Phone: 732-932-9611, ext. 261
Ph.D., University of Naples, 1996
Professional Summary/CV [.PDF]
Department of Food Science, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, New Brunswick; Rutgers
Areas of Interest
Vitamin A and Carotenoids Metabolism and Their Effects on Human Health
Metabolism and Biochemistry of Nutrients.
Memberships and Professional Service
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ); International Carotenoid Society.
Grants, Honors, and Awards
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA-CSREES), "Vitamin A during pregnancy: the physiology of its delivery to the fetus," 2006-2008; Best Overall Poster Award, International Research Conference on Food, Nutrition and Cancer, Washington, DC, July 13-14, 2006; Rutgers University’s nominee for the Searle Scholar Program, 2005; American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR), "Vitamin A deficiency and prostate cancer," 2004-2006; Research fellowship, Italian Association of Cancer Research (AIRC), 1991-1992.
Academic Interests and Plans
My research focuses on understanding the metabolism of fat-soluble vitamins and its influence on human health, at different stages of the life cycle. By taking advantage of genetically modified animal models, my laboratory is primarily interested in the metabolism of vitamin A and beta-carotene, the main vitamin A precursor in the human diet. Vitamin A is essential to maintain vision, reproduction, development and immune function. Furthermore, retinoids (vitamin A and its derivatives) are known to modulate cell growth, differentiation and apoptosis. Alterations of vitamin A metabolism have been associated with human diseases as diverse as retinal dystrophies, cancer, type 2 diabetes and the Matthew Wood Syndrome. Moreover, dietary deficiency of vitamin A (VAD) is a serious widespread problem affecting more that 750 million people worldwide. Even a mild VAD status may increase maternal mortality or affect organogenesis in the fetus, inducing clinically silent anomalies that can have a severe impact on health later in life. Currently, specific fields of research in my laboratory include: 1. Maternal-fetal transfer of vitamin A and carotenoids, and regulation of retinoid homeostasis during embryogenesis; 2. Interference between vitamin A and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) metabolism; and 3. Vitamin A signaling in the prostate epithelium.