Name: Margherita Maffei
DTI position: Associate Telethon Scientist
Research field: Energy homeostasis regulation (crosstalk center/periphery) & Obesity and related complications.
Hosting Institute: University Hospital of Pisa, Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Projects funded: click here
I graduated in Biological Sciences in 1989 at the University of Pisa. Part of my molecular Biology training was conducted in Cortese’s lab at EMBL (Heidelberg). I got my Ph.D degree at the University of Florence in 1993. I next joined the group headed by JM Friedman at the Rockefeller University (RU, NYC, USA), where I participated to the identification of the leptin gene. Leptin, secreted by white adipose tissue (WAT), signals the status of energy stores to the hypothalamus and is considered the main player in the regulation of energy homeostasis. While at RU, I characterized leptin regulation, contributed to assess its bioactivity and performed the first mutation screening in human obese subjects. Upon my return to Italy, I started a collaboration with the dept. of Endocrinology and Metabolism of Pisa, where I established (2000) my DTI laboratory, focusing on the search for molecules that were differentially regulated in the WAT of obese versus normal subjects. Among other genes, my group identified the inflammatory marker haptoglobin, characterized its regulation and function in WAT, thus contributing to elucidate the relationship between obesity and inflammation, presently thought to be a determinant for the onset of obesity associated complications. Leptin has always been a topic of interest in my lab and my group recently established that lifestyle is a critical determinant for leptin sensitivity. Studies regarding the mechanisms underlying this observation are in progress in the lab.
Mainardi M, Scabia G, Vottari T, Santini F, Pinchera A, Maffei L, Pizzorusso T, Maffei M, “A sensitive period for environmental regulation of eating behavior and leptin sensitivity”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2010; 107: 16673-8.
Maffei M, Funicello M, Vottari T, Gamucci O, Costa M, Lisi S, Viegi A, Ciampi O, Bardi G, Vitti P, Pinchera A, Santini F, “The obesity and inflammatory marker haptoglobin attracts monocytes via interaction with chemokine (C-C motif) receptor 2 (CCR2)”. BMC Biology 2009; 7: 87.
Funicello M, Novelli M, Ragni M, Vottari T, Cocuzza C, Soriano-Lopez J, Chiellini C, Boschi F, Marzola P, Masiello P, Saftig P, Santini F, St-Jacques R, Desmarais S, Morin N, Mancini J, Percival MD, Pinchera A, Maffei M, “Cathepsin K Null Mice Show Reduced Adiposity during the Rapid Accumulation of Fat Stores”. PLoS ONE 2007; 2: e683.
Chiellini C, Santini F, Marsili A, Berti P, Bertacca A, Pelosini C, Scartabelli G, Pardini E, López-Soriano J, Centoni R, Ciccarone AM, Benzi L, Vitti P, Del Prato S, Pinchera A, Maffei M, “Serum haptoglobin: a novel marker of adiposity in humans”. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2004; 89 (6): 2678-83.
Chiellini C, Bertacca A, Novelli SE, Görgün CZ, Ciccarone AM, Giordano A, Xu H, Soukas A, Costa M, Gandini D, Dimitri R, Bottone P, Cecchetti P, Pardini E, Perego L, Navalesi R, Folli F, Benzi L, Cinti S, Friedman JM, Hotamisligil GS, Maffei M, “Obesity modulates the expression of Haptoglobin in the White Adipose Tissue via TNFα”. J Cell Physiol 2002; 190: 251-258. LINK
Ravussin E, Pratley R, Maffei M, Wang H, Friedman JM, Bennet P, Bogardus C, “Relatively Low Plasma Leptin Concentrations precede Weight Gain in Pima Indians”. Nature Medicine 1997; 3: 238-240.
Maffei M, Stoffel M, Barone M, Moon B, Ravussin E, Bogardus C, Ludwig D, Flier J, Talley M, Auerbach S, Friedman JF, “Abscence of Mutations in the Human Ob Gene in Obese/Diabetic Subjects”. Diabetes 1996; 45 (5): 679-682.
Maffei M, Halaas J, Ravussin E, Pratley RE, Kim S, Lallone R, Ranganathan S, Kern P, Friedman JM, “Leptin levels in Human and Rodent: Measurement of Plasma Leptin and ob RNA in Obese and Weight Reduced Subjects”. Nature Medicine 1995; 1: 1155-1161.
Halaas JL, Gajiwala KS, Maffei M, Cohen SL, Chait BT, Rabinowitz D, Lallone RL, Burley SK, Friedman JM Weight, “Reducing Effects of the Plasma Protein Encoded by the obese Gene”. Science 1995; 269: 543-546.
Zhang Y, Proenca R, Maffei M, Barone M, Leopold L, Friedman J, “Positional Cloning of the mouse obese gene and its human homologue”. Nature 1994; 372: 425-432.
Silvia Bettocchi (Undergraduate Student), firstname.lastname@example.org
Olimpia Gamucci (Ph.D Student), email@example.com
Simonetta Lisi (Post-doc Fellow), firstname.lastname@example.org
Matilde Marchi (Post-doc Fellow), email@example.com
Caterina Pelosini (Ph.D Student), firstname.lastname@example.org
Gaia Scabia (Post Graduate Fellow), email@example.com