Maria Pennuto

Maria Pennuto
Associate Professor,Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, Italy.


I got the Master in Science degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy, in 1996. During my experimental thesis work, I studied the mechanisms of transcriptional regulation of the nerve growth factor-induced vgf gene (Mentor: Dr S. Nasi). In 2000, I got the PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Milan, Italy. During the PhD program, I studied the molecular mechanisms that regulate the interaction and sorting of the synaptic vesicle proteins (Mentor: Prof. F. Valtorta). In between 2001-2004, I carried out a post-doctorate in the Lab of Dr L. Wrabetz at the S. Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, where I worked on the characterization of the pathogenetic mechanisms of neurodegeneration of a mouse model of Charcot-Marie-Tooth 1B neuropathy. In 2005, I obtained a visiting post-doctorate position at the NINDS, National Institutes of Health, Maryland, USA (2005-2008) (Mentor: Dr K. Fischbeck), followed by a staff scientist position at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA (2008-2009) (Mentor Dr J.P. Taylor), where I studied the molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration in polyglutamine diseases. In 2009 I came back to Italy as Group Leader at the Italian Institute of Technology, Genoa, where I headed a research group focused on neurodegenerative diseases. In 2013 I obtained a position of Assistant Professor and Associate Professor at the University of Trento, Italy. Since 2017, I obtained a position of Associate Professor at the University of Padova, Department of Biomedical Sciences. My lab is interested in dissecting the molecular mechanisms of disease pathogenesis in neurodegenerative diseases, including polyglutamine diseases and motor neuron diseases. We investigate how post-translational modifications of disease-related proteins impact neuronal homeostasis, and we use this information for therapy development. Moreover, we aim at elucidating the contribution of peripheral tissues, such skeletal muscle, to the process of neurodegeneration.

Research Interest

Biological Sciences, Mol and Cell Biology, Neuroscience Genetics.