Giovanna Chiorino

PhD, Fondazione Edo ed Elvo Tempia



Dr Giovanna Chiorino is an Italian scientist involved in genomics research (the structure, function, evolution, mapping, and editing of all genes of an organism). Among others, her team focuses on studying DNA regions which were believed, until recently, to have no role, but which actually make the difference between humans and other species!

With a broad background in mathematics applied to biology and specific training and expertise in cancer genomics, she is head of a laboratory involved in the analysis of how genes do the things they are programmed to do to keep a body working (gene expression). Her research is specifically focused on prostate cancer, but she is also interested in other cancer pathologies such as melanoma, breast cancer, head and neck squamous carcinoma, cholangiocarcinoma and ovarian cancer.

Her team is multidisciplinary, with biologists and biotechnologists interacting with mathematicians and bioinformaticians and uses high throughput technologies. When the first results on genome sequencing became available, she focused on the activity of coding genes, the elements of DNA that are committed to produce proteins. In the following years scientists realized that these represent only the 2% of the entire genome, and that the remaining 98% (known as “junk DNA”) is actually critical to human health! By analyzing these “non-coding genes” we can find ways to detect cancer early and to predict how a tumor may respond to therapy.

Dr Chiorino received her Master Degree in Mathematics at the University of Turin (Italy), then she spent one year at the University of Lyon 1 (France) and three years later received her PhD in Mathematics applied to Biology at the University of Pau (France), in collaboration with the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, Milan (Italy). She then spent four months at the Screening Technologies Branch, NCI, Frederick MD (US) and went back to Italy to lead the Genomics Lab at Fondazione Edo ed Elvo Tempia in Biella.

Find out more about Dr Chiorino’s team and research focus here.

In this brief interview Dr Chiorino describes her research activity on cancer genomics, how genomics is important for the CANCERPREV project and what motivates her to be part of this consortium.