POTI' Francesco

Professore di II fascia
Settore scientifico disciplinare
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Office hour
  • Teaching
  • Appointments
  • Research

Born in Galatina (LE), on 03/05/1979, Dr. Francesco Potì is associate professor (SSD BIO/14 "Pharmacology") at the Department of Medicine and Surgery - Neuroscience Unit of the University of Parma.

He obtained the National Scientific Qualification (ASN) to the position of Full Professor, field 05/G1 - Pharmacology, Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacognosy, in the Sixth Quarter of the 2021/2023 call for applications.

He obtained the National Scientific Qualification (ASN) to the position of Associate Professor, field 05/G1 - Pharmacology, Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacognosy, in the Fourth Quarter of the 2018/2020 call for applications.

EDUCATION/TRAINING (qualifications obtained, from most recent).

  • Specialization in Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, at the University of Milan.
    (70/70 cum laude; duration: 4 years; code: 1S7; class: SAS-5512 - Biomedical Clinical Services)
  • Ph.D. in Experimental Pharmacology and Toxicology, from the University of Parma, Italy (duration: 3 years)
  • Single-cycle Degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology, from the University of Parma
    (Class 14/S - Pharmacy and Industrial Pharmacy; duration: 5 years)

CAREER (main research and teaching activities).

After graduating in 2004, he began his PhD in Experimental Pharmacology and Toxicology, studying innovative approaches for pharmacological modulation of reverse cholesterol transport in vivo, under the guidance of Prof. Franco Bernini 1-5. In 2007, he moved to Paris for 12 months to work in the U551 unit of INSERM (now U1166 *, link at the bottom of the page), Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, under the supervision of Prof. John Chapman and Dr. Thierry Huby, conducting in vitro and in vivo studies on potential targets for the treatment of atherosclerosis, such as apoA-I, apoE, SR-BI and CETP 6,7. After a brief experience at the former Department of Clinical Medicine, Nephrology and Prevention Sciences of the University of Parma 8, he began his activity as a young researcher within a FIRB-IDEAS project coordinated by Prof. Manuela Simoni of the Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neuroscience Sciences - Endocrinology Unit, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Here, in close collaboration with Prof. Jerzy-Roch Nofer of the University of Münster (Germany), he initiates the study of sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptors as possible therapeutic targets in the context of atherosclerosis and inflammatory-based chronic diseases. This project, in addition to characterizing the in vivo vascular effects of experimental molecules (selective agonists for the S1P1 receptor and sphingosine kinase inhibitors) or already under therapy for other indications (Fingolimod, for example) 9-15, has led to the development of peculiar transgenic models capable of tissue-specific evidence of S1P-receptor axis activity. As part of this line of research, he coordinated an international study demonstrating, for the first time, the role of the S1P3 receptor in the development of certain forms of acute myeloid leukemia, proposing the use of receptor antagonists as potential new drugs for such conditions 16.

At the same time, he collaborates in the activities of Prof. Simoni's research group, a worldwide reference for the study of gonadotropins and its receptors, providing support for pharmacodynamics analyses in this context 17-23.

As part of the Post-Graduate School of Clinical Pharmacology, in addition to curricular activities, he was involved in writing drug sheets (pirfenidone; nivolumab; ipilimumab; ceftazidime/avibactam; olaparib) and an experimental thesis, aimed at exploring the pharmacology of the S1P-S1PR axis in myeloid lineage cells in vivo.

He has authored scientific publications in international indexed journals (**).

He has participated in numerous national and international congresses as a speaker and/or moderator.

He has contributed to the organization of national congresses as a member of the scientific committee.

Has obtained and managed research funds through competitive calls involving peer review, as "Principal Investigator" and Unit Coordinator.

From 12/21/2015 to 12/2020, he was Fixed-Term Researcher - Law 240/2010, letter a) - SSD BIO/14 "Pharmacology", at the current Department of Medicine and Surgery - Neuroscience Unit of the University of Parma.

From 16/01/2021 to 15/01/2024 he was Fixed-Term Researcher - law 240/2010, letter b) - SSD BIO/14 "Pharmacology", at the Department of Medicine and Surgery - Neuroscience Unit of the University of Parma, with teaching assignments (Pharmacology) in the degree courses of Medicine and Surgery, Nursing, Science and Techniques of Preventive and Adapted Physical Activities, and integrative teaching activities within the Schools of Specialization of the Medical, Surgical and Clinical Services area.

RESEARCH FUNDS (from most recent).

  • Principal Investigator, FIL 2019 "Quota Incentivante" for the Funding of University Research Projects of the University of Parma, for young researchers. Title: "Sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor 3: a new target in macrophage cholesterol handling."
    Funding: €12,300.00
  • Unit coordinator, PRIN 2017 MIUR call. Title: "Low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR)-independent effects of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9): role in modulating insulin resistance, ectopic fat accumulation and low-grade inflammation" - ERC Area LS7. Code: 2017H5F943_005.
    Funding (allocated to the OU): 93,000.00 €.
  • Principal Investigator, FIL 2016 "Quota Incentivante" of the University of Parma, reserved for fixed-term researchers. Title: "Sphingosine 1-phosphate and its receptors in macrophages: impact on cell fate, signaling and function".
    Funding: €5,929.00
  • Principal Investigator, Ministry of Health Young Researchers Call - Finalized Research 2011-2012. Title: "Targeting inflammation in atherosclerosis: role and therapeutic potential of sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) and its receptors." Code: GR-2011-02346974.
    Funding: €360,087.76.


He is a member of the following scientific societies, accredited by the Ministry of Health: Italian Society of Pharmacology (SIF), Italian Society for the Study of Atherosclerosis (SISA), European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS), International Atherosclerosis Society (IAS).

From 2016 to 2019, he was a member of the Coordinating Committee of the SISA Youth Section (***).


He is a reviewer for numerous scientific journals, including British Journal of Pharmacology, Atherosclerosis, PlosOne, Cardiovascular Research, Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology, International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, ACS Chemical Neuroscience, Journal of Translational Medicine, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Frontiers in Endocrinology, etc. (****)

Editorial Board Member for the journal Current Research in Pharmacology and Drug Discovery (

Review Editor for the journal Frontiers in Medicine (

He is accredited to the Register of Expert Peer Reviewers for Italian Scientific Evaluation (REPRISE, Cineca).


  • Prof. Manuela Simoni, Prof. Livio Casarini, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia
    (Ligand-receptor interactions for gonadotropin receptors and other hormones);
  • Prof. Carla Palumbo, Prof. Jessika Bertacchini, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia
    (modulation of osteogenic differentiation)
  • Prof. Jerzy-Roch Nofer, University of Münster (Germany)
    (modulation of S1P-S1PR axis in vivo as a potential antiatherosclerotic target)
  • Prof. Arnold von Eckardstein, University of Zurich (Switzerland)
    (influence of S1P receptors on trans-endothelial lipoprotein transport);
  • Prof. Heike Pahl, University of Freiburg (Germany).
    (effect of S1P3 receptor in hematology);
  • Dr. Thierry Huby, INSERM Paris (France)
    (functions of SR-BI in macrophages; cholesterol transport in erythrocytes, Kupffer cells)


  • Best Oral Communication Award, 3rd SIRC (Italian Society for Cardiovascular Research) "Forum on new roads in cardiovascular research" - Genoa (June 18, 2016)
  • "Paola Loria" Award of the Italian Society for the Study of Arteriosclerosis (S.I.S.A.), reserved for the best oral communication, Congress Regional Section Emilia Romagna (2014)
  • Certificate of Merit of the UNIMORE University for distinguishing himself in the field of national and international research in the year 2014 - Rector Prof. Angelo O. Andrisano
  • Winner of the annual scholarship "Clemente Grappolini", for the scientific disciplinary field MED/09 - Internal Medicine, to carry out research on "Toxicity from contrast media for radiography: cellular mechanisms of damage and progression of atherosclerotic disease", under the responsibility of Prof. Aderville Cabassi and Prof. Nicoletta Ronda, University of Parma (2008).


English, written and spoken

French, written and spoken









1. Zanotti I, Potì F, Favari E, Steffensen KR, Gustafsson JA, Bernini F. Pitavastatin Effect on ATP Binding Cassette A1-Mediated Lipid Efflux from Macrophages: Evidence for Liver X Receptor (LXR)-Dependent and LXR-Independent Mechanisms of Activation by cAMP. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2006;317(1):395-401. doi:10.1124/jpet.105.093930

2. Zanotti I, Potì F, Pedrelli M, Favari E, Moleri E, Franceschini G, Calabresi L, Bernini F. The LXR agonist T0901317 promotes the reverse cholesterol transport from macrophages by increasing plasma efflux potential. J Lipid Res. 2008. doi:10.1194/jlr.M700254-JLR200

3. Zanotti I, Pedrelli M, Potì F, Stomeo G, Gomaraschi M, Calabresi L, Bernini F. Macrophage, but not systemic, apolipoprotein e is necessary for macrophage reverse cholesterol transport in vivo. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2011. doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.110.213892

4. Zanotti I, Greco D, Lusardi G, Zimetti F, Potì F, Arnaboldi L, Corsini A, Bernini F. Cyclosporine A Impairs the Macrophage Reverse Cholesterol Transport in Mice by Reducing Sterol Fecal Excretion. PLoS One. 2013. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071572

5. Greco D, Battista S, Mele L, Piemontese A, Papotti B, Cavazzini S, Potì F, Di Rocco G, Poli A, Bernini F, Zanotti I. Alcohol Pattern Consumption Differently Affects the Efficiency of Macrophage Reverse Cholesterol Transport in Vivo. Nutrients. 2018;10(12):1885. doi:10.3390/nu10121885

6. El Bouhassani M, Gilibert S, Moreau M, Saint-Charles F, Tréguier M, Poti F, Chapman MJ, Le Goff W, Lesnik P, Huby T. Cholesteryl ester transfer protein expression partially attenuates the adverse effects of SR-BI receptor deficiency on cholesterol metabolism and atherosclerosis. J Biol Chem. 2011. doi:10.1074/jbc.M111.220483

7. Galle-Treger L, Moreau M, Ballaire R, Poupel L, Huby T, Sasso E, Troise F, Poti F, Lesnik P, Le Goff W, Gautier EL, Huby T. Targeted invalidation of SR-B1 in macrophages reduces macrophage apoptosis and accelerates atherosclerosis. Cardiovasc Res. May 2019. doi:10.1093/cvr/cvz138

8. Ronda N, Potì F, Palmisano A, Gatti R, Orlandini G, Maggiore U, Cabassi A, Regolisti G, Fiaccadori E. Effects of the radiocontrast agent iodixanol on endothelial cell morphology and function. Vascul Pharmacol. 2013. doi:10.1016/j.vph.2012.08.005

9. Poti F, Costa S, Bergonzini V, Galletti M, Pignatti E, Weber C, Simoni M, Nofer JR. Effect of sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptor agonists FTY720 and CYM5442 on atherosclerosis development in LDL receptor deficient (LDL-R-/-) mice. Vascul Pharmacol. 2012. doi:10.1016/j.vph.2012.03.003

10. Poti F, Bot M, Costa S, Bergonzini V, Maines L, Varga G, Freise H, Robenek H, Simoni M, Nofer JR. Sphingosine kinase inhibition exerts both pro- and anti-atherogenic effects in low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient (LDL-R-/-) mice. Thromb Haemost. 2012. doi:10.1160/TH11-08-0583

11. Potì F, Gualtieri F, Sacchi S, Weißen-Plenz G, Varga G, Brodde M, Weber C, Simoni M, Nofer JR. KRP-203, sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor type 1 agonist, ameliorates atherosclerosis in LDL-R-/-mice. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2013. doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.113.301347

12. Potì F, Simoni M, Nofer JR. Atheroprotective role of high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-associated sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P). Cardiovasc Res. 2014;103(3):395-404. doi:10.1093/cvr/cvu136

13. Potì F, Ceglarek U, Burkhardt R, Simoni M, Nofer JR. SKI-II - a sphingosine kinase 1 inhibitor - exacerbates atherosclerosisin low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient (LDL-R-/-) mice on high cholesterol diet. Atherosclerosis. 2015;240(1):212-215. doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2015.03.020

14. Feuerborn R, Becker S, Potì F, Nagel P, Brodde M, Schmidt H, Christoffersen C, Ceglarek U, Burkhardt R, Nofer JR. High density lipoprotein (HDL)-associated sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) inhibits macrophage apoptosis by stimulating STAT3 activity and survivin expression. Atherosclerosis. 2017;257:29-37. doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2016.12.009

15. Feuerborn R, Besser M, Potì F, Burkhardt R, Weißen-Plenz G, Ceglarek U, Simoni M, Proia RL, Freise H, Nofer JR. Elevating Endogenous Sphingosine-1-Phosphate (S1P) Levels Improves Endothelial Function and Ameliorates Atherosclerosis in Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor-Deficient (LDL-R -/-) Mice. Thromb Haemost. 2018;118(8):1470-1480. doi:10.1055/s-0038-1666870

16. Vorbach S, Gründer A, Zhou F, Koellerer C, Jutzi JS, Simoni M, Riccetti L, Valk PJ, Sanders MA, Müller-Tidow C, Nofer JR, Pahl HL, Potì F. Enhanced expression of the sphingosine-1-phosphate-receptor-3 causes acute myelogenous leukemia in mice. Leukemia. 2020 Mar;34(3):721-734. doi: 10.1038/s41375-019-0577-7.

17. Riccetti L, De Pascali F, Gilioli L, Potì F, Giva LB, Marino M, Tagliavini S, Trenti T, Fanelli F, Mezzullo M, Pagotto U, Simoni M, Casarini L. Human LH and hCG stimulate differently the early signalling pathways but result in equal testosterone synthesis in mouse Leydig cells in vitro. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2017. doi:10.1186/s12958-016-0224-3

18. Santi D, Spaggiari G, Gilioli L, Potì F, Simoni M, Casarini L. Molecular basis of androgen action on human sexual desire. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2017;467:31-41. doi:10.1016/j.mce.2017.09.007

19. Santi D, Potì F, Simoni M, Casarini L. Pharmacogenetics of GPCR variants: FSH receptor and infertility treatment. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. January 2018. doi:10.1016/j.beem.2018.01.001

20. Casarini L, Santi D, Simoni M, Potì F. 'spare’ Luteinizing Hormone Receptors: Facts and Fiction. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2018;29(4):208-217. doi:10.1016/j.tem.2018.01.007

21. Brigante G, Riccetti L, Lazzaretti C, Rofrano L, Sperduti S, Potì F, Diazzi C, Prodam F, Guaraldi G, Lania AG, Rochira V, Casarini L. Abacavir, nevirapine, and ritonavir modulate intracellular calcium levels without affecting GHRH-mediated growth hormone secretion in somatotropic cells in vitro. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2019;482:37-44. doi:10.1016/j.mce.2018.12.005

22. Lazzaretti C, Riccetti L, Sperduti S, Anzivino C, Brigante G, De Pascali F, Potì F, Rovei V, Restagno G, Mari C, Lussiana C, Benedetto C, Revelli A, Casarini L. Inferring biallelism of two FSH receptor mutations associated with spontaneous ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome by evaluating FSH, LH and HCG cross-activity. Reprod Biomed Online. 2019;38(5):816-824. doi:10.1016/j.rbmo.2018.12.021

23. Riccetti L, Sperduti S, Lazzaretti C, Klett D, De Pascali F, Paradiso E, Limoncella S, Potì F, Tagliavini S, Trenti T, Galano E, Palmese A, Satwekar A, Daolio J, Nicoli A, Villani MT, Aguzzoli L, Reiter E, Simoni M, Casarini L. Glycosylation Pattern and in vitro Bioactivity of Reference Follitropin alfa and Biosimilars. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2019;10:503. doi:10.3389/fendo.2019.00503


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Anno accademico di erogazione: 2024/2025

Anno accademico di erogazione: 2023/2024

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Anno accademico di erogazione: 2020/2021

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Anno accademico di erogazione: 2018/2019

Anno accademico di erogazione: 2017/2018

Anno accademico di erogazione: 2016/2017




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via Volturno 39/F, 43125 - Parma (PR)