Carla Falugi

Carla Falugi, full professor since 2002, leads the Laboratory of Experimental Embryology. Her research, since 1970, regards the functions of signal molecules, belonging to the cholinergic neurotransmitter system, and their receptors in regulation of cell-to-cell and cell-environment communication driving differentiation (induction, ion flux, membrane depolarisation etc.) during early developmental stages, from fertilisation. The model mainly used for this basic study has been represented by marine invertebrates, and in particular embryonic and larval development of sea urchin up to metamorphosis and juvenile stages. This model has been found very sensitive to environment interaction. The second model used for studying embryonic development is the chick embryo, whose developmental plan is similar to the mammalian one, and has the advantage to develop besides the maternal organism. In the latest years, the interst on neurogenesis and neural functioning was carried out by the use of two human in vitro models: the NTERA2 cells (classic and well known neurogenic model)able to differentiate towards cholinergic neurons and olygodendrocyte co-culture, and preadipocyte from lipoaspirate primary cultures, appropriately differentiated towards hMADS (human Multipotent Adipose-Derived Stem cells), and their commitment to neurons, astrocytes and myocytes. These two models offer a tool system to investigate cell differentiation/functioning in a manner pertinent to embryogenesis, that also retain interactions between glial cells and neurons. Based on this experience in basic research since 1987 she has undergone a study on the effects of xenobiotics, able to interact in the correct reception of signal molecules, in order to establish the effects of these substances on correct embryonic development and cell differentiation and at the same time to select alternative models to be used for laboratory use instead of vertebrates. International exchanges and cooperation: 1966- During University studies she joined a group of field researchers on the Fjord of Loonevag, lead by Prof. C. Godske, Bergen University (Norway) (the related publication was supported by the European Council. 1983- Laboratory of Histology and embryology of CNSR et du College de France in Paris, Nogent sur Marne, guest of Prof. N.M. Le Douarin, in order to learn techniques of organotypic cultures of embryonic structures. 1985- Oncology Laboratory of Southampton General Hospital, University of Southampton, faculty of Medicine (UK), invited by Prof. David Garrod, in order to carry on her research on the role of cell-to-cell communication mediated by the cholinergic system during limb bud differentiation. - From 1986 to 1993 she worked several times in the Laboratory of Anatomy and Embryology of Tübingen University (Germany), directed by Prof. U. Drews, in order to exchange experience of experimental embryology in the frame of a research on the role of cholinergic molecules on development of invertebrates (sea urchin P. Lividus) and vertebrates (Chick embryo) exposed to punctiform and continuous application of agonist and antagonist drugs of acetylcholine membrane receptors. -April 1994 the cooperation was prosecuted through co-workers, sent to the same Laboratory for their formation and prosecution of the research. - 1994-1996: In the frame of Erasmus and Comett projects, a cooperation was established with the Laboratory of Villefranche sur mer directed by Prof. L. Fenaux on the effects of neuroactive drugs on echinoderm development and metamorphosis, with the aim to carry on formation of students and Ph.D. students about receptorial mechanisms responsible for differentiation and growth. -2001- Cooperation with Dept of Physiological sciences, Medical School, Newcastle University (Prof. Michael J. Whitaker, documented by national and international meeting communications and a publication in extenso (Cell Calcium, 2002) 2003- 2005 Coordinator of an FP5 project, supported by the European Community, involving 5 laboratories of Italy, Germany, Hungary and UK (SENS-PESTI QLK4-CT-2002-02264).The scientific results and related publications can be found in the site: www.biologia.unige.it/falugi/senspesti.html Activity of peer reviewing for international and national journals since the years 70s Activity of evaluation of international and national projects: -2003: evaluation of PRIN proposals -June 1999-september 2002: expert evaluator of European Projects in the frame of the Program ENERGY and SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT. Her results have been cited by other authors in International journals, and her research lines were reported in the GENERAL EMBRYOLOGICAL INFORMATION SERVICE, International directory of current research in Developmental Biology Vol. 18, part I. Europe (Last volume, 1979) Issued by the Hubrecht Laboratory on behalf of the General Embryological Information Service Foundation, Utrecht RESPONSIBLE for RESEARCH PROJECTS: - 1983 to 1999: leading person of an Operative Unit supported by MPI (following, MURST, 60%) for a research titled: REGULATION OF INTERCELLULAR COMMUNICATION IN EMRYONIC DEVELOPMENT. - 1987 to 1996: leading person of an Operative Unit of a project supported by MPI (then MURST, 40%), titled IMMUNO-, HISTOCHEMICAL STUDY OF EMBRYOS, in the frame of the National Project titled Metodi Biochimici-Immunocitochimici in Sistemi Biologici, coordinated by prof. M. Camatini. - 1995 to 1997: Co-responsible for the scientific part of a Contract between the Ligurian Regional Administration, and University of Genoa/ National Institute for Cancer Research (IST) titled: EFFETTI BIOLOGICI DI FITOFARMACI NEUROTOSSICI. Advancement of the research: 100%. -1998 to 2001: Coordinator of a project supported by ICRAM on the biological effects of the Haven oil Spill on the health of fish inhabiting Mar Ligure close to Savona Coast. Advancement of the work: 100%. -2001-2003 up to date: responsible of Task A2 in WP1 of project MEMOBIOMAR, (= Molecular methods for the analysis of areas at risk in southern Mediterranean, law 408) supported by MURST-CE. -2003-2005 up to date: Coordinator of the European FP5 project SENS-PESTI, QLK4-CT-2002-02264: Tissue Engineering of living biosensors to evaluate risks for health by pesticides affecting the cholinergic neurotransmitter system: the goal was successfully got, and the biosensors are operative.

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