PROJECT
SUPERVISORS

Project Supervisor

Antonio Casini

Background

I studied Biology at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, the most prestigious school of excellence in Italy, and at the University of Pisa. During my Master, I additionally had the opportunity to do part of my thesis research at the ICGEB in Trieste. I subsequently moved to the University of Trento for my PhD in Biomolecular Sciences where I initially focused on the study of HIV-1 integration in the cell genome and then, immediately after the first description of the use of CRISPR in gene editing, on the development of novel and improved CRISPR tools for their application in gene therapy.

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Since I have always been fascinated by the applications of biotechnology to human health, this was for me a real opportunity. Thus, after finishing my PhD, together with other colleagues, I founded Alia Therapeutics, which was launched to exploit CRISPR technologies, I helped to co-develop, and bring them to the clinic. Since 2019 I am full-time CTO of the company, where I am tackling the new challenge of complementing my scientific abilities with the entrepreneurial skills needed to drive the research activities of the company.

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Publications

Pedrazzoli E, Bianchi A, Umbach A, Amistadi S, Brusson M, Frati G, Ciciani M, Badowska KA, Arosio D, Miccio A, Cereseto A, Casini A. (2023) An optimized SpCas9 high-fidelity variant for direct protein delivery. Mol Ther , in press.

Ciciani M, Demozzi M, Pedrazzoli E, Visentin E, Pezzè L, Signorini LF, Blanco-Miguez A, Zolfo M, Asnicar F, Casini A, Cereseto A, Segata N. (2022) Automated identification of sequence-tailored Cas9 proteins using massive metagenomic data. Nat commun 13(1), 6474.

Casini, A., Olivieri, M., Petris, G., Montagna, C., Reginato, G., Maule, G., Lorenzin, F., Prandi, D., Romanel, A., Demichelis, F., Inga, A., Cereseto, A. (2018). A highly specific SpCas9 variant is identified by in vivo screening in yeast. Nature biotechnology, 36(3), 265.

Montagna, C., Petris, G., Casini, A., Maule, G., Franceschini, G. M., Zanella, I., Conti, L, Arnoldi, F., Burrone OR, Zentilin L., Zacchigna S., Giacca M.,  Cereseto, A. (2018). VSV-G-enveloped vesicles for traceless delivery of CRISPR-Cas9. Molecular Therapy-Nucleic Acids, 12, 453-462.

Maule, G., Casini, A., Montagna, C., Ramalho, A. S., De Boeck, K., Debyser, Z., ... & Cereseto, A. (2019). Allele specific repair of splicing mutations in cystic fibrosis through AsCas12a genome editing. Nature communications, 10(1), 1-11. 10.1038/s41467-019-11454-9