Fausto Baldanti

Policlinico San Matteo Pavia Fondazione IRCCS, Ticinum, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (227)796.94 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is characterized by persistent B-cell activation, with enhanced differentiation and reduced proliferative ability. To assess the possible role of HCV in altering B-cell subset distribution, we examined ex vivo frequencies and B-cell inhibitory receptor expression in 37 chronic HCV-infected patients and 25 healthy donors (HD). In addition, we determined whether short-term exposure to culture-derived HCV (HCVcc) resulted in B-cell subset skewing and/or activation. There was a statistically significant increase in the frequencies of immature transitional, activated memory and tissue-like memory (TLM) B cells in HCV-infected patients compared with HD. We also found that the frequency of memory B cells correlated with serum HCV RNA levels. The proportion of B cells expressing the marker of exhaustion Fc receptor-like 4 (FcRL4) was generally low even though significantly higher in the patients' memory B-cell compartment compared with HD, and a positive correlation was found between the frequencies of the patients' TLM FcRL4+ B cells and serum alanine aminotransferase and histological activity index at liver biopsy. Exposure to cell-free HCVcc in vitro did not result in B-cell skewing but induced significant activation of naïve, TLM and resting memory B cells in HCV-infected patients but not in HD, in whom cell-associated virus was an absolute requirement for activation of memory B cells. These findings provide corroborative evidence in favour of significant B-cell subset skewing in chronic HCV infection and in addition show that expression of exhaustion markers in selected B-cell subsets does not impair virus-induced B-cell activation.
    Journal of Viral Hepatitis 09/2014; · 3.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is the most common opportunistic virus infection in solid organ transplant recipients. The analysis of HCMV-specific T-cell immunity after organ transplant is of relevant clinical interest. Objectives To analyze HCMV-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses in healthy subjects and kidney transplant recipients (KTR). Study design: HCMV-specific T-cell responses were evaluated by interferon-γ (IFN-γ) enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) using overlapping 15-mer peptide pools of immediate early (IE)-1, IE-2, phosphoprotein 65 (pp65) (for stimulation of both CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses) and a pool of 34 short peptides (8-12 amino acids in length, for stimulation of CD8+ T-cell responses). ELISPOT results were normalized to T-cell subset counts and their correlations with a reported dendritic cell (DC)-based assay, which simultaneously quantifies HCMV-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses, were analyzed. Results HCMV-seropositive KTR showed higher ELISPOT responses compared to HCMV-seropositive healthy subjects. IE-1 and pp65 ELISPOT responses were mediated mainly by CD8+ T-cells and, to a lesser extent, CD4+ T cells; IE-2 peptides appear to stimulate CD56+ cells (natural killer cells). In HCMV-seropositive healthy subjects, ELISPOT results (expressed either as net spots/million cells or normalized to the corresponding T-cell count) significantly correlated with the DC assay. However, in HMCV-seropositive KTR, only normalized ELISPOT responses to overlapping 15-mer peptide pools significantly correlated with DC-assay responses. Conclusions The normalized ELISPOT represents a novel and simple approach for quantifying and monitoring HCMV-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses in KTR.
    Journal of Clinical Virology. 09/2014; 61(1):65-73.
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    ABSTRACT: Acute Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) Infection is an unusual cause of venous thromboembolism, a potentially life-threatening condition. Thrombus formation can occur at the onset of the disease or later during recovery and may also occur in the absence of acute HCMV hepatitis. It is likely due to both vascular endothelium damage caused by HCMV and impairment of the clotting balance caused by the virus itself. Here we report on two immunocompetent women with splanchnic thrombosis that occurred during the course of acute HCMV infection. Although the prevalence of venous thrombosis in patients with acute HCMV infection is unknown, physicians should be aware of its occurrence, particularly in immune-competent patients presenting with fever and unexplained abdominal pain referred to the splanchnic region.
    Mediterranean Journal of Hematology and Infectious Diseases 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose Patients affected by primary immunodeficiency usually undergo a wide range of infections, including reactivation of latent ones. Here we report two cases suffering from late-onset combined immunodeficiency in which ulcerative enteritis due to human Cytomegalovirus caused a life-threatening malabsorption syndrome. Methods The assessment of the viral load was carried out on both blood and mucosal samples by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction assay. The generation of autologous virus-specific cytotoxic T cell lines was performed according to Good Manufacturing Practice protocol after peripheral blood mononuclear cells were collected through a single leukapheresis. Results In both patients, the viral load resulted negligible in peripheral blood, but very high in mucosal specimens (range 1.064 - 1.031.692 copies/105 cells). After two rounds of antiviral therapy proved unsuccessful, the generation of virus-specific cytotoxic T cell lines was carried out despite severe lymphopenia, and their infusion resulted safe and durably effective in healing intestinal ulcerations and resetting the viral load. Conclusions Virus-specific cellular therapy was useful in reconstituting specific immunity and treating severe human Cytomegalovirus-related enteritis in patients with primary immunodeficiency.
    Journal of Clinical Immunology 06/2014; · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human immune deficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) circulating recombinant form (CRF) 02_AG is a major recombinant variant in different geographical areas and is predominant in West and Central Africa. Of particular interest is the increased frequency of CRF02_AG in patients living in Italy. In the present study, phylogenetic analyses were performed on Gag, pol (integrase) and env (gp120 and gp41) gene sequences from 34 CRF02_AG infected patients living in Italy. Thirty out of 34 (89.4%) patients were from western Africa, 3/34 (8.8%) were born in Italy and 1/34 (2.9%) was from Cuba. Phylogentic analysis revealed the presence of a well supported clade (aLTR score >0.75) of sequences only in gp120 and gp41 trees. Evolutionary rate estimation showed a faster evolution for the gp120 gene with respect to gag, integrase and gp41 genes. This finding was confirmed by the analysis of inter-patient variability. Intra-patient variability was greater in gp120 gene sequences; 10/19 (52.6%; p<0.001) patients had a ratio of dN/dS >1 as compared with gag, integrase and gp41 gene sequences with dN/dS ratios <1. In summary, phylogenetic analyses of CRF02_AG strains offers a perspective on intra- and inter-patient variability among CRF02_AG infected patients living in Italy. In addition, divergent phylogenetic relationships were observed among different genomic regions.
    AIDS research and human retroviruses. 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In recent years, herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) has been reported with increasing frequency in settings of immunosuppression, such as acquired immunodeficiency, transplantation and cancer. As observed, in immunocompromised individuals HSE presents peculiar clinical and paraclinical features, and poorer prognosis.
    Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry. 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Measles and rubella are infectious diseases and humans are the only reservoir of these infections. Effective vaccines are available with the potential for measles (MV) and rubella (RuV) virus eradication. According to the World Health Organisation WHO guidelines, a national plan was approved in Italy in 2013 to achieve the MV/RuV elimination by 2015, and active MV/RuV integrated surveillance initiated. Towards this purpose, a regional laboratory centre was set up on 1 September 2013 in Lombardy, Northern Italy. This paper aimed at: (i) evaluating measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine coverage and MV/RuV notified cases retrospectively, and (ii) presenting the results of MV/RuV integrated surveillance (laboratory confirm and viral genetic profiles). The 95% target for MMR vaccine coverage was achieved in 2001, and coverage increased until 2007 (96.6%), but then a decreasing trend was observed. Since 2000 to 2014, 3,026 rubella cases were notified, with nearly 58% of them in the 2002 epidemic. From 2009, less than 45 RuV cases per year were reported. From 2000 to 2014, 5,024 measles cases were notified. Since 2008, three large outbreaks (in 2008, 2011 and 2013) were observed. From data obtained during our surveillance activity, there were no rubella cases, and 57.5% (46/80) collected samples were MV-positive by real-time RT-PCR. A fragment of the MV N gene was sequenced from 37 MV-positive samples; D8, D9 and B3 genotypes were detected. Data obtained retrospectively and from active surveillance underline the necessity to achieve and maintain high vaccination coverage and to improve surveillance and the effectiveness of healthcare actions.
    9th World Congress on Vaccine, Immunization and Immunotherapy, Genova - Italy; 04/2014
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate retrospectively the prognostic significance of maternal, fetal, and neonatal parameters and clinical outcome in 150 HCMV congenital infections during the period 1995–2009. HCMV fetal infection was investigated in amniotic fluid and fetal blood samples. HCMV congenital infection was confirmed in newborn urine and blood samples. Symptomatic infection was defined in HCMV-infected fetuses and in infected newborns on the basis of physical and instrumental findings. Follow-up at 3, 6, 12 months, and then annually up to school age, included clinical evaluation, funduscopic, audiologic, neurologic, and cognitive assessment. Overall, 122/150 (81.3%) newborns were asymptomatic and 28/150 (18.7%) were symptomatic at birth. The best prognostic maternal parameter of symptomatic infection at birth was gestational age at infection (P = 0.037). The best fetal virological markers were HCMV DNA levels in amniotic fluid (P < 0.001), antigenaemia levels (P = 0.007), HCMV DNA levels in blood (P = 0.004), and HCMV-specific IgM index values (P = 0.002). The only significant neonatal parameter was HCMV DNA level in blood [P = 0.006; OR, 3.62 (95% CI, 1.46–8.97)]. Symptoms at birth correlated significantly with long-term sequelae (P = 0.021). A trend towards a risk of sequelae in early (n = 15/58 examined) versus late (n = 6/57 examined) maternal infection was documented. The risk of symptomatic congenital infection at birth increased linearly with the number of significant maternal, fetal, and neonatal parameters. J. Med. Virol. 9999: XX–XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Medical Virology 04/2014; · 2.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Influenza virus causes annual epidemics in the winter-spring season with significant morbidity in the general population and important mortality in high-risk groups, including cancer patients. Opinions on the suitability of patients with malignancies not undergoing active treatment and in different phases of antineoplastic therapy, to receive influenza vaccination vary considerably among oncologists, sometimes even within one center. We reviewed available data, including recommendations by national health authorities, on impact of influenza in patients with cancer and their capacity to mount protective immunological responses to vaccination, thus allowing, on behalf of Italian Association of Medical Oncology (AIOM), to make suitable recommendations for the prevention and treatment of seasonal influenza. Patients with cancer often have disease- or treatment-related immunosuppression, and as a consequence they may have a suboptimal serologic response to influenza vaccination. The protective effect of the different preparations of influenza vaccines in patients with cancer has not been widely investigated, especially in adult patients harbouring solid tumors. The optimal timing for administration of influenza vaccines in patients receiving chemotherapy is also not clearly defined. However, since vaccination is the most effective method, along with antiviral drugs in selected patients, for preventing influenza infection, it has to be recommended for cancer patients. Implementing vaccination of close contacts of oncology patients would be an additional tool for enhancing protection in fragile patient populations.
    Annals of Oncology 03/2014; · 7.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Enterovirus (HEV) and parechovirus (HPeV) infections are common in the neonatal period, and account for a large portion of febrile illnesses during the summer season. HEV infections appear clinically and seasonally similar to HPeV infections. In this study, we present the virological and clinical data from neonates infected with HEV or HPeV and hospitalized in a neonatal intensive care unit for sepsis-like illness or neurologic disorders. In the period January 2010 to October 2013, 54 cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and 10 plasma samples were obtained from 60 newborns aged <30 days. A total of 7/60 (11.6%) patients were positive for HEV infection and 3 (5.0%) were positive for HPeV infection as determined by specific real-time RT-PCR. The most common clinical signs were fever, irritability, hyporeactivity and, in a few cases, rash. All infections were observed during the summer-fall period. In conclusion, HEV and HPeV were shown to account for a significant portion of febrile illnesses in neonates requiring hospitalization.
    Early human development 03/2014; 90 Suppl 1:S75-7. · 2.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The epidemiology of virus infections has changed dramatically in Europe in recent years due to ecologic, anthropologic and biologic factors such as: i) climate modifications, ii) global exchange of goods and international travel, iii) increased immigration flux from Africa, South America, the Middle East and Asia, iv) reduction of cultivated areas, and v) emergence and re-emergence of human viruses from zoonotic reservoirs. In addition, recent technical advancements have allowed the identification of previously unrecognized autochthonous viral species. Thus, at present, the technical and cultural challenge is to recognize infections caused by viruses not normally circulating in our geographical region (both as imported cases or potential local outbreaks), sustained by recently discovered autochthonous viruses or due to recognized viruses which are no longer widespread in Western Europe due to past vaccination campaigns.
    Early human development 03/2014; 90S1:S26-S28. · 2.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fetal HCMV infection is investigated by amniocentesis when a maternal primary infection is diagnosed or ultrasound (US/MRI) abnormalities are observed. In fetal blood, prognostic markers of symptomatic congenital infection may be evaluated for parental counseling. At birth, viral load measurement in body fluids may correlate with long-term sequelae, but the prognostic accuracy of symptomatic infection increases when maternal, fetal, and neonatal parameters are combined.
    Early human development 03/2014; 90S1:S29-S31. · 2.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: FilmArray Respiratory Panel (RP) (Idaho Technology, Inc., Salt Lake City, UT, USA) performance was retrospectively evaluated in respiratory samples collected from neonates in 2 reference neonatology units. Using the FilmArray RP assay, 121/152 (79.6%) samples were positive for at least 1 respiratory virus, while 31/152 (20.4%) were negative. FilmArray RP results were concordant in 68/72 (94.4%) respiratory samples tested with laboratory-developed real-time PCR assays, while in 4/72 (5.6%) samples, the FilmArray RP assay detected an additional virus (2 human rhinovirus/enterovirus and 2 bocavirus). In addition, FilmArray RP results for 70 of 80 (87.5%) respiratory samples tested were concordant with the Seegene Seeplex RV15® detection assay (Seegene, Inc., Seoul, South Korea), while 10/80 (12.5%) were discordant. The advantages of the FilmArray RP are the rapid detection of respiratory viruses (1 hour), the wide number of pathogens detectable in a single assay, and the reduced hands-on time.
    Diagnostic microbiology and infectious disease 02/2014; · 2.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acute Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection is an unusual cause of venous thromboembolism, a potentially life-threatening condition. Thrombus formation can occur at the onset of the disease or later during the recovery and may also occur in the absence of acute HCMV hepatitis. It is likely due to both vascular endothelium damage caused by HCMV and impairment of the clotting balance caused by the virus itself. Here we report on two immunocompetent women with splanchnic thrombosis that occurred during the course of acute HCMV infection. Although the prevalence of venous thrombosis in patients with acute HCMV infection is unknown, physicians should be aware of its occurrence, particularly in immunocompetent patients presenting with fever and unexplained abdominal pain.
    Mediterranean Journal of Hematology and Infectious Diseases 01/2014; 6(1):e2014041.
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    ABSTRACT: Environmental factors may play a role in colon cancer. In this view, several studies investigated tumor samples for the presence of various viral DNA with conflicting results.
    Infectious Agents and Cancer 01/2014; 9:18.
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    ABSTRACT: Direct-acting antiviral (DAA) agents target HCV proteins; some of these have already been approved for the treatment of HCV infection, while others are in development. However, selection of DAA-resistant viral variants may hamper treatment. The aim of this study was to illustrate potential natural DAA-resistance mutations in the HCV NS5A and NS5B regions of HCV genotypes 1a and 1b from DAA-naive patients. Direct sequencing of HCV NS5A and NS5B regions was performed in 32 patients infected with HCV genotype 1a and 30 patients infected with HCV genotype 1b; all subjects were naive to DAAs. In genotype 1a strains, resistance mutations in NS5A (M28V, L31M and H58P) were observed in 4/32 (12.5%) patients, and resistance mutations in NS5B (V321I, M426L, Y448H, Y452H) were observed in 4/32 (12.5%) patients. In genotype 1b, resistance mutations in NS5A (L28V, L31M, Q54H, Y93H and I280V) were observed in 16/30 (53.3%) patients, while resistance mutations in NS5B (L159F, V321I, C316N, M426L, Y452H, R465G and V499A) were observed in 27/30 (90%) patients. Mutations conferring DAA resistance were detected in NS5A and NS5B of HCV genotypes 1a and 1b from DAA-naive patients. Although some mutations confer only a low level of resistance, the presence at baseline of mutated HCV variants should be taken into consideration in the context of DAA therapy.
    Virology Journal 12/2013; 10(1):355. · 2.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Enterovirus 68 (EV-D68) was associated with mild to severe respiratory infections. In the last 4 years, circulation of different EV-D68 strains has been documented worldwide. In this study, the phylogenetic characterization of nine EV-D68 strains identified in patients in the 2010-2012 period and 12 additional EV-D68 Italian strains previously identified in 2008 in Italy was described. From January 2010 to December 2012, a total of 889 respiratory specimens from 588 patients stayed or visited at the Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo were positive for HRV or HEV. Extracted nucleic acids were amplified by one-step RT-PCR with primer specific for VP1 region of EV-D68 and purified positive PCR products were directly sequenced. Overall, 9/3736 (0.24%) patients were EV-D68 positive. Of these, 7/9 (77.8%) were pediatric and two (22.2%) were adults. Five out of seven (71.4%) pediatric patients had lower respiratory tract infection with oxygen saturation <94%. Four cases were detected from August through October 2010, while five other cases from September through December 2012. The Italian EV-D68 strains in 2008 belonged to clade A (n = 5) and clade C (n = 7). In 2010 all the Italian strains belonged to clade A (n = 4) and in 2012, four Italian strains belonged to clade B and one to clade A. In conclusion, we provide additional evidence supporting a role of EV-D68 in severe respiratory infection in pediatric patients. In addition, all the three EV-D68 clades circulating worldwide were identified in Italy in a 5-year period of time. J. Med. Virol. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Medical Virology 10/2013; · 2.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have developed a sequencing assay for determining the usage of the genotypic HIV-1 co-receptor using peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) DNA in virologically suppressed HIV-1 infected patients. Our specific aims were to (1) evaluate the efficiency of V3 sequences in B versus non-B subtypes, (2) compare the efficiency of V3 sequences and tropism prediction using whole blood and PBMCs for DNA extraction, (3) compare the efficiency of V3 sequences and tropism prediction using a single versus a triplicate round of amplification. The overall rate of successful V3 sequences ranged from 100 % in samples with >3,000 copies HIV-1 DNA/10(6) PBMCs to 60 % in samples with <100 copies total HIV-1 DNA /10(6) PBMCs. Analysis of 143 paired PBMCs and whole-blood samples showed successful V3 sequences rates of 77.6 % for PBMCs and 83.9 % for whole blood. These rates are in agreement with the tropism prediction obtained using the geno2pheno co-receptor algorithm, namely, 92.1 % with a false-positive rate (FPR) of 10 or 20 % and of 96.5 % with an FPR of 5.75 %. The agreement between tropism prediction values using single versus triplicate amplification was 98.2 % (56/57) of patients using an FPR of 20 % and 92.9 % (53/57) using an FPR of 10 or 5.75 %. For 63.0 % (36/57) of patients, the FPR obtained via the single amplification procedure was superimposable to all three FPRs obtained by triplicate amplification. Our results show the feasibility and consistency of genotypic testing on HIV-1 DNA tropism, supporting its possible use for selecting patients with suppressed plasma HIV-1 RNA as candidates for CCR5-antagonist treatment. The high agreement between tropism prediction by single and triple amplification does not support the use of triplicate amplification in clinical practice.
    Infection 10/2013; · 2.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human cosavirus is a novel picornavirus recently identified in feces from children in southern Asia. We report infection with human cosavirus in a patient in the Mediterranean area. The patient was an adult double lung transplant recipient who had chronic diarrhea associated with persistent infection with human cosavirus.
    Emerging Infectious Diseases 10/2013; 19(10):1667-9. · 6.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gastrointestinal viral syndromes are a common cause of morbidity and mortality in humans worldwide. Etiological agents include a large number of viruses encompassing several orders, families, and genera. During the period April 2011 to April 2012, 689 stool samples from as many patients hospitalized at the Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo of Pavia exhibiting gastrointestinal syndromes were examined for the presence of rotavirus, norovirus, astrovirus, adenovirus, rhinovirus, enterovirus, parechovirus, bocavirus, coronavirus, sapovirus, cosavirus, and aichi virus using polymerase chain reaction assays. Gastrointestinal viral agents were detected in 246 (36%) patients of the 689 analyzed. Adenovirus and norovirus were the most common viruses in this cohort, while aichi virus was the only gastrointestinal agent not detected. Surprisingly, rhinovirus was one of the most frequently detected viruses. However, a potential association with gastroenteritis remains to be confirmed.
    Diagnostic microbiology and infectious disease 09/2013; · 2.45 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

4k Citations
796.94 Total Impact Points


  • 1989–2014
    • Policlinico San Matteo Pavia Fondazione IRCCS
      Ticinum, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2013
    • Soroka Medical Center
      • Pediatric Infectious Disease Unit
      Be'er Sheva`, Southern District, Israel
  • 2004–2013
    • University of Milan
      • Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 1999–2013
    • Ospedale di San Raffaele Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2012
    • Vilnius University
      Vil'nyus, Vilniaus Apskritis, Lithuania
    • Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda - Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico
      • Neonatology and Neonatal Intensive Care
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
    • Università degli Studi di Siena
      • Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience
      Siena, Tuscany, Italy
  • 2011–2012
    • Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico San Raffaele Pisana
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 1989–2011
    • University of Pavia
      • • Department of Diagnostic, Paediatric, Clinical and Surgical Science
      • • Department of Public Health, Neuroscience, Experimental and Forensic Medicine
      Ticinum, Lombardy, Italy
  • 1996–2008
    • Istituto di Cura e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Basilicata
      Rionero in Vulture, Basilicate, Italy
  • 2002–2004
    • Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich
      München, Bavaria, Germany
  • 1994
    • National Research Council
      • Institute of Plant Genetics IGV
      Roma, Latium, Italy