Dr Di Leva joined the Institute for Science & Technology in Medicine at Keele University as a Senior Lecturer in April 2019. He studied Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” working on noncoding RNA and its multiple functions and extraordinary plasticity. He graduated cum laude in 2004 and with the support of the Italia-USA Program Fellowship, Gianpiero moved as a predoctoral student first to the Kimmel Cancer Centre in Philadelphia and then to Ohio State University where he completed in 2009 his PhD, based both at University of Ferrara and Ohio State University. During this time, he acquired an interest in the role of small non-coding RNAs and their involvement in cancer by showing how they re-programme gene expression to confer proliferative advantage to cancer cells and induce resistance to therapeutic agents. In 2014, he decided to move with his family to Manchester where he joined the Cancer Research UK-Manchester Institute and had the opportunity to work in drug discovery for the development of new drugs targeting cancer stem cells.

In December 2015, he became lecturer in biomedical sciences and started his first independent laboratory at Salford University. In 2019, his laboratory relocated to Keele University with the aim to identify vulnerabilities in cancer cells and define innovative way to target them.

Research and scholarship

Dr Di Leva research focuses on his long-standing interest in exploring the molecular roles of non-coding RNAs in determining cell fate changes and gene regulation. “I really believe that discovering how non-coding RNAs regulate gene expression will improve our understanding of development and disease and it will allow the development of novel therapeutic strategies”. For more information please visit our laboratory website at


De Santi C, Melaiu O, Bonotti A, Cascione L, Di Leva G, Foddis R, Cristaudo A, Lucchi M, Mora M, Truini A, Tironi A, Murer B, Boldorini R, Cipollini M, Gemignani F, Gasparini P, Mutti L, Landi S. Deregulation of miRNAs in malignant pleural mesothelioma is associated with prognosis and suggests an alteration of cell metabolism. Sci Rep. 2017; 7(1): 3140.

Tang HR, Leung L, Saturno G, Viros A, Smith D, Di Leva G, Morrison E, Niculescu-Duvaz D, Lopes F, Johnson L, Dhomen N, Springer CJ and Marais R. Lysyl oxidase drives tumour progression by trapping EGF receptors at the cell surface. Nature Communications. 2017; 8:14909.

Di Leva G, Garofalo M, Croce CM. microRNA in cancer. Annu Rev Pathol. 2014; 9:287-314.

Di Leva G, Piovan C, Gasparini P, Ngankeu A, Taccioli C, Briskin D, Cheung DC, Bolon B, Anderlucci L, Alder H, Nuovo G, Li M, Iorio MV, Galasso M, Ramasamy S, Marcucci G, Perrotti D, Powell KA, Brasatz A, Garofalo M, Nephew KP, and Croce CM. Estrogen mediated-activation of miR-191/425 cluster modulates tumorigenicity of breast cancer cells depending on Estrogen Receptor status. PloS Genetics. 2013; 9:e1003311.

Garofalo M*, Romano G*, Di Leva G*, Nuovo G, Jeon YJ, Ngankeu A, Sun J, Lovat F, Alder H, Condorelli M, Jeffrey A Engelman, Mayumi Ono, Jin Kyung Rho, Volinia S, Nephew KP, Croce CM. EGFR and MET receptor tyrosine kinases induce tumorigenesis and gefitinib resistance in lung cancer by controlling microRNA expression. Nature Medicine. 2010;18:74-82.
*these authors contributed equally to this work.

Rao X, Di Leva G, Li M, Fang F, Hartman-Frey C, Burow ME, Croce CM, and Nephew KP. MicroRNA-221/222 cluster confers breast cancer fulvestrant resistance by regulating multiple pathway activities. Oncogene. 2010; 30:1082-97.

Di Leva G, and Croce CM. Role of microRNAs in tumor formation. Trends in Molecular Medicine. 2010; 16:257-67.

Di Leva G, Gasparini P, Piovan C, Ngankeu A, Garofalo M, Taccioli T, Iorio MV, Li M, Volinia S, Alder H, Nakamura T, Nuovo G, Liu Y, Nephew KP, Croce CM. 2010, MicroRNA cluster 221/222 and estrogen receptor alpha interactions in breast cancer. Journal of National Cancer Institute. 2010; 102:706-21.

Garofalo M, Di Leva G, Romano G, Nuovo G, Sung SS, Ngankeu A, Taccioli C, Secchiero P, Alder H, Gasparini P, Costinean S, Acunzo M, Condorelli G and Croce CM. miR221&222 enhance tumorigenesis and induce TRAIL resistance by enhancing PTEN and TIMPP3 tumor-suppressors. Cancer Cell. 2009; 16:498-509.

Calin GA, Ferracin M, Cimmino A, Di Leva G, Shimizu M, Wojcik SE, Iorio MV, Visone R, Sever NI, Fabbri M, Iuliano R, Palumbo T, Pichiorri F, Roldo C, Garzon R, Sevignani C, Rassenti L, Alder H, Volinia S, Liu CG, Kipps TJ, Negrini M, Croce CM. A MicroRNA signature associated with prognosis and progression in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. New England Journal of Medicine. 2005; 353:1793-801.

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Keele University

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