Research Scientist




Doctor of Philosophy degree, Experimental and Clinical Oncology, Dep. of Experimental Pathology and Oncology, University of Florence, Italy.

Doctor of Philosophy degree, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA.

Laurea in Biological Science, Dep. of Animal Biology and Genetics, University of Florence, Italy.


Current position:

Research Scientist, Biodesign Center for Personalized Diagnostics and School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, U.S.A.

Professional experiences:

Associate Specialist, University of California San Francisco, USA

Contract researcher, Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University of Florence, Italy

Postdoctoral fellow, Molecular Medicine, University of Siena, Italy

Research associate, The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK

Contract researcher, postdoctoral, Institute Jacques Monod, CNRS, Universités Paris 6 et 7, Paris, France.

Visiting Scholar, Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA

Research interests:

I am interested in cancer evolution, molecular genetics, cancer biology and evolutionary biology.

Evolutionary life cycle

Evolutionary life cycle
Cancer cells  regress to a  unicellular life  history strategy.  Cancer cells  may  evolve as  individual cells, clonal aggregates or develop complex social behaviors.  The death  of the  host organism does not necessarily drive cancer cells to extinction. In fact, there are well documented cases where cancer cells  are  able  to pass  from  one  individual to another as in the  canine  transmissible  venereal tumor.


31. FORTUNATO A., BODDY A.M., MALLO D., AKTIPIS A., MALEY C.C., PEPPER W.J. 2016. Natural Selection in Cancer Biology: From Molecular Snowflakes to Trait Hallmarks. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine. October 2016, DOI: 10.1101/cshperspect.a029652

30. IRDANI T., FORTUNATO A. and TORRE R. 2015. An ultra-rapid cryo-technique for complex organisms. Cryobiology, 71(3):391-7.

29. BODDY A.M. FORTUNATO A, WILSON SAVRES M AND AKTIPIS A. 2015. Fetal microchimerism and maternal health: A review and evolutionary analysis of cooperation and conflict beyond the womb. BioEssay, DOI: 10.1002/bies.201500059.

28. CROCIANI O., ZANIERI F., PILLOZZI S., LASTRAIOLI E., STEFANINI M., FIORE A., FORTUNATO A., D’ AMICO M., MASSELLI M., DE LORENZO E., CHIU M., BUSSOLATI O., BECHETTI A. and ARCANGELI A. 2013. hERG1 channels modulate integrin signaling to trigger angiogenesis and tumor progression in colorectal cancer. Scientific Reports, 3: 3308, DOI: 10.1038/srep03308.

27. PILLOZZI S.*, FORTUNATO A.*, DE LORENZO E., BORRANI E., GIACHI M., SCARSELLI G., NOCI I., ARCANGELI A. 2013. Role for LH/hCG-R in distant metastasis in an endometrial cancer mouse model.   * equally contributed to the paper. Frontiers in Cancer Endocrinology, doi: 10.3389/fonc.2013.00285.

26. FORTUNATO A. GASPAROLI L., FALSINI S., BONI L. and ARCANGELI A. 2013. An analytical method for the quantification of hERG1 channel gene expression in human colorectal cancer. Diagnostic Molecular Pathology, Epub: 2013 Nov 4. doi: 10.1097/PDM.0b013e31828e55c7.

25. FALSINI S., RISTORI S., CIANI L., FORTUNATO A. and ARCANGELI A. 2013. Advances in lipid-based platforms for RNAi therapeutics. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, DOI: 10.1021/jm400791q, Epub: September 18, 2013

24. FIORE A. , CARRARESI L., MORABITO A , POLVANI S., FORTUNATO A., LASTRAIOLI E., FEMIA AP, DE LORENZO E., CADERNI G and ARCANGELI A. 2013. Characterization of hERG1 channel role in mouse colorectal carcinogenesis. Cancer Medicine, 2 (5): 583–594.

23. FORTUNATO A. and S.TURILLAZZI. 2012. Dufour’s gland possible role in the evolution of sting morphology and function in hover wasps (Hymenoptera Stenogastrinae). Arthropod Structure & Development 41: 259-264

The LH/hCG Axis in Endometrial Cancer: A New Target in the Treatment of Recurrent or Metastatic Disease. Obstetrics and Gynecology International, doi:10.1155/2010/486164. Epub 2010 Jul 15.

21. FORTUNATO A. 2009. Quantitative high-throughput analysis of synthetic genetic interactions in Caenorhabditis elegans by RNA interference. Genomics, 93: 392-396.

20. FORTUNATO A. 2009. The cost of being bright. Journal of Insect Behavior, 22: 49-53.

19. LEHNER B., CROMBIE C., TISCHLER J., FORTUNATO A., AND FRASER A.G. 2006. Systematic mapping of genetic interactions in Caenorhabditis elegans identifies common modifiers of diverse signaling pathways. Nature Genetics, 38(8):896-903.

18. LEHNER B.,CALIXTO A., CROMBIE C., TISCHLER J., FORTUNATO A., CHALFIE M. AND FRASER A.G. 2006. Loss of LIN-35, the Caenorhabditis elegans ortholog of the tumor suppressor p105Rb, results in enhanced RNA interference. Genome Biology, 7(1): R4

17. FORTUNATO A. and A.G. FRASER. 2005. Uncover genetic interactions in Caenorhabditis elegans by RNA interference. Bioscience Reports, 25(5/6): 299-307.

16. ROMANI R., ISIDORO N., RIOLO P., BIN F., FORTUNATO A., TURILLAZZI S., BEANI L. 2005. A new role for antennation in paper wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae): antennal courtship and sex dimorphic glands in antennomeres. Insectes Sociaux, 52: 96-102.

15. STRASSMANN J.E., FORTUNATO A., CERVO R., TURILLAZZI S., DAMON J.M. AND QUELLER D.C. 2004. The cost of queen loss in the social wasp Polistes dominulus. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 77(4): 343-355.

14. FORTUNATO A., F.R. DANI, M.F. SLEDGE, L. FONDELLI and S. TURILLAZZI. 2004. Alarm communication in Ropalidia social wasps. (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Insectes Sociaux, 51: 299-305.

13. QUELLER D. C., K.F. FOSTER, A. FORTUNATO AND J.E. STRASSMANN. 2003. Cooperation and conflict in the social amoeba, Dictyostelium discoideum. In: T. Kikuchi, T., N. Azuma and S. Higashi, S. (eds.), Genes, Behaviors and Evolution of Social Insects (pps. 173-200). Hokkaido University Press, Sapporo, Japan.

12. FORTUNATO A., D.C. QUELLER AND J.E. STRASSMANN. 2003. A linear dominance hierarchy among clones in chimeras of the social amoeba, Dictyostelium discoideum. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 16(3): 438-445.

11. FORTUNATO A., J.E. STRASSMANN, L. SANTORELLI AND D.C. QUELLER. 2003. Co-occurrence in nature of different clones of the social amoeba, Dictyostelium discoideum. Molecular Ecology, 12: 1031-1038.

10. FOSTER K.R., FORTUNATO A., STRASSMANN J.E. AND QUELLER D.C.2002. The costs and benefits of being a chimera. Proceedings of Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 269: 2357-2372.

9. BEANI L., M. F. SLEDGE, S. MAIANI, F. BOSCARO, M. LANDI, A. FORTUNATO, S.TURILLAZZI. 2002. Behavioral and chemical analyses of scent-marking in the lek system of a hover-wasp (Vespidae, Stenogastrinae). Insectes Sociaux, 49: 275-281.

G.R. JONES AND G. PIERACCINI.2001. Defensive role of the secretion of Ectal Mandibular glands of the wasp Polistes dominulus. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 27: 569-579.

7. FORTUNATO A., TURILLAZZI S. AND G. DELFINO.2000. Ectal mandibular gland in Polistes dominulus (Christ) (Hymenoptera:Vespidae) ultrastructural modifications over the secretory cycle. Journal of Morphology, 244: 45-55.

6. SLEDGE M.F., A. FORTUNATO, S. TURILLAZZI, E. FRANCESCATO, R. HASHIM, G. MONETI AND G. JONES. 2000. The use of Dufour`s gland secretion to defend the nest in the hover wasps (Hymenoptera, Stenogastrinae). Journal of Insect Physiology, 46: 753-761.

5. SLEDGE M.F., DANI F.R., FORTUNATO A., MASCHWITZ U., CLARKE S.R., FRANCESCATO E., HASHIM R., MORGAN E.D., JONES G.R. AND S. TURILLAZZI. 1999. Venom induces alarm behaviour in the social wasp Polybioides raphigastra: (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) an investigation of alarm behaviour, venom volatiles, and sting autotomy. Physiological Entomology, 24: 234-239

4. FORTUNATO A. AND S. TURILLAZZI.2001. The Ectal Mandibular glands of Polistes dominulus (Hymenoptera Vespidae). Atti Dell`Accademia Nazionale Italiana di Entomologia. Rendiconti, Anno XLVIII

3. FORTUNATO A. AND C. COSTER-LONGMAN.2000. Reproductive behavior and related anatomical structures for the production of pheromones and luminous signals in the male of Metischnogaster (Vespidae: Stenogastrinae). Insect Social Life, 3: 27-28.

2. FORTUNATO A., G.DELFINO AND S.TURILLAZZI.2000. Exocrine glands in the parameres of male Liostenogaster flavolineata (Vespidae: Stenogastrinae). Insect Social Life, 3: 29-34.

1. DELFINO G., FORTUNATO A., FORMIGLI F. AND TURILLAZZI S.1998. Structural and ultrastructural features of the ectal mandibular gland in Liostenogaster (Vespidae, Stenogastrinae). Insect Social Life, 2: 45-51.


Identification and characterization of genes involved in the development and progression of colorectal and endometrial cancers. Thesis of Doctor of Philosophy, University of Florence, Italy.

Evolutionary conflict in chimeras of the social amoeba, Dictyostelium discoideum. Thesis of Doctor of Philosophy, Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA. URI:

Morfologia e ultrastruttura delle ghiandole mandibolari ectali di Polistes dominulus e possible funzione della loro secrezione. Thesis of Laurea, University of Florence, Italy.