Spotlight: the Bioenergetic Organelles Unit

Pubblicato il: 20.06.2022 23:47

The Bioenergetic Organelles Unit (BOU) is located on floor VI (north and south) of the Vallisneri Building. The unit is focusing on the study of mitochondria, organelles that play a varied and critical role in many aspects of cell metabolism and are involved in many human diseases. Mitochondria show dynamic changes, interact with each other, share certain proteins, and show metabolic cooperation and crosstalk. The common aim between the members of the BOU is to disseminate new and significant discoveries involving the role of mitochondria in cell physiology and pathology.


The BOU is organized into ten independent research groups and includes 60-70 people including Post-Docs, PhD students, one technician and ungraduated students.


  • Marisa Brini - Calcium signaling, mitochondria and their crosstalk with other organelles in cell physiology and pathophysiology.
  • Vanessa Checchetto - Understanding the interactome and function of transport processes in cell physiology and disease.
  • Paola Costantini - Exploring the pathogenesis of mitochondrial diseases associated with dysfunctions of FeS-cluster assembly.
  • Marta Giacomello – Analysis of organelles interaction in pathological and physiological conditions.
  • Luigi Leanza - Metabolism and intracellular signaling in cancer development.
  • Giovanna Pontarin - Investigating mitochondrial DNA as inflammatory molecule in senescent endothelium.
  • Luca Scorrano - Study of mitochondrial dynamics and interorganellar contact sites to understand the morphology-function relationship of these organelles and its importance in mitochondrial, cellular and organismal biology, as well as in disease.
  • Maria Eugenia Soriano - Study of the molecular mechanisms regulating mtDNA stability and segregation during mitochondrial division and changes in cristae shape.
  • Ildikò Szabò (Coordinator of BOU) – Study of mitochondrial ion channels and of in-house developed mitochondria-targeted drugs in the context of poor-prognosis cancers, multiple sclerosis, neurodegenerative and mitochondrial diseases.  
  • Elena Ziviani - Study of protein and organelle homeostasis in neurodegeneration.



The identification and characterization of essential components and molecular mechanisms associated with the biogenesis and function of mitochondria, information on how organelles interact and are incorporated into metabolic pathways and signaling networks, is our daily mission. In particular, the research group is focused on the genetic factors that make these molecular pathways unfunctional in pathological conditions such as cancer, Parkinson's disease, other neurodegenerative and neurological disorders and diabetes.


Our team uses a combination of biochemical and biophysical methods, structural biology, genetics, and cell imaging approaches to tackle these challenging research topics. For this reason, we can define ourselves as a multidisciplinary Unit. All Unit members have an intensive network of local and international collaborations. The work of the various Unit members is carried out thanks to numerous international and national fundings. 


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Ultimo aggiornamento: 20.06.2022 23:52