Zuccotti Maurizio

Zuccotti Maurizio

Academic position: Associate Professor
E-mail: maurizio.zuccotti@unipv.it
Phone number: +39 0382 986323 (office)
Fax: +39 0382 986270
Department: Department of Biology and Biotechnology “Lazzaro Spallanzani”

Developmental Biology

Curriculum vitae


  • 2012. National Scientific Habilitation (Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale) to become Full professor in the scientific disciplines of BIO/06 (05/B2) and BIO/17 (05/H2).
  • 2017 (July)- to date: Associate Professor, Department of Biology and Biotechnology ‘Lazzaro Spallanzani’, University of Pavia;
  • 1998-2017 (July): Associate Professor of Histology and Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Parma;
  • 1997 (August – November): Research Fellowship, University of Hawaii (prof. Ryuzo. Yanagimachi’s Lab);
  • 1997-1998: Post-doctoral research, University of Pavia;
1994-1997: Post-doctoral research, University College of London (prof. Marilyn Monk’s Lab);
  • 1993: Post-doctoral research, University of Pavia;
  • 1991-1992: Post-doctoral research, University College of London (prof. Marilyn Monk’s Lab);
  • 1989-1990: Research Fellowship, University of Hawaii; (prof. Ryuzo Yanagimachi’s Lab);
  • 1988-1992: Doctorate (PhD) in Biology of Reproduction, University of Pavia;
1986: Doctor’s degree (110/110 Lode) in Biology from the University of Pavia.

Teaching courses

2017-to date (University of Pavia – Department of Biology and Biotechnology ‘Lazzaro Spallanzani’):

  • Cell Biology (degree in Biotechnology);
  • Advanced Cell Biology (degree in Experimental and Applied Biology);
  • Developmental Biology (degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics).

(University of Parma – Department of Medicine and Surgery).

  • ‘Biology of Reproduction’ (degree in Biotechnology).
Histology and cell biology (degrees in Logopedia, Audiometry, Audioprotesis, Orthoptic, Health Technicians, Technicians of Biomedical Laboratory; Ostetricians, Physical Education.
  • 2006-2010:
’ The biology of stem cells’ (degree in Biotechnology of the University of Pavia); ‘Cell biology’ (degree in Biomedical Engineering of the University of Pavia).
  • 2000-2005:
Teacher at the Master in science communication of the University of Trieste (SISSA).
  • 2002 (June): Teacher at an EMBO course at the University of Chengdu, China.
  • 1997:
Contract professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Bologna.
  • 2017. Contract professor at the Department of Biology and Biotechnology ‘Lazzaro Spallanzani’, University of Pavia, to teach ‘Advanced Cell Biology’, Course in Experimental and Applied Biology.


Wellcome Trust UK, EMBO, Italian National Accademy of Science ‘Lincei’; Telethon Onlus Foundation; Ministery of the University and Research; Sigma-Tau Foundation; NATO; Foreign Ministery (Italy – Argentina); University of Parma.

Referee for scientific journals

Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA, Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, PLOSOne, Journal of Reproduction and Fertility, Mammalian Genome, Zygote, Theriogenology, Gene, European Journal of Histochemistry, Cytogenetics and Genome Research, Human Molecular Reproduction, Human Reproduction, Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics, Reproduction, Journal of Genetics and Genomics, Biology of Reproduction, International Journal of Developmental Biology, Molecular Biology of the Cell, Cloning and Stem Cells, Reproduction Fertility and Development, Reproduction Fertility and Differentiation, Biochemica & Biophisica Acta, Mechanisms of Development, Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, BMC Genomics, Molecular Biology Reports.

Referee for grants

WellBeing and Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynecologysts, London, UK; World Health Organisation, Geneve, Switzerland; CIVR, Italy.

Editorial board

Associate editor: International Journal of Developmental Biology, Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics, Molecular Human Reproduction.


N. 1420569, 22 gennaio 2016: ‘Culture medium for oocytes in artificial reproductive technologies, ART’ (UNIVERSITÁ DEGLI STUDI DI PAVIA e UNIVERSITÁ DEGLI STUDI DI PARMA).

Collaborations since 1990

S. Garagna, Universita’ degli Studi di Pavia;
C.A. Redi, Universita’ degli Studi di Pavia;
R. Bellazzi, Universita’ degli Studi di Pavia;
A. Balduini, Universita’ degli Studi di Pavia;
V. Bellotti, Universita’ degli Studi di Pavia;
P. Magni, Universita’ degli Studi di Pavia;
R. Pastorelli, Istituto Mario Negri, Milano;
F. Fiordaliso, Istituto Mario Negri, Milano;
G. Remuzzi, Istituto Mario Negri, Bergamo;
E. Capanna, Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell’Uomo, Universita’ “La Sapienza”, Roma; Forabosco, Dipartimento di Scienze Morfologiche e Medico Legali, Universita’ di Modena;
V. Scali, Dipartimento Biologia Evolutiva e Sperimentale, Universita’ di Bologna;
J. Britton-Davidian, Institute des Sciences de L’Evolution,University of Montpellier, France; M. Monk, Institute of Child Health, University College London, U.K.;
E. Nevo, Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Israel;
J. Searle, Department of Biology, University of York, U.K.;
H. Winking, Institut fur Biologie, University of Lubeck, Germany;
T. Cremer, Biozentrum Ludwig Maximilian University, Monaco, Germany;
R. Yanagimachi, Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, University of Hawaii, U.S.A; F. Longo, Department of Anatomy, University of Iowa, USA;
J. Adjaye, Max Plank Institute for Molecular Biology, Berlin, Germany;
S. Merani, Universitad de Buenos Aires, Argentina;
A.J. Solari, Universitad de Buenos Aires, Argentina;
R. Ponce, Universitad de Cordoba, Argentina;
R. Fernandez-Donoso, Universitad de Chile, Chile;
J. Page, Universitad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain;
E. Christians, Université Toulouse, France.
A. Parrilli, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Switzerland.

Editorial activities

  • Co-author of the text-book ‘Biologia dello sviluppo’, Piccin, 2010.
  • Member of the editorial board of the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics;
  • Editor Special Issue of the International Journal of Developmental Biology ‘Female germ cells in development and Cancer’ Edited by Zuccotti M., Redi CA., Garagna S., 2012.
  • Spallanzani Symposium: Reproduction at the end of the Millennium. Journal of Experimental Zoology (Molecular and Developmental Evolution), Wiley-Liss, New York, 1999. Editors: Silvia Garagna, Maurizio Zuccotti, Carlo Alberto Redi.
  • Imago Animalium. IBIS Editore, Pavia, 2000. Editors: Carlo Alberto Redi, Silvia Garagna, Maurizio Zuccotti.
  • Visual Zoology. The Pavia collection of Leuckart’s zoological wall charts. 2004. IBIS Editore, Pavia, 2000. Editors: Carlo Alberto Redi, Silvia Garagna, Maurizio Zuccotti, Ernesto Capanna, Helmut Zacharias.

He has also written a number of publications for the public understanding of science and co-directed hands-on-lab courses for science journalists and magistrates.

Research activity

His research is documented by 196 publications in scientific Journals and Books and partecipations to congresses of which 99 in refereed ISI Journals, including Nature, Nature Genetics, Nature Communications, PNAS, Science and PLOS Genetics. The results published in Nature are included in Developmental Biology text-books. To the work demonstrating the reprogramming capacity of mouse oocytes, Nature has dedicated the cover.

His research is focused on mammalian reproduction and preimplantation development. Specifically, he is now interested in the origin of the oocyte’s developmental competence and how the concept of developmental competence bridges with that of pluripotency. A further line of research ongoing in his laboratory is concerned with the study of embryonic stem cell differentiation into cardiomyocytes, the latter as a differentiation platform for toxicological studies.

Main research lines:

  1. Gamete differentiation

Oogenesis. Functional studies of the mouse oocyte’s chromatin organisation and gene expression during folliculogenesis have allowed the identification of the developmentally competent female gametes. Employing cellular and systems biology approaches, our goal is to unravel the molecular signature that characterises the oocyte developmental competence (toti/pluripotency). Most recently we identified a subgroup of cumulus cells that, when used for the preparation of a feeder layer, confer meiotic and developmental competence to the maturing oocyte. The lab is now trying the identification of the paracrine factors released by these cumulus cells.
With a comparative view, the studies on oogenesis are extended to other mammals like the shrew Sorex araneus and the armadillo Chetophractus villosus, one of the earlier placental offshoots.

Spermatogenesis. We have described the cycle of the seminiferous epithelium of several mammals (rodents, insectivores and Xenarthra) and the influence that structural rearrangements of the karyotype have on the male gametogenesis and thus on the evolutionary processes that lead to speciation. We have also studied the molecular bases of Robertsonian chromosome translocations, identifying the involvement of the satDNA fraction in the process that leads to acrocentric chromosomes fusion and to the formation of metacentrics. The work is now finalised to the understanding of the mechanisms that cause meiotic arrest in the presence of chromosome rearrangements.

2. Preimplantation development

His studies have defined some of the steps and molecular mechanisms that regulate the first week in the life of the mammalian embryo, such as the remodelling of the chromatin organisation, the expression of zygotic genes and the inactivation of the X chromosome. This work has also led to demonstrate the capacity of the mouse oocyte to reprogram the nucleus of a terminally differentiated somatic cell. The work on oogenesis has identified a gene network involved in the acquisition of the oocyte developmental competence; network that is shared with pluripotent embryonic stem cells. Using a systems biology approach, the lab is now trying to describe the origin of this gene network during folliculogenesis and how it is modulated during preimplantation development, when pluripotency is built up.

3. Embryonic stem cells differentiation

Mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) have been used as an in vitro model of mesoderm differentiation to obtain megakaryocytes. This work has described, for the first time, the transcriptional and proteomic signature of these cells, highlighting their immaturity when compared to fetal megakaryocytes. Also, we have developed an ESC-differentiation platform to detect the effects that chemical (e.g., dioxin) or physical (e.g., ionising radiations) agents during ESCs differentiation into cardiomyocytes. Using this platform, the work is now aimed at unravelling the signalling mechanisms of stem cell cardiac differentiation dysregulated by arsenic, an environmental contaminant and a therapeutic agent.


  1. Godec P., Pančur M., Ilenič N., Copar A., Stražar M., Erjavec A., Pretnar A., Demšar J., Starič A., Toplak M., Žagar L., Hartman J., Wang H., Bellazzi R., Uroš P., Garagna S., Zuccotti M., Park D., Shaulsky G., Zupan B. Democratized Image Analytics 1 by Visual Programming through Integration of Deep Models and Small-Scale Machine Learningg. Nature Communications, 2019, in press.
  2. Rebuzzini P, Zuccolo E, Civello C, Fassina L, Arechaga J, Izquierdo A, Faris P, Zuccotti M, Moccia F, Garagna S. Polychlorinated biphenyls reduce the kinematics contractile properties of embryonic stem cells-derived cardiomyocytes by disrupting their intracellular Ca2+ dynamics. Scientific Reports, 2018, 17;8(1):17909.
  3. Rebuzzini P, Cebral E, Fassina L, Alberto Redi C, Zuccotti M, Garagna S. Arsenic trioxide alters the differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cell into cardiomyocytes Scientific Reports, 2015; 5:14993.
  4. Zuccotti M, Merico V, Cecconi S, Redi CA, Garagna S. What does it take to make a developmentally competent mammalian egg? Human Reproduction Update, 2011; 17(4):525-40.
  5. Garagna S, Marziliano N, Zuccotti M, Searle JB, Capanna E, Redi CA. Pericentromeric organization at the fusion point of mouse Robertsonian translocation chromosomes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U S A, 2001; 98(1):171-5.
  6. Wakayama T, Perry AC, Zuccotti M, Johnson KR, Yanagimachi R. Full-term development of mice from enucleated oocytes injected with cumulus cell nuclei. Nature, 1998; 394(6691):369-74.
  7. Garagna S, Zuccotti M, Redi CA, Capanna E. Trapping speciation. Nature, 1997; 390(6657):241-2.
  8. Zuccotti M, Monk M. Methylation of the mouse Xist gene in sperm and eggs correlates with imprinted Xist expression and paternal X-inactivation. Nature Genetics, 1995; 9(3):316-20.
  9. Grant M, Zuccotti M, Monk M. Methylation of CpG sites of two X-linked genes coincides with X- inactivation in the female mouse embryo but not in the germ line. Nature Genetics, 1992; 2(2):161-6.
  10. Zuccotti M, Yanagimachi R, Yanagimachi H. The ability of hamster oolemma to fuse with spermatozoa: its acquisition during oogenesis and loss after fertilization. Development, 1991; 112(1):143-52.