Marina Scalia

Researcher of Experimental Biology [BIO/13]
Membership Section: Biology and Genetics
Office: Comparto 10, Edificio C - via Santa Sofia num. 87
Phone: 0953782074
Office Hours: Monday from 09:00 to 12:00

►Graduated summa cum laude 110/110 and honors in Biological Sciences at University of Catania in 1976.

► Graduated summa cum laude 110/110 and honors in Medicine and Surgery at University of Catania in 1981.

►Qualification test to Practice Medicine at University of Catania in 1982.

► Won the state examination for University Researcher with D.R. 9.7.84 for the group n. 68, at Faculty of Medicine and Surgery in Catania.

► Confirmed researcher SSD BIO/13 at the faculty of Medicine and Surgery from 1987 to today (2018).


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My  research activity  began in 1978 at the  General Biology Institute of the University of Catania directed at that time by Prof. G.Sichel, who studied the system of pigmented macrophages. The main objective of this research was the identification of the Kupffer cells of the liver of amphibians that, compared with the hepatic system of mammals, are able to synthesize independently melanin, classic pigment present in mammals and synthesized only at the level of the skin melanocytes. In fact by cultivating in vitro Kupffer cells of Rana has been possible to demonstrate, by molecular analysis, that these cells synthesize mRNA for tyrosinase in amounts which are inversely correlated with the content melanic, that is, the most differentiated cells accumulate large amounts of melanins and then go on  apoptosis. This research has permitted the publication of scientific articles, from 1977 to 2005, in which it is confirmed that the Kupffer cells in Amphibians are entirely all the features of macrophages but, unlike the cells of warm-blooded animals are also able to synthesize autonomously melanin (and to not phagocytose)in their melanosomes, unlike the cutaneous melanocytes that, due to a paradigm of that time, were believed to be the only cells capable of melanic biosynthesis. I also participated in the research group coordinated by Prof. M.Purrello to determine the genomic position of human genes encoding GTF (general transcription factors)  that are a crucial point in the initiation of transcription of the  mRNA and  rRNA, as well as the study of the omics (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and interactomica) of the genes of the apoptotic machinery and transcriptome analysis of miRNAs in colorectal carcinoma before and after chemotherapy.From 2010 the research lines of which I work, in collaboration with research groups from the Departments of Chemistry and Pharmacy, are:
1) In vitro study of nanoparticles (liposomes) containing antibiotics to resistant strains of Gram-negative.
2) Study of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of bacterial invasion of in vitro models of the blood brain and ematoretinica barrier in order to employ new antibiotics against both neonatal bacterial meningitis, which at present has a high mortality rate, and against all forms of bacterial inflammation of the eye responsible for serious endophthalmitis.
3)Expression gene PARPs, a family of nuclear enzymes that regulate, in our cells, the survival or cell death. In particular, the PARP1 (EC plays an important role in the processes of repair of DNA damage, in the regulation of apoptosis and necrosis. Recently it was shown that the PARP1 is involved in inflammatory processes and, very often, its inhibition improves the severity of diseases such as asthma, colitis, diabetes mellitus and Parkinson's disease. In recent years the use of inhibitors PARPs has opened new horizons and numerous preclinical studies are being implemented, especially in the field of oncology and clinical medicine, for example, in some pathological conditions such as diabetic retinopathy and Parkinson's disease.
4) Isolation and chracterization of Outside Membrane Vescicles (OMVs) from different bacterial strains and isolation and chracterization of exosomes from different cell types (hematopoietic tissues, tomour cells, follicular fluid).