Dr Franco Conforti
Senior Research Fellow
Dr Conforti accomplished his PhD in Molecular Medicine in 2011 in Italy and in 2013, he started a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Southampton working on lung fibrosis.
In 2015, he was conferred a Medical Research Foundation Award to investigate the role of cellular interactions in lung fibrosis and later contributed to support his emergency research on SARS-CoV2 during the COVID19 pandemic. In 2021, he has been promoted to Senior Research Fellow. His current research focuses on the investigation of cell signalling in the lung and its involvement in fibrosis, SARS-CoV2 infection and tissue regeneration.
1. Yao, L., Zhou, Y., Li, J., Wickens, L., Conforti, F., Rattu, A., Ibrahim, F. M., Alzetani, A., Marshall, B., Fletcher, S. V., Hancock, D., Wallis, T., Downward, J., Ewing, R., Richeldi, L., Skipp, P., Davies, D., Jones, M., & Wang, Y.. “Bi-directional epithelial-mesenchymal crosstalk provides self-sustaining pro-fibrotic signals in pulmonary fibrosis”. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2021 September.
2. Cornelia Blume, Claire L. Jackson, Cosma Mirella Spalluto, Jelmer Legebeke, Liliya Nazlamova, Franco Conforti, Jeanne-Marie Perotin, Martin Frank, John Butler, Max Crispin, Janice Coles, James Thompson, Robert A. Ridley, Lareb S. N. Dean, Matthew Loxham, Stephanie Reikine, Adnan Azim, Kamran Tariq, David A. Johnston, Paul J. Skipp, Ratko Djukanovic, Diana Baralle, Christopher J. McCormick, Donna E. Davies, Jane S. Lucas, Gabrielle Wheway and Vito Mennella. “A novel ACE2 isoform is expressed in human respiratory epithelia and is upregulated in response to interferons and RNA respiratory virus infection”. Nature Genetics 2021 Febbruary.
3. Franco Conforti, Robert Ridley, Christopher Brereton, Aiman Alzetani, Benjamin Johnson, Ben G. Marshall, Sophie V. Fletcher, Christian H. Ottensmeier, Luca Richeldi, Paul Skipp, Yihua Wang, Mark G. Jones & Donna E. Davies. “Paracrine SPARC signaling dysregulates alveolar epithelial barrier integrity and function in lung fibrosis”. Cell Death Discovery 2020 Jun.
4. Charlotte Hill, Juanjuan Li, Dian Liu, Franco Conforti, Christopher J. Brereton, Liudi Yao, Yilu Zhou, Aiman Alzetani, Serena J. Chee, Ben G. Marshall, Sophie V. Fletcher, David Hancock, Christian H. Ottensmeier, Andrew J. Steele, Julian Downward, Luca Richeldi, Xin Lu, Donna E. Davies, Mark G. Jones & Yihua Wang. “Autophagy inhibition-mediated epithelial–mesenchymal transition augments local myofibroblast differentiation in pulmonary fibrosis.” Cell Death & Disease 2019 August.
5. Salvatore Montesanto, Natalie P. Smithers, Fabio Bucchieri, Valerio Brucato, Vincenzo La Carrubba, Donna E. Davies, Franco Conforti. “Establishment of a pulmonary epithelial barrier on biodegradable poly-L-lactic-acid membranes”. PLOS ONE 2019 January.
6. Liudi Yao, Franco Conforti, Charlotte Hill, Joseph Bell, Leena Drawater, Juanjuan Li, Dian Liu, Hua Xiong, Aiman Alzetani, Serena J. Chee, Ben G. Marshall, Sophie V. Fletcher, David Hancock, Mark Coldwell, Xianglin Yuan, Christian H. Ottensmeier, Julian Downward, Jane E. Collins, Rob M. Ewing, Luca Richeldi, Paul Skipp, Mark G. Jones, Donna E. Davies and Yihua Wang. “Paracrine signalling during ZEB1-mediated epithelial mesenchymal transition augments local myofibroblast differentiation in lung fibrosis”. Cell Death & Disease 2018 July.
7. Qing Zhou, Sahar Eldakhakhny, Franco Conforti, Emma J. Crosbie, Gerry Melino and Berna S. Sayan. “Pir2/Rnf144b is a potential endometrial cancer biomarker that promotes cell proliferation”. Cell Death & Disease 2018 May.
8. Franco Conforti, Elizabeth R. Davies, Claire J. Calderwood, Thomas H. Thatcher, Mark G. Jones, David E. Smart, Sumeet Mahajan, Aiman Alzetani, Tom Havelock, Toby M. Maher, Philip L. Molyneaux, Andrew J. Thorley, Teresa D. Tetley, Jane A.Warner, Graham Packham, A. Ganesan, Paul J. Skipp, Benjamin J. Marshall, Luca Richeldi, Patricia J. Sime, Katherine M.A. O’Reilly and Donna E. Davies. “The histone deacetylase inhibitor, romidepsin, as a potential treatment for pulmonary fibrosis”. Oncotarget 2017 July; 25;8(30):48737-48754.
9. Conforti F, Yang AL, Piro M, Mellone M, Terrinoni A, Candi E, Tucci P, Thomas GJ, Knight RA, Melino G, Sayan BS. “PIR2/Rnf144B regulates epithelial homeostasis by controlling p21WAF1 and p63 stability”. Oncogene 2013 Oct;32(40):4758-65.
10. Conforti F, Yang AL, Agostini M, Rufini A, Tucci P, Nicklison-Chirou MV, Grespi F, Velletri T, Knight RA, Melino G and Sayan BS. “Relative expression of TAp73 and ΔNp73 isoforms”. Aging. 2012 Mar; 4(3):202-5.
Medical Research Foundation Award: Inflammatory, interstitial and fibrotic lung diseases: funding opportunity for mid-career researchers (2015).