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Lino Tessarollo, Ph.D.

Portait Photo of Lino Tessarollo
Mouse Cancer Genetics Program
Head, Neural Development Section
Program Director
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 560, Room 32-31D
P.O. Box B
Frederick, MD 21702-1201


Dr. Tessarollo received his Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of Padua, Italy, in 1987. He carried out postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Chieco-Bianchi at the Institute of Oncology, Padua to study retroviral-induced tumorigenesis in rodents. In 1990 he joined Dr. Parada's laboratory at the ABL-Basic Research Program, NCI-Frederick where he learned and applied gene targeting to study neurotrophic factors function in vivo. In 1994, Dr. Tessarollo established the Special Program in Germline Mutation and, in 1996, he formed the Neural Development Group. In 1997, while continuing his research effort, he established a mouse gene targeting program for the National Cancer Institute. In 1999, he joined the Center for Cancer Research, NCI where he continues to direct the Neural Development Section and the Gene Targeting Facility. In 2006, Dr. Tessarollo was appointed Deputy Director of the Mouse Cancer Genetics Program (MCGP) and in 2013 he was named Director of the Program.


Neurotrophins are a highly homologous family of secreted growth factors that have been extensively studied for their roles in the proliferation, survival, and differentiation of various cell populations in the mammalian nervous system. Each neurotrophin interacts with the p75 receptor and a specific member of the trk tyrosine kinase receptor family. Trk receptors, in addition to the tyrosine kinase isoforms, include receptors which lack kinase activity.
Over the last two decades many laboratories have contributed to the dissection of signaling pathways and the biological responses activated by neurotrophins in a variety of cell types. Most of this information was generated with the use of in vitro systems. Thus, many of these activities were caused by pharmacological rather than physiological activation of neurotrophin signaling. My laboratory is using the mouse as a genetically amenable in vivo tool to address some of the many still unresolved issues in neurotrophin biology. Specifically, we are interested in the role of neurotrophins in the mature nervous system and in non-neuronal organs such as the immune system. Furthermore, we are interested in the contribution of specific receptor isoforms and signaling pathways in mediating defined neurotrophin activities. In this respect we have generated a variety of mouse models that have helped us to dissect specific roles of neurotrophins in mouse development.
In addition, other recent accomplishments of our laboratory include the identification of proteins that interact with a phylogenetically conserved intracellular domain of truncated TrkC receptors. Thus, our finding may provide one of the long sought direct link between neurotrophins and signaling of truncated Trk receptors.
The study of neurotrophins functions not only in the mature nervous system but also in non-neuronal tissues should contribute to our understanding of the complex nature of ligand-receptor family interactions in the maintenance of higher organisms, and may lead to a better understanding of pharmacological neurotrophin activities in vivo.

This page was last updated on 2/6/2014.