Francesca Cottini, MD, is a PGY1 in internal medicine in the physician-scientist track at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
I attended medical school at Universita' Vita- Salute San Raffaele in Milan. For my graduation thesis, I worked under the supervision of Dr. Paolo Ghia and Dr. Caligaris-Cappio on Monoclonal B cell lymphocytosis. I was co-author of two publications in Blood and Cytometry B Clin Cytometry. After graduating in 2009, I moved to Boston, thanks to a fellowship grant from Cariplo Foundation, and started working as a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Kenneth Anderson, a world-known expert of multiple myeloma and future president of the American Society of Hematology.
Under his supervision, I published two first author publications and co-authored several other manuscripts. Specifically, one manuscript was published in 2014 in Nature Medicine, showing that YAP1, a transcriptional regulator of the Hippo pathway, is an essential factor in the control of apoptosis upon DNA damage in multiple myeloma and in other hematological malignancies. Re-activation of YAP1 by serine-threonin 4 (STK4) inhibition causes growth inhibition and apoptosis in hematological malignancies. These discoveries were highlighted in Nature Medicine, Cancer Discovery and Molecular and Cellular Oncology and endorsed in a US patent. Specific STK4 inhibitors are under development thanks to collaborative LLS grant and to a personal IMF fellowship. Another original work has just been published in Cancer Discovery, demonstrating that replicative stress, a condition associated with incomplete or aberrant DNA synthesis at the level of fork replications, is present in MM and causes together with oxidative stress ongoing DNA damage in a subset of patients with poor prognosis. Strategies coupling inhibition of DNA repair and induction of oxidative stress to trigger DNA damage represent a potent synthetic lethality approach in this cohort of patients with otherwise unfavorable outcomes.
As other achievements, I am a 2014 TRTH trainee, being selected among the 20 top applicants from all over the world, and a past Daryl Elizabeth Layzer fellow and a current IMF fellow. I have won the ASH abstract achievement award, twice, and presented several times at the American Society of Hematology meetings and European Hematology Association meetings. I wrote 3 book chapters on MM, one that will be published in the next edition of Williams’ Hematology book, and have 3 US patents and several other publications as co-authors.