National Research Council of Italy

Institute of Biosciences and BioResources

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Elia Di Schiavi

Role: Senior Researcher
Section: Researchers and Technologists
Division: Naples
Tel: (39) 081-6132365

Personal Info

Nationality: Italian
Sex: Male

Professional Address:
Istituto di Bioscienze e Biorisorse - Sezione di Napoli
Via P. Castellino 111
I-80131 Napoli (Italy)

Position: Senior Researcher

Main Research Interests

Our group uses the impressive experimental advantages offered by the nematode animal model C. elegans to approach a variety of fundamental biological questions. A major focus of our research is to understand how nervous systems develop, function and react and survive to various insults (a). We also use C. elegans as a model to study in vivo the function played by genes relevant for human health (b) and as a tool in biotechnology (c); these areas are, however, largely interconnected and overlapping in terms of techniques, results, funding and collaborations.

a) C.elegans nervous system is simple and easy to study and to manipulate genetically, but its development and function is remarkably conserved. We have been interested, for example, in avoidance behavior, which is triggered when animals encounter noxious, toxic or repellent stimuli, either produced by plants (e.g. quinine) or by bacteria (e.g from different habitats or pathogenic).

b) We have exploited the extensive conservation of the structure and function of genes and of entire pathways from invertebrates to mammals to study genes whose homologs in humans are involved in diseases.

c) The 1mm size and the 3 days life cycle make C. elegans very attractive as a tool in various biotechnology projects.

- C. elegans is a free living nematode but represents an important model for parasitic ones. We have been interested in finding new targets for the control of plant parasitic nematodes and to set up animal models for screening and validation of new nematocides.

- We are using the disease models we developed to identify and/or validate new molecules capable of slowing down the progression of diseases (e.g Spinal Muscular Atrophy) and to identify chemicals and food contaminants with neurotoxic effects (e.g patulin, chlorpyrifos).


Selected Publications

(full list available at CNR People)

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