Nunzio Iraci

Professore associato di Biologia molecolare [BIO/11]
Sezione di appartenenza: Biologia e Genetica
Ufficio: Torre Biologica, 2° piano Torre Sud, stanza 31
Telefono: 095 4781205
Orario di ricevimento: Martedì dalle 11:00 alle 12:00

Dr Nunzio Iraci (NI) graduated with a MSc in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology (2005) and a PhD in Cellular Biology and Physiology (2009), both from the University of Bologna, Italy. His previous studies have defined the mechanism by which the v-myc myelocytomatosis viral related oncogene (MYCN) represses the transcription of nerve growth factor (NGF) receptors in human neuroblastoma.

NI moved to the Dept. of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge (UK) in 2011 and was awarded a FEBS Long-Term Fellowship. His research focussed on the mechanisms of cell-to-cell communication mediated by neural stem cell (NSC)-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs). With his work NI contributed to demonstrate that: (i) NSCs secrete EVs mainly comprising of exosomes; (ii) mRNA and protein sorting in EVs/exosomes is regulated by inflammatory cytokines; (iii) IFN-γ/Ifngr1 complex on EVs promotes the intercellular induction of Stat1 signalling; (iv) EVs are metabolically active and alter enzymatically the metabolic environment; (v) mouse and human NSC-derived EVs are enriched in L-asparaginase activity (via Asrgl1). Taken together these data revealed a mechanism of intercellular signaling by which neural stem cells may signal with the microenvironment via EVs, both in physiological conditions and in the context of neurodegenerative diseases. These results were published in 2 high-impact factor journals (i.e. Molecular Cell and Nature Chemical Biology) and NI is co-first author on these papers.

In 2016 NI moved to the University of Catania with a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology. Here he is responsible as Principal Investigator of a “Brains2South” grant aiming at the characterization of exosomes as natural messengers of bioactive molecules in the glial-neuronal signaling in the context of Parkinson's disease.

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Scientific interests:

  • Parkinson’s disease and molecular mechanisms of CNS protection and repair;  
  • Cell-to-cell communication via extracellular vesicles, including exosomes;
  • Horizontal RNA transfer (codingandnon-coding);
  • Immunometabolism;
  • Nanotechnologies and Synthetic Biology.