Dr. Ilaria Russo joined the Department of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases in July, 2018. She was previously affiliated with the University of Manchester (UK.)
She pursued a master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology in 1998, with 110/110 cum laude, at the University of Padua. Her PhD was obtained in Cellular and Molecular Biology and Pathology, also at the University of Padua, after spending 4 years working at GSK (formerly Chiron Vaccines) working with vaccines and antimicrobials. She completed her post-doctoral formation at the Washington University in St Louis in the field of malaria, where she is still actively productive.
She has actively worked in medical research, focusing on drugs and targets (mainly anticoagulants and antimicrobials) intersecting the fields of hematology, bacteriology, toxins, immunology, and malaria. This gave her the advantage to work in top class laboratories in both academics and companies under the direction of exceptional scientists: A Fontana (organic chemist); E De Filippis (protein chemist); E Di Cera (a master of enzymology); R Rappuoli (pioneer in vaccines and target discovery for new antimicrobials); C Montecucco (PhD supervisor); and DE Goldberg (a world-wide renowned malariologist).
Her current research regards the study of Plasmodium species, causative agents of malaria. Her major contributions are the characterization of two novel antimalarial targets Calpain and PlasmepsinV that disclosed new pieces of parasite biology, followed by numerous other discoveries. Her published work is in top rated journals such as Science, PNAS, Molecular Microbiology, Nature and more.
She established her lab in Europe working on a novel random mutagenesis discovering new antimalarials. She recently joined efforts with the Goldberg lab to study Plasmodium virulence factors involved in the development of cerebral malaria.