Francesco Pappalardo

Francesco Pappalardo
University of Catania | UNICT · Department of Drug and Health Science (DSFS )

MSc., PhD

About

178
Publications
23,665
Reads
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2,300
Citations
Introduction
Francesco Pappalardo, currently Associate Professor of Computer Science, University of Catania, Italy. His major research area is on computational modeling in systems biology and medicine, with a special focus on the immune system. He serves the scientific community as editorial board member, reviewer and program committee member. Since 2007, Francesco Pappalardo serves as expert evaluator for the European Community in the evaluation of proposals towards objectives of the ICT for Health theme of the FP7 and Horizon 2020.
Additional affiliations
November 2016 - present
Boston University
Position
  • Professor
April 2015 - present
University of Catania
Position
  • Professor
December 2011 - March 2015
University of Catania
Position
  • Senior Researcher

Publications

Publications (178)
Article
Full-text available
Background Nowadays, the inception of computer modeling and simulation in life science is a matter of fact. This is one of the reasons why regulatory authorities are open in considering in silico trials evidence for the assessment of safeness and efficacy of medicinal products. In this context, mechanistic Agent-Based Models are increasingly used....
Article
Introduction Decision making in surgical oncology of the breast has increased its complexity over the last twenty years. This Delphi survey investigates the opinion of an expert panel about the decision making process in surgical procedures on the breast for oncological purposes. Methods Twenty-seven experts were invited to partake into a Delphi S...
Article
Full-text available
Immunotoxicity hazard identification of chemicals aims to evaluate the potential for unintended effects of chemical exposure on the immune system. Perfluorinated alkylate substances (PFAS), such as perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), are persistent, globally disseminated environmental contaminants known to be immunot...
Article
Full-text available
Background Influenza A virus is one of the leading causes of annual mortality. The emerging of novel escape variants of the influenza A virus is still a considerable challenge in the annual process of vaccine production. The evolution of vaccines ranks among the most critical successes in medicine and has eradicated numerous infectious diseases. Re...
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to come out with quick interventional solutions that can now be obtained through the application of different bioinformatics software to actively improve the success rate. Technological advances in fields such as computer modeling and simulation are enriching the discovery, development, assessment and...
Chapter
Researchers often face the need to collect, explore, correlate, analyze, and classify different data sources to discover unknown relationships while performing basic steps of pattern recognition and regression analysis with classification. PEAK is a Python tool designed to make easier all of these the basic steps of pattern recognition, allowing le...
Article
Pharmaceutical nanotechnology research is focused on smart nano-vehicles, which can deliver active pharmaceutical ingredients to enhance their efficacy through any route of administration and in the most varied therapeutical application. The design and development of new nanopharmaceuticals can be very laborious. In recent years, the application of...
Article
Full-text available
We propose a Bayesian hierarchical method for combining in silico and in vivo data onto an augmented clinical trial with binary end points. The joint posterior distribution from the in silico experiment is treated as a prior, weighted by a measure of compatibility of the shared characteristics with the in vivo data. We also formalise the contributi...
Article
Full-text available
The term In Silico Trial indicates the use of computer modelling and simulation to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a medical product, whether a drug, a medical device, a diagnostic product or an advanced therapy medicinal product. Predictive models are positioned as new methodologies for the development and the regulatory evaluation of medical...
Article
Full-text available
The value of in silico methods in drug development and evaluation has been demonstrated repeatedly and convincingly. While their benefits are now unanimously recognized, international standards for their evaluation, accepted by all stakeholders involved, are still to be established. In this white paper, we propose a risk‐informed evaluation framewo...
Preprint
Full-text available
The term "In Silico Trial" indicates the use of computer modelling and simulation to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a medical product, whether a drug, a medical device, a diagnostic product or an advanced therapy medicinal product. Predictive models are positioned as new methodologies for the development and the regulatory evaluation of medica...
Article
Full-text available
Agent‐Based Models are a powerful class of computational models widely used to simulate complex phenomena in many different application areas. However, one of the most critical aspects, poorly investigated in the literature, regards an important step of the model credibility assessment: solution verification. This study overcomes this limitation by...
Article
Although several bioinformatics tools have been developed to examine signaling pathways, little attention has been given to ever long-distance crosstalk mechanisms. Here, we developed PETAL, a Python tool that automatically explores and detects the most relevant nodes within a KEGG pathway, scanning and performing an in-depth search. PETAL can cont...
Conference Paper
An ever-increasing number of tools and databases offers pieces of evidence and knowledge about gene function annotations, protein interactions, and experimentally validated biological pathways. These resources represent an excellent and essential instrument to facilitate pathway analysis. Among them, particular attention should be given to the one...
Article
Full-text available
Background Multiple Sclerosis (MS) represents nowadays in Europe the leading cause of non-traumatic disabilities in young adults, with more than 700,000 EU cases. Although huge strides have been made over the years, MS etiology remains partially unknown. Furthermore, the presence of various endogenous and exogenous factors can greatly influence the...
Article
Full-text available
Background SARS-CoV-2 is a severe respiratory infection that infects humans. Its outburst entitled it as a pandemic emergence. To get a grip on this outbreak, specific preventive and therapeutic interventions are urgently needed. It must be said that, until now, there are no existing vaccines for coronaviruses. To promptly and rapidly respond to pa...
Article
Full-text available
Background In 2018, about 10 million people were found infected by tuberculosis, with approximately 1.2 million deaths worldwide. Despite these numbers have been relatively stable in recent years, tuberculosis is still considered one of the top 10 deadliest diseases worldwide. Over the years, Mycobacterium tuberculosis has developed a form of resis...
Article
Full-text available
Background The STriTuVaD project, funded by Horizon 2020, aims to test through a Phase IIb clinical trial one of the most advanced therapeutic vaccines against tuberculosis. As part of this initiative, we have developed a strategy for generating in silico patients consistent with target population characteristics, which can then be used in combinat...
Article
The severe acute respiratory syndrome associated coronavirus‑2 (SARS‑CoV‑2) poses a threat to human life worldwide. Since early March, 2020, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19), characterized by an acute and often severe form of pneumonia, has been declared a pandemic. This has led to a boom in biomedical research studies at all stages of the pipel...
Chapter
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic and potentially highly disabling disease that can cause permanent damage and deterioration of the central nervous system. In Europe it is the leading cause of non-traumatic disabilities in young adults, since more than 700,000 EU people suffer from MS. Although recent studies on MS pathophysiology have been perf...
Chapter
We present an improved version of an agent-based model developed to reproduce the typical oscillating behavior of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis, a demyelinating autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. The model now includes the effects of vitamin D, a possible immune-modulator that can potentially influence the disease course, as...
Article
Full-text available
The 3rd edition of the computational methods for the immune system function workshop has been held in San Diego, CA, in conjunction with the IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine (BIBM 2019) from November 18 to 21, 2019. The workshop has continued its growing tendency, with a total of 18 accepted papers that have been pres...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Systems Medicine is a novel approach to medicine, i.e. an interdisciplinary field that considers the human body as a system, composed of multiple parts and of complex relationships at multiple levels, and further integrated into an environment. Exploring Systems Medicine implies understanding and combining concepts coming from diametral...
Conference Paper
Cancer patients have an increased risk of severe COVID-19 infection due to the suppression of the immune system and the development of cytokine release syndrome (CRS) that favor respiratory syndromes and interstitial pneumonia. However, substantial differences exist between patients treated with chemotherapy and patients treated with immune checkpo...
Article
Full-text available
Pathophysiological mechanisms correlating diabetes mellitus with associated complications are still not completely clear, even though oxidative stress seems to play a pivotal role. Literature data suggest that cell damages induced by hyperglycemia, although multifactorial, have a common pathway in oxidative/nitrosative stress. The present study eva...
Article
Introduction A new body of evidence depicts the applications of artificial intelligence and systems biology in vaccine design and development. The combination of both approaches shall revolutionize healthcare, accelerating clinical trial processes and reducing the costs and time involved in drug research and development. Areas covered This review...
Preprint
Full-text available
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic and potentially highly disabling disease that can cause permanent damage and deterioration of the central nervous system. In Europe it is the leading cause of non-traumatic disabilities in young adults, since more than 700,000 EU people suffer from MS. Although recent studies on MS pathophysiology have been prov...
Preprint
Full-text available
SARS-CoV-2 is a severe respiratory infection that infects humans. Its outburst entitled it as a pandemic emergence. To get a grip on this, outbreak specific preventive and therapeutic interventions are urgently needed. It must be said that, until now, there are no existing vaccines for coronaviruses. To promptly and rapidly respond to pandemic even...
Article
Full-text available
As of today, 20 disease-modifying drugs (DMDs) have been approved for the treatment of relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) and, based on their efficacy, they can be grouped into moderate-efficacy DMDs and high-efficacy DMDs. The choice of the drug mostly relies on the judgment and experience of neurologists and the evaluation of the therapeutic respo...
Article
Full-text available
Historically, the evidences of safety and efficacy that companies provide to regulatory agencies as support to the request for marketing authorization of a new medical product have been produced experimentally, either in vitro or in vivo. More recently, regulatory agencies started receiving and accepting evidences obtained in silico, i.e. through m...
Chapter
Mathematical modeling and computational analyses are essential tools to understand and gain novel insights on the functioning of complex biochemical systems. In the specific case of metabolic reaction networks, which are regulated by many other intracellular processes, various challenging problems hinder the definition of compact and fully calibrat...
Article
Full-text available
Herein, we assess the gene expression changes activated in thyroid tumors through a computational approach, using the MapReduce algorithm. Through this predictive analysis, we identified the TfR1 gene as a critical mediator of thyroid tumor progression. Then, we investigated the effect of TfR1 gene silencing through small interfering RNA (siRNA) in...
Preprint
Full-text available
As of today, 20 disease modifying drugs (DMD) have been approved for the treatment of relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) and, based on their efficacy, they can be grouped into moderate-efficacy DMDs and high-efficacy DMDs. The choice of the drug mostly relies on the judgement and experience of neurologists and the evaluation of therapeutic response...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Systems Medicine is a novel approach to medicine, i.e. an interdisciplinary field that considers the human body as a system, composed of multiple parts and of complex relationships at multiple levels, and further integrated into an environment. Exploring Systems Medicine implies understanding and combining concepts coming from diametral...
Article
Full-text available
Background: In recent years, the study of immune response behaviour using bottom up approach, Agent Based Modeling (ABM), has attracted considerable efforts. The ABM approach is a very common technique in the biological domain due to high demand for a large scale analysis tools for the collection and interpretation of information to solve biologic...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Tuberculosis (TB) represents a worldwide cause of mortality (it infects one third of the world's population) affecting mostly developing countries, including India, and recently also developed ones due to the increased mobility of the world population and the evolution of different new bacterial strains capable to provoke multi-drug re...
Article
Full-text available
Background. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated inflammatory disease of the Central Nervous System (CNS) which damages the myelin sheath enveloping nerve cells thus causing severe physical disability in patients. Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) is one of the most common form of MS in adults and is characterized by a series o...
Article
Full-text available
The 2nd Computational Methods for the Immune System function Workshop has been held in Madrid in conjunction with the IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine (BIBM 2018) in Madrid, Spain, from December 3 to 6, 2018. The workshop has been obtained 100% more submissions in respect to the first edition, highlighting a growing i...
Conference Paper
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the deadliest diseases worldwide, with 1,5 million fatalities every year along with potential devastating effects on society, families and individuals. To address this alarming burden, vaccines can play a fundamental role, even though to date no fully effective TB vaccine really exists. Current treatments involve several...
Conference Paper
Intracellular biochemical reactions emerge from the interaction among multiple extracellular signaling components. Considering the number, type and connections of the signaling components represents a needed step to characterize, identify and describe potential targets for a clinical purpose. However, it is increasingly documented that the presence...
Article
Different research communities have developed various approaches to assess the credibility of predictive models. Each approach usually works well for a specific type of model, and under some epistemic conditions that are normally satisfied within that specific research domain. Some regulatory agencies recently started to consider evidences of safet...
Preprint
Full-text available
EC funded STriTuVaD project aims to test, through a phase IIb clinical trial, two of the most advanced therapeutic vaccines against tuberculosis. In parallel, we have extended the Universal Immune System Simulator to include all relevant determinants of such clinical trial, to establish its predictive accuracy against the individual patients recrui...
Preprint
Full-text available
Thyroid cancer is the commonest endocrine malignancy. Mutation in the BRAF serine/threonine kinase is the most frequent genetic alteration in thyroid cancer. Target therapy for advanced and poorly differentiated thyroid carcinomas include BRAF pathway inhibitors. Here, we evaluated the role of MAP3K8 expression as a potential driver of resistance t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the deadliest diseases worldwide, with 1,5 million fatalities every year along with potential devastating effects on society, families and individuals. To address this alarming burden, vaccines can play a fundamental role, even though to date no fully effective TB vaccine really exists. Current treatments involve several...
Preprint
Full-text available
Different research communities have developed various approaches to assess the credibility of predictive models. Each approach usually works well for a specific type of model, and under some epistemic conditions that are normally satisfied within that specific research domain. Some regulatory agencies recently started to consider evidences of safet...
Article
The pre-formulative screening for polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) manufacture is a very long and laborious process. It is essential however for the selection of the best experimental conditions. The chemical and physical properties of NPs can be affected by different factors and variables during their preparation and thus, the aim of this work is to...
Article
Full-text available
Background: DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism of genomic regulation involved in the maintenance of homeostatic balance. Dysregulation of DNA methylation status is one of the driver alterations occurring in neoplastic transformation and cancer progression. The identification of methylation hotspots associated to gene dysregulation may cont...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We present here a novel algorithm based on a MapReduce approach to facilitate the discovery of novel therapeutic targets. The proposed algorithm has been enabled to scan a set biological pathways in order to discover non-trivial (less common) routes. Such routes represent a chain of biochemical interactions among different biological actors. These...
Chapter
The computational analysis of complex biological systems can be hindered by two main factors. First, modeling the system so that it can be easily understood and analyzed by non-expert users is not always possible, especially when dealing with systems of Ordinary Differential Equations. Second, when the system is composed of hundreds or thousands of...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated inflammatory disease of the central nervous system which dam-ages the myelin sheath enveloping nerve cells causing severe physical disability in patients. Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) is one of the most common form of MS and it is characterized by a series of attacks of new or increasin...
Conference Paper
Agent Based Modelling (ABM), is an approach for modelling dynamic systems and studying complex and emergent behaviour. ABM approach is a very common technique in biological domain due to high demand for a large scale analysis tool to collect and interpret information to solve biological problems. However, simulating large scale cellular level model...
Article
Motivation: Val600Glu (V600E) mutation is the most common BRAF mutation detected in thyroid cancer. Hence, recent research efforts have been performed trying to explore several inhibitors of the V600E mutation-containing BRAF kinase as potential therapeutic options in thyroid cancer refractory to standard interventions. Among them, vemurafenib is...
Chapter
The lowering of costs of whole exome sequencing (WES) services registered in the last two years has greatly increased the demand for managing different metabolic diseases, including autism spectrum disorders (ASD). WES allows the detection of a large part of exome single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), whose expression can be in some cases modulat...