Prof. Maria Rescigno
Full Professor of General Pathology
Full Professor of General Pathology, Humanitas University
Deputy Rector with responsibility for research, Humanitas University
Group Leader Mucosal immunology and microbiota Unit – Humanitas Research Hospital
Academic Background and Education
Maria Rescigno graduated in Biology in 1990 at the University of Milan.
From 1991 to 1994 she worked at the University of Cambridge, UK, in the Department of Biochemistry, as a visiting scholar. From 1995 to 1999, she worked at the National Research Council of Milan where she received her PhD in Pharmacology and toxicology in 1999.
From 1999 to 2001 she worked at the University of Milano-Bicocca where she specialized in Applied Biotechnology.
From 2001 to 2017 she was the director of the Dendritic cell biology and immunotherapy Unit at the Department of Experimental Oncology at the European Institute of oncology. She authored more than 130 publications.
In 2008-2013 she was visiting professor at the University of Oslo.
In 2016 Maria Rescigno founded Postbiotica a microbiota start-up.
Scientific and Research Interests
The lab major field of interest is mucosal immunology and in particular the interaction between host and microbes at mucosal sites. She was the first to show that dendritic cells actively participate to bacterial uptake in the gut, and that the local microenvironment dictates immune homeostasis. She also discovered the existence in the intestine of a vascular barrier that resembles the blood brain barrier and that restrains bacteria from entering the blood stream and disseminate systemically. Another field of interest is the development of new cancer immunotherapy strategies based on bacteria as immunostimulators. She has shown that bacteria can drive the establishment of gap junctions between tumor cells and immune cells for an efficient priming of anti-tumor immunity. She also developed tumor-specific bacteria that act as intelligent missiles to kill only tumor cells.