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.
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.
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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.
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