Dr. Enrico Cadoni


Enrico Cadoni studied at “La Sapienza” University of Rome, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude in Pharmacy under the supervision of Prof. Antonello Mai. During this time, he visited the lab of Prof. Rui Moreira in Lisbon, in the aim of an Erasmus project. There, he became interested in G-quadruplex (G4) nucleic acid structures, under the supervision of Prof. Alexandra Paulo.

In 2018, he joined the OBCR group as PhD student, within the Marie Skłodowska Curie ITN “MMBio”, supervised by Prof. Annemieke Madder and Dr Alex Manicardi. He obtained his PhD in December 2021, and he is currently part of the same group as a postdoctoral researcher (FWO Junior fellowship).

During his PhD, he was involved in several research projects, including the design and synthesis of novel photo-alkylating agents for G4 and I-Motif (IM) DNA structures, synthesis and photochemical characterization of Gold Nanoparticles, realization of peptide nucleic acid (PNA) probes for oligonucleotide templated ligations and sequence-specific crosslinking to single-stranded, G4 and IM-DNA targets.

Research Project

DNA is the molecule responsible for the transmission of genetic information, replicated billions of times every day in our cells. Even a single mistake in the transmission of its information can lead to a mutation., and can ultimately result in what we commonly call “cancer”. Beside the canonical “double helix” form in which DNA is normally found, this molecule can exist in a variety of different secondary structures, including G-Quadruplex (G4s) and I-Motifs (IMs). These structures exist in crucial areas of human genome (and transcriptome), and have been implicated in the fine regulation of gene expression. In our group we aim to sequence-specifically target these genomic structures, developing new tools that will serve to better understand their precise regulatory role. In addition we aim to develop novel anti-cancer approach based on the delivery of their analogues, as “decoys” to block the action of proteins able to bind these structures and initiate the transcription of possibly malfuctioning proteins. In summary, the currently ongoing research lines include:

·         Study of new methodologies for sequence-specific G4 and iM alkylation employing oligonucleotides and analogs (Peptide Nucleic Acids, PNAs);

·         Realization of G4-decoys for the targeting of specific G4-DNA-binding proteins

·         Study of synthetic modifications for enhancing the stability of G4-forming oligonucleotides.