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Nicoletta Sacchi

Dr. Nicoletta Sacchi is a Distinguished Member and Professor of Cancer Genetics at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) since 2003. Dr. Sacchi joined RPCI from the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD where she was a Visiting Professor.

Dr. Sacchi earned a magna cum laude doctoral degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Milan (Italy) and completed postdoctoral training in different fields of human genetics at the School of Medicine of Milan, the Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands and the Roche Institute of Immunology, Basel, Switzerland, where she enjoyed the mentorship of the Nobel Prize winner, Dr. George Köhler, before moving to the United States in 1982.

She was first a Research Instructor of Biochemistry at the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine, Bethesda, MD, and from 1984 to 1991   a Visiting Scientist at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Frederick, MD. While studying the transcriptional regulation of leukemia-associated oncogenes she developed together with Dr. Piotr Chomczynski, the classic "Single Step Method for RNA Isolation" (1987) that has dramatically advanced the whole field of RNA-based technologies and the discovery of non coding RNAs.

In the early nineties, Dr. Sacchi was one of the first geneticists who applied emerging human genome technologies for the advancement of cancer genetics. Specifically, she used positional cloning for the identification of non random genetic lesions of   human leukemia, from which stemmed an ultrasensitive method  for the rapid detection of leukemic cells. Subsequently, Dr. Sacchi's research focused on epigenetic mechanisms of gene silencing in tumorigenesis,   the development of aberrantly methylated genes as markers of malignancy, and epigenetic therapy. 

Currently she studies  the effect of genetic and environmental factors on chromatin-mediated gene transcription; novel pathogenic mechanisms of transcriptional repression / activation; epigenetics of  cancer, environmental epigenomics and cancer susceptibility.  

Dr. Sacchi’s research has been supported by peer reviewed grants   from several funding agencies and foundations, including the NIH-NCI, the DOD, the Susan Komen Foundation, the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, the AROCC Foundation, the AIRC (Italy), the Ministry of University and Research (Italy), the Cariplo Foundation (Italy). She served as ad hoc reviewer for the NIH-NCI, and is a member of the Panel of Genetics, Genomics, and Systems Biology of the European Research Council (ERC).

Dr. Sacchi has published over one hundred peer reviewed scientific papers. She was named as a "Highly Cited Researcher in Biology and Biochemistry," by the Institute for Scientific Information, Philadelphia, PA (2001). She received the honor of Commander of Merit from the President of Italy in 2007.