Barbara Stecca 

Barbara Stecca graduated in Biological Sciences at the University of Bologna, and obtained her PhD in “Molecular Oncology” at the University of Modena in 1999. During the same year, she moved to the USA at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York (NY) for her first post-doctoral experience, where she trained in developmental biology and neurobiology, becoming familiar with mouse knock-out/in technologies. Her strong interest in cancer biology and her training in developmental biology, brought her to the New York University (New York, NY) and later to the University of Geneva (Switzerland), where she started to be fascinated by the role of Hedgehog signaling in stem cells and cancer. Her main scientific achievements during that time were the discovery of the involvement of HH signaling in melanoma, the identification of a novel mechanism of activation of the HH signaling by the RAS-MEK and AKT pathway, and the elucidation of a negative regulatory loop between p53 and Gli1, one of the last mediators of the HH signaling. In November 2008, she started her own group at the Core Research Laboratory of the Istituto Toscano Tumori in Florence (Italy). Currently, Barbara Stecca is Principal Investigator of the Tumor Cell Biology Unit at the Istituto per lo Studio, la Prevenzione e la Rete Oncologica (ISPRO) in Florence. Her main scientific interests focus on the study of different aspects of the biology of the Hedgehog pathway and its involvement in cancer, concentrating her attention on the GLI transcription factors as novel potential targets to develop innovative anti-cancer therapies. More recently, she became interested in mechanisms of aberrant glycosylation involved in melanoma progression and metastasis formation. She is Principal Investigator or co-investigator in several funded projects from National and International agencies, and she is reviewer for several International journals as well as funding agencies.