria. Since the significance of the 16 RND efflux systems present in B. cenocepacia (named RND-1 to -16) was only partially determined, the aim of our work was to analyze mutants of B. cenocepacia strain J2315 impaired in RND efflux systems, and assess their role in the efflux of toxic compounds. The data revealed that RND-4 made a significant contribution to the antibiotic resistance of B. cenocepacia. Moreover, transcriptome analysis of mutants deleted in RND-4 showed that motility and chemotaxis-related genes appeared to be up-regulated in this strain.
Field of experience
Prof. Giovanna Riccardi, has established herself as an expert in the field of mycobacteria with important contributions to understanding innate drug resistance in mycobacteria specially related to drug efflux systems. Her expertise in mycobacterial drug efflux transporters is documented by several publications on this topic (See review: “Role of mycobacterial efflux transporters in drug resistance: an unsolved question”. 2006. FEMS MICROBIOL. REV. 30:36-52).
On this topic, she has been invited for two international lectures:
- “The present situation of drug resistant TB in the world and the role of mycobacterial efflux transporters”. Mycobacterial infections, Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland, October 8-12, 2006.
- “Tracing pathways to mycobacterial intrinsic drugs resistance: an update on efflux pumps”. 25th annual Congress of the European Society of Mycobacteriology. Sardina, Italy, 27th – 30th June, 2004.
During the last years Prof. G. Riccardi is dealing with the target identification of new promising antitubercular drugs. In this context, she has been invited to present the results of this research at the:
- “2009 TUBERCULOSIS DRUG DEVELOPMENT GORDON RESEARCH CONFERENCE” (Oxford, August 16-21)
- “SIM NATIONAL CONGRESS” (Riccione,17-20 ottobre, 2010)
- “THE POWER OF MICROBES” (Malinska, Croatia, September 22-25, 2010).
- “EUROPEAN SOCIETY OF MYCOBACTERIOLOGY” Honoree Lecture (Florence, Italy, June 28 – July 1, 2013)
- “MICROBIAL PATHOGENESIS AND INNUNITY” PERUGIA, 30 September – 1 October 2013
- “SIM NATIONAL CONGRESS” (Torino, September 28, October 1, 2014)
She participated at “FIGHTING MULTIDRUG RESISTANT TUBERCULOSIS IN EUROPE” (European Parliament, Brussels, 1st April 2014)
Moreover, she has been invited to coordinate the session “Drug design-new developments” (EMBO Conference TUBERCULOSIS 2016, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France, September 19-23).
Prof. G. Riccardi has obtained several grants from different sources: WHO; CNR-Bilateral Project; CNR-RAISA; MURST 40%; MURST-PRIN-1998, 2001, 2003, 2008; EC-V, VI and -VII frameworks; Istituto Superiore di Sanità; Fondazione Fibrosi Cistica 2004, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2015; USA Cystic Fibrosis Foundation 2017-18.
S. Cole (EPFL, Lausanne), D. Young (Imperial College, London), H. Takiff (IVIC, Caracas), E. Boettger (University of Zurich), C. Martin, J. Ainsa (Universidad de Zaragoza), K. Mikusova (University of Bratislava), V. Makarov (Bakh Institute of Biochemistry, Moscow), M. Guerin (Universidad Bilbao), M. Valvano (University of Belfast), T. Coenye (University of Ghent), E. Mahenthiralingam (University of Cardiff).