Virtual FISV Symposium on
SARS-CoV-2 Biology and COVID-19

Virtual FISV Symposium on
SARS-CoV-2 Biology and COVID-19

Current research and perspectives

16 September 2020

16 September 2020


We are pleased to announce the virtual edition of the Congress of the Italian Federation of Life Sciences (FISV) on COVID19, which will take place on September 16, 2020.

Internationally renowned scientists from Italy and abroad will present their research on six different interdisciplinary topics, including from viral evolution, life cycle and structure, virus-host cell interactions, markers of diagnosis and pathology, as well as adaptive immunity and vaccines and drug treatment approaches. Six short talks will be selected from the submitted abstracts and aligned with the topics of our invited speakers. All participants will have ample opportunity to interact with the speakers as well as with their colleagues, ensuring exchange of knowledge and ideas. Register by 4 September 2020 to save your space at the conference! Registration is free, but the overall number of participants is limited to 500.

For questions or comments, contact us at

The Organising Committee

Martino Bolognesi

Prof. Martino Bolognesi graduated in Chemistry at the University of Pavia, as Fellow of Collegio Ghislieri, and attended the Specialty School in Biochemistry at the same University. He spent postdoc training at the Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Oregon (Prof. Brian Matthews, 1976-77), and (1980-81) at the Max Planck Institut f. Biochemie, Martinsried-Munchen (Prof. Robert Huber, Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1988). Back in Italy, he was Associate Professor of Physical Biochemistry at the University of Pavia, then full Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Genova, establishing a lab at the Advanced Biotechnology Center of the local University. He moved to the University of Milano in 2005, where he is Professor of Biochemistry at the Department of Biosciences (he has been Department Director for the years 2009-2014). Martino Bolognesi’s scientific interest has constantly been focused on structural biology and the study of protein three-dimensional structure by means of X-ray diffraction. In this respect, he has been one of the leading figures for the development of protein crystallography in Italy, training and giving rise to different groups that are successfully operating in this field in the country and abroad. His research, over the years, has been focused on metallo proteins, enzymes, protein assemblies, viral proteins as drug targets, and structural vaccinology (his scientific output is summarized in about 500 peer-reviewed papers, more than 20,000 citations, h-index 70). Since 2017, Martino Bolognesi has been running a single particle cryo-EM facility (first in Italy) at the U. of Milano, where 3D structures of large macromolecular assemblies are studied based on the most recent approaches of this newly emerging biophysical technique. Prof. Bolognesi has served in several advisory committees in European scientific institutions (EMBO, EMBL, ESRF, EMBL-Hamburg, ESF, HFSP); he is EMBO member, and ‘Socio Nazionale’ of the Accademia dei Lincei (Italy).

Gennaro Ciliberto

Gennaro Ciliberto is Full Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Catanzaro “Magna Graecia” and presently Scientific Director of IRCCS National Cancer Center Regina Elena in Rome. Since January 2017 is President of FISV. Previously, in years 204-2016 has been President of the Italian Society of Bipophysics and Molecular Biology (SIBBM). In year 1988 has been elected EMBO member. Has been member of the Natuional Committee of Bioptechnology Biosafety and Life Science of the Italian Prime Minister Presidency. Is author of about 350 indexed publications and is member of the editorial board of several international journals. His nae is associated with several contributions on the field of molecular biology and immunology, vaccines and personalized theraoy of cancer.

Raffaele De Francesco

Raffaele De Francesco is a molecular virologist internationally recognized for his pioneering studies on the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and for his key contributions to antiviral drug discovery. His early work in this area was pivotal in the identification of the molecular targets of the antiviral agents that are now in use for treating and curing chronic HCV infection. In recognition of his contributions to the development of highly effective HCV antivirals, Raffaele De Francesco was awarded with the 2018 Lennart Philipson Award “for outstanding and validated contributions in translational research in human health”. His current research interest focuses on the identification of novel strategies the prevention and treatment of viral infections and diseases.

Simona di Martino

Dr Simona di Martino earned a Degree in Biological Science, Rome in October 2006 and obtained a PhD degree (International PhD program on “Stem Cells”) at the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS), Rome, Italy and at University of Catania, Catania, Italy.
Her field of study for different years has been genetic, molecular biology , cellular biology and biobanking. Dr Simona di Martino has gained great expertise in the processing, set-up and handling of primary tumor specimens and setting up primary cultures from established from solid tumors. Moreover, she is responsible for the organizational aspects of the Tissue Biobank, Department of Pathology. At BBIRE, Dr. di Martino coordinates and manages the activities of the BBIRE-Tissue executive group; the certification / quality / accreditation processes, defines the operating procedures and the quality control methods and takes care of the institutional interface of BBIRE-T with outside partners.

Federico Manuel Giorgi

Federico M. Giorgi is Group Leader of Computational Genomics at the Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology of the University of Bologna, Italy. He got his MSc in 2008 in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology from the University of Bologna, and his doctoral degree in 2011 from the Max Planck Institute in Golm, Germany, with a thesis dealing with the reverse engineering of plant transcriptional networks. From 2012 to 2013 he worked at the IGA Technology Services sequencing company in Udine, Italy, as head of computational transcriptomics. He then moved to Columbia University in New York, USA, from 2013 to 2016, where he worked as postdoctoral scientist under the supervision of Dr. Andrea Califano, working on pan-cancer gene network reconstruction. From 2016 to 2018 he worked as a senior postdoctoral scientist at the Cancer Research UK institute at Cambridge University, UK, where he developed network methods for early detection of lung cancer. After winning the competitive Montalcini grant from the Italian Government, he moved back to his alma mater in Bologna, where he currently serves as tenure-track Assistant Professor of Bioinformatics.
The goals of Prof. Giorgi’s lab are to understand gene networks in human disease, from viral pathologies to metabolic disorders to cancer, with focus on integrating transcriptomics, epigenomics and genetics. His research concentrates on developing network algorithms to enhance signal/noise ratios in single-cell transcriptomics and to identify specific resistance mechanisms in cancer cells treated with targeted and combination therapies.

Barbara Illi

(Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology, IBPM-CNR, Rome)

Barbara Illi

Since 2001, epigenetics represents dr. Illi major field of investigation. She was the first to demontrate that mechanical forces have a role in remodelling the chromatin of endothelial cells (Illi et al., Circ Res, 2003) and, through this mechanism, induce vascular differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells (Illi et al, Circ Res, 2005). Further, her experiments suggested, for the first time, that gaseous nitric oxide (NO) is an epigenetic molecule (Illi et al., 2008). From that work, a number of papers came out, indicating NO-dependent regulation of a variety of chromatin remodelling enzymes functions as a pivotal mechanism ruling biological aspects of different cell types (Colussi et al., PNAS, 2008; Colussi et al., FASEB J, 2009; Spallotta et al., Stem Cell, 2010; Rosati et al., ATVB, 2012; Spallotta et al., JBC, 2013), including cancer cells (Nanni et al., JCI 2009). At IBPM-CNR, she has translated her experience in oncology and, currently, her reasearch lines, both focused on epigenetics of glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs), are: 1. the role of the Myc oncogene post-translational modifications in GSCs biology (Mongiardi et al., Sci Rep, 2015; Galardi et al., EMBO Rep, 2016; Favia et al, Sci Rep, 2019); 2. The role of nitric oxide in modulating GSCs epigenome and tumorigenic properties.

Paolo Pinton

Dr. Pinton obtained his PhD from the University of Padua and is currently full professor of General Pathology at the University of Ferrara (Italy) and President of the Italian Society of Cell Biology and Differentiation (ABCD). Dr. Pinton has an established international recognition in the field of calcium (Ca2+) signaling and and mitochondria involvement in different physio-pathological processes. Recently, Dr. Pinton's research has focused on clarification of the mechanisms by which oncogenes and onco-suppressors modify intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis and how these signaling changes at mitochondria-associated membranes (MAMs) regulate the process of cell death under different physio-pathological conditions. Thanks also to the work from the Pinton's lab, MAMs have been identified as a critical hub in the regulation of cell death and tumor growth.

Valeria Poli

Graduated in Biological Sciences at the University of Turin, Full Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Turin and President of the Italian Society of Biophysics and Molecular Biology (SIBBM).
After postdoctoral periods at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg and Columbia University in New York, she was principal investigator at the IRBM in Pomezia, Rome, and Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow and Senior lecturer at the University of Dundee, Scotland, to  return to the University of Turin in 2001. She is an elected member of the EMBO and the Academia Aeuropea, and is currently President of the Italian Society of Biophysics and Molecular Biology (SIBBM) and member of the Steering Committee of the Italian Federation of Life Sciences (FISV).
Her scientific interests focus on the molecular analysis of the mechanisms of tumor transformation and progression and in the onset of auto-immune diseases, with particular attention to the regulation of gene expression.

Gianni Sava

Full Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Trieste 2002-2019, actually coordinator of SIF Magazine, the on-line journal of the Italian Society of Pharmacology. Past experiences include Director of the department of Biomedical Sciences (2003-2008), President of the Council of Departments at the University of Trieste (2006-2008), and the Scientific Director of the Callerio Foundation onlus (1992-2018). Scientific expertise in the in vivo and in vitro pharmacology of compounds active on metastases of solid tumors, metal-based drugs for cancer chemotherapy, and tumor microenvironment and drug response. Most recent activity: coordinator of the project “Targeting the cancer resistome to restore tumor sensitivity through novel, existing and failed drugs” (PRIN 2016-2020). 283 full-lenght papers in international, peer-reviewed journals, 14 patents. H-index 67, total citations 15,258 (updated June 2020).

Giovanna Serino

Giovanna Serino is a plant molecular biologist at Sapienza University in Rome, Italy, where she studies the role of protein degradation in a plant environment and developmental responses. She has been the scientific secretary for FISV since 2017, and has contributed to the organization of many FISV initiatives, such as the past edition of the international FISV congress as well as the very successful "FISV days" that bring together FISV scientists and high school students.


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FISV is a non-profit NGO and participation in this symposium is free of charge. If you are interested in supporting this and other similar initiatives organized by FISV, please consider making a donation through the link below. Visit the website for more information. Thank you for your support!

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Main Topics

Phylogenesis and evolution of pathogenic beta-coronaviruses (SARS, MERS and bat/pangolin wild viruses)

Viral life cycle and structural biology

Adaptive immunity and vaccines

Markers of diagnosis and pathology

Virus-host cell interactions

Therapeutic strategies


Abstract submission:
25 July 2020

Registration: 4 September 2020