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School of Environment and Life Sciences

Dr Marco Fiorillo

Research Associate Fellow


I graduated from the University of Calabria, Italy, having completed an MSc in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technology in 2012. Then, I started my PhD in the laboratory of Prof. Anna Rita Cappello at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Calabria (Italy). The main focus of my work was to study the role of new natural statin-like compounds with effects on hydroxy-methylglutaryl Coenzyme A (HMGCR) in hypercholesteraemic models (in vitro and in vivo).

During my PhD program, I visited the laboratory of Prof. Michael Lisanti and Prof. Federica Sotgia at the University of Manchester, where I became involved in anti-cancer drug discovery projects, also in the development of various drug-screening technologies targeting cancer stem cells (CSC). During these years, we developed and patented a novel approaches to cancer therapy, using graphene oxide to target cancer stem cells.

After completing my PhD, I worked as a Research Associate Fellow for 6 months at University of Manchester (Paterson Institute). Here, we found several compounds that target mitochondrial biogenesis and can eradicate breast cancer stem cells. In September 2016, I held a Lecturer position in Biochemistry of Biotechnology-derived products and Xenobiotics at the Pharmacy Dept., University of Calabria.

I took up my current role as a Research Associate Fellow at the Biomedical Research Centre of University of Salford in February 2017. 

Research Interests

Development of drugs targeting cancer stem cells and tumor metabolism in breast cancer metastasis, tumor recurrence and drug resistance.

Qualifications and Memberships

2015 PhD, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Calabria, Italy

2012 MSc, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Calabria, Italy 


Mitochondrial markers predict recurrence, metastasis and Tamoxifen-resistance in breast cancer patients: Early detection of treatment failure with companion diagnostics. Federica Sotgia, Marco Fiorillo, Michael P. Lisanti. Oncotarget. 2017 in press.

Mitoriboscins: Mitochondrial-based therapeutics targeting cancer stem cells (CSCs), bacteria and pathogenic yeast. Ozsvari B, Fiorillo M, Bonuccelli G, Cappello AR, Frattaruolo L, Sotgia F, Trowbridge R, Foster R, Lisanti MP. Oncotarget. 2017 Jul 7. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.19084.

Mitochondrial “power” drives tamoxifen resistance: NQO1 and GCLC are new therapeutic targets in breast cancer. Marco Fiorillo, Federica Sotgia, Diego Sisci, Anna Rita Cappello and Michael P. Lisanti. Oncotarget. 2017. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.15852.

New insights about the structural rearrangements required for substrate translocation in the bovine mitochondrial oxoglutarate carrier. Curcio R, Muto L, Pierri CL, Montalto A, Lauria G, Onofrio A, Fiorillo M, Fiermonte G, Lunetti P, Vozza A, Capobianco L, Cappello AR, Dolce V. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016 Jul 30;1864(11):1473-1480. doi: 10.1016/j.bbapap.2016.07.009.

Bedaquiline, an FDA-approved antibiotic, inhibits mitochondrial function and potently blocks the proliferative expansion of stem-like cancer cells (CSCs). Fiorillo M, Lamb R, Tanowitz HB, Cappello AR, Martinez-Outschoorn UE, Sotgia F, Lisanti MP. Aging (Albany NY). 2016 Jun 22.

Repurposing atovaquone: Targeting mitochondrial complex III and OXPHOS to eradicate cancer stem cells. Fiorillo M, Lamb R, Tanowitz HB, Mutti L, Krstic-Demonacos M, Cappello AR, Martinez- Outschoorn UE, Sotgia F, Lisanti MP. Oncotarget. 2016 Apr 30. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.9122.

Metabolic reprogramming of bone marrow stromal cells by leukemic extracellular vesicles in acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Johnson SM, Dempsey C, Chadwick A, Harrison S, Liu J, Di Y, McGinn OJ, Fiorillo M, Sotgia F, Lisanti M, Parihar M, Krishnan S, Saha V. Blood. 2016 Apr 20. doi:10.1182/blood-2015-12-688051.

"Sericin/Poly (Ethylcyanoacrylate) Nanospheres by Interfacial Polymerization for Enhanced Bioefficacy of Fenofibrate: In Vitro and In Vivo Studies". Parisi Ortensia Ilaria*, Fiorillo Marco*, Scrivano Luca, Sinicropi Maria, Dolce Vincenza, Iacopetta Domenico, Puoci Francesco, Cappello Annarita. Biomacromolecules. 2015 Oct 12;16(10):3126-33. doi: 10.1021/acs.biomac.5b00746. Epub 2015 Sep 17.

Mitochondrial mass, a new metabolic biomarker for stem-like cancer cells: Understanding WNT/FGF-driven anabolic signaling. Lamb R, Bonuccelli G, Ozsvári B, Peiris-Pagès M, Fiorillo M, Smith DL, Bevilacqua G, Mazzanti CM, McDonnell LA, Naccarato AG, Chiu M, Wynne L, Martinez-Outschoorn UE, Sotgia F, Lisanti MP. Oncotarget. 2015 Sep 28.

Estrogen Related Receptor α (ERRα) A Promising Target for the Therapy of Adrenocortical Carcinoma (ACC). Casaburi Ivan, Paola Avena, Arianna De Luca, Adele Chimento, Rosa Sirianni, Rocco Malivindi, Vittoria Rago, Marco Fiorillo, Francesco Domanico, Carmela Campana, Anna Rita Cappello, Federica Sotgia, Michael Lisanti. Oncotarget 2015 Sep. 22;6(28):25135-48. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.4722.

Doxycycline down-regulates DNA-PK and radiosensitizes tumor initiating cells: Implications for more effective radiation therapy. Lamb R, Fiorillo M, Chadwick A, Ozsvari B, Reeves KJ, Smith DL, Clarke RB, Howell SJ, Cappello AR, Martinez-Outschoorn UE, Peiris-Pagès M, Sotgia F, Lisanti MP. Oncotarget. 2015 Jun 10;6(16):14005-25.

Mitochondrial biogenesis is required for the anchorage-independent survival and propagation of stem- like cancer cells. De Luca A*, Fiorillo M*, Peiris-Pagès M, Ozsvari B, Smith DL, Sanchez-Alvarez R, Martinez-Outschoorn UE, Cappello AR, Pezzi V, Lisanti MP, Sotgia F. Oncotarget. 2015 Jun 9.

Bergamot (citrus bergamia risso) flavonoids and their potential benefits in human hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis: An overview. A.R. Cappello, V. Dolce, D. Iacopetta, M. Martello, M. Fiorillo, R. Curcio, L. Muto and D. Dhanyalayam. Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry. 2015 Apr 30.

Graphene oxide selectively targets cancer stem cells, across multiple tumor types: implications for non-toxic cancer treatment, via "differentiation-based nano-therapy". Fiorillo M, Verre AF, Iliut M, Peiris-Pagés M, Ozsvari B, Gandara R, Cappello AR, Sotgia F, Vijayaraghavan A, Lisanti MP. Oncotarget. 2015 Feb 28;6(6):3553-62.

Mass spectrometry-based proteomic approach in Oenococcus oeni enological starter. Napoli A, Aiello D, Aiello G, Cappello MS, Di Donna L, Mazzotti F, Materazzi S, Fiorillo M, Sindona G.J Proteome Res. 2014 Jun 6;13(6):2856-66.

Enhanced cellular uptake by "pharmaceutically oriented devices" of new simplified analogs of Linezolid with antimicrobial activity. Parisi OI*, Fiorillo M *, Caruso A, Cappello AR, Saturnino C, Puoci F, Panno A, Dolce V, El-Kashef H, Sinicropi MS. Int J Pharm. 2014 Jan 30;461(1-2):163-70.

Hypocholesterolaemic activity of 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl flavanones enriched fraction from bergamot fruit (Citrus bergamia): “In vivo” studies. Leonardo Di Donna, Domenico Iacopetta, Anna R. Cappello, Giselda Gallucci, Emanuela Martello, Marco Fiorillo, Vincenza Dolce, Giovanni Sindona. J of functional food 2014 Jan ; 7(2014) 558-568.