Luca Lambertini, PhD
- ASSISTANT PROFESSOR | Medicine, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Disease
- ASSISTANT PROFESSOR | Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science
Dr. Luca Lambertini is an Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine and Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science (OB/GYN) at Mount Sinai School of Medicine (MSSM). Dr. Lambertini received his PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Bologna, Italy in 1995. Dr. Lambertini then completed a 1 and ½ year of postdoctoral training in molecular biology before beginning the studies for a Master of Science in Industrial Hygiene supported by EFESO and Regione Emilia-Romagna (Italy) with funding from the European Union. He completed his master in 1998 in Forlì, Italy. The same year Dr. Lambertini joined the Ramazzini Institute, an internationally recognized leading institution located in Bentivoglio, Italy, working on the study of the long-term effects on health of the exposure to putative carcinogenic chemical/physical agents in experimental animal models. During this period Dr. Lambertini also worked in analytic epidemiology unit investigating the disease profile of workers exposed to known carcinogens. From year 2002 to 2004 Dr. Lambertini undertook a fellowship at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) institutions located in Research Triangle Park, NC, USA. During his fellowship Dr. Lambertini focused on molecular investigations for the determination of the genetic effects of the exposure to know carcinogens. He then returned to the Ramazzini Institute where he developed the platform for the implementation of molecular studies on the experimental animal model of the institution. In year 2006 Dr. Lambertini joined MSSM for a 2-year fellowship for studying the developmental origin of chronic disorders. During this period Dr. Lambertini developed his activity on human placental tissue. He also earned his Master of Public Health at MSSM in year 2008. Dr. Lambertini was then hired by the Department of Preventive Medicine and, thanks to his work on placenta with the MSSM OB/GYN Department he was granted his secondary appointment.
PhD, Università degli Studi di Bologna
MSc, Ente di Formazione per l’Economia Sociale (EFESO) - Regione Emilia Romagna
MPH, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Dr. Lambertini works in the Environmental Health Lab of the Preventive Medicine Department. His research is oriented toward the identification and characterization of biomarkers of improper fetal development leading to the manifestation of chronic and developmental disorders in children.
Dr. Lambertini’s centers around the following main areas:
1. Genomic Imprinting. This epigenetically driven phenomenon is governed by an intricate network of epigenetic signals that contribute to the allele-specific expression of a limited number of genes according to the parent-of-origin. Perturbation of the imprinting and/or expression profiles of these genes have been linked to pregnancy outcomes, like mainly growth restriction, and disorders like obesity and neurodevelopmental syndromes in children. Dr. Lambertini studies genomic imprinting in human placenta by using a highly sensitive technique that measures loss of imprinting (LOI) at the RNA level by determining the relative amount of RNA transcribed by each allele for a subset of imprinted genes. By using an allele-specific PCR approach this technique allows measuring the effects of all epigenetic effector acting on regulating the imprinting profile. Dr. Lambertini worked on establishing the correlation between LOI perturbation and growth restriction as well as imprinted gene expression dysregulation and neurodevelopmental status at birth.
2. long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). Non-coding RNA, transcribed in high amount accordingly with the complexity of the organism, represent double the number of RNAs transcribed by the known genes of the human genome. Their role is poorly understood and, beside micro RNAs almost nothing is know about other non-coding RNAs like lncRNAs. These transcripts are longer than 500 bp and have been hypothesized to work as regulator of the DNA eu/ethero-chromatic status. Between them several lncRNAs have been found to critically affect different aspects of differentiation and to drive some key developmental phases of the embryo. Dr. Lambertini developed a project intended to identify all lncRNAs expressedin placenta, monitor their expression in fetal growth and development.
3. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) methylation. Recently the role of methylation on the regulation of the mtDNA functioning became evident. These cellular organelles are fundamental for adapting the metabolic rates of our tissues and organs to different needs. Mitochondria also play a critical role in fetoplacental; development by sustaining the peculiar metabolic rate of this temporary organ and they also participate on supporting the brain growth. Dr. Lambertini is conducting a project intended to deep sequence the placental mitochondrial DNA from normal and growth restricted placentas in order to pinpoint differentially methylated regions that could be the signature of an altered fetal development.
4. Windows of Susceptibility. Chronic and developmental disorders in children include pathologies that span from asthma and obesity, to neurodevelopmental syndromes and to cancer. The recognition is increasing that supports the understanding that such disorders have their bases in an improper fetal development. During the embryo development there indeed exist windows of susceptibility that can alter the correct growth and lead to the manifestation of such a plethora of disorders. In collaboration with Drs. Jia Chen and Susan Teitelbaum, Dr. Lambertini is investigating perturbations of the epigenetic setup in experimental animals exposed to chemicals with endocrine disrupting potential commonly found in the environment of human life. Correlation will be sought between these epigenetic dysregulations and mammary cancer as well as other indicator of alteration of the developmental trajectory of the fetus.
5. The Policystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Model. PCOS is an ideal model to study the dysregulations of the epigenetic profile leading to chronic disorders in children. Women affected by PCOS deliver infants with a high risk to develop metabolic syndrome and become obese. Working in collaboration with Drs. Yaron Tomer, Nathan Kase and Joanne Stone, Dr. Lambertini is working by participating in the profiling of the epigenetic status of a limited number of PCOS women before and during pregnancy and then analyze the progeny for the same parameters. Babies born from these pregnancies will be further followed up to assess their health status to correlate with the experimental findings.
6. Mount Sinai Pregnancy Biobank (MSPB). Research projects from different MSSM Departments including Preventive Medicine and OB/GYN, would greatly benefit from the availability of placental tissue and umbilical cord blood to elaborate marker of improper fetal development. In this framework, Dr. Lambertini collaborated to the development and now leads the project for the implementation of the MSPB that is by to be activated and will collect such samples linked to the patient’s clinical information stored at MSSM. Samples will be available to the whole MSSM scientific community and follow-up on children will also be available on the basis of the protocol for each project that will use MSPB samples.
7. Other projects. Dr. Lambertini is also involved in the National Children’s Study (NCS), is developing a patent for a new placenta sampling tool and collaborate with Dr. Stone to elaborate experimental research projects for the Maternal-Fetal Medicine fellows of the OB/GYN Department.