“Host-microbe interactions in the gut”, Maria Rescigno, Humanitas University, Milan, Italy

Speaker: Maria Rescigno, Humanitas University, Milan, Italy

Host: Martin Resnik Docampo, BioMed X


The microbiota is emerging as an important environmental factor influencing several functions of our body. Many disorders have been associated to a disequilibrium of the microbiota that is called dysbiosis., these include not only gut disorders as inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer, but also systemic disorders like type II diabetes and even neurodegenerative disorders. How does dysbiosis impact on our life? Changes in microbiota composition result also in changes of their metabolic outputs with clear effects on our body’s health. One major effect is a modification of the mucosal barrier permeability which can affect the development of several disorders in the gut liver axis. In particular we have observed the effect of diet on the microbiota and the capacity to interfere with barrier permeability in the context of Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and type II diabetes.

About Maria

Maria Rescigno is full professor, vice-rector and delegate to research at Humanitas University and group leader at Humanitas Research hospital, Milan. She 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 has been the director of the Dendritic cell biology and immunotherapy Unit at the Department of Experimental Oncology at the European Institute of oncology. She was the first to show that dendritic cells actively participate to bacterial uptake in the gut and the existence of a gut vascular barrier that resembles the blood brain barrier. Her major field of interest is mucosal immunology, the microbiota and the development of new cancer immunotherapy strategies. She authored more than 150 publications in high impact journals including Science, Nature Immunol, Immunity, J. Exp. Med., Science TM. She was nominated EMBO young investigator in 2007. In 2008-2013 she was visiting professor at the University of Oslo. In 2011 Maria Rescigno won the Avon prize as ‘Woman symbol of the city of Milan’ and was elected EMBO member. She has been the recipient of three ERC grants (starting, proof-of-concept and consolidator). From 2019 she is member of the EMBO council. She seats in the technical and scientific board of several charities (AIRC, L’Oreal) and in different companies (Gelesis, MillBo, SiFi).

In 2016 Maria Rescigno has founded Postbiotica s.r.l. a spin-off of the University of Milan that exploits microbiota-derived metabolites as new pharmaceutical agents. In 2017 Postbiotica has won two competitions: Bioupper (Italy) and MyStart BCN (Spain). H-index: 55