• Press Release

Alessia Baccarini, PhD, receives the Paola Campese Award from the Italian Scientists and Scholars Foundation

The award acknowledges young Italian investigators working in North America, whose research is innovative and impactful.

  • New York, NY
  • (December 10, 2012)

Alessia Baccarini, PhD, Instructor in the Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, was awarded the Paola Campese Award at a ceremony at the Italian Embassy in Washington, D.C. on October 25th. The honor is given by the Italian Scientists and Scholars Foundation (ISSNAF) to acknowledge young Italian investigators working in North America, whose research is innovative and impactful. https://www.issnaf.org/paola-campese-award-laureate.html.

Dr. Baccarini also received the prestigious Italian Presidential Medal on behalf of the Italian President, Giorgio Napolitano from the Italian Ambassador to the United States, his honor Claudio Bisogniero, at the award ceremony. Dr. Baccarini was selected from more than 150 scientists from all over North America in disciplines ranging from biomedical engineering to astrophysics to present her work at the ISSNAF Annual Meeting. The foundation was started in 2008 by world renowned Italian scientists including the Nobel laureates Renato Dulbecco, Mario Capecchi and Riccardo Giacconi.

The Paola Campese Award was presented to Dr. Baccarini in recognition of her work on the development of broadly applicable new technologies for studying microRNA biology. MicroRNAs are a newly discovered class of regulatory RNAs that regulate large networks of genes and play a major role in almost every cellular function. MicroRNAs have been strongly implicated in a number of diseases, including cancer and viral infection.

"We are proud of Dr. Baccarini’s accomplishments and grateful she received this outstanding recognition from the Italian Scientists and Scholars Foundation," said Dr. Eric Schadt, Director of the Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology, Chair of the Department of Genetics and Genomics Sciences and the Jean C. and James W. Crystal Professor of Genomics at Mount Sinai. "Her research has revealed novel insights into the regulatory roles of microRNAs that will not only apply to all cancers such as leukemia, but to all diseases.”

Dr. Baccarini and her colleagues in the Brown Lab at Mount Sinai (http://research.mssm.edu/brownlab/Brown_Lab/Home.html) generated a novel library of microRNA decoys and microRNA sensors, enabling the activity and function of hundreds of microRNAs to be determined simultaneously within a cell. In collaboration with MD/PhD student Gavriel Mullokandov and postdoctoral fellow Albert Ruzo, also in the Brown Lab, Dr. Baccarini used these libraries to demonstrate that microRNAs must reach a threshold concentration to gain regulatory function. This seminal discovery has far-reaching implications for our understanding of microRNA biology, as it indicates that as much as 60 percent of the microRNAs within a cell have little regulatory capacity. Dr. Baccarini and team also found that this new approach offers the potential to discover microRNAs that control cancer cell proliferation, drug resistance, and susceptibility to viral infection.

Dr. Baccarini received her doctorate degree in biotechnology from the University 'La Sapienza' of Rome. She was promoted to the position of Instructor at Mount Sinai in 2011.

About The Mount Sinai Medical Center

The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses both The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Established in 1968, Mount Sinai School of Medicine is one of the leading medical schools in the United States. The Medical School is noted for innovation in education, biomedical research, clinical care delivery, and local and global community service. It has more than 3,400 faculty in 32 departments and 14 research institutes, and ranks among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and by U.S. News & World Report.

The Mount Sinai Hospital, founded in 1852, is a 1,171-bed tertiary- and quaternary-care teaching facility and one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. In 2012, U.S. News & World Report ranked The Mount Sinai Hospital 14th on its elite Honor Roll of the nation’s top hospitals based on reputation, safety, and other patient-care factors. Of the top 20 hospitals in the United States, Mount Sinai is one of 12 integrated academic medical centers whose medical school ranks among the top 20 in NIH funding and by U.S. News & World Report and whose hospital is on the U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll.Nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients last year, and approximately 560,000 outpatient visits took place.

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About the Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest integrated delivery system encompassing seven hospital campuses, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai's vision is to produce the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation.

The System includes approximately 7,100 primary and specialty care physicians; 10 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. The Icahn School of Medicine is one of 3 medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools", aligned with a U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" Hospital, No. 13 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding, and among the top 10 most innovative research institutions as ranked by the journal Nature in its Nature Innovation Index. This reflects a special level of excellence in education, clinical practice, and research. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 18 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of top U.S. hospitals; it is one of the nation's top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Nephrology, and Neurology/Neurosurgery, and in the top 50 in four other specialties in the 2017-2018 "Best Hospitals" issue. Mount Sinai's Kravis Children's Hospital also is ranked in six out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 12th nationally for Ophthalmology and 50th for Ear, Nose, and Throat, while Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's and Mount Sinai West are ranked regionally.

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