Giampiero LEANZA

Professore ordinario di Fisiologia [BIO/09]
Ufficio: Ed. 2 - Viale A. Doria, 6 - 95125 Catania
Email: gpleanza@unict.it
Telefono: 095 7384036
gileanza
Orario di ricevimento: Sempre, dopo lezione o per appuntamento (telefonico o via e-mail)


Biosketch

Giampiero Leanza is Full Professor of Physiology at the University of Catania since 2017.

2000-02 Assistant Professor of Physiology, University of Trieste. Since 2001 he is board member of the PhD program in Neurobiology, and of the Basic Research And Integrative Neuroscience (B.R.A.I.N.) Centre;

2002-17 Associate Professor of Physiology, University of Trieste. From 2005 he leads the Neurogenesis and Repair Lab at the Dept. of Physiology and Pathology (later joining the Dept of Life Sciences).

2008-16 Coordinator of the International Master’s Degree in Neuroscience, University of Trieste;

2010-13 Vice-Coordinator of the PhD School in Neuroscience, University of Trieste.

2015- Board member of the PhD Program in Functional and Structural Genomics, SISSA-ISAS, Trieste

2017 Full Professor of Physiology, Dept of Drug sciences, University of Catania

Giampiero Leanza has a degree in Biology (Summa cum Laude), and a PhD in Physiology awarded by the University of Catania. He had his research training at the Universities of Catania and Bologna, at the Dept of Neurobiology, Göteborg University and the Dept. of Medical Cell Research at Lund University, Sweden. He has been been post-doc and visiting scientist at the Wallenberg Neurocentrum and Dept Clinical Neuroscience, Lund University, and Visiting Professor at the Universities of Lund and Coimbra .

He is author/co-author of about 57 papers published in peer-reviewed international journals and about 100 presentations at international or national meetings, including invited lectures.

He is referee for the following Journals: Brain Research Bulletin; Brain Research Interactive; British Journal of Pharmacology; Cell Transplantation; Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology; Developmental Brain Research; European J. of Neuroscience; Experimental Brain Research; Experimental Neurology; J. of Alzheimer’s Disease; J. of Neurochemistry; J. of Neural Transplantation and Plasticity; J. of Neuroscience Methods; J. of Neuroscience Research; Molecular Therapy, Neurobiology of Disease; Neurochemical Research, Neuroscience Letters; Neuroscience; Neuroscience Research; Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience; World Journal of Stem Cells. Associate Editor for the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and The World Journal of Stem Cells.

Expert Reviewer for projects funded by the Italian Ministry of University and Research (MIUR, PRIN and FIRB funding programmes); National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences of Georgia; European Union (programmes INTAS, FP5, FP6, FP7).

Organizer, co-organizer and presenter of a number of events at regional, national or international level, all aimed at increasing public awareness towards the Brain and at popularizing the Neurosciences among young fellows. Communication venues include public conferences, conversations in historical cafés, workshops and symposia for high school students and teachers, radio and television broadcastings, public projections of movies, all having the Brain as a subject.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

R. Pintus, M. Riggi, C. Cannarozzo, A. Valeri, G. de Leo, M. Romano, R. Gulino, G. Leanza Essential role of hippocampal noradrenaline in the regulation of spatial working memory and TDP-43 tissue pathology. J. Comparative Neurology (2018) 526, 1131-1147 

M. Coradazzi, R. Gulino, F. Fieramosca, L. Verga Falzacappa, M. Riggi, G. Leanza Selective noradrenaline depletion impairs working memory and hippocampal neurogenesis. Neurobiology of Aging (2016) 48, 93-102

H. Hall, S. Reyes, N. Landeck, C. Bye, G. Leanza, K. Double, L. Thompson, G. Halliday, D. Kirik Hippocampal Lewy pathology and cholinergic dysfunction are associated with dementia in Parkinson's disease. Brain (2014) 137, 2493-2508

H. Hall, M. Jewett, N. Landeck, N. Nilsson, U. Schagerlöf, G. Leanza, D. Kirik Characterization of cognitive deficits in rats overexpressing human alpha-synuclein in the ventral tegmental area and medial septum using recombinant adeno-associated viral vectors. PLoS One (2013) 8(5), e64844.

V. Antonini, A. Marrazzo, G. Kleiner, M. Coradazzi, S. Ronsisvalle, O. Prezzavento, G. Ronsisvalle, G. Leanza Anti-amnesic and neuroprotective actions of the sigma-1 receptor agonist (-)-MR22 in rats with selective cholinergic lesion and amyloid infusion Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (2011) 24, 569-586

M. Coradazzi, R. Gulino, S. Garozzo, G. Leanza Selective lesion of the developing central noradrenergic system: short- and long-term effects and reinnervation by noradrenergic-rich tissue grafts Journal of Neurochemistry (2010) 114, 761-771

E. Aztiria, T. Cataudella, S. Spampinato, G. Leanza Septal grafts restore cognitive abilities and amyloid precursor protein metabolism Neurobiology of Aging (2009) 30, 1614-1625

V. Antonini, O. Prezzavento, M Coradazzi, A. Marrazzo, S. Ronsisvalle, E. Arena, G. Leanza Anti-amnesic properties of (±)-PPCC, a novel sigma receptor ligand, on cognitive dysfunction induced by selective cholinergic lesion in rats Journal of Neurochemistry (2009) 109, 744-754

L. Wisman, G. Sahin, M. Maingay, G. Leanza*, D. Kirik* Functional convergence of dopaminergic and cholinergic input is critical for hippocampus-dependent working memory Journal of Neuroscience (2008) 28, 7797-7807 (*Equal contribution)

D. Sgubin, E. Aztiria, A. Perin, P. Longatti, G. Leanza Activation of endogenous neural stem cells in the adult human brain following subarachnoid haemorrhage Journal of Neuroscience Research (2007) 85, 1647-1655

P. Mohapel*, G. Leanza*, M. kokaia, and O. Lindvall Forebrain acetylcholine release regulates adult hippocampal neurogenesis and learning. Neurobiology of Aging (2005) 26, 939-946 (*Equal contribution)

ANNO ACCADEMICO 2019/2020


ANNO ACCADEMICO 2018/2019

Research Activity

The research program coordinated by Giampiero Leanza is focused on: (a) mechanisms underlying cognitive and/or sensorimotor deficits and their modeling in rodents; (b) survival, development, differentiation and functional integration of neuronal precursors grafted to animal models of neurodegeneration; (c) monoaminergic modulation of hippocampal neurogenesis and cognitive abilities.

Research work employs a combination of anatomical, behavioural, neurochemical, cellular, molecular and imaging approaches. Thus, the laboratory is endowed with facilities for stereotaxic microsurgery to adult and developing rodents, analysis of cognitive and sensory-motor behaviors (Morris’ and Radial Arm Water Maze, Rota-Rod, Open Field etc), histo- and immunohistochemistry, bright and fluorescence microscopy, stereological analyses, cell culture and PCR. All the activities are organized in several main lines of research, listed below:

Ongoing projects

Neurotransmitter interactions in the genesis of cognitive disturbances and histopathological alterations in neurodegenerative diseases

Previous findings of Cholinergic, Dopaminergic, and Noradrenergic neuron loss in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or Parkinson’s (PD), indicate both these pathological conditions as multi-system disorders, particularly as far as cognitive dysfunction (leading to overt dementia) is involved.

Studies carried out in the Neurogenesis and Repair lab (also conducted in close collaboration with colleagues at the University of Lund, Sweden) are presently ongoing to confirm and extend previously published (also own) findings in both rat and humans. Thus, the relative contribution of either transmitter system (alone or concurrently) in the development of cognitive deficits (in AD models) or non-motor symptoms (in PD models), as well as in the occurrence of histopathological alterations (e.g. amyloid, tau, TDP-43 or alpha-synuclein overexpression) in relevant brain areas are being investigated following selective ablation of   discrete neuronal populations. The results are expected to improve the understanding of disease mechanisms, and to help the design of adequate therapeutic strategies, such as those involving the use of newly developed, non-commercial neuroactive compounds (e.g. sigma receptor agonists), to be tested in the adopted models.

Functional analysis of human umbilical cord stem cells and their suitability for implantation in rodent models of central and peripheral neural dysfunction

The therapeutic use of cell protection/replacement strategies for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases originates from the unmet needs defined by the clinicians, and is today a much debated, high-expectation issue. Certainly, however, the identification of ethically sustainable, qualitatively/quantitatively plausible, sources of implantable cells to be tested in a reliable pre-clinical setting, is of paramount importance. Within such framework, the Neurogenesis and Repair Lab contributes with experimental work investigating in vitro features such as survival, development, and differentiation of stem cells and neural precursors from various sources, as well as their integration and functional capacity following transplantation. Ongoing studies are centered on two major endpoints, both with a high traslational relevance: (i) the possibility to improve the anatomical and functional reconstruction of the severed peripheral nerve (so far seen relatively weak and slow) by functionalized nerve tubulization using growth factor-releasing human umbilical mesenchymal stem cells (HUMSCs), and (ii) the disease-modifying potential of HUMSCs following implantation in transgenic mice recapitulating the dynamics of motoneuron degeneration and motor impairments seen in patients suffering     from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Noradrenergic modulation of hippocampal neurogenesis and cognitive abilities in the rat.

A severe noradrenergic depletion is known to occur in the neocortical and hippocampal areas of AD and PD patients, where it exceeds cholinergic and dopaminergic loss, respectively. However, studies on the functional role of the ascending noradrenergic system in the regulation of cognitive functions have so far been hampered by the  lack of reliable tools to selectively lesion these neurons. Owing to the recent introduction of a noradrenergic immunotoxin, the lab has started an extensive characterization of its efficiency and selectivity, investigating the anatomical, neurochemical and functional effects of its administration to developing and adult rats. In the early studies, the immunotoxin proved to be an excellent tool to address issues of spontaneous reinnervation of partially deafferented territories, as well as the potential of transplanted noradrenergic neuron progenitors to remarkably reinstate noradrenergic innervation and neurotransmission in sub-totally denervated spinal territories. Ongoing studies investigate the noradrenergic (and/or the combined noradrenergic-cholinergic) regulation of hippocampal neurogenesis and hippocampus-dependent cognitive abilities. The restorative effects of implanted noradrenergic (or noradrenergic-cholinergic)-rich neural progenitors upon these events are being investigated as well.

Giampiero Leanza has been organizer, co-organizer and presenter of a number of events at regional, national or international level, all aimed at increasing public awareness towards the Brain and at popularizing the Neurosciences among young fellows. Communication venues include public conferences, conversations in historical cafés, workshops and symposia for high school students and teachers, radio and television broadcastings, public projections of movies, all having the Brain as a subject. Giampiero Leanza is member of the European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB). In such capacity, he shares the committment towards the advancement of public awareness and education about the importance and benefits of brain research (more info at http://www.dana.org/About/EDAB/)

17/06/2019
Avviso differimento esame Fisiologia

Per sopravvenuti impegni scientifici del docente, l'esame di Fisiologia del 28 giugno viene spostato al 2 luglio. Il docente si scusa dell'eventuale disagio.

17/06/2019
Avviso di spostamento esame Fisiologia

Per impegni scientifici del docente, l'esame di Fisiologia del 25 giugno è spostato al primo luglio, sempre alle ore 9. Informazioni sulla sede dell'esame verranno fornite in seguito. Il docente si scusa dell'eventuale disagio.

17/06/2019
Avviso di spostamento esame Fisiologia

Per impegni scientifici del docente, l'esame di Fisiologia del 25 giugno è spostato al primo luglio, sempre alle ore 9. Informazioni sulla sede dell'esame verranno fornite in seguito. Il docente si scusa dell'eventuale disagio.

14/05/2019
Variazione orario d'inizio esami

Per concomitanti impegni didattici del docente, gli esami di Fisiologia del 16 maggio p.v. inizieranno alle ore 11.00 anziché alle ore 9.00.

14/05/2019
Variazione orario inizio esami

Per concomitanti impegni didattici del docente, gli esami di Fisiologia del 16 maggio p.v. inizieranno alle ore 11.00 anziché alle ore 9.00.

16/04/2019
Comunicazione differimento esami

Per concomitanti eventi istituzionali che sospendono le attività nei giorni 26 aprile e 10 maggio pp.vv. si è reso necessario spostare al 16 maggio i relativi appelli del C.I. di Anatomia e Fisiologia. Gli esami si terranno nell'auletta del seminterrato a partire dalle ore 9. I prenotati all'appello del 26 aprile non dovranno fare nulla. Gli studenti che prevedevano di sostenere esami il 10 maggio (riservati ai fuori corso), si iscriveranno direttamente all'appello del 16 maggio che verrà istituito a breve sul sito. Ci scusiamo per l'inconveniente.

28/09/2018
INIZIO LEZIONI FISIOLOGIA CdL CTF

SI COMUNICA CHE LE LEZIONI DI FISIOLOGIA PER GLI STUDENTI DEL 3° ANNO DEL CdL IN CTF INIZIERANNO MARTEDI 16 OTTOBRE 2018, CON IL SEGUENTE CALENDARIO: MARTEDI 17-19 (AULA E), GIOVEDI 13-16 (AULA G)