Research areas and methodologies

The Microscopic and Ultrastructural Anatomy Research Unit studies the microscopic, ultrastructural and molecular aspects associated with conditions of homeostasis and pathological alterations of cells, tissues and organs, especially with regard to chronic-degenerative and neoplastic conditions of the digestive, hematopoietic and nervous systems with particular attention to the mechanisms of organ fibrosis. Projects studying organ-specific fibrosis are:

  • Study of molecular mediators, gene expression patterns and progression factors of liver fibrosis during chronic liver disease in pre-clinical models and patients.
  • Study of alterations in the differentiation/proliferation of bone marrow progenitor cells associated with mutation of the GATA1 gene to identify new treatments for myeloproliferative disorders such as human myelofibrosis.
  • Study of histomorphological and cellular alterations in the pathobiology of myelofibrosis
  • Study of alterations in myelin architecture and components of neuro-inflammation in the context of chronic-degenerative disorders of the nervous system.

The areas of study on fibrosis in the context of different organ systems involve animal models and experimental systems shared within a general project that brings together all researchers from the Research Unit on the Pathogenesis of Organ Fibrosis. This project aims to use the potential generated by sharing the results obtained on animal models to complete knowledge on dedicated patient groups through the application of the most modern latest generation histological-molecular investigation techniques. The objective is to clarify the molecular mechanisms that determine the onset of fibrosis in different organs in order to identify, with a side-by-side approach, common pathways and molecular targets to be used for innovative therapeutic strategies.

Projects of the Research Unit that do not directly involve organ fibrosis are:

  • Study of the role of the FMRP protein (Fragile
  • Study of new pathogenetic mechanisms for neurodegenerative diseases and in particular for diseases determined by alpha-synuclein and known as alpha-synucleinopathies which involve reactive modifications of glia associated with tissue remodeling and functional alterations at the brain level and associated organ systems .

The methods used consist of morphological analysis techniques of cells and tissues such as:
Structural, ultrastructural and molecular analysis by optical, fluorescence and transmission electron microscopy by means of histochemical, immunohistochemical, immunofluorescence and immunogold techniques
Morphometric analysis using image analysis systems and software
Molecular and cellular biology.
Analysis of RNA and protein expression levels using Q-PCR approaches, nanostring and western blotsing.
Study of the regulation of mRNA translation and stability in cellular or tissue systems

Collaborations with other Research Centers

National collaborations

  • Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), Rome, Italy
  • Department of Anatomical, Histological, Medico-Legal and Locomotor System Sciences, “Sapienza” University of Rome
  • Luca Richeldi, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario “A. Gemelli” IRCCS, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome
  • CEMAR - Respiratory Disease Center at the Agostino Gemelli IRCSS University Polyclinic Foundation in Rome
  • Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences, University of Bologna, Ozzano dell'Emilia (Bologna)
    Stefano Nava, IRCCS Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Bologna, Respiratory and Critical Care Unit, Bologna 40138, Italy and Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna 40138, Italy
  • Alessandro M Vannucchi, CRIMM, Research and Innovation Center for Myeloproliferative Diseases
  • Careggi University Hospital, University of Florence
  • Elena Masselli and Marco Vitale....University of Parma
  • University of Rome Tor Vergata

International collaborations

  • John A. Stamatoyannopoulos, Altius Institute for Biomedical Sciences, Seattle, WA, USA
  • John Crispino, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA
  • Ronald Hoffman, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA
  • John Mascarenhas, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA
  • Thalia Papayannopoulou, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA,
  • Ross Levine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY
  • Prof. Matias Avila, Center for Applied Medical Research (CIMA), Gene Therapy & Hepatology,
  • University of Navarra, Pamplona, ​​Spain
  • KU-Leuven and VIB, Leuven, Belgium
  • Prof. Mariagrazia Spillantini, The University of Cambridge, UK
  • Prof. Claudia Bagni, University of Lausanne, Switzerland


  • 2020 International Patent WO2019/171326 A1: Use of an anti-P-selectin antibody. Applicant: Novartis. Inventor: Anna Rita Migliaccio
  • 2006 patent A61K38/15 (2006.01), Use of Aplidin, an inhibitor of p27Kip1, a protein upregulated in the hematopoietic stem cells from myelofibrosis patients for the treatment of myelofibrosis. Inventor: Anna Rita Migliaccio
  • 2004 USA patent no: 6960473 “In vitro mass production of cells from blood” Inventor: Anna Rita Migliaccio
  • 2003 Canadian patent no. 2462404 “Amplification of human T cells from human cord blood in serum deprived culture stimulated with stem cell factor, interleukin-7 and interleukin-2” Inventor: Anna Rita Migliaccio
  • Patent no. 102020000011977 - Method for carrying out in vitro molecular diagnosis of ovarian cancer and kit. Francesca Zalfa


  • Il Laboratory of Microscopic and Ultrastructural Anatomy and achievement Laboratory of Morphology and Translational Onco-Hematology have the necessary equipment to process and prepare tissue and cellular samples for microscopic and ultrastructural analysis and have the appropriate equipment to carry out optical, confocal and electronic microscopy analyzes as well as to carry out molecular biology analyzes at both protein and expression levels gene.

Prof. Migliaccio's team in particular develops scientific projects on the pathobiology of primary myelofibrosis within research projects financed by National Cancer Institute (USA) and by AIRC (Italy).

The teams of Prof. Carotti and Prof. Migliaccio carry out intense translational research in Transfusion Medicine using pre-clinical animal models within programs financed by Dompè Farmaceutics