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Faculty Profile

Bio - Fracassi, Anna, PhD

  • Dr. Anna Fracassi currently is Assistant Professor (N-T Track) at the Neurology Department at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. She is also a junior faculty member of the Mitchell Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases from 2023. Dr. Fracassi obtained her bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences in 2009 at the University of L’Aquila (L’Aquila, Italy), disserting a thesis on the role of oxidative stress in brain aging under the mentorship of Prof. Maria Paola Cerù. Dr. Fracassi obtained a MS in Cellular and Molecular biology at the University of Rome Tre (Rome, Italy) under the mentorship of Prof. Sandra Moreno in 2013 with a thesis on mitochondrial and peroxisomal alterations in a mouse model of genomic instability. Dr Fracassi obtained her PhD in Molecular, Cellular and Environmental Biology in 2017 (University of Rome Tre) under the mentorship of Prof. Sandra Moreno and Prof. Giulio Taglialatela disserting a thesis on the role of peroxisomes, mitochondria, and related transcription factors in Alzheimer’s disease.

    In 2019, Dr. Fracassi joined as post-Doctoral fellow Dr Taglialatela’s laboratory at the Mitchell Center for Neurodegenerative Disease, Dept. of Neurology at UTMB with a project focused on oxidative stress and neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive resilience. Her research currently focuses on delineating mechanisms underlying synaptic resilience in human brain with a focus on inflammation and autophagy. Dr. Fracassi has authored 21 peer-reviewed publications in excellent scientific journals and presented 27 abstracts at National and International scientific meetings.

    In 2022 she has been awarded with International Research Fellowship from Alzheimer’s Association for 3-years project on microglia and cognitive resilience. She was recently awarded a R21 grant entitled “Role of microglia in cognitive resilience to Alzheimer’s Disease” from the National Institute of Aging for 2 years.

  • 2009: BS in Biological Science, University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila (Italy)

    2013: MS in Molecular and Cellular Biology, University Roma Tre, Rome (Italy)

    2017: PhD in Molecular, Cellular and Environmental Biology, University Roma Tre, Rome (Italy)

    2019-2023: Post-doctoral fellow, Mitchell Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Dept. of Neurology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston (USA)

    • Study of the mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease and synaptic resilience with focus on neuroinflammation and autophagy.
    • Involvement of oxidative stress and peroxisomes at the onset and during the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
    • Tumurbaatar B#, Fracassi A, Scaduto P#, Guptarak J, Woltjer R, Jupiter D, Taglialatela (2023). Preserved Autophagy in Cognitive Intact Non-Demented Individuals with Alzheimer’s Neuropathology. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, Article DOI: 10.1002/alz.13074.
    • Scaduto P, Lauterborn JC, Cox CD, Fracassi A, Zeppillo T, Gutierrez BA, Keene CD, Crane PK, Mukherjee S, Russell WK, Taglialatela G, Limon A (2023). Functional excitatory to inhibitory synaptic imbalance and loss of cognitive performance in people with Alzheimer's disease neuropathologic change. Acta neuropathologica, 145(3), 303–324.
    • Fracassi A, Marcatti M, Tumurbaatar B, Woltjer R, Moreno S, Taglialatela G (2023). TREM2-induced activation of microglia contributes to synaptic integrity in cognitively intact aged individuals with Alzheimer's neuropathology. Brain Pathol. 33(1):e13108. doi:10.1111/bpa.13108.
    • Marcatti M, Fracassi A, Montalbano M, Natarajan C, Krishnan B, Kayed R, Taglialatela G (2022). Aβ/tau oligomer interplay at human synapses supports shifting therapeutic targets for Alzheimer's disease. Cell Mol Life Sci. 79(4):222.
    • Walker JM, Kazempour Dehkordi S, Fracassi A, Vanschoiack A, Pavenko A, Taglialatela G, Woltjer R, Richardson TE, Zare H, Orr ME (2022). Differential protein expression in the hippocampi of resilient individuals identified by digital spatial profiling. Acta Neuropathol Commun. 10(1):23.
    • Fracassi A, Marcatti M, Zolochevska O, Tabor N, Woltjer R, Moreno S, Taglialatela G (2021). Oxidative damage and antioxidant response in frontal cortex of demented and non-demented individuals with Alzheimer's neuropathology. J Neurosci. 41(3):538-554.
    • Klionsky DJ, Abdel-Aziz AK, Abdelfatah S, … Fracassi A, … et al. Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (4th edition) (2021) Autophagy. 1-382. doi:10.1080/15548627.2020.1797280.
    • Singh A, Allen D, Fracassi A, Tumurbaatar B, Natarajan C, Scaduto P, Woltjer R, Kayed R, Limon A, Krishnan B, Taglialatela G (2020). Functional Integrity of Synapses in the Central Nervous System of Cognitively Intact Individuals with High Alzheimer's Disease Neuropathology is Associated with Absence of Synaptic Tau Oligomers. J Alzheimers Dis. 2020 doi: 10.3233/JAD-200716.
    • Colasuonno F, Niceforo A, Marioli C, Fracassi A, Stregapede F, Massey K, Tartaglia M, Bertini E, Compagnucci C, Moreno S. (2020). Mitochondrial and Peroxisomal Alterations Contribute to Energy Dysmetabolism in Riboflavin Transporter Deficiency. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2020;2020:6821247.
    • Fracassi A, Marangoni M, Rosso P, Pallottini V, Fioramonti M, Siteni S, Segatto M (2019). Statins and the Brain: More than Lipid Lowering Agents? Curr Neuropharmacol. 17(1):59-83.
    • D'Orio B#, Fracassi A, Ceru MP, Moreno S. Targeting PPARalpha in Alzheimer's Disease (2018). Curr Alzheimer Res;15(4):345-354.
    • 2022-2025: Granting Agency: Alzheimer’s Association AARF 22-973974 (175,000.00 $). Title of grant: Role of microglia in cognitive resilience to Alzheimer’s disease.

      2023-2025: Granting Agency: NIA/NIH R21AG082230 (320,000.00 $). Title of grant: Role of microglia in cognitive resilience to Alzheimer’s disease.

      2022: Excellence in Research Award, Basic Science Research: 25th Annual Forum on Aging (UTMB).

      2022: TARCC (Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium) Excellence in Research Poster Award for the 2022 Symposium.

      2021: Excellence in Research Award, Basic Science Research: 24th Annual Forum on Aging (UTMB).

      2021: Co-author in the winning paper for the 2021 Alzheimer Award by Journal of Alzheimer’s disease.

      2021: Best poster award at the Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium conference.

      2019: Excellence in Research Award, Basic Science Research: 23rd Annual Forum on Aging (UTMB).