Lapo Alinari, MD, PhD
I was born in Florence, Italy, I graduated from Liceo Scientifico “Gobetti”, (high school) Florence, in July 1991. I started medical school at the University of Florence in October 1991 and received my medical degree with honors in 1998 after defending my dissertation on the biology of hepatocellular carcinoma.
In 1999, I started my residency training in Medical Oncology at the Oncology Department, Malpighi Hospital, Bologna. I spent the first two years of my training primarily working with patients with solid tumors. At the end of my second year, I joined the Hematologic Malignancies Program at the “Seràgnoli” Institute of Hematology and Medical Oncology of the University of Bologna. This was a time when my interest in translational research began to develop. Subsequently, I primarily focused on Non- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.
In April 2003, I presented my research dissertation entitled ”Identification of outcome predictors in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Immunohistochemical profiling of homogeneously treated de novo tumors with nodal presentation on tissue micro-arrays” and became board certified in Medical Oncology. I then started a Hematology Fellowship program at the “Seràgnoli” Institute of Hematology and Medical Oncology, University of Bologna.
I was enthusiastic and flattered by the invitation (November 2005) offered by Dr. John Byrd to join the outstanding group of scientists he leads at the Ohio State University. My primary focus dealt with discovery and characterization of a novel therapeutic target for lymphoma. In Dr. Baiocchi’s laboratory, I went on to develop this project entitled “Dysregulation of epigenetic mechanisms in Epstein-Barr virus driven lymphomagenesis: role of the protein arginine methyltransferase-5 (PRMT5) and identification of new therapeutic targets” and I decided to use this as the topic of my thesis. I successfully defended my project and went on to receive my degree at the School of Specialty in Hematology from the University of Bologna in November 2007.
Given this strong introduction to basic and translational research, I decided to enrol in a PhD program in Clinical and Experimental Hematology and Hematopathology. I completed my PhD in May 2011.
The highly collaborative scientific atmosphere at Ohio State allowed me multiple opportunities to become involved in several basic, preclinical research projects. I have spent the last ten years of my life training as a cancer research scientist and I decided that The Ohio State University was the best place for me to continue growing as a physician scientist.
I am currently enrolled in the ABIM research pathway, I just completed 2 years of Internal Medicine and I am in the first year of my Hematology fellowship.
Over the past few years, I have developed two two major areas of research interest.
The first area of focus involves the basic mechanisms contributing towards the transformation of B lymphocytes. In the laboratory of Dr. Baiocchi, I have developed a model that allows us to examine the genetic and epigenetic events that occur during the B cell transformation process. This model incorporates the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) that is intimately tied to the pathogenesis of multiple lymphomas occurring in humans. EBV infection occurs worldwide and usually causes no symptoms or relatively brief illness in subjects with an active and efficient immune system. However, immunocompromised patients have a much higher risk to develop this kind of B-cell lymphomas as a consequence of the infection of their lymphocytes by EBV. My area of interest focuses on understanding how the PRMT 5 protein contributes towards the pathogenesis of EBV-induced lymphomas and on trying to identify methods to inhibit this proteins activity in an attempt to reverse the B cell transformation process. We have developed an experimental therapeutics program focusing on the synthesis of small molecule inhibitors of PRMT5 and are currently testing several reagents in our laboratory.
My other field of my interest involves preclinical development of novel experimental therapeutic agents for Mantle Cell Lymphoma. I have been focusing my attention on monoclonal antibodies such as Rituximab (anti-CD20), Milatuzumab (anti-CD74) and other agents such as Bortezomib, FTY720, and Silvestrol. Based on my preclinical work, both the anti CD74 and the Bortezomib/Rituximab strategies have been translated into clinical trials treating patients with Mantle Cell Lymphoma here at Ohio State. I have found that witnessing my preclinical research translated to therapies that may offer patients superior care over standard (and ultimately ineffective) treatments to be a rewarding and noble career path to follow.
This was the defining moment that convinced me of my calling to continue my efforts here in the United States to pursue a pathway that would maximize my potential to benefit others, while at the same time, provide a gratifying career pathway.
Over the past ten years I have produced a substantial amount of work that has resulted in the publication of more than 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals including Blood, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Clinical Cancer Research, Oncogene, mAbs, Cancer, Haematologica, and Leukemia & Lymphoma, many invited oral presentations at national and international conferences, and the receipt of multiple competitive awards. Perhaps more importantly, I have come to the realization that my skills are best suited in a collaborative scientific environment that will promote the translation of my research to meaningful therapies that benefit patients with cancer.
MEMBERSHIP IN PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES:
-2007 to present: European Hematology Association (EHA)
-2008 to present: American Society of Hematology (ASH)
-December 2006: outstanding research project in Haematology [Italian Society of Experimental Haematology (SIES)]
-June 2013: Clara D. Bloomfield Excellence in Hematology & Oncology Research Award
-June 2013: Chairman’s Award for Scholarly Achievement by a Senior Internal Medicine Resident
-January 2008: American Society of Hematology-European Hematology Association International Award
-October 2011: American Society of Hematology Abstract Achievement Awards
-October 2012: American Society of Hematology Abstract Achievement Awards
-Invited abstract reviewer for the 2010 American Society of Hematology Meeting, Lymphoma: Pre-Clinical – Chemotherapy and Biologic Agents.
-Co-Chair for the 2010 American Society of Hematology Meeting, Session: Lymphoma: Pre-Clinical – Chemotherapy and Biologic Agents.
-Invited abstract reviewer for the 2012 American Society of Hematology Meeting, Lymphoma: Pre-Clinical – Chemotherapy and Biologic Agents.
-Co-Chair for the 2012 American Society of Hematology Meeting, Session: Lymphoma: Pre-Clinical – Chemotherapy and Biologic Agents.
-Invited Coordinating Reviewer for the 2013 American Society of Hematology Meeting.
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: Biology, excluding Therapy.
-Co-Chair for the 2013 American Society of Hematology Meeting, Session: Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: Biology, excluding Therapy
PUBLICATIONS (Total 58):
Chapters in Books:
Peer reviewed journal articles (selected publications):