Colnaghi Luca Ricercatore a tempo determinatoMedicineBIO/09 – Fisiologia




Dr. Colnaghi moved to the United States after graduating in Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics to pursue a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from New York University. Here, he began to study the proteins of the ubiquitin family, fundamental regulators of cellular biological processes. He then continued his education with a post-doc in neuroscience at Columbia University, where he studied the molecular mechanisms of memory and how they can be modified by ubiquitin and other proteins of the same family. Now, using approaches from computational biology, cell biology, molecular biology, neuroscience and physiology, he studies the role of the ubiquitin family in the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease, a complex neurological condition characterized by the loss of synapses and brain neurons. Dr. Colnaghi has published in international scientific journals such as Neuron, Molecular Cell, Blood, Science Advances and Cell Reports and is the recipient of national and international grants.

2012:  Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology, New York University, USA
2007:  Master degree in Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics, University of Milan, Italy


Research appointments:
2021 – present: Assistant Professor (BIO/09) – Vita-Salute San Raffaele University

2020 – 2021: Head of unit: “Biological regulation” – Mario Negri Institute, Milan, Italy

2019-2020: Research scientist – Mario Negri Institute, Milan, Italy

2016-2018: Scientist, Plico Biotech, New York, USA
2012-2015: Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Laboratory of Eric Kandel, Department of Neuroscience, Columbia University, New York, USA


Teaching appointments:
October 2021 – present: Assistant Professor (BIO/09), Vita-Salute San Raffaele University

2019 – 2021: Adjunct Professor in Human Anatomy for the degree in “Chemical safety and Toxicological Environmental Sciences”, Milan University

Honors and awards:
BrightFocus Award 2019

(Nov. 2021)


  1. Marchetti C, Vaglietti S, Rizzo F, Di Nardo G, Colnaghi L, Ghirardi M, Fiumara F – Heptad stereotypy, S/Q layering, and remote origin of the SARS-CoV-2 fusion core – Virus Evolution - VEVOLU-2021-095.R1 - In press  2021
  2. Conz A, Musi CA, Russo L, Borsello T, Colnaghi L – Super-resolution study of PIAS SUMO E3-ligases in hippocampal and cortical neurons – European Journal of Histochemistry 65, 2021, DOI: 10.4081/ejh.2021.3241
  3. Colnaghi L, Rondelli D, Muzi-Falconi M, Sertic S - Tau and DNA Damage in Neurodegeneration. Brain Sciences 10 (12), 2020 946 DOI: 10.3390/brainsci10120946
  4. Russo L, Natale C, Conz A, Kelk J, Restelli E, Chiesa E, Salmona M, Fioriti L and Colnaghi L - Super-resolution imaging of synaptic proteins in primary neurons – JoVE. Manuscript ID: JoVE61434. 2020 October. DOI: 10.3791/61434
  5. Colnaghi L, Conz A, Russo L, Musi CA, Fioriti L, Borsello T and Salmona M - Neuronal Localization of SENP Proteins with Super Resolution Microscopy –Brain Sciences. October 2020. DOI: 10.3390/brainsci10110778    
  6. Drisaldi B, Colnaghi L, Levine A, Huang YY, Snyder A, Metzger D, Theis M, Kandel D, Kandel ER^ and Fioriti L - Cytoplasmic Polyadenylation Element Binding proteins CPEB1 and CPEB3 regulate the translation of FosB and are required for maintaining addiction-like behaviors induced by cocaine – Front. Cell. Neurosci. 2020. DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2020.00207.   
  7. Colnaghi L, Russo L, Natale C, Restelli E, Cagnotto A, Salmona M, Chiesa R, Fioriti L - Super Resolution Microscopy of SUMO proteins in neurons – Front. Cell. Neurosci. 2019 November. DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2019.00486
  8. Griffin Jr EA, Melas PA, Zhou1 R, Li Y, Mercado P, Kempadoo KA, Stephenson S, Colnaghi L, Taylor K, Hu MC, Kandel ER and Kandel DB - Prior alcohol use enhances vulnerability to compulsive cocaine self-administration by promoting degradation of HDAC4 and HDAC5 – Science Advances. 2017 November. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1701682
  9. Colnaghi L, Clemenza K, Groleau SE, Weiss S, Snyder AM, Lopez-Rosas M, Levine AA - Social involvement modulates the response to novel and adverse life events (stimuli) in mice – PLoS One. 2016. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0163077.     
  10. Fioriti L, Myers C, Huang YY, Li X, Trifilieff P, Colnaghi L, Drisaldi B and Kandel ER - The Persistence of Memory in the Hippocampus Require Protein Synthesis mediated by the prion-like Protein CPEB3 – Neuron. 2015 June. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.05.021
  11. Drisaldi B, Colnaghi L, Fioriti L, Rao N, Myers C, Snyder AM, Tarasoff J, Konstantinov E, Fraser P, Manley JL and Kandel ER- SUMOylation is an Inhibitory Constraint that Regulates the Aggregation and Activity of the Functional Prion CPEB3 – Cell Reports. 2015 June. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.04.061    
  12. Chen YH, Jones MJK, Yin Y, Crist SB, Colnaghi L, Sims III RJ, Rothenberg E, Jallepalli PV and Huang TT - Phosphorylation-mediated monoubiquitination of FANCI uncouples dormant origin firing from replication stress response –Mol Cell. 2015 June. DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2015.02.031       
  13. Piatkov KI, Colnaghi L, Bekes M, Varshavsky A and Huang TT – The auto-generated fragment of the Usp1 deubiquitylase is a physiological substrate of the N-End rule pathway – Mol Cell. 2012 September. DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2012.10.012 
  14. Jones MJK, Colnaghi L and Huang TT - Dysregulation of DNA polymerase κ recruitment to replication forks results in genomic instability – EMBO. 2011 December. DOI: 10.1038/emboj.2011.457
  15. Colnaghi L, Jones MJK, Cotto-Rios XM, Schindler D, Hanenberg H, Huang TT - Patient derived C-terminal mutation of FANCI causes protein mislocalization and reveals putative EDGE motif function in DNA repair – Blood. 2010 October. DOI: 10.1182/blood-2010-07-295758         

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