Gruppo Rovida

Research Team’s name: Molecular Oncology & Cell Signalling

Coordinator: Elisabetta Rovida

Brief Biographical sketch of the Coordinator

Dr. Elisabetta Rovida received a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree in Biological Sciences from Florence University, Italy, with honors in 1995. In 2001 she completed a PhD in Experimental Pathology at Florence University, Italy, under the supervision of Prof Massimo Olivotto, working in part at Vienna University, Austria, in the laboratory of Prof. Manuela Baccarini. She underwent 10 years of postdoctoral training, 5 of which supported by fellowships funded by Italian Association for Cancer Research (AIRC/FIRC), in basic cancer research under the supervision of Dr. Persio Dello Sbarba, Florence University. In 2011 she was appointed as Assistant Professor at the Department of Experimental and Clinical Biomedical Sciences, Florence University, Italy, where she is tenure-track assistant professor. She is Principal Investigator and co-investigator in several funded projects from National or International agencies. She is a reviewer of several international journals as well as international funding agencies. She is member of several scientific associations. Scientific interests are the role of protein phosphorylation in different biological processes such as survival, proliferation, apoptosis, adhesion and motility, in normal or neoplastic cells. Main scientific achievements deal with the elucidation of mechanisms of signaling by the Colony-Stimulating Factor 1 Receptor as well as the role of Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases, ERK5 in particular, in normal and neoplastic cells. She has published more than 50 peer reviewed articles and dozens of meeting abstracts on the molecular basis of diseases, cancer in particular. She supervised the thesis work of several students of Biological Sciences, Medical Biotechnologies, as well as the PhD program in Experimental and Clinical Oncology. E.R. is also in charge of teaching General Pathology at the School of Medicine of Florence University.

Member of the Scientific Board the Doctorate/Phd Program in GENETICS, ONCOLOGY and CLINICAL MEDICINE (GenOMeC)

Memeber of the following Scientific Societis; Società Italiana di Cancerologia (SIC); Società Italiana di Ematologia Sperimentale (SIES); Società Italiana di Patologia e Medicina Traslazionale (SIPMeT); European Association for Cancer Research (EACR).

Member of editorial board of the following Journals: Topic Board member, International Journal of Molecular Sciences; Review Editor, Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, section Signaling

Research Team

Ignazia Tusa

Alessandro Tubita

Zoe Lombardi

Alessio Menconi

Dimitri Papini


Current research interest

Identification of the molecular mechanisms responsible for sustained cell proliferation and reduced sensitivity to antiproliferative factors in tumor cells, with particular attention to the involvement in the aforementioned biological processes of the Colony-Stimulating Factor-1 Receptor (CSF-1R) and of the Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases (MAPK), ERK5 in particular.

Identification of mechanisms of resistance to molecular therapies directed to MAPK in solid tumors and to BCR/ABL in chronic myeloid leukemia.

Key words

RTK, MAPK, hypoxia, targeted therapy, cancer, ERK5, CSF-1R

Current/recent sources of funding

2021    “Ruolo del recettore CXCR7 nella fibrosi della NASH” granted by Ente Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze to Dr Alessandra Gentilini. Bando 2019. Role on project: Unit leader.

2019 “Study of the effects of small molecule inhibitors for the Colony-Stimulating Factor-1 Receptor on the proliferation of breast carcinoma cells of the triple-negative subtype” (continuation) granted by University of Florence (ex 60%). Call 2018. Role on project: Principal Investigator.

2019-2024 “Dissecting the role of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 5 in cellular senescence and drug resistance in melanoma” funded by Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro. IG2018-21349. Role on project: Principal investigator.

2018-2019 “La gestione del paziente con pemfigoide delle mucose: nuovi approcci per la diagnosi precoce e per la personalizzazione della terapia” granted by Ente Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze to Dr Emiliano Antiga. Role on project: Unit leader.

10 best pubblications of the last 5 years

 Tusa I, Cheloni G, Poteti M, Silvano A, Tubita A, Lombardi Z, Gozzini A, Caporale R, Scappini B, Dello Sbarba P, Rovida E. In vitro comparison of the effects of imatinib and ponatinib on Chronic Myeloid Leukemia progenitor/stem cell features. Targeted Oncology 15(5):659-671. IF2019 4.0.

 Tubita A, Lombardi Z, Tusa I, Dello Sbarba P, Rovida E. Beyond Kinase Activity: ERK5 Nucleo-Cytoplasmic Shuttling as a Novel Target for Anticancer Therapy. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 938. 3. Stecca B, Rovida E. Impact of ERK5 on the Hallmarks of Cancer. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 20(6). pii: E1426.

 Tusa I, Cheloni G, Poteti M, Gozzini A, DeSouza NH, Shan Y, Deng X, Gray NS, Li S, Rovida E, Dello Sbarba P. Targeting the Extracellular Signal-RegulatedKinase 5 Pathway to Suppress Human Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Stem Cells. Stem Cell Reports. 2018 11(4):929-943. 5. Tusa I, Gagliardi S, Tubita A, Pandolfi S, Urso C, Borgognoni L, Wang J, Deng X, Gray NS, Stecca B, Rovida E. ERK5 is activated by oncogenic BRAF and promotes melanoma growth. Oncogene. 2018 37(19):2601-2614.

Cheloni G, Tanturli M, Tusa I, DeSouza NH, Shan Y, Gozzini A, Mazurier F, Rovida E, Li S, Dello Sbarba P. Targeting chronic myeloid leukemia stem cells with the hypoxia-inducible factor inhibitor acriflavine. Blood. 2017 3;130(5):655-665.

 Digiacomo G, Tusa I, Bacci M, Cipolleschi MG, Dello Sbarba P, Rovida E. Fibronectin induces macrophage migration through a SFK-FAK/CSF-1R pathway. Cell Adh Migr. 2016 2:1-11.

Rovida E, Stecca B. Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases and Hedgehog-GLI signaling in cancer: a crosstalk providing therapeutic opportunities? Semin Cancer Biol. 2015 35:154-67.

Digiacomo G, Ziche M, Dello Sbarba P, Donnini S, Rovida E. Prostaglandin E2 trans-activates the Colony-Stimulating Factor-1 (CSF-1) receptor and synergizes with CSF-1 in the induction of macrophage migration via the mitogen-activated protein kinase ERK1/2. FASEB J. 2015 29(6):2545-54.

Rovida E, Di Maira G, Tusa I, Cannito S, Paternostro C, Navari N, Vivoli E, Deng X, Gray NS, Esparís-Ogando A, David E, Pandiella A, Dello Sbarba P, Parola M, Marra F. The mitogen-activated protein kinase ERK5 regulates the development and growth of hepatocellular carcinoma. Gut. 2015 Sep;64(9):1454-65.

Main scientific contributions

Identification of the protease responsible for the cleavage of the Colony-Stimulating factor Receptor. Identification of a new mechanism of action of the Colony-Stimulating factor Receptor in breast cancer cells. Establishment of the role of the Mitogen Activated Protein kinase ERK5 in the proliferation of normal and neoplastic cells. Mechanisms of resistance to Imatinib in chronic myeloid leukemia stem cells. Identification of an anti-leukemic effect of histone deacetylase inhibitors in acute myeloid leukemia.

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