Ignazio S. Piras

Ignazio S. Piras Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor
Neurogenomics Division

Ignazio S. Piras Ph.D.

Dr. Piras is involved in different projects with the Huentelman Lab and with several internal (TGen) and external collaborations. His main research interests are related to the genomics, transcriptomics and epigenomics of Alzheimer’s disease, memory related processes, aging, autism and schizophrenia.

Dr. Piras graduated at University of Cagliari (Italy), and then received his Ph.D. from the same University with a dissertation in Human Population genetics in 2006. From 2007 to 2015, he worked as Senior Bioinformatician at University of Corsica (France), University of Cagliari, SharDNA Life Sciences, and University Campus Bio-Medico (Italy). He also spent 7 months as visiting post-doc in 2012/2013 at TGen.

He joined TGen as employee on August 2015 as Bioinformatician in the Huentelman Lab, and he became Research Assistant Professor in the same Lab on June 2017. He is lead author and co-author of 35 publications spanning back to 2005


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Exploring Genome-wide DNA Methylation Patterns in Aicardi Syndrome. Piras IS, Mills G, Llaci L, Naymik M, Ramsey K, Belnap N, Balak C, Jepsen WM, Szelinger S, Siniard AL, Lewis C, LaFleur M, Richholt RF, De Both MD, Avela K, Rangasamy S, Craig DW, Narayanan V, Jarvela I, Huentelman MJ, Schrauwen I. Epigenomics 2017 (Accepted).

Necroptosis activation in Alzheimer's disease. Caccamo A, Branca C, Piras IS, Ferreira E, Huentelman MJ, Liang WS, Readhead B, Dudley JT, Spangenberg EE, Green KN, Belfiore R, Winslow W, Oddo S. Nat Neurosci. 2017; 20:1236-1246.

Pattern of gene expression in different stages of schizophrenia: Down-regulation of NPTX2 gene revealed by a meta-analysis of microarray datasets. Manchia M*, Piras IS*, Huentelman MJ, Pinna F, Zai CC, Kennedy JL, Carpiniello B. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2017 [Epub ahead of print].
*Denote equal contribution

Whole transcriptome profiling of the human hippocampus suggests an involvement of the KIBRA rs17070145 polymorphism in differential activation of the MAPK signaling pathway. Piras IS, Krate J, Schrauwen I, Corneveaux JJ, Serrano GE, Sue L, Beach TG, Huentelman MJ. Hippocampus. 2017; 27:784-793.

Tenascin-C Protects Cancer Stem-like Cells from Immune Surveillance by Arresting T-cell Activation. Jachetti E, Caputo S, Mazzoleni S, Brambillasca CS, Parigi SM, Grioni M, Piras IS, Restuccia U, Calcinotto A, Freschi M, Bachi A, Galli R, Bellone M. Cancer Res. 2015; 75:2095-108.

miR-135a Inhibits Cancer Stem Cell-Driven Medulloblastoma Development by Directly Repressing Arhgef6 Expression. Hemmesi K, Squadrito ML, Mestdagh P, Conti V, Cominelli M, Piras IS, Sergi LS, Piccinin S, Maestro R, Poliani PL, Speleman F, De Palma M, Galli R. Stem Cells. 2015; 33:1377-89.

BAT2 and BAT3 polymorphisms as novel genetic risk factors for rejection after HLA-related SCT. Piras IS, Angius A, Andreani M, Testi M, Lucarelli G, Floris M, Marktel S, Ciceri F, La Nasa G, Fleischhauer K, Roncarolo MG, Bulfone A, Gregori S, Bacchetta R. Bone Marrow Transplant. 2014; 49(11):1400-1404.

Anti-brain antibodies are associated with more severe cognitive and behavioral profiles in Italian children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Piras IS, Haapanen L, Napolioni V, Sacco R, Van de Water J, Persico AM. Brain Behav Immun. 2014; 38:91-9.

Geographic population structure analysis of worldwide human populations infers their biogeographical origins. Elhaik E, Tatarinova T, Chebotarev D, Piras IS, Maria Calò C, De Montis A, Atzori M, Marini M, Tofanelli S, Francalacci P, Pagani L, Tyler-Smith C, Xue Y, Cucca F, Schurr TG, Gaieski JB, Melendez C, Vilar MG, Owings AC, Gómez R, Fujita R, Santos FR, Comas D, Balanovsky O, Balanovska E, Zalloua P, Soodyall H, Pitchappan R, Ganeshprasad A, Hammer M, Matisoo-Smith L, Wells RS. Nat. Commun. 2014; 5:3513.

A novel function for FOXP3 in humans: intrinsic regulation of conventional T cells. McMurchy AN, Gillies J, Gizzi MC, Riba M, Garcia-Manteiga JM, Cittaro D, Lazarevic D, Di Nunzio S, Piras IS, Bulfone A, Roncarolo MG, Stupka E, Bacchetta R, Levings MK. Blood. 2013;121:1265-75.

Genome-wide scan with nearly 700,000 SNPs in two Sardinian sub-populations suggests some regions as candidate targets for positive selection. Piras IS, De Montis A, Calò CM, Marini M, Atzori M, Corrias L, Sazzini M, Boattini A, Vona G, Contu L. Eur J Hum Genet. 2012; 20:1155-61.

High differentiation among eight villages in a secluded area of Sardinia revealed by genome-wide high density SNPs analysis. Pistis G*, Piras IS*, Pirastu N, Persico I, Sassu A, Picciau A, Prodi D, Fraumene C, Mocci E, Manias MT, Atzeni R, Cosso M, Pirastu M, Angius A. Plos One. 2009; 4:e4654
*Denote equal contribution

Human CHIT1 gene distribution: new data from Mediterranean and European populations. Piras I, Melis A, Ghiani ME, Falchi A, Luiselli D, Moral P, Varesi L, Calò CM, Vona G. J Hum Genet. 2007; 52:110-6.
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