Alessandra Boletta and Matteo Iannacone Awarded ERC Advanced Grants for Groundbreaking Research

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced its 2023 Advanced Grant recipients, a recognition reserved for pioneering researchers who push the boundaries of scientific knowledge. Among this year's distinguished recipients are Dr. Alessandra Boletta and Prof. Matteo Iannacone from San Raffaele Scientific Institute, honored for their exceptional contributions to medical research.

Dr. Alessandra Boletta: Leading Advances in Cellular Communication with the “QtCilia” Project

p3lab_coverAlessandra Boletta

Alessandra Boletta

Dr. Alessandra Boletta, head of the Cystic Kidney Disorders Group, leads the innovative “QtCilia” project. This research delves into a novel biological mechanism: the communication between the primary cilium—a sensory organelle—and mitochondria, the cell’s powerhouse. With over two decades of focus on polycystic kidney disease, Dr. Boletta’s lab has made pivotal discoveries about how cilia detect external nutrient levels and relay this information to mitochondria. Published in Nature Metabolism, their recent findings have profound implications for understanding and treating ciliary diseases. The ERC grant will enable Dr. Boletta's team to further explore this intercellular communication and its impact on cellular energy management.

Dr. Boletta states: “I am both honored and delighted. This recognition is a testament to the dedication and innovation of our laboratory, including all current and past collaborators. I am immensely proud of our team's collective achievements”.

Prof. Matteo Iannacone: Pioneering Understanding of Viral Immunity with the “EUCLIDEAN” Project

p3lab_coverMatteo Iannacone

Matteo Iannacone

Matteo Iannacone, Professor of General Pathology at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University and Director of the Division of Immunology, Transplantation, and Infectious Diseases at San Raffaele Scientific Institute, spearheads the “EUCLIDEAN” project. This research aims to revolutionize our understanding of adaptive immunity in viral liver infections, particularly hepatitis B. By employing advanced imaging and molecular analysis, the project seeks to devise new strategies to modulate the immune response against HBV. Prof. Matteo Iannacone's leadership has been pivotal to his achievements and contributions to scientific research. Facilitated by an Armenise Harvard Foundation grant, his return to Italy in 2010 marked the beginning of a series of accomplishments, including securing five consecutive ERC grants. This success has helped him cultivate a legacy of mentorship and innovation. In 2023, three of his former PhD students, Marco De Giovanni, Donato Inverso, and Valeria Fumagalli, received prestigious ERC Grants in the categories of Starting, Consolidator, and Synergy, respectively. This highlights the significant role of mentorship in advancing scientific research. Dr. Iannacone expressed his deep appreciation, noting, "I am profoundly grateful to both current and past members of our laboratory for their exceptional dedication and hard work. It is through their collective efforts that we have achieved such significant results."

Institutional Excellence at San Raffaele

In 2023 alone, San Raffaele researchers secured eight ERC grants, contributing to the institution’s total of 28 since the inception of the ERC program in 2007. This achievement underscores San Raffaele's commitment to excellence in research and its role as a beacon of innovation and scientific leadership on the global stage.

Both Dr. Boletta and Dr. Iannacone express deep gratitude for the recognition and the collaborative effort of their teams. These projects not only advance scientific understanding but also pave the way for new therapeutic approaches, demonstrating the profound impact of cutting-edge research funded by the European Research Council.