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Laboratory Epidemiology and Molecular Diagnosis of Sexually Transmitted Infections  

Principal Investigator: Prof.ssa Elisabetta Tanzi



Dr.ssa Silvia Bianchi

Dr.ssa Daniela Colzani

Dr.ssa Elena Rosanna Frati


The group’s research activity is focused on:

Epidemiology, diagnosis and molecular characterization of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection, the necessary cause of cervical cancer, in several groups at risk of infection. Research is particularly focused on the reconstruction of evolutionary mechanisms and epidemiological dynamics of HPV genotypes and inter-genotypes variants using advanced methods for phylogenetic analysis (phylogeography and phylodynamic).

The experience gained in this field allowed the development of new research lines aimed at the study and molecular characterization of infections caused by other sexually transmitted pathogens and their potential involvement in the ethiopatogenesis of some carcinomas of the female genitalia.

The research is supported by numerous collaborations with national and international institutions, such as Regione Lombardia; AO Ospedale L.Sacco; Istituto Europeo di Oncologia; Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori; Associazione Naga; Università degli Studi di Genova, Torino, Cagliari, Sassari; Academic Medical Center/University of Amsterdam.


Currently, the research has its primary focus on two major research lines:

-   Topic 1: Epidemiological, molecular, diagnostic and preventive aspects of HPV infection. In particular:

-   evaluation and monitoring of HPV infection and related diseases in women at high risk for cervical cancer (adolescent and young women, immigrants, HIV positive), in women of the general population and in groups of males (adolescent and young men, HIV positive);

-   virological surveillance and molecular characterization of HPV genotypes and variants, as a tool for the evaluation of anti-papillomavirus vaccination;

-   phylogenetic analysis to study HPV evolutionary mechanisms.

-   Topic 2: Potential role of viral and bacterial infections in the etiopathogenesis of cancer. In particular, the research aims to investigate the potential correlations between:

-   HPV infection and cancer of the colon-rectum;

-   HPV and other sexually transmitted pathogens (C.trachomatis, M.genitalium, Herpes simplex 2, Cytomegalovirus, etc) and serous carcinomas of the female genitalia (ovary, fallopian tube and endometrium).


Recent/relevant Publications

  1. TANZI E., AMENDOLA A., BIANCHI S., FASOLO M.M., BERETTA R., PARIANI E., ZAPPA A., FRATI E., ORLANDO G. Human papillomavirus genotypes and phylogenetic analysis of HPV-16 variants in HIV-1 infected subjects in Italy. Vaccine 2009, 27 suppl. 1: A17-A23.
  2. FRATI E., BIANCHI S., COLZANI D., ZAPPA A., ORLANDO G., TANZI E. Genetic variability in the major capsid L1 protein of human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) and 18 (HPV-18). Infection Genetics and Evolution 2011, 11:2119-24.
  3. ORLANDO G, TANZI E, CHATONOUD L, GRAMEGNA M, RIZZARDINI G. VALHIDATE Study Group. Rationale and design of a multicenter prospective cohort study for the eVALuation and monitoring of HPV Infections and relATEd cervical diseases in high-risk women (VALHIDATE study). BMC Cancer. 2012,12:204-213.
  4. MARTINELLI M., ZAPPA A., BIANCHI S., FRATI E., COLZANI D., AMENDOLA A., TANZI E. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection and genotypes frequency in oral mucosa of newborns in Milan, Italy.         Clinical Microbiology and Infection 2012, 18:E197-E199. 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2012.03839.x
  5. TANZI E., BIANCHI S., FASOLO M., FRATI E., MAZZA F., MARTINELLI M., COLZANI D., BERETTA R., ZAPPA A., ORLANDO G. High performance of a new PCR-based urine assay for HPV-DNA detection and genotyping. Journal of Medical Virology 2013,85:91-98.



-     Prof.ssa Elisabetta Tanzi      - tel.0250315139 – e-mail: elisabetta.tanzi@unimi.it

-     Dr.ssa Silvia Bianchi             - tel.0250315122 – e-mail: silvia.bianchi@unimi.it

-     Dr.ssa Daniela Colzani         - tel.0250315140 – e-mail: daniela.colzani@unimi.it

-     Dr.ssa Ester Fasoli                - tel.0250315122 – e-mail: ester.fasoli@unimi.it

-     Dr.ssa Elena Rosanna Frati  - tel.0250315122 – e-mail: elena.frati@unimi.it

-     Dr.ssa Marianna Martinelli - tel.0250315122 – e-mail: marianna.martinelli@unimi.it

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