Institute of genetics and biophysics "Adriano Buzzati Traverso" (IGB)


The Institute of Genetics and Biophisics "Adriano Buzzati-Traverso" (IGB-ABT) was founded in 1962 by Adriano Buzzati-Traverso and currently hosts 47 Scientists and 36 administrative and technical staff. The IGB-ABT spans on more than 5000 mq2 in the Research Area NA1. The research groups host numerous research trainees (undergraduate and graduate students, and post-docs). The IGB-ABT aims at understanding the molecular basis controlling genetically and epigenetically the cell state and cell identity during embryonic development and post-natal life in normal and pathological conditions. This ambition is strengthened by the integrated activities of specialized cutting-edge technological knowledge in the biology of stem cells, embryonic development and organogenesis, neurobiology, human genetics, molecular oncology, angiogenesis and immunology.
These competences are further supported by internal facilities including the Embryonic Stem Cells and Mouse Modelling (SCMM), the Integrated Microscopy (IM), the FACS core, the animal house and the informatic core (IT).


Main research lines

Embryonic Development and Biology of Stem Cells. The interest of the Institute in developmental biology is rooted back at the time when IGB-ABT researchers pioneered mouse genetics using gene targeting techniques to study mammalian embryonic development. The current research activity focuses at unravelling the genetic and the molecular basis of mouse development, with particular emphasis on the cardiovascular and neural systems, as well as on the early stages of mammalian embryogenesis, with the ultimate goal to improve our knowledge on key developmental processes and on the biology of stem cells.

Neurobiology and Tissue differentiation. Projects in this area are finalized to understand the molecular mechanisms controlling neuronal development and the pathological processes that impair neural performance. To address these issues IGB-ABT researchers integrate a wide range of in vivo and in vitro approaches, including molecular and cellular biology, cellular reprogramming, pharmacology, histochemistry, behavioural analysis and neuronal imaging. This knowledge is used to gain insight into pediatric developmental disorders such as Epilepsy and ageing-related neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer diseases.

Genetics, Genomics and Epigenetics of Diseases. This research area aims at discovering the genetic and epigenetic basis of rare and common diseases as well as the relationship between genes and environment through next-generation genome-wide methodologies and functional studies in a variety of model systems. Research projects are focused on multifactorial diseases, as well as on rare genetic diseases affecting bone remodeling, nervous system and skin development, or causing kidney failure, heart block disease. The aim is to understand the role of disease genes in physiological and pathological conditions and develop models to study disease mechanisms. The main objective is to provide a compelling genetic diagnosis, prognostic biomarkers and targeted therapeutic strategies.

Molecular Oncology. Research projects are focussed on molecular mechanisms of oncogenesis, tumor-associated cell migration and angiogenesis. Studies on transcriptional processes aim at deciphering the role of several nuclear oncoproteins in epithelial-mesenchymal-transition and metastasis. Post-transcriptional control mechanisms aim at the study of various classes of non-coding RNAs (miRNAs, T-UCRs and Alu). Cancer cell proteomics aim at identifying novel biomarkers for the diagnosis of human melanoma. Tumor cell migration is focussed on signalling mechanisms mediated by the urokinase receptor and cancer cell secretome in tumor-stroma interactions. The research line on tumor angiogenesis aims at understanding the pathophysiological role of VEGF family members along with translational approaches aimed at the discovery of anti-angiogenic drugs.