ESR introduction and

outline ESR Project 6

Marida Sansonetti was born in January 1991, in Bari, a town in the South of Italy. After the achievement of her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology at University of Bari in 2014, she succeeded in her Master’s degree in Functional Genomics at Trieste University, in 2016.

Being passionate about molecular and cellular biology, in 2016 she performed her Master’s thesis internship in the Molecular Medicine Laboratory of Prof. Mauro Giacca at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) in Trieste, Italy. The topic of her thesis was “Production and characterization of recombinant soluble factors with cardioprotective effect”.

Following the successful completion of her Master’s thesis internship, in 2017 she was awarded a PhD candidateship at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, in the Molecular Cardiology group of Prof. Leon de Windt and Prof. Paula da Costa Martins.

Her work in the lab was crucial to establish her passion for research in the cardiovascular field, with a focus on communication between cardiomyocytes and macrophages mediated by miRNA-enriched extracellular vesicles.

This experience served as the inspiration for her and after two years, she pursued her PhD in the context of the H2020 TRAIN-HEART consortium, at Hannover Medical School (MHH), at the Institute of Molecular and Translational Therapeutic Strategies (IMTTS) under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Thomas Thum and Dr. Filippo Perbellini.

She is investigating the role of non-coding RNAs implicated in the modulation of cardiac inflammation. In particular, she is testing the function of these RNA molecules in cardiac macrophages, taking advantage of the novel ex vivo methodology of living myocardial slices. These preparations are sections of living cardiac tissue that preserve the native structure and architecture of the heart, providing information at cellular/subcellular level. This innovative technology overcomes most of the limitations of the in vitro models. The living slices can also be obtained from human patients, thus providing a multicellular pre-clinical human model for translational cardiovascular research. This will allow her to develop a novel clinical protocol for the treatment of ischemic heart disease, paving the way to a new era of precision and personalized medicine.


- Maastricht University (group of Prof. de Windt, molecular cardiology)

- Miltenyi Biotech GmbH (group of Dr Eckardt, cardiac research)

Host Institution

Hannover Medical School

ESR: Marida Sansonetti


Main supervisor: Prof. Thomas Thum

Co-supervisor: Dr Filippo Perbellini