Personal Information: Telephone: 0332-39.76.10
Laboratory of General Pathology and Immunology – Department of Biotechnology and Life Sciences (DBSV)
Place and date of birth: Genova, Italy, 31/12/1968
05/1999 Ph.D. Immunology, University of Paris 7, Paris, France (with honors)
07/1997 Specialization in Allergology and Clinical Immunology, University of Medicine, Genova, Italy (50/50 with honors)
1994 Qualifying examination for Professional Biologist (Esame di Stato)
04/1993 to 04/1994 Training Biologist for Professional Activity, Genova, Italy
03/1993 Laurea degree in Biological Sciences (108/110), University of Science, Genova, Italy
04/2002 European Doctor in Biotechnology (HEduBT)
05/1999 Prize Roche, XXVIIth National Conference of Italian Society of Immunology (SI), Udine, Italy, June 16-18, 1999
11/1997 Prize Associazione Nazionale per la Lotta contro l’AIDS (ANLAIDS), XVth National Congress of Italian Society of Immunology and Immunopathology, Genova, Italy
Dr. Mortara obtained his Biological Sciences degree at University of Genoa in 1993, were he also obtained the post-graduate title of Specialist in Allergology and Clinical Immunology in 1997. He followed a Doctorate course (Molecular Biology and Biochemistry) in Paris at University of Paris 7 – Denis Diderot, were he obtained a Ph.D. in Immunology in 1999.
He studied in vitro human T helper CD4+ repertoire from peripheral blood against epitope peptides of HTLV-I virus in seronegative individuals. Subsequently he performed in vitro analyses on HIV-specific T helper repertoire from peripheral blood in HIV positive and negative individuals. Also he studied the whole T lymphocytic response at peptide level in HIV-infected individuals against Candida albicans.
From 1995 to the end of 1999 he was doctoral fellow at the Institut Cochin de Génétique Moléculaire, in Paris, Laboratoire d’Immunologie des Pathologies Infectieuses et Tumorales, directed by Dr. J.G. Guillet, working on the evaluation of the immune response of rhesus macaques after lipopeptides immunization using Nef and Gag sequences of SIV, as preclinical assays of human anti-HIV vaccines. Importantly, he described for the first time the selection of virus variants and emergence of virus SIV escape mutants after immunization with an epitope vaccine in macaques.
In February 2002 he returned to Paris as post-doc at the Institut Pasteur, Unité de Biologie des Rétrovirus (now Unité de Régulation des Infecitons Rétrovirales), in the group of Dr. M.C. Müller-Trutwin, directed by Prof. F. Barré-Sinoussi (Nobel Prize for Medicine 2008). In this year he collaborated also with Institut Pasteur of Dakar, Senegal, working on immunological and virological correlates of protection against AIDS in African green monkeys (AGM) infected by SIVagm, animal model of non progression of lentiviral disease.
In April 2002 he obtained the European Doctorate in Biotechnology from the European Association for Higher Education in Biotechnology, and in November 2002 he was appointed as Researcher at the University of Insubria (Varese - IT), Medical School, in the Laboratory of Immunology and General Pathology, Department of Biological and Clinical Sciences.
Further, in 2011 and to date he joined the Laboratory of General Pathology and Immunology, Department of Biotechnology and Life Sciences (DBSV), University of Insubria. From 2010 to date he was appointed as Assistant Professor (Professore Aggregato).
Subsequently, his research activities were focused on basic and translational tumor immunology, and particularly evaluating innovative strategies of tumor vaccination and immunotherapy. Within this line of research he is studying in different tumor murine models the tumor-specific CD4+ T helper response and the CD8+ T response after different types of immunizations or therapeutic approaches, in particular with cytokines such as IL-12- and IL-15-engineered murine tumor cells, naked IL-12 cytokine DNA, or using mouse (m)TNF-a, targeted to tumor vasculature by the anti-ED-B fibronectin domain antibody, L19(scFv), combined with melphalan (Balza E et al., Eur. J. Immunol, 2017).
At the present his investigations are focused on human tumor angiogenesis and phenotype and function of innate immune cells in the tumor microenvironment, in particular natural killer cells and their different cell subsets in different human cancers (non-small cell lung cancer, NSCLC, colorectal cancers, ovarian cancers, and malignant pleural effusions).