Scientific Director, Adjunct Prof (NUS, NTU)
Paola Ricciardi-Castagnoli has studied innate immunity over the last 30 years. Her laboratory has been involved for many years in the study of myeloid cells and in particular dendritic cells (DC) contributing significantly to the identification of the central role of DC in regulating immunity. Presently the main focus of her laboratory is to dissect the molecular mechanisms of DC in regulating immunity. She has been collaborating with leading groups in the dendritic cell field. The laboratory was among the first to identify the key role that DC play in both innate and adaptive immune responses via the use of innate receptors such as the TLRs. She has contributed to the discovery that TLR4 is the receptor of LPS, a finding that has led to the attribution of the Nobel Prize for Medicine to Bruce Beutler in 2011 (Science 282, 1998; PNAS 97, 2000).
Among the most relevant discoveries of her group is the ability of dendritic cells to produce interleukin2 (IL2) upon activation with microbial and sterile signals. The IL2 cytokine, which was believed to belong exclusively to the adaptive response, is now recognized to play a key role in regulating both innate and adaptive immune responses. To activate the transcription of IL2, DCs and progenitors use the calcineurin/NFAT (nuclear factor of activated T cells)-mediated signaling pathway. With her group she has recently identified the key role of calcineurin/NFAT in innate cells and in the regulation of DC responses.
Her group has shown that DC play a key role in mucosal tissues, such as the lamina propria of the intestinal villi where DC have a sentinel function and sense the gut commensal flora. This discovery has open the way to novel studies on the role of the gut microbiome in regulating immune diseases.
With her research group, Professor Paola Ricciardi-Castagnoli has published 180 publications in extenso in international peer reviewed journals.
Her work has more than 20000 citations (July2013) and an HP index of 66 according to Google Scholar and www.Via-Academy.org http://www.topitalianscientists.org/
Professor Paola Ricciardi-Castagnoli, is the Scientific Director of the A*STAR Research Centre for Human Immunology, SIgN (Singapore Immunology Network) and former Chair of Immunology and General Pathology at the University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy. From 1975-1998 she was a member of the National Research Council (CNR) in Milano and has been a Visiting Scientist at MIT (Boston) and a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University (Palo Alto). She graduated at the University of Florence (Italy) in Biological Sciences and did a PhD in Immunology at the University of Louvain-la Neuve (Belgium).
Professor Paola Ricciardi-Castagnoli is an EMBO member (European Molecular Biology Organization) and a member of the German Leopoldina Academy. Since 2002 she has been the President of the European Network of Immunology Institutes (ENII) and has organized its ENII Summer School in Advanced Immunology. In 2006 she has been awarded by the European Commission a Marie Curie Chair at the Institut Pasteur of Paris.
In Singapore Professor Paola Ricciardi-Castagnoli is Adjunct Professor of Immunology at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). She has established the joint International PhD School in Human Immunology together with NTU. With the Immunology Frontier Research Center (IFReC) at Osaka University she has established a joint international PhD Winter School (NIF). She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Max Plank Institute for Infectiology in Berlin and has been a Member of the Scientific Council of the Institut Pasteur in Paris. She has participated in the Steering Committees of various European consortia and Networks of Excellence supported by the EU. In 2007 she has been a founder of the Singaporean Society of immunology (SgSI) and has been appointed as the President of the Society in 2010. She is also a member of the Board of FIMSA (Federation of the Immunological Societies of Asia-Oceania). She is part of the Editorial Board and ExCo of several international scientific journals.