D'Acquisto, Fulvio

Fulvio D'Acquisto

Professor of Immunopharmacology - Biomedical Research Theme Lead for the Life Science Institute

Fulvio D’Acquisto graduated in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 1993 from the University of Naples “Federico II” and trained in Pharmacology at the Department of Experimental Pharmacology of the Faculty of Pharmacy. In 1996 he obtained the Master in Experimental Pharmacology working on mechanisms by which Annexin-A1 controls gene expression in inflammation.

During his PhD in Experimental Pharmacology (1996 to 1999) he studied the role of the transcription factor NF-kB in different models of acute and chronic inflammation demonstrating that inhibitors of NF-kB activation display a remarkable in vivo anti-inflammatory activity. He directed his efforts on this research path even further after beginning his post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Prof. Sankar Ghosh, at Yale University (1999), where he investigated novel approaches to successfully target the NF-?B pathway and that can be used as anti-inflammatory therapy. During this time (from 1999-2003) he expanded his knowledge on inflammation by focusing on immune-mediated inflammatory diseases and investigated signalling pathways by which the T cell receptor activates NF-?B in T cells.

Since July 2003, he joined Prof. Perretti and Prof Flower’s lab at WHRI where he re-activated his long-term interest in Annexin-A1 biology, starting an unexplored path in the role of this protein in the adaptive immune response. In December 2004 he was awarded the New Investigator Award of the Medical Research Council. In 2006 he was appointed as Senior Lecturer in Immunopharmacology within the Centre for Biochemical Pharmacology at WHRI. In 2009 he was conferred the title of Reader in Immunopharmacology. In 2014 he was nominated Deputy Director of the Centre for Biochemical Pharmacology and Biomedical Research Theme Lead for the Life Science Institute

Recent public engagement activities

Summary of Research

Immune system as gateway for wellbeing

In times when science is becoming more specialized and narrowed, I think it is important to step back and look at the “bigger picture”. The immune system is a microcosm where our health history is stored and hence a gateway for the discovery and identification of novel therapeutic approaches for a wide range of diseases. My research aims at identifying news paths leading to this gateway. My current main areas of research can be summarised as follows:

Teaching Activities

Over the last 3 years I have supervised 7 SSC2 and 9 SSC4 students guiding them through their choice of topic for their written and oral essay. One SSC4 student Torath Ameen has been awarded the Arthritis Research UK prize for Musculoskeletal Medicine for his essay titled "The role of the hygiene hypothesis in the development of autoimmune disease, using rheumatoid arthritis and its impact on humanity as a case study". I regularly chair the the Brain and Behaviour PBL for the
nd year medical students and I have also chaired other PBLs such as Metabolism 1.

As first supervisor, I have mentored the following research staff and projects:

  • 2 PhD students to completion (Anastasia Polycarpou 2011 and Anthony Huggin 2012);
  • 2 PhD students currently working to completion (Giuseppa Piras finishing in 2014 and Samuel Brod finishing in 2016);
  • 2 MRC MRes students - Koval Smith (2013) and Amanda Caesar (2014);
  • 2 Erasmus students (one in 2012 and another in 2013) from Italy for their one-year research project and they have both submitted their results for peer-review publication;
  • 5 BioMedstudents for their practical research project
  • 2 final year School of Biology students (Benjamin Major and Ridhika Poojara- both 2013);
  • 1 postdoc, Lorenza Rattazzi (2012-2014).

I have coordinated and designed together with Dr Paul Chapple and Prof. Amrita Aluwhalia the MRes course in “In vivo Pharmacology”. This is a British Heart Foundation (5 students) and Medical Research Council (5 students) funded course specifically focused on in vivo pharmacology. My role has been to design specific PBL sessions on innate and adaptive immunity, to prepare practical for in vivo models of acute and chronic inflammation as well as for basic cellular and biochemical analyses such as flow cytometry and cytokine immunoassays.

Reviewer Activities

  • Member of the Editorial Board of the following peer-reviewed journals: 1) Biochemical Pharmacology (since 2008); 2) Mediators of Inflammation (since 2007); The Scientific World Journal (since 2006); Frontiers in Immunology (since 2010).
  • Reviewer ad-hoc for the following journals: Arthritis and Rheumatisms, British Journal of Pharmacology, Journal of Immunology, PlosOne, European Journal of Immunology.
  • Reviewer for the MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowships since 2007.
  • Panel member for the Research Grant scheme of the Royal Society since 2010.
  • External panel member for fellowships, project and programme grant of the Fund for Scientific research (FNRS; Belgium) since 2009;
  • External panel member for the Estonian Science Foundation and Romanian Partnership Programme - Joint Applied  Research Projects (PCCA) since 2011
  • Reviwer ad hoc for the following funding bodies: Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s (A*STAR) Biomedical Research Council (BMRC; Singapore); MIUR (Italian Ministry for Education, University and Research); Arthritis Research UK, Medical Research Scotland and Alzheimer’s Research Trust,  Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council and  Diabetes UK.

Smile—it’s in your blood! Biochemical Pharmacology, Volume 91, Issue 3, 2014, 287 – 292.

Members of the Group

Research staff: Lorenza Rattazzi, Samuel Brod, Giuseppa Pira, Amanda Caesar, Barbara Varrone, Anujavahinie Suntharamoorthy, Antonio Capella, Benjamin Major, Ridhika Poojara

Key Publications

For a full list of publist publications click here

D’Acquisto F, Lorenza Rattazzi, Giuseppa Piras, Smile—it’s in your blood!  Biochemical Pharmacology, Volume 91, Issue 3, 2014, 287 – 292 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bcp.2014.07.016
Rattazzi L, Piras G, Ono M, Deacon R, Pariante CM, D'Acquisto F: CD4(+) but not CD8(+) T cells revert the impaired emotional behavior of immunocompromised RAG-1-deficient mice. Translational psychiatry 2013, 3:e280.

Piras G, Rattazzi L, McDermott A, Deacon R, D'Acquisto F: Emotional change-associated T cell mobilization at the early stage of a mouse model of multiple sclerosis. Frontiers in immunology 2013, 4:400.
M Pederzoli-Ribeil, F Maione, D Cooper, A Al-Kashi, J Dalli, M Perretti, F D'Acquisto: Design and characterization of a cleavage-resistant Annexin A1 mutant to control inflammation in the microvasculature. Blood, 2010, 116:4288-96.
N Paschalidis, A Huggins, NJ Rowbotham, AL Furmanski, T Crompton, RJ Flower, M Perretti, F D'Acquisto: Role of endogenous annexin-A1 in the regulation of thymocyte positive and negative selection. Cell Cycle, 9:784-93.
M Perretti, F D'Acquisto: Annexin A1 and glucocorticoids as effectors of the resolution of inflammation. Nat Rev Immunol 2009, 9:62-70.
N Paschalidis, AJ Iqbal, F Maione, EG Wood, M Perretti, RJ Flower, F D'Acquisto: Modulation of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by endogenous annexin A1. J Neuroinflammation 2009, 6:33.
F D'Acquisto: On the adaptive nature of annexin-A1. Curr Opin Pharmacol 2009, 9:521-8.
F D'Acquisto, N Paschalidis, AL Sampaio, A Merghani, RJ Flower, M Perretti: Impaired T cell activation and increased Th2 lineage commitment in Annexin-1-deficient T cells. Eur J Immunol 2007, 37:3131-42.
F D'Acquisto, A Merghani, E Lecona, G Rosignoli, K Raza, CD Buckley, RJ Flower, M Perretti: Annexin-1 modulates T-cell activation and differentiation. Blood 2007, 109:1095-102.
F D'Acquisto, A Ianaro: From willow bark to peptides: the ever widening spectrum of NF-kappaB inhibitors. Curr Opin Pharmacol 2006, 6:387-92.
KY Lee, F D'Acquisto, MS Hayden, JH Shim, S Ghosh: PDK1 nucleates T cell receptor-induced signaling complex for NF-kappaB activation. Science 2005, 308:114-8.
E Jimi, K Aoki, H Saito, F D'Acquisto, MJ May, I Nakamura, T Sudo, T Kojima, F Okamoto, H Fukushima, et al: Selective inhibition of NF-kappa B blocks osteoclastogenesis and prevents inflammatory bone destruction in vivo. Nat Med 2004, 10:617-24.
H Hara, T Wada, C Bakal, I Kozieradzki, S Suzuki, N Suzuki, M Nghiem, EK Griffiths, C Krawczyk, B Bauer, F D'Acquisto, et al: The MAGUK family protein CARD11 is essential for lymphocyte activation. Immunity 2003, 18:763-75.
MJ May, F D'Acquisto, LA Madge, J Glockner, JS Pober, S Ghosh: Selective inhibition of NF-kappaB activation by a peptide that blocks the interaction of NEMO with the IkappaB kinase complex. Science 2000, 289:1550-4.
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