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Dipartimento di Scienze

Prof.ssa Leoni Livia

Sezione: Scienze e Tecnologie Biomediche
Ruolo: Professore Associato
SC: 03/D1
Incarichi istituzionali: Coordinatore del CdL in Scienze e Culture Enogastronomiche
Email: livia.leoni@uniroma3.it
Telefono: 0657336318
Cellulare: 87694
Fax: 06 57336321
Indirizzo: Viale Marconi 446
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2002_Specialization degree in Microbiology and Virology (Medical School, post-graduation degree);

1997_PhD in Public Health (specialism in Microbiology);

1993_ Master degree in Biological Sciences with full marks and honours (110/110 cum laude);

All Livia Leoni’s degrees are from the University of Rome, “La Sapienza”, Italy.


Professional experience and granted fellowships

2012- today permanent position as Associate Professor in Microbial Biotechnology at the Dept. of Biology (now Dept. of Science) of the University of Roma Tre;

2000-2012. Staff scientist (Tecnico Laureato) at the Dept. of Biology of the University of Roma Tre (now Dept. of Science);

1997-2000. Post-doc position. Institute of Microbiology, School of Medicine of the University “La Sapienza” Rome;

1997-2000. Fellowship from the post-graduate school of Microbiology and Virology. University of Roma, “La Sapienza”:

1996. FEMS fellowship. Centro Nacional de Biotecnologia del’Università Autonoma di Madrid, Spagna. (supervisors Profs. Victor de Lorenzo and Paolo Visca);

1993-1997. PhD fellowship. Institute of Microbiology, School of Medicine of the University “La Sapienza” Rome (Supervisors, Profs. Paolo Visca and Nicola Orsi).


Interessi principali

Memberships and Appointments


Coordinator of the Bachelor Degree in "Enogastronomic Science and Culture";   Member of the Scientific Directory board of the Doctoral School in Biomedical Sciences and Technologies of the University Roma Tre;  Academic Editor for PLOS ONE.

Member of the following Scientific societies: SIMGBM (Italian General Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology Society), FEMS (Federation of European Microbiology Societies) and ASM (American Society for Microbiology);

Reviewer for: Annals of Microbiology, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Applied Microbiology, BMC Genomics, BMC Microbiology, Current Microbiology, FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology, FEMS Microbiology Letters, Future Medicine, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents International Journal of Molecular Sciences Journal of Global Antimicrobial Letters of Applied Microbiology Microbiology, PLoS One, PLoS Pathogen, The World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology; (alphabetic order).

2013-2015, director of the Post-Graduate School in Industrial Health. Dept. of Science, University Roma Tre;

2013-2010, member of the SIMGBM Scientific Directory Board (Italian General Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology Society);

2011 and 2013, member of the Scientific Committee of 29° and 30° SIMGBM International conferences;

2011. European Community Expert for the evaluation of Marie Curie Individual fellowships calls FP7-PEOPLE-IEF-IIF-IOF-HEALTH panel;

Attività di ricerca

Research activity

Since 1993 Livia Leoni has been studying bacteria belonging to the Pseudomonas genus, with special focus on global regulatory networks governing leading processes such as social behaviour (quorum sensing), pathogenesis, degradation of toxic compounds (bioremediation), carbon catabolite repression. Her experimental approach spans from traditional microbiology and genetics to molecular biology, biochemistry and synthetic biology.

The present research of Livia Leoni is mainly focused upon Pseudomonas aeruginosa as model organism and it is organized in the following research lines:

-understand bacterial pathogenesis and biofilm formation;

-develop high-throughput screening systems for the identification of novel compounds targeting bacterial biofilm and virulence;

-screening of libraries of FDA approved drugs for the repurposing of “old” drugs for novel anti-virulence and anti-biofilm therapies.


Coordination of Research projects

Multicentre Research projects in which Livia Leoni has been Coordinator (CO) or Responsible of Research Unit (RU) are listed below, all granted by the Italian Cystic Fibrosis Research Foundation (http://www.fibrosicisticaricerca.it/).

2018-2019 "Drug repurposing for antivirulence therapy against Pseudomonas aeruginosa” . (CO, RU). FFC #17/2018.

2013-2015 “Anti-virulence therapy against Pseudomonas aeruginosa: identification of anti-biofilm drugs and development of inhalable Niclosamide and Flucytosine formulations (CO, RU). FFC #10/2013

2011-2012 “Identification and characterization of novel drugs suppressing Pseudomonas aeruginosa virulence in chronic infection” (CO, RU). FFC #13/2011

2010-2012 “Non-conventional strategies against Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection: interference with iron homeostasis and quorum sensing” (RU). FFC #14/2010

2008-2010 "Development and validation of a novel screening system for the identification of Pseudomonas aeruginosa virulence inhibitors” (CO, RU). FFC #8/2008

2007-2009 “Iron uptake and quorum sensing in Pseudomonas aeruginosa virulence” (RU). FFC #10/2007


List of Publications (2019-2013)

  1. Imperi F, Fiscarelli EV, Visaggio D, Leoni L, Visca P. (2019) Activity and Impact on Resistance Development of Two Antivirulence Fluoropyrimidine Drugs in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 9:49.
  2. Runci F, Gentile V, Frangipani E, Rampioni G, Leoni L, Lucidi M, Visaggio D, Harris G, Chen W, Stahl J, Averhoff B, Visca P. (2019) Contribution of Active Iron Uptake to Acinetobacter baumannii Pathogenicity. Infect Immun. 87(4). pii: e00755-18.
  3. Rampioni G, D'Angelo F, Leoni L, Stano P. (2019) Gene-Expressing Liposomes as Synthetic Cells for Molecular Communication Studies. Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 7:1.
  4. Rampioni G, Leoni L, Stano P. (2019) Molecular Communications in the Context of "Synthetic Cells" Research. IEEE Trans Nanobioscience. Jan;18(1):43-50. doi: 10.1109/TNB.2018.2882543. Epub 2018 Nov 21. PubMed PMID: 30475724.
  5. D'Angelo F, Baldelli V, Halliday N, Pantalone P, Polticelli F, Fiscarelli E, Williams P, Visca P, Leoni L, Rampioni G. (2018) Identification of FDA-Approved Drugs as Antivirulence Agents Targeting the pqs Quorum-Sensing System of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 62 (11). pii: e01296-18.
  6. Raneri M, Pinatel E, Peano C, Rampioni G, Leoni L, Bianconi I, Jousson O, Dalmasio C, Ferrante P, Briani F. (2018) Pseudomonas aeruginosa mutants defective in glucose uptake have pleiotropic phenotype and altered virulence in non-mammal infection models. Sci Rep. 8:16912.
  7. Mantoni F, Paiardini A, Brunotti P, D'Angelo C, Cervoni L, Paone A, Cappellacci L, Petrelli R, Ricciutelli M, Leoni L, Rampioni G, Arcovito A, Rinaldo S, Cutruzzolà F, Giardina G. (2018) Insights into the GTP-dependent allosteric control of c-di-GMP hydrolysis from the crystal structure of PA0575 protein from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. FEBS J. 285:3815-3834.
  8. Paiardini A, Mantoni F, Giardina G, Paone A, Janson, Leoni L, Rampioni G, Cutruzzolà F, Rinaldo S. (2018). A novel bacterial L-arginine sensor controlling c-di-GMP levels in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. PROTEINS: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics. 86:1088-1096.
  9. Lucidi M, Runci F, Rampioni G, Frangipani E, Leoni L, Visca P. (2018) New shuttle vectors for gene cloning and expression in multidrug resistant Acinetobacter species. Ant Ag Chem. 62(4). pii: e02480-17.
  10. Rampioni G, D’Angelo F, Messina M, Zennaro A, Tofani D, Kuruma Y, Leoni L, Stano P. 2018. Synthetic cells produce a quorum sensing chemical signal perceived by the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Chemical Communications, DOI: 10.1039/C7CC09678J.
  11. Rampioni G, Visca P, Leoni L, Imperi F. (2017). Drug repurposing for antivirulence therapy against opportunistic bacterial pathogens. Emerg top Life Scien. DOI: 10.1042/ETLS20160018
  12. Rampioni G, Ramachandran Pillai C, Longo F, Bondì R, Baldelli V, Messina M, Imperi F, Visca P, Leoni L.* (2017) Effect of efflux pump inhibition on Pseudomonas aeruginosa transcriptome and virulence. Scientific reports. Sci Rep. 7:11392
  13. Bondí R, Longo F, Messina M, D’Angelo F, Visca P, Leoni L, Rampioni G (2017). The multi-output incoherent feedforward loop constituted by the transcriptional regulators LasR and RsaL confers robustness to a subset of quorum sensing genes in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Mol Biosyst. 13:1080-1089.
  14. Rampioni G, Falcone M, Heeb S, Frangipani E, Fletcher MP, Dubern JF, Visca P, Leoni L, Cámara M, Williams P. 2016. Unravelling the Genome-Wide Contributions of Specific 2-Alkyl-4-Quinolones and PqsE to Quorum Sensing in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. PLoS Pathog. 12:e1006029.
  15. Costabile G, d'Angelo I, d'Emmanuele di Villa Bianca R, Mitidieri E, Pompili B, Del Porto P, Leoni L, Visca P, Miro A, Quaglia F, Imperi F, Sorrentino R, Ungaro F. 2016. Development of inhalable hyaluronan/mannitol composite dry powders for flucytosine repositioning in local therapy of lung infections. J Control Release. 238: 80-91.
  16. Pawar SV, Messina M, Rinaldo S, Cutruzzolà F, Kaever V, Rampioni G, Leoni L.* (2016) Novel genetic tools to tackle c-di-GMP-dependent signalling in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. J Appl Microbiol. 120:205-217.
  17. Scaccabarozzi L, Leoni L, Ballarini E, Barberio A, Locatelli B, Casula A, Bronzo V, Pisoni G, Jousson O, Morandi S, Rapetti L, García-Fernández A, Moroni P. Pseudomonas aeruginosa in dairy goats: genotypic and phenotypic comparison of intramammary and environmental isolates (2015). PLOS ONE. 10: e0142973
  18. Fernicola S, Paiardini A, Giardina G, Rampioni G, Leoni L, Cutruzzolà F, Rinaldo S. In Silico Discovery and In Vitro Validation of Catechol-Containing Sulfonohydrazide Compounds as Potent Inhibitors of the Diguanylate Cyclase PleD. J Bacteriol. 2015 Sep 28;198(1):147-56.
  19. Fernicola S, Torquati I, Paiardini A, Giardina G, Rampioni G, Messina M, Leoni L, Del Bello F, Petrelli R, Rinaldo S, Cappellacci L, Cutruzzolà F. Synthesis of Triazole-Linked Analogues of c-di-GMP and Their Interactions with Diguanylate Cyclase. J Med Chem. 2015 Oct 22;58(20):8269-84.
  20. Costabile G, d’Angelo I, Rampioni G, Bondì R, Pompili B, Ascenzioni F, Mitidieri E., d’Emmanuele di Villa Bianca R, Sorrentino R, Miro A, Quaglia F, Imperi F, Leoni L, Ungaro F. (2015) Repositioning niclosamide for anti-virulence therapy of Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infections: nanocrystal-embedded dry powders for inhalation suspension. Mol Pharm. 12:2604-17
  21. Bondí R, Messina M, De Fino I, Bragonzi A, Rampioni G, Leoni L*. (2014) Affecting Pseudomonas aeruginosa phenotypic plasticity by quorum sensing dysregulation hampers pathogenicity in murine chronic lung infection. PLOS ONE. 24; 9:e112105
  22. Massai F, Rampioni G, Micolonghi C, Messina M, Zennaro E, Ascenzi P, Leoni L*. (2014) Styrene is sensed by the N-terminal PAS sensor domain of StyS, a double sensor kinase from the styrene-degrading bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens ST. Ann Microbiol. Published ahead of print. DOI 10.1007/s13213-014-0931-y.
  23. Rampioni G, Mavelli F, Damiano L, D’Angelo F, Messina M, Leoni L, Stano P. (2014) A synthetic biology approach to bio-chem-ICT: first moves towards chemical communication between synthetic and natural cells. Nat Comput. Natural Computing 13: 333-349.
  24. Imperi F, Leoni L, Visca P. (2014) Antivirulence activity of azithromycin in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Frontiers of Microbiology. 5: 178.
  25. Rampioni G, Leoni L, Williams P. (2014) The art of war against bacteria: a deception strategy targeting quorum sensing communication systems. Bioorg Chem. Bioorg Chem. epub ahed of print. doi: 10.1016/j.bioorg.2014.04.005.
  26. Rampioni G, Damiano L, Messina M, D'Angelo F, Leoni L, Stano, P (2013) Chemical communication between synthetic and natural cells: a possible experimental design. Electron Proc Theor Comput Sci 130:14-26.
  27. Longo F, Rampioni G, Bondì R, Imperi F, Fimia GM, Visca P, Zennaro E, Leoni L*. (2013) A new transcriptional repressor of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa quorum sensing receptor gene lasR. PLoS ONE 8(7): e69554.
  28. Imperi F, Massai F, Facchini M, Frangipani E, Visaggio D, Leoni L, Bragonzi A, Visca P. (2013) Repurposing the antimycotic drug flucytosine for suppression of Pseudomonas aeruginosa pathogenicity. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA. 110: 7458-63.

Attività di insegnamento


Corso di Biotecnologie dei Microrganismi applicate all'industria del farmaco e degli alimenti LM in Biologia

Corso di Biotecnologie delle Fermentazioni LT in Scienze e Culture Enogastronomiche

Corso di "Professione Enogastronomo I"