Predictive toxicology & Pharmacogenomics (ToxPharmO Lab). Coordinator: Hrelia

The research is aimed at studying the main risk factors associated with the development of chronic degenerative diseases, such as cancer and unresolved nervous system diseases, and at identifying new therapeutic strategies for prevention and treatment


Research themes 

The main focus is the development of innovative experimental models for the study of drugs and xenobiotics able to modulate cellular and molecular well as  the identification of new potential biomarkers (genetic and epigenetic) of prognosis and clinical response in patients affected by chronic-degenerative diseases,  

The research philosophy is a multidisciplinary approach on the following research topics: 

Identification of polyfunctional bioactive compounds with neuroprotective, chemopreventive and antitumor action 

Identification of compounds of natural and synthetic origin, with potential neuroprotective, chemopreventive, and / or antitumor activity, and definition of their mechanism of action at cellular and molecular level. Particular emphasis is given to the study of these mechanisms in both in vivo and in vitro models (primary cultures, cancer cell lines and samples from patients) in terms of cell toxicity, induction of apoptosis, modulation of cell proliferation and cell cycle progression. These studies offer the opportunity to identify new molecule and new molecular targets at the basis of neurodegeneration and carcinogenesis, for a multifunctional therapeutic strategy, able of counteracting the onset and / or progression of these diseases. 

Identification of biomarkers of susceptibility and response to therapy in chronic degenerative diseases 

Identification of genetic and epigenetic biomarkers of disease susceptibility (carcinogenesis and neurodegeneration) associated with xenobiotics exposure, including drugs, and response to therapy. In this context, the current interest is focused on the pharmacogenetic (mutations, genetic polymorphisms) and pharmacoepigenetic (non-coding RNA, including miRNA and lncRNA) approaches to treatment optimization, and improve patients’ stratification. Of particular interest is the development of new biomarkers genetic and epigenetic, tissue and circulating markers, of disease prognosis, prediction of response and toxicity to pharmacological agents. 

Toxicity induced by drugs and environmental xenobiotics 

Evaluation of the alteration of critical molecular and cellular events related to chronic degenerative diseases (carcinogenesis and neurodegeneration) induced by drugs and xenobiotics present in food and in the environment. The aim is the identification of the chain of events responsible for the effect (Adverse Outcome Pathways).  

Lab members

Professors and assistant professors

Prof.ssa Patrizia Hrelia (PI) 

Prof.ssa Sabrina Angelini 

Prof.ssa Fabiana Morroni 

Dott.ssa Monia Lenzi, 

Dott.ssa Gloria Ravegnini 

Research fellows: 

Dott.ssa Giulia Sita 

Dott.ssa Agnese Graziosi 

PhD students

Dott.ssa Sofia Gasperini, 

Dott. Aldo Di Vito 

Dott.ssa Francesca Gorini 

Dott.ssa Camilla Corrieri  

Internship projects

Possibility to endorse experimental theses for undergraduates. 

Internships for graduates or PhD students who want to implement their doctoral project thanks to an internship at our laboratories. PostDoc and researchers do not hesitate to contact us for collaborations and / or internships 

Main publications

Ravegnini G et al,. Identification of miR-499a-5p as a Potential Novel Biomarker for Risk Stratification in Endometrial Cancer. Front. Oncol., In Press 2021  

Ravegnini G, et al,. The rs17084733 variant in the KIT 3' UTR disrupts a miR-221/222 binding site in gastrointestinal stromal tumour: a sponge-like mechanism conferring disease susceptibility. Epigenetics, 2019 Jun;14(6):545-557. 

Morroni F et al,. PQM130, a Novel Feruloyl-Donepezil Hybrid Compound, Effectively Ameliorates the Cognitive Impairments and Pathology in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease, Front Pharmacol 2019. 10.3389/fphar.2019.00658 

Sita G, Graziosi A, et al., Sulforaphane Causes Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis in Human Glioblastoma U87MG and U373MG Cell Lines under Hypoxic Conditions, Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021. 

Lenzi M, Antimutagenic and Chemopreventive Properties of 6-(Methylsulfinyl) Hexyl Isothiocyanate on TK6 Human Cells by Flow Cytometry. Front Pharmacol. 2020