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Dr. Maria Prencipe

Dr. Maria Prencipe PhD


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Twitter @MPrencip



Biographical sketch:

Dr. Maria Prencipe was awarded her Degree in Biology with a major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from L’Aquila University, Italy. After 3 years as a research scientist in the research hospital “Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza”, San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, she moved to Ireland where she was awarded her PhD in Cancer Biology from University College Dublin, studying the mechanisms of resistance to taxane treatment in breast and ovarian cancer. As a postdoctoral fellow within the SFI funded Molecular Therapeutic for Cancer Ireland (MTCI) research cluster, she studied the molecular mechanisms of resistance to advanced prostate cancer treatments, identifying novel transcription factors as potential new therapies. She was awarded an Irish Cancer Society research fellowship in 2012 to carry on her work on transcription factors’ role in hormone-driven cancers such as prostate and breast cancer. Maria recently joined the School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science (SBBS) as a senior research fellow, being awarded The Caroline Foundation fellowship in 2018. Her research interests focus on the mechanisms of resistance to hormone therapy in breast and prostate cancer with the goal of identifying novel and more effective treatments especially for the advanced stages of these diseases. To expand this research, she was awarded an SFI Starting Investigator Research Award (SIRG) in 2019 with a project titled “Targeting co-regulators of the Androgen Receptor as a novel therapeutic approach for prostate and breast cancer”.

Research interests:

Prostate and breast cancer are the most common invasive cancers in the western world. Despite recent improvements in the therapeutic options available to patients, current therapeutic strategies for triple negative breast cancer and metastatic prostate cancer fail due to metastasis and development of resistance leading to high mortality rates. In this setting identifying novel therapeutic strategies and companion diagnostics is crucially important. My studies combine in vitro techniques (necessary to understand the molecular mechanisms behind resistance) with robust patient validation. This integrated translational approach will contribute to the better understanding of the mechanisms of anti-AR therapy resistance in the clinical setting, leading to better and more efficient therapies in both breast and prostate cancer. Importantly, the availability of small-molecule inhibitors for our targets of interest can potentially lead to rapid translation into the clinic.

Selected publications:

  1. Watson RW, Azam H, Aura C, Russell N, McCormack J, Corey E, Morrissey C, Crown J, Gallagher WM, Prencipe M. Inhibition of serum response factor improves response to enzalutamide in prostate cancer. Cancers, 2020;12(12):1-13.
  2. Watson W, Gonzalez C, Russell N, Azam H, Corey E, Morrissey C, Gallagher W, Prencipe M. Inhibition of serum response factor as a new strategy to overcome resistance to enzalutamide in prostate cancer. European Journal of Cancer, 2020;138:S49.
  3. Kumari P, Pillai VVS, Rodriguez BJ, Prencipe M, Benedetto A. Sub-toxic concentrations of ionic liquids enhance cell migration by reducing the elasticity of the cellular lipid membrane. Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 2020;11(17):7327-7333.
  4. Charmsaz S, Collins DM, Perry AS, Prencipe M. Novel Strategies for Cancer Treatment: Highlights from the 55th IACR Annual Conference. Cancers (Basel). 2019 Aug 7;11(8))
  5. M Prencipe, A Fabre, TB Murphy, E Vargyas, A O’Neill, A Bjartell, KA Tasken, HH Grytli, A Svindland, V Berge, LM Eri, W Gallagher, RW Watson. Role of Serum Response Factor expression in prostate cancer biochemical recurrence. Prostate, March 2018 DOI:10.1002/pros.23516
  6. Prencipe M, O’Neill A, O’Hurley G, Nguyen LK, Fabre A, Bjartell A, Gallagher WM, Morrissey C, Kay EW, Watson RW. Relationship between Serum Response Factor and Androgen Receptor in prostate cancer. Prostate, 2015;75(15):1704-17
  7. Murphy L^, Prencipe M^, Gallagher WM & Watson RW. Commercialized Biomarkers: New Horizons in Prostate Cancer Diagnostics. Expert Review of Molecular Diagnostics, 2015;15(4):491-503. ^ Equal contribution
  8. G O’Hurley^, M Prencipe^, D Lundon, A O’Neill, S Boyce, A O’Grady, W M. Gallagher, C Morrissey, E W. Kay and R W G Watson. The analysis of Serum Response Factor expression in bone and soft tissue Prostate Cancer metastases. Prostate, 2014 ;74(3):306-13. ^ Equal contribution
  9. M Prencipe, S F Madden, A O’Neill, G O’Hurley, A Culhane, D O’Connor, H Klocker, E W Kay, W Gallagher, R W Watson. Identification of transcription factors associated with castration-resistance: is the Serum Responsive Factor a potential therapeutic target? Prostate, 2013, 73(7):743-53.
  10. O’Neill AJ^, Prencipe M^, Dowling C, Fan Y, Mulrane L, Gallagher WM, O’Connor D, O’Connor R, Devery A, Corcoran C, Rani S, O’Driscoll L, Fitzpatrick JM, Watson RW. Characterisation and manipulation of docetaxel resistant prostate cancer cell lines. Mol Cancer. 2011, 7;10:126
  11. M Prencipe, A McGoldrick, A S Perry, A O’Grady, S Phelan, B McGrogan, P Fitzpatrick, J A Watson, F Furlong, D J Brennan, M Lawler, E Kay and A McCann. MAD2 down-regulation in hypoxia is independent of promoter hypermethylation. Cell Cycle, 2010;9(14):2856-65
  12. M Prencipe, P Fitzpatrick, F Furlong, M Harrison, A McCann. Cellular senescence induced by aberrant MAD2 levels impacts on paclitaxel responsiveness in vitro. British Journal of Cancer, 101(11):1900-8, 2009
  13. M Hoque^, M Prencipe^, M Poeta, R Barbano, V Valori, AP Gallo, M Copetti, M Brait, E Maiello, A Apicella, R Rossiello, F Zito, S Tommasi, A Paradiso, M Carella, B Dallapiccola, V Fazio, D Sidransky, P Parrella. Changes in CpG islands promoter methylation patterns during ductal breast carcinoma progression. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, 18(10):2694-700, 2009.

^ Equal contribution