Dept Biomedical Sciences, University of Padua – Italy
Dr Pizzo received her PhD in Experimental Pathology from University of Padua, Italy in 1993. During 1992 and 1993 she was a visiting scientist at the laboratory of Prof. David Yaffe, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel. Between 1994 and 2001 she was research associate at the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padua. From 2001 to 2014, Dr Pizzo was assistant professor at the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padua and from October 2014 associate professor of General Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Padua, Italy.
The main scientific interest of Dr Pizzo concerns the mechanisms of Ca2+ homeostasis in mammalian cells and the role of Ca2+ as second messenger in cellular physiopathology. Currently, she is leading a project on Ca2+ dysregulation in Familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD). Using different disease cell models, her group defined how FAD-linked mutated forms of presenilin 2 (PS2) alter cellular Ca2+ handling, reducing the intracellular Ca2+ store content but increasing the mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake (Giacomello et al., Neurobiology of Disease 2005; Brunello et al., J Cell Mol Med., 2009; Kipanyula et al., Aging Cell 2012). Further, her group has shown that PS2 is able to modulate the tethering between mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), the major intracellular Ca2+ store, with its FAD mutants increasing it and thus favoring mitochondria Ca2+ uptake upon ER Ca2+ release (Zampese et al PNAS 2011). Her studies are now aimed to understand whether and how this new PS2 function might be involved in the pathogenesis of the disease altering, for instance, mitochondria physiology (Filadi et al., Science Signaling, under revision).