Gianpiero Di Leva

Dr Gianpiero Di Leva

Lecturer in Biomedical Science

Office Times

9.00am - 5.00pm


I started my research training as an undergraduate student in Italy at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, where I worked as volunteer for two years in Dr. Bozzoni laboratory learning about RNA and its multiple functions and extraordinary plasticity. I graduated cum laude in 2004 and with the support of the Italia-USA Program Fellowship, I moved to USA to join Dr. Croce laboratory where I completed in 2009 my PhD, based both at University of Ferrara and Ohio State University., In Dr. Carlo M. Croce’s laboratory, I had the opportunity to see how simple biomolecular ideas and experimental approaches can acquire a therapeutic dimension and a bedside perspective. During this time, I acquired an interest in the role of small non-coding RNAs and their involvement in cancer by showing how they reprogramme gene expression to confer proliferative advantage to cancer cells and induce resistance to therapeutic agents. In 2014, I decided to move with my family to Manchester where I joined Dr. Richard Marais group at CRUK-Manchester Institute and had the opportunity to work in drug discovery for the development of new drugs targeting cancer stem cells. Last December, I started my position at Salford as Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences. I will focus on my long-standing interest in exploring the molecular roles of non-coding RNAs in determining cell fate changes and gene regulation. I really believe that discovering how non-coding RNAs regulate gene expression will improve our understanding of development and disease and it will allow the development of novel therapeutic strategies

Research Interests

Non-coding RNAs, Cancer, Hypoxia,  

Qualifications and Memberships

MS in Pharmaceutical Chemistry (Universita di Roma “La Sapienza”)

PhD in Pharmacology and Molecular Oncology at (Universita’ di Ferrara Italy)

Member of the EACR

Member of the RNA Society



  1. Di Leva G, Piovan C, Cheung G, Fassan M, Taccioli C, Briskin D, Kumar A, Patel Krishna,Volinia S, Coppola V, Nuovo J, Michela G, Croce C. Genetic loss of miR-222/221 clusterimpairs metastatic spread of breast cancer. In preparation.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG conceived the project, designed and performed the experiments.


  1. Di Leva G, Cheung D, Ciomei M, Croce C. Targeting CDKs with the new multi-kinase CDK inhibitor PHA-848125 in estrogen receptor negative breast cancer. Recently submitted to Cancer Discovery.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG conceived the project, designed and performed the experiments.



  1. Drusco A, Nuovo GJ, Zanesi N, Di Leva G, Pichiorri F, Volinia S, Fernandez C, Antenucci A,Costinean S, Bottoni A, Rosito IA, Liu CG, Burch A, Acunzo M, Pekarsky Y, Alder H, CiardiA, Croce CM, MicroRNA profiles discriminate among colon cancer metastasis. PLoS One. 2014; 9:e96670.

CONTRIBUTION: DLG participated in tumour specimen selection for expression profile studies.


  1. Volinia S, Nuovo G, Drusco A, Costinean S, Abujarour R, Desponts C, Garofalo M, Baffa R, Aeqilan R, Maharry K, Sana ME, Di Leva G, Gasparini P, Dama P, Marchesini J, Galasso M, Manfrini M, Zerbinati C, Corrà F, Wise T, Wojcik SE, Previati M, Pichiorri F, Zanesi N, Alder H, Palatini J, Huebner KF, Shapiro CL, Negrini M, Vecchione A, Rosenberg AL, Croce CM, Garzon R, Pluripotent stem cell miRNAs and metastasis in invasive breast cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014; 106: pii: dju324.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG assisted in miRNA validation studies.


  1. Folcik VA, Garofalo M, Coleman J, Donegan JJ, Rabbani E, Suster S, Nuovo A, Magro CM, Di Leva G, Nuovo GJ, Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is strongly associated with productive infection by herpesvirus saimiri. Mod Pathol. 2014; 27:851-62.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG helped in the design of validation studies.


  1. Garofalo M, Jeon YJ, Nuovo GJ, Middleton J, Secchiero P, Joshi P, Alder H, Nazaryan N, Di Leva G, Romano G, Crawford M, Nana-Sinkam P, Croce CM, MiR-34a/c-Dependent PDGFR-α/β Downregulation Inhibits Tumorigenesis and Enhances TRAIL-Induced Apoptosis in Lung Cancer. PLoS One. 2013; 8:e67581.

CONTRIBUTION: DLG performed cloning for luciferase assay experiments.


  1. Di Leva G*, Piovan C*, Gasparini P, Ngankeu A, Taccioli C, Briskin D, Cheung DC, Bolon B, Anderlucci L, Alder H, Nuovo G, Li M, Iorio MV, Galasso M, Ramasamy S, Marcucci G, Perrotti D, Powell KA, Brasatz A, Garofalo M, Nephew KP, and Croce CM. Estrogen mediated-activation of miR-191/425 cluster modulates tumorigenicity of breast cancer cells depending on Estrogen Receptor status. PloS Genetics. 2013; 9:e1003311.

*these authors contributed equally to this work.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG conceived the project, designed and performed the experiments. Wrote the manuscript with oversight from CMC.


  1. Romano G, Acunzo M, Garofalo M, Di Leva G, Cascione L, Zanca C, Bolon B, Condorelli G, Croce CM. MiR-494 is regulated by ERK1/2 and modulates TRAIL-induced apoptosis in non-small-cell lung cancer through BIM down-regulation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2012; 109:16570-5.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG performed the in vivo experiments.


  1. Piovan C, Palmieri D, Di Leva G, Braccioli L, Casalini P, Nuovo G, Tortoreto M, Sasso M, Plantamura I, Triulzi T, Taccioli C, Tagliabue E, Iorio MV, Croce CM. Oncosuppressive role of p53-induced miR-205 in triple negative breast cancer. Mol Oncol. 2012; 6:458-72.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG tutored PC during her PhD; DLG performed the cloning experiments.

  1. Garofalo M*, Romano G*, Di Leva G*, Nuovo G, Jeon YJ, Ngankeu A, Sun J, Lovat F, Alder H,, Condorelli M, Jeffrey A Engelman, Mayumi Ono, Jin Kyung Rho, Volinia S, Nephew KP, Croce CM. EGFR and MET receptor tyrosine kinases induce tumorigenesis and gefitinib resistance in lung cancer by controlling microRNA expression. Nature Medicine. 2010;18:74-82.

*these authors contributed equally to this work.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG performed the in vivo experiments, EMT characterisation, prepared figures and co-wrote the manuscript.


  1. Rao X, Di Leva G, Li M, Fang F, Hartman-Frey C, Burow ME, Croce CM, and Nephew KP. MicroRNA-221/222 cluster confers breast cancer fulvestrant resistance by regulating multiple pathway activities. Oncogene. 2010; 30:1082-97.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG performed the knockdown experiments.


  1. Pichiorri F, Suh SS, Rocci A, De Luca L, Taccioli C, Santhanam R, Zhou W, Benson DM Jr, Hofmainster C, Alder H, Garofalo M, Di Leva G, Volinia S, Lin HJ, Perrotti D, Kuehl M, Aqeilan RI, Palumbo A, Croce CM. Down-regulation of p53-inducible microRNAs 192, 194 and 215 impairs p53/HDM2 auto-regulatory loop in multiple myeloma development. Cancer Cell. 2010; 18:367-81.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG helped with cloning strategy and techniques.


  1. Nuovo GJ, Wu X, Volinia S, Yan F, Di Leva G, Chin N Nicol AF, Jiang J, Otterson G, Schmittgen TD, Croce CM. Strong inverse correlation between microRNA-125b and human papillomavirus DNA in productive infection. Diagn Mol Pathol. 2010; 19:135-43.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG performed northern and western blot experiments.


  1. Volinia S, Galasso M, Tagliavini L, Gamberoni G, Drusco A, Marchesini J, Mascellani N, Sana ME, Abu Jarour R, Desponts C, Teitell M, Baffa R, Aqeilan R, Nickoloff B, Taccioli C, Garzon R, Di Leva G, Fabbri M, Catozzi M, Previati M, Ambs S, Palumbo T, Harris CC, Visone R, Pekarsky Y, Pichiorri F, Zanesi N, Calin G, Liu CG, Palatini J, Negrini M, Vecchione A, Rosenberg A & Croce CM. Reprogramming of miRNA networks in cancer and leukemia. Genome Research. 2010; 20:589-99.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG processed samples for array experiments.


  1. Di Leva G, Gasparini P, Piovan C, Ngankeu A, Garofalo M, Taccioli T, Iorio MV, Li M, Volinia S, Alder H, Nakamura T, Nuovo G, Liu Y, Nephew KP, Croce CM. 2010, MicroRNA cluster 221/222 and estrogen receptor alpha interactions in breast cancer. Journal of National Cancer Institute. 2010; 102:706-21.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG conceived the project, designed and performed the experiments and wrote the manuscript with oversight from CMC.


  1. Garofalo M, Di Leva G, Romano G, Nuovo G, Sung SS, Ngankeu A, Taccioli C, Secchiero P, Alder H, Gasparini P, Costinean S, Acunzo M, Condorelli G and Croce CM. miR221&222 enhance tumorigenesis and induce TRAIL resistance by enhancing PTEN and TIMPP3 tumor-suppressors. Cancer Cell. 2009; 16:498-509.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG performed the in vivo experiments.


  1. Levati L, Alvino E, Pagani E, Arcelli D, Caporaso P, Bondanza S, Di Leva G, Ferracin M, Volinia S, Bonmassar E, Croce CM and D’Atri S. Deregulation of Selected MicroRNA Genes in Melanoma: the Potential Role of miR-155 in the Negative Control of Cell Growth and Survival. International Journal of Oncology. 2009; 35:393-400.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG processed the samples for array experiments.


  1. Iorio M, Casalini P, Piovan C, Di Leva G, Merlo A, Triulzi T, Menard S, Croce MC, Tagliabue E. 2009, miR205 regulates HER3 in breast cancer. Cancer Research. 2009; 69:2195-200.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG performed the drug sensitivity study.


  1. Trapasso F, Pichiorri F, Gaspari M, Palumbo T, Aqeilan RI, Gaudio E, Okumura H, Iuliano R, Di Leva G, Birk DE, Raso C, Green-Church K, Spagnoli LG, Venuta S, Huebner K, Croce CM. FHIT interaction with ferredoxin reductase triggers generation of reactive oxygen species and apoptosis of cancer cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2008; 283:13736-44


CONTRIBUTION: DLG helped with cloning.


  1. Garofalo M, Quintavalle C, Di Leva G, Zanca C, Romano G, Taccioli C, Liu CG, Croce CM and Condorelli G. MicroRNA signatures of TRAIL resistant phenotype in human non small cell lung cancer. Oncogene. 2008; 27:3845-55.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG helped with drug sensitivity study.


  1. Iorio M, Visone R, Di Leva G, Petrocca F, Liu CG, Alder H, Menard S and Croce CM. MicroRNA signature in ovarian cancer. Cancer Research. 2007; 67:8699-707.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG performed the methylation study.


  1. Petrocca F, Iliopoulos D, Qin HR, Nicoloso MS, Yendamuri S, Wojcik SE, Shimizu M, Di Leva G, Vecchione A, Trapasso F, Godwin AK, Negrini M, Calin GA, Croce CM. Alterations of the tumor suppressor gene ARLTS1 in ovarian cancer. Cancer Research. 2006; 66:10287-91.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG helped with cytometry study.


  1. Calin GA, Ferracin M, Cimmino A, Di Leva G, Shimizu M, Wojcik SE, Iorio MV, Visone R, Sever NI, Fabbri M, Iuliano R, Palumbo T, Pichiorri F, Roldo C, Garzon R, Sevignani C, Rassenti L, Alder H, Volinia S, Liu CG, Kipps TJ, Negrini M, Croce CM. A MicroRNA signature associated with prognosis and progression in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. New England Journal of Medicine. 2005; 353:1793-801.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG performed the mutational study and qRT-PCR.


  1. De Turris V, Di Leva G, Caldarola S, Loreni F, Amaldi F and Bozzoni I. TOP promoter elements control the relative ratio of intron-encoded snoRNA versus spliced mRNA biosynthesis. Journal of Molecular Biology. 2004; 344:383-394.


CONTRIBUTION: DLG performed cloning and Northern blots.



  1. Di Leva G, Garofalo M, Croce CM. microRNA in cancer. Annu Rev Pathol. 2014; 9:287-314.


  1. Di Leva G, Croce CM. The Role of microRNAs in the Tumorigenesis of Ovarian Cancer. Front Oncol. 2013; 3:153.



  1. Di Leva G, Croce CM. microRNAs. Clin Biochem. 2013; 46:840-1.



  1. Di Leva G, Croce CM. miRNA profiling of cancer. Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2013; 23:3-11.



  1. Di Leva G, Briskin D, Croce CM. MicroRNA in cancer: New hopes for antineoplastic#

chemotherapy. Ups J Med Sci. 2012; 117:202-16.



  1. Di Leva G, and Croce CM. Role of microRNAs in tumor formation. Trends in Molecular Medicine. 2010; 16:257-67.



  1. Di Leva G, Calin GA, Croce CM. MicroRNAs: fundamental facts and involvement in human diseases. Birth Defects Research Part C: Embryo Today. 2006; 78:180-9.



  1. Di Leva G and Garofalo M. microRNA in solid tumors. 2013. In: MicroRNAs: Key Regulators of Oncogenesis.


  1. Di Leva G and Garofalo M. Non-Coding RNAs and cancer. 2013. In: Oncogenes. Ed. InTech - Open Science.


  1. Di Leva G and Croce CM. microRNAs in cancer. 2013. In: AACR 2013 Educational Book.


  1. Di Leva G and Croce CM. The role of microRNAs in cancer. In: Targeted Therapy in Translational Cancer Research. 2013. Ed. Wiley publications.