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Laura Cancedda

Senior Researcher Tenured - Principal Investigator
Brain Development and Disease
Research center

Laura Cancedda graduated in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Genoa in 1999, with a thesis on the role of neurotrophic factors on neurotransmitter release. She received her Ph.D. in neurophysiology from Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa, Italy) in 2003, under the supervision of Dr. Lamberto Maffei. In Pisa, she investigated the molecular and environmental basis of experience-dependent plasticity in the rat brain. In 2003, she moved to University of California at Berkeley in Dr. Poo’s laboratory where she focused her studies on molecular mechanisms of GABAergic-transmission modulation. Starting in 2006, she has also started a collaboration on a project aimed at studying early determinants of neuronal polarization.

Currently, she holds a team-leader position at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Genoa and a scientist position at the Telethon Dulbecco Institute. Laura is also a scholar of the FENS KAVLI network of excellence. Her research focuses on the role of extracellular factors such as GABA in neurogenesis, migration and morphological maturation of cortical neurons under physiological as well as pathological conditions.

In 2021, Laura launched the start-up IAMA Therapeutics, based on her research.

Laura comes from a neurophysiological and neuropharmacological background. The techniques applied in her laboratory include, among others,in vitroelectrophysiology on brain slices and cell cultures,in vivotransfection of nucleic acids (in uteroelectroporation),in vitroandin vivopharmacology, immunohistochemistry, and confocal imaging. She also has experience in rodent behavioral testing.

Honors and Awards

2022    Founder and scientific advisor for IAMA therapeutics.

Scientific responsible and member of the steering committee for Clinical trial EudraCT 2015-005780-16 at the Bambino Gesù Hospital based on my research.

2019    Program Committee officer member for the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS)  (proposed by Italian Society for Neuroscience).

Proposed for the IBRO-Kemali Prize 2019

2018    National habilitation as full professor of Pharmacology

National habilitation as full professor of Physiology

2017- Scientific advisory board member of the Fondazione Pisana per la Scienza

2017    Selected among the best 100 young Italian scientists operating in Italy or abroad (Cartaditalia magazine)

2016    Awarded the European Research Council (ERC) consolidator grant.

The project was featured in the press release (7 projects featured out of 314 funded) for announcing the results of 2016 ERC CoG by the communication unit of the ERC.

Appointed scholar of the FENS-KAVLI network of excellence. https://fenskavlinetwork.org/ 

Young researcher award, memorial Mario Mai.

2015    Appointed assistant scientist at the Dulbecco Telethon Institute, Italy

2014    National habilitation as assistant professor of Physiology.

TRADECOM society adopted Telethon Project on Rett syndrome for communication to the lay public.

2013    Mention of honor, poster award, Convention Telethon, Italy.

Finalist at the scientific picture award “Beyond science”, Genova, Italy.

2011    Best poster award, Molecular Mechanisms in Neuroscience meeting, Rome, Italy.

2009    Young investigator award, Italian Society of Physiology (SIF), Italy.

2008    Best speaker award, Italian Society for Neuroscience (SINS), Milan, Italy.

2003    Ph.D. earned with Honors, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy.

2001    Travel award for participation to summer course “Structure, Function and Development of the Visual System”, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), U.S.A.

1999    Graduation with Honors and Distinction in Major, University of Genoa, Italy.

1997    Scholarship for extracurricular departmental activities, University of Genoa, Italy.


Title: Ph.D. Neurophysiology, Neurodevelopment
Institute: Scuola Normale Superiore (Ecole Normale Superieure)
Location: Pisa
Country: Italy
From: 2000 To: 2003

Title: MSc Med. Chemistry, Neuropharmacology
Institute: Università degli Studi di Genova
Location: Genova
Country: Italy
From: 1994 To: 1999

Experience External

Title: Assistant scientist
Institute: Dulbecco Telethon Insitute
Location: null
Country: Italy
From: 2016 To: null

Title: Post doctoral fellow (Advisor: Poo MM)
Institute: University of California
Location: Berkeley
Country: USA
From: 2003 To: 2007

Title: Graduate student (Advisor: Maffei L)
Institute: Scuola Normale Superiore
Location: Pisa
Country: Italy
From: 2000 To: 2003

Top Publications
Savardi A., Borgogno M., Narducci R., La Sala G., Ortega J.A., Summa M., Armirotti A., Bertorelli R., Contestabile A., De Vivo M., Cancedda L.
Discovery of a Small Molecule Drug Candidate for Selective NKCC1 Inhibition in Brain Disorders
Chem, vol. 6, (no. 8), pp. 2073-2096
Pinto B., Morelli G., Rastogi M., Savardi A., Fumagalli A., Petretto A., Bartolucci M., Varea E., Catelani T., Contestabile A., Perlini L.E., Cancedda L.
Rescuing Over-activated Microglia Restores Cognitive Performance in Juvenile Animals of the Dp(16) Mouse Model of Down Syndrome
Neuron, vol. 108, (no. 5), pp. 887-904.e12
Deidda G., Allegra M., Cerri C., Naskar S., Bony G., Zunino G., Bozzi Y., Caleo M., Cancedda L.
Early depolarizing GABA controls critical-period plasticity in the rat visual cortex
Nature Neuroscience, vol. 18, (no. 1), pp. 87-96
Deidda G., Parrini M., Naskar S., Bozarth I.F., Contestabile A., Cancedda L.
Reversing excitatory GABA A R signaling restores synaptic plasticity and memory in a mouse model of Down syndrome
Nature Medicine, vol. 21, (no. 4), pp. 318-326
All Publications
Ruiz Munevar M.J., Rizzi V., Portioli C., Vidossich P., Cao E., Parrinello M., Cancedda L., De Vivo M.
Cation Chloride Cotransporter NKCC1 Operates through a Rocking-Bundle Mechanism
Journal of the American Chemical Society
Article Journal
Smith J.B., Cancedda L., Jozwiak S., Mercer A.C.
Editorial: Viral vector-based gene therapy in neurological disease: The future is now
Frontiers in Neurology, vol. 14
Editorial Journal
Savardi A., Patricelli Malizia A., De Vivo M., Cancedda L., Borgogno M.
Preclinical Development of the Na-K-2Cl Co-transporter-1 (NKCC1) Inhibitor ARN23746 for the Treatment of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
ACS Pharmacology and Translational Science, vol. 6, (no. 1), pp. 1-11
Savardi A., Colombi I., Alberti M., Parrini M., Ziogas I., Borgogno M., De Vivo M., Contestabile A., Cancedda L.
Role of Intracellular Chloride Accumulation in Down Syndrome Physiopathology and Therapeutic Strategies
XXI Telethon Scientific Convention
Poster Conference
Savardi A., Borgogno M., De Vivo M., Cancedda L.
Selective NKCC1 Inhibitors for the Treatment of Drug-Resistant Epilepsy
Discussione in Epilessia Sperimentale 2
Poster Conference
Awards and Achievements
Cancedda L.
Government of Ireland – STEM Outer International Assessment Board Invitation 2024
Cancedda L.
Committee member for the promotion to Technologist position position at IIT.
Cancedda L.
Committee member of the Lejune foundation granting panel
Cancedda L.
External referee PhD Committee member at IST, Austria
Cancedda L.
External referee PhD thesis committee member at INMED
Organized Events
Cancedda L.
T21RS 2024 International Conference - Local Organizing Committee, Rome
Cancedda L.
Organizer of the meeting cation-chloride co-transporters in neurodevelopmental diseases, Marseille, France. (14-19 September 2022)
Cancedda L.
Organizing committee of the meeting T21 Research Society, meeting, Rome, Italy 2024
Cancedda L.
Collaboration (with Dr. Vicari, Bambino Gesù Hospital, Rome) on a clinical trial for the use of modulators of Cl transporters to rescue cognitive impairment in individuals with Down syndrome.
Cancedda L.
Scientific responsible and member of the steering committee for Clinical trial EudraCT 2015-005780-16 at the Bambino Gesù Hospital based on my research.