Foto del docente

Roberto Tonelli

Assistant professor

Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology

Academic discipline: BIO/14 Pharmacology

Curriculum vitae

Curriculum Vitae



ROBERTO TONELLI was born on 6 december, 1969 in Fano (PU).

He is married with Francesca Matrà and he has four dauthers: Teresa, born in Bologna on may 27, 2001; Caterina, born in Bologna on october 8, 2003; Rosa, born in Bologna on september 5, 2005; Beatrice, born in Bologna on may 27, 2011.


In 1994 graduated summa cum laude (110/110 e lode) in Biology from the University of Bologna.

- He finished PhD in Experimental Hematology in 1999 (University of Modena).

Current Appointment

Since 2008 he is Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, at the Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology, University of Bologna.

 Previous Appointments

·       Since 1991 employed in molecular biology, at the Laboratory of Experimental Hematology-Oncology directed by professor G.P. Bagnara in the "Interdepartmental Center for Cancer Research" (University of Bologna).

·       Since 1995 employed in Medical Genetics of heritable hematological diseases, to identify and characterize disease genes.

-          Since 1998 employed in the Pediatric Hematology Oncology Center to identify new therapeutical approaches for pediatric tumors (in particular Neuroblastoma and Acute Myeloid Leukemia) and in support of clinical diagnosis and prognosis.  In 1998 he set up the laboratory of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology of the University of Bologna, comprising methods in molecular and cellular biology and bioinformatics, dedicated to the discovery and development of new therapies for pediatric oncology. He directly set up instruments and the related methods (such as automatic DNA sequencing; automatic analysis of DNA polymorhisms; quantitative real-time PCR: high density DNA microarray analysis; HLPC; cell line and primary cultures of pediatric solid tumors (particularly neuroblastoma), leukemias and lymphomas; cytofluorimetric analysis; cytogenetics and FISH; development of a bioinformatic tool based on 10 clustered units with system Beowulf, dedicated to the homology-modelling (AMBER) of oncogenes and virtual screening of small molecules data bases (Dock5, FlexX).

·       06/2000-07/2000 Visiting Scientist at the Pediatric Oncology Branch, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA, in the contest of the collaboration with Dr. J. Khan for “the development of nanotecnologies (DNA microarrray) for the screening of small molecules as potential molecular target therapy for Neuroblastoma and Acute Myeloid Leukemia”.

-        Since 1998 he has been the head and coordinator of the research teamof the Laboratory of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, of the Pediatric Clinic, S. Orsola Hospital, University of Bologna. Under his management, the team passed from four scientists to 18 scientists currently. The main topics of research regard the development of new therapies for Neuroblastoma and Acute Myeloid Leukemia that comprise: molecular target therapies by homology modelling of oncogenes followed by virtual screening and rational design of small molecules; development of antisense and anti-gene peptide nucleic acids; identification and characterization of new inhibitors for chromatin remodelling proteins (Histon-deacetylases, DNA-methyltransferases); immunotherapy based on anti-idiotype patient-specific vaccines for B-Acute Lymphoid leukemia; adoptive cellular immunotherapy for solid tumors and leukemia by the identification and use of tumor-specific citotoxic lymphocites.

-        Since 2000 employed as research assistant category D1, at the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Center, University of Bologna.

-        Since 2002 he has been a called member of the Scientific Commetee of the "Interdepartmental Center for Cancer Research" University of Bologna.

-   Since 2009 he has been an elected member of the "Interdepartmental Center for Cancer Research" University of Bologna.   


Scientific research activity

The scientific reseach activity is focused to pharmacology applied to oncology. In particular his research activity concern the preclinical evaluation of new potential therapies for aggressive pediatric and adult cancers. The pharmacologic approaches are mainly focused on the in vitro and in vivo characterization of antigene and antisense oligonucleotides directed against oncogenes. 


 He is inventor of the patent titled: “METHOD FOR SELECTIVE INHIBITION OF HUMAN N-MYC GENE IN N-MYC EXPRESSING TUMORS THROUGH ANTISENSE AND ANTI-GENE PEPTIDE NUCLEIC ACIDS (PNA)". n. MI2003A000860, deposited in 29-4-03. International n.PCT/IB2004/001297, already accepted in Europe, USA, Canada, Japan.

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