Neural Repair - Coordinator: Laura Calzà

We study the self-repair capabilities of the Central Nervous System starting from stem cells and endogenous precursors in neurodegenerative diseases and injuries and their enhancement through Advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs), physical energies.

Research themes

  1. Experimental neurological diseases and injuries. 2. Rare diseases with a prevalent neurological phenotype. 3. Complex cell systems based on stem cells for testing innovative therapeutic solutions.

1.  Experimental neurological diseases and injuries. A. Risk cofactors in Azheimer's disease. The sporadic form of Alzheimer's dementia is recognized as a multifactorial disease with a very long presymptomatic phase. Our group studies physiological and pathological factors, which, in the preclinical phase of the disease, can modify its natural history, both by accelerating it and slowing it down, starting from the constitution and stability of the cognitive reserve. B. Neonatal encephalopathy: white matter protection. Hypoxic-ischemic suffering during childbirth, as well as severely preterm birth and low birth weight are factors that can lead to severe sensory-sensory, locomotor and cognitive disability. Our group studies the effect of hypoxia on stem cells and endogenous precursors which in this phase of development guarantee the completion of neurogenesis and the start of myelination, and possible therapeutic strategies to limit the damage. C. Spinal cord injury. Contusive spinal cord injury causes severe motor and sensory disabilities, and is considered an "orphan condition" due to the absence of therapies other than surgical stabilization of the vertebral segments and rehabilitation. Our group develops and tests in animal models therapies based on drugs, biomaterials, physical energies, to obtain a reduction of "secondary degeneration", the control of scar formation, promote remyelination and promote the "pruning" of residual axons, favoring therefore a better functional outcome.

2. Rare diseases with a prevalent neurological phenotype. Our group, starting from its experience in the analysis of the neurological phenotype from birth to adulthood and in collaboration with national and international research laboratories, is characterizing new models of transgenic mice and testing gene, enzyme replacement and dietary therapies for numerous gene diseases (Alport, Pompe, AGU, CDKL5, spastic paraparesis, chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction, etc.).

3. Complex cell systems based on stem cells for testing innovative therapeutic solutions. Starting from a consolidated experience in the isolation and in vitro study of embryonic and neural stem cells, we develop complex and three-dimensional cell culture systems, including biomaterials and microfluidics systems (organ-on-chip). These systems are mainly used for screening the biological effects of drugs and chemicals, and analyzed using cell-based high content analysis technologies.

Lab members

Laura Calzà, Full Professor

Marco Sanna, researcher at Fondazione IRET

Roberta Torricella, researcher at Fondazione IRET

Valentina Burato, researcher at Fondazione IRET

Maura Cescatti, researcher at Fondazione IRET

Marco Gusciglio, researcher at TMR


Job openings or internship projects

2 on the above reseach themes

Main publications

  1. Baldassarro VA, Stanzani A, Giardino L, Calzà L, Lorenzini L Neuroprotection e neuroregeneration: roles for the white matter. Neural Regeneration Research, 2022, 17:2379-2380 – IF: 6.058
  2. Baldassarro VA, Sanna M, Bighinati A, Sannia M, Gusciglio M, Giardino L, Lorenzini L and Calzà L. A time-course study of the expression level of synaptic plasticity-associated genes in un-lesioned spinal cord and brain areas in a rat model of spinal cord injury: a bioinformatic approach. IJMS, 2021, 22:8606-8629,  doi: 10.3390/ijms22168606 - IF: 6.208
  3. Bighinati A, Khalajzeyqami Z., Baldassarro VA, Lorenzini L, Cescatti M, Moretti M, Giardino L, Calzà L. Time-Course Changes of Extracellular Matrix Encoding Genes Expression Level in the Spinal Cord Following Contusion Injury—A Data-Driven Approach. IJMS, 2021, 22: 1744-1764 – IF: 6.208
  4. Baldassarro A., Marchesini A., Giardino L., Calzà L. Differential effects of glucose deprivation on the survival of fetal versus adult NSC-derived OPCs. Glia, 2020, 68:898-917 - IF: 8.073
  5. Borjini N, Sivilia S, Giuliani A, Fernandez M, Giardino L, Facchinetti F, Calzà L. Potential biomarkers for neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration at short and long term after neonatal hypoxic-ischemic insult in rat.  J. Neuroinflammation, 2019, 16:194 – IF: 9.589


  • Laura Calzà

    Full Professor

    CIRI-SDV and Fabit, University of Bologna Fondazione IRET ONLUS - Tecnopolo di Bologna

    Via Tolara di Sopra 41/E 40064 Ozzano Emilia (Bologna) Italy

    Tel: +39 051 798776

    Fax: +39 051 799673

    Skype: laura.calza