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Paola Bonetti

Post Doc
Senior post-doc

Research Line

Genomic Science




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  • 07/2004-09/2008 Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine                                                                            

         European School of Molecular Medicine (SEMM), Milan, Italy

  • 02/2003 Laurea in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology (5 years), grade: 110/100 summa cum laude                                                          

        Universita’ degli Studi , Facolta’ di Farmacia, Milan, Italy

  • 07/1997 Scientific Lyceum , grade: 60/60                                                                                                                                          

         Liceo Scientifico “P.L. Nervi”, Morbegno (SO), Italy 

Working Experience

11/2012-present  Post-doctoral position in Dr. Nicassio’s laboratory , IIT, CGS@SEMM, Milan, Italy                                                                                                                                                            

  • Research topics: study of the role of microRNAs and non-coding RNAs  in breast cancer; pre-clinical studies of new compounds against breast cancer in in vitro and in vivo models.


08/2013-10/2013 Visiting Scientist in Dr. Ventura’s laboratory, MSKCC, NewYork, US                                                                                                                                                                                

  • Research topics: study of the role of microRNA-34a in mammary compartment in mouse models


09/2010-10/2012 Post-doctoral position in the Lymphoma Genomics group, under the supervision of Dr. Bertoni,  IOR, Bellinzona, CH                                                                                                  

  • Research topics: identification of genomic and epigenetic alterations in B-cell lymphomas and functional characterization; pre-clinical studies of new anti-lymphoma compounds in in vitro and in vivo models.


10/2008-08/2010 Post-doctoral position in the group of Prof. PG Pelicci , IEO, Milan,Italy                                                                                                                              

  • Research topic: study of the role of the lymphoid-associated NPM-ALK oncogene in the pretumoral stage

07/2004-09/2008 Ph.D. Student in the group of Prof. PG Pelicci  , IEO, Milan,Italy                                                                                                                                                                       


Role of non coding-RNAs in aggressive breast cancer

Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most aggressive subtype of breast cancer (about 15% of cases) which indeed shows a very negative prognosis compared to all other subtypes. Due to the lack of targeted therapy, TNBC patients are treated with standard chemotherapy and half of the patients displayed resistance to therapy and developed metastasis. It is indeed crucial identify new targets that can be used in the treatment of TNBC.

Non-coding RNAs are a wide class of RNA molecules without protein-coding potential and are divided in 2 main branches: the short species (microRNAs, 20-22bp) and long non-coding RNAs (>200nt). In the last decade, this class of molecules have been associated to almost all cellular processes and resulted significantly altered in cancer.

Our projects aim at identifying and characterizing non-coding RNAs that are involved in the onset of chemoresistance in TNBC. Combining human transcripts high resolution analysis from primary tumor samples and breast cancer cell lines we identified a set of non-coding RNAs whose expression is altered in response to chemotherapy.

In order to assess the relevance of these non-coding RNAs in the response to treatment, we set up both in vitro and in vivo models that mimic TNBC chemoresistance. We plan to manipulate non-coding RNA levels using multiple approaches (i.e.genome editing, shRNA, overexpression) in combination with chemotherapeutic drugs and evaluate the outcome in terms of tumor growth and metastatic spread.


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