2016-2018 Two-year Master’s degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Pavia.
2013-2016 Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Pavia.
2008-2013 Secondary school diploma, classical certificate at Ugo Foscolo, Pavia.
Functional evaluation of novel TAZ regulators and assessment of their relevance in breast cancer models.
TAZ is a transcriptional coactivator belonging to the Hippo signaling pathway, regulated in a hippo-dependent and independent manner by a wide variety of signals. In physiological conditions, it is involved in tissue growth regulation and regeneration, but it has also been found to play a role in different types of tumors, including breast cancer. Indeed, TAZ levels correlate with breast cancer aggressiveness. In particular, high TAZ expression is found in high grade, less differentiated tumor subtypes and it’s a prognostic marker of poor clinical outcome. Data present in literature show that TAZ is able to control stemness properties, supporting tumor cells proliferation, migration, epithelial-mesenchymal transition and chemoresistance.
Starting from this knowledge, my working plan is to perform a series of CRISPR/Cas9-based screens to assess the relevance of potential candidate genes, previously identified in our laboratory, in supporting TAZ-dependent properties, by using both in vitro and in vivo phenotypic assays, like tumor growth, CSCs self-renewal and in vivo dissemination. My work will allow the identification of mechanisms responsible for the activation of TAZ in cancer and will offer clues on how to design targeted therapies to decommission the TAZ oncogene.