Project ASCHEM Institute for Research in Biomedicine Bellinzona (Switzerland) Research Group Dr. Mariagrazia Uguccioni

The group headed by Dr. Mariagrazia Uguccioni has described that the inflammatory milieu can dramatically change the response of leukocytes to chemokines. Among the many studies focused on human pathology, they have discovered that: i) inflammation results in an impairment of leukocyte cytoskeleton machinery that can be reverted by pharmacological intervention; ii) monocytes from patients with autoimmune diseases contribute to maintain the activity of the CXCL12/HMGB1 heterocomplex, fuelling inflammation, and iii) anti-chemokines antibodies, targeting an important region for receptor recognition, are present in patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis.

The project supported by the Ceschina Foundation analyse the capacity of leukocytes from patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis to respond to chemotactic signals, taking into account the concomitant expression in peripheral tissues of different chemokines, inflammatory molecules, and autoantibodies. These studies will allow the identification of novel potential targets that can be taken into consideration for the development of novel treatments for chronic inflammatory disorders.

TEAM

Mariagrazia Uguccioni, MD

Mariagrazia Uguccioni received a degree in Medicine from the University of Bologna (IT) where she specialized in Haematology in 1994. From 1993 to 2000 she was a member of the Theodor Kocher Institute, University of Bern (CH), and since 2000 she is group leader at the IRB, and vice-director since 2010. From  2016 to 2022 she was appointed as extraordinary Professor at the Medical faculty of Humanitas University (Milan, IT), and since 2023 she is Full Professor at the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, Universit√†  della Svizzera italiana. She was elected Member of the Bologna Academy of Science in 2009 for her studies on the relevance of chemokines in human pathology. Mariagrazia Uguccioni's research covers various aspects of human haematology and immunology: chemokine expression and activities in normal and pathological conditions, leukocyte activation and traffic, natural chemokine antagonists and synergy-inducing chemokines. Her group continue focusing on chemokine activities in human inflammatory diseases, tumors, and infections, and on the mechanisms that fine tune regulate chemokine activities and their receptors.