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School of Environment and Life Sciences

Dr Gianpiero Di Leva

Lecturer in Biomedical Science


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 re-programme 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.

In December 2016, I started my position at Salford University 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. For more information please visit our laboratory website at


Module Leader in Novel Therapeutics and Medical Biotechnology for MSc.

Placement tutor for Industry, Research laboratory and Customer based-Placements.

Research Interests

MicroRNAs, non-coding RNAs, medulloblastoma, cancer. 

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


35 publications, including 12 reviews/editorial/book chapters; H-Index: 26.

De Santi C, Melaiu O, Bonotti A, Cascione L, Di Leva G, Foddis R, Cristaudo A, Lucchi M, Mora M, Truini A, Tironi A, Murer B, Boldorini R, Cipollini M, Gemignani F, Gasparini P, Mutti L, Landi S. Deregulation of miRNAs in malignant pleural mesothelioma is associated with prognosis and suggests an alteration of cell metabolism. Sci Rep. 2017; 7(1): 3140.

Tang HR, Leung L, Saturno G, Viros A, Smith D, Di Leva G, Morrison E, Niculescu-Duvaz D, Lopes F, Johnson L, Dhomen N, Springer CJ and Marais R. Lysyl oxidase drives tumour progression by trapping EGF receptors at the cell surface. Nature Communications. 2017; 8:14909. 

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.


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

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

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