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“Giovanni Galli” Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Metabolism-Mass Spectrometry  

Primary Investigators
Prof. Donatella Caruso, donatella.caruso@unimi.it
Prof. Maurizio Crestani, maurizio.crestani@unimi.it
Dr. Emma De Fabiani, emma.defabiani@unimi.it
Dr. Nico Mitro, nico.mitro@unimi.it

Gaia Cermenati, postdoctoral fellow gaia.cermenati@unimi.it
Marco Giudici, postdoctoral fellow marco.giudici@unimi.it
Federico Abbiati, PhD student federico.abbiati@unimi.it
Elisabetta Brioschi, PhD student elisabetta.brioschi@unimi.it
Alessandra Ferrari, PhD student alessandra.ferrari1@unimi.it
Erika Fiorino, PhD student erika.fiorino@unimi.it
Eri Muto, PhD student eri.muto@unimi.it
Matteo Audano, Research fellow matteo.audano@studenti.unimi.it
Flavio Giavarini, Technician flavio.giavarini@unimi.it


Research topics

The team has long-time experience in metabolic pathways relevant to atherosclerosis, obesity and diabetes with strong background in transcription regulation and epigenetics of metabolic pathways and energy metabolism by nuclear receptors, coregulators and chromatin modifiers. The team is also well experienced in the characterization of lipids in a variety of tissues and biological fluids. We aim to unveil signaling pathways associated to diabetes/obesity and neurodegenerative diseases to bridge new knowledge to clinical applications.

  • Regulation of bile acid metabolism, focusing on the role of transcription factors, coregulators and chromatin modification complexes;
  • Role of histone deacetylases (HDACs) and of selective inhibitors in the control of lipid and energy metabolism in the context of obesity and diabetes;
  • Identification of synthetic ligands of PPARs, study of their effects on structural modifications of PPARs and characterization of their biological properties;
  • Role of cholesterol, cholesterol derivatives, fatty acids and related pathways in neuropathies and neurodegenerative diseases
  • Identification of new mitochondrial regulators and their implication in physiology and pathophysiology
  • Study on the biological activities of natural compounds (e.g., phenolic components of olive oil)



Cellular and animal models, genetically modified animal models, DNA manipulation and cloning techniques, analysis of gene expression by qPCR, cell-based transcription assays with reporter genes, protein-protein interaction by co-IP and FRET assays, chromatin occupancy by ChIP assay, protein expression, purification and analysis, chromatographic techniques (HPLC, GC) and mass spectrometry applied to small molecules, identification of point mutations and quantitative determination of peptides.


Selected publications

  1. Galmozzi et al (2013) Inhibition of Class I Histone Deacetylases Unveils a Mitochondrial Signature and Enhances Oxidative Metabolism in Skeletal Muscle and Adipose Tissue. Diabetes62:732-742.
  2. Caruso et al. (2013) Age-related changes in neuroactive steroid levels in 3xTg-AD mice. Neurobiol Aging 34(4):1080-9
  3. Cermenati et al (2012) Diabetes-induced myelin abnormalities are associated with an altered lipid pattern: Protective effects of LXR activationJ Lipid Res53:300-310
  4. Dell'Agli et al (2010) Olive oil phenols modulate the expression of metalloproteinase 9 in THP-1 cells by acting on nuclear factor-kB signaling. J Agr Food Chem58:2246-2252
  5. Gilardi et al (2009) Expression of sterol 27-hydroxylase in glial cells and its regulation by liver X receptor signaling. Neuroscience164:530-540
  6. Mitro et al (2007) Insights in the regulation of cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase gene reveal a target for modulating bile acid synthesis. Hepatology46:885-897.
  7. Pochetti et al (2007) Insights into the Mechanism of Partial Agonism: Crystal Structures of the Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor g Ligand-Binding Domain in the Complex with two Enantiomeric Ligands. J Biol Chem282:17314-17324.
  8. Caruso et al. (2004) Mass spectrometry and DNA sequencing are complementary techniques for characterizing hemoglobin variants: The example of hemoglobin J-Oxford. Haematologica, 89:608-609
  9. De Fabiani et al (2003) Coordinated Control of Cholesterol Catabolism to Bile Acids and of Gluconeogenesis via a Novel Mechanism of Transcription Regulation Linked to the Fasted-to-fed Cycle. J Biol Chem278:39124-39132.
  10. Visioli et al (2000) Olive oil phenolics are dose-dependently absorbed in humans FEBS Letters468:159-160



  1. M. Crestani et al (2004). Clofibric acid analogs and their use as ligands of the nuclear receptors peroxisome proliferator activated receptor (PPAR) alpha e gamma. MI2004A 000876.
  2. M. Crestani et al (2005). Inhibition of histone deacetylases for the treatment of hyperlipidemias and prevention of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. PCT/IT2005/000248.



Research Center for the Characterization and Safe Use of Natural Products – Giovanni Galli


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