The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Experimental Therapeutics
Dr. Bertilaccio is Assistant Professor in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics, co-Leader of the CLL Moon Shot program at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She obtained a Ph.D. Degree in Molecular Medicine/Immunology from San Raffaele University in Milan, where she investigated novel therapeutic strategies based on the combination of chemotherapy and dendritic cell-based immunotherapy in prostate cancer. During the past years she focused her scientific interests on translational research and she contributed to develop novel mouse models of lymphoid malignancies, to identify significant mechanisms of cancer pathogenesis, to exploit innate and adaptive immunity for innovative therapeutic strategies in solid and lymphoid tumors, to design novel therapeutic strategies for lymphoid malignancies with a special focus on chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common leukemia in the Western world.
Dr. Bertilaccio’s recent teamwork on trabectedin and its immunomodulatory activity has led to the first clinical trial with trabectedin in CLL at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Chronic Lymphocytic leukemia is a chronic B-cell neoplasia characterized by pro-tumor immune dysregulation involving the non-malignant cells of the microenvironment, including T lymphocytes and tumor-associated myeloid cells. Although numerous therapeutic agents have improved treatment options for CLL, many patients still fail to respond; they also show severe immunosuppression features.
Dr. Bertilaccio’s laboratory research focuses on investigating mechanisms of immunosuppression and on novel therapeutic strategies aimed at repairing immune dysfunction in patients with B cell malignancies.
Students rotating in Dr. Bertilaccio’s lab would explore the fascinating dynamics of innate and adaptive immune cells in:
- Transgenic mouse models
- Patient-derived and xenograft mouse systems
- In vitro cellular studies
Students would achieve skills in a number of advanced techniques of immunology, cell and molecular biology research including multi-color flow cytometry, fluorescence-activated cell sorting, transcriptional analysis, etc.
Education & Training
PhD, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, 2008