Daniela Murtas


Department of Biomedical Sciences

Telephone: +39 070675 4061 office – 4006 lab

E-mail: murtas@unica.it

Personal webpage: here

Principal areas of expertise: anatomy, stem cell biology, histopathology, cancer biology, oncology


♦ Main research topics:

  • stem cells resident in normal skin and conjunctival tissues and related premalignant and malignant lesions (melanocytic nevi, conjunctival nevi, melanoma)
  • molecular mechanisms and interactions regulating tumorigenesis and cancer progression (melanoma, breast cancer)
  • prognostic markers in tumor progression
  • tumor microenvironment and angiogenesis

Within these main lines of research, specific projects performed or currently conducted are:

  • tyrosinase and nestin expression pattern in melanocytic and conjunctival lesions as a model for melanocyte differentiation and nevogenesis/melanoma pathogenesis
  • role of CAFs (cancer associated fibroblasts) and CAMs (cancer associated macrophages) of the tumor microenvironment in the progression of melanoma and breast cancer
  • evaluation of the tumor immune microenvironment of melanoma
  • role of molecules involved in EMT (epithelial-mesenchymal transition) in the progression of melanoma and breast cancer
  • investigation into the origin of metaplastic ossification in the osteo-nevus of Nanta
  • molecular factors involved in angiogenesis in melanoma, breast cancer and pterygium
  • evaluation of the prognostic significance of molecular biomarkers involved in apoptosis/cell cycle control/oxidative stress/EMT (Notch1, N-cadherin, NF-kB p65, 8-OHdG, nestin, survivin, p16, p53) in melanoma and breast cancer patients

Laboratory/research techniques: immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, immunocytochemistry, cell culture

Key publications:

  1. DIANA A., GAIDO G., MURTAS D. MicroRNA signature in human normal and tumoral neural stem cells. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, MDPI, Basel, Switzerland, 2019 Aug; 20(17): 4123.
    doi: 10.3390/ijms20174123.
  2. MURTAS D., PILLONI L., DIANA A., CASULA L., TOMEI S., PIRAS F., FERRELI C., MAXIA C., PERRA M.T. Tyrosinase and nestin immunohistochemical expression in melanocytic nevi as a histopathologic pattern to trace melanocyte differentiation and nevogenesis. Histochemistry and Cell Biology, Springer, Heidelberg, Germany, 2019 Feb; 151(2): 175-185. doi: 10.1007/s00418-018-1730-5. Epub 2018 Sep 19. PMID: 30232588
  3. MURTAS D., RONGIOLETTI F., FERRELI C., ATZORI L., PILLONI L. Ossification into the osteo-nevus of Nanta: an interpretative insight. International Journal of Dermatology, Wiley, Medford, MA, USA, 2019 Jan; 58(1):e10-e12. doi: 10.1111/ijd.14280. Epub 2018 Oct 29. PMID: 30374960
  4. MURTAS D., MAXIA C., DIANA A., PILLONI L., CORDA C., MINERBA L., TOMEI S., PIRAS F., FERRELI C., PERRA M.T. Role of epithelial-mesenchymal transition involved molecules in the progression of cutaneous melanoma. Histochemistry and Cell Biology, Springer, Heidelberg, Germany, 2017 Dec; 148(6): 639-649.  doi:10.1007/s00418-017-1606-0. Epub 2017 Aug 21. PMID: 28828681
  5. MURTAS D., PIRAS F., MINERBA L., MAXIA C., FERRELI C., DEMURTAS P., LAI S., MURA E., CORRIAS M., SIRIGU P., PERRA M.T. Activated Notch1 expression is associated with angiogenesis in cutaneous melanoma. Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Springer, Heidelberg, Germany, 2015 Aug; 15(3): 351-360. doi: 10.1007/s10238-014-0300-y. Epub 2014 Jul 18. PMID: 25034654
  6. MURTAS D., MARIC D., DE GIORGI V., REINBOTH J., WORSCHECH A., FETSCH P., FILIE A., ASCIERTO M.L., BEDOGNETTI D., LIU Q., UCCELLINI L., CHOUCHANE L., WANG E., MARINCOLA F.M., TOMEI S. IRF-1 responsiveness to IFN-γ predicts different cancer immune phenotypes. British Journal of Cancer, Nature Publishing Group, London, UK, 2013 Jul;109(1): 76-82. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2013.335. Epub 2013 Jun 27. PMID: 23807161
  7. ASCIERTO M.L., DE GIORGI V., LIU Q., BEDOGNETTI D., SPIVEY T.L., MURTAS D., UCCELLINI L., AYOTTE B.D., STRONCEK D.F., CHOUCHANE L., MANJILI M.H., WANG E., MARINCOLA F.M. An immunologic portrait of cancer. Journal of Translational Medicine, BioMed Central Ltd., London, UK, 2011 Aug, 9: 146. doi: 10.1186/1479-5876-9-146. PMID: 21875439
  8. MURTAS D., PIRAS F., MINERBA L., UGALDE J., PIGA M., MAXIA C., PERRA M.T., SIRIGU P. Nuclear Factor-kB expression is predictive of overall survival in patients with cutaneous melanoma. Oncology Letters, Spandidos Publications Ltd., Athens, Greece, 2010 Jul-Aug; 1(4): 633-639. doi:10.3892/ol_00000112. PMID: 22966356
  9. MURTAS D., PIRAS F., MINERBA L., UGALDE J., FLORIS C., MAXIA C., DEMURTAS P., PERRA M.T., SIRIGU P. Nuclear 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine as survival biomarker in patients with cutaneous melanoma. Oncology Reports, Spandidos Publications Ltd., Athens, Greece, 2010 Feb; 23(2): 329-335. doi:10.3892/or_00000640. PMID: 20043092
  10. PIRAS F., COLOMBARI R., MINERBA L., MURTAS D., FLORIS C., MAXIA C., CORBU A., PERRA M.T., SIRIGU P.  The predictive value of CD8, CD4, CD68, and Human Leukocyte Antigen-D-Related cells in the prognosis of cutaneous malignant melanoma with vertical growth phase. Cancer, John Wiley & Sons Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA, 2005 Sep 15; 104(6): 1246-1254. doi: 10.1002/cncr.21283. PMID: 16078259
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