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PhD Student: Carlotta Catozzi

Carlotta Catozzi graduated in Veterinary Biotechnology Master’s Degree at the University of Milan in July 2016 with the final mark of 110/110 cum laude. In 2015 she won a scholarship to carry out her thesis project at the Universita   t Autònoma de Barcelona (6 months) and in 2016 she took part in the Erasmus programme at the same university (5 months), where she could also complete her final work under the supervision of the Professor Armand Sanchez Bonastre and the Professor Cristina Lecchi. The Master’s thesis was entitled “Characterization of water buffalo’s microbiota in healthy, clinical and subclinical mastitis milk” and she acquired skills about next generation sequencing methods and bioinformatics analysis to study the microbiome.


Tutor: Fabrizio Ceciliani

I graduated in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Milano. I got a PhD in Biochemistry on primary structure of proteins, and a Post Doc basically focused on microbiology and molecular biology. After a further period working in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of prion diseases, I moved thereafter to the group of Veterinary pathology at the University of Milano, where I am still working. My basic interest lies in inflammation, in particular on the events that deeply during the first stages after the inflammatory challenge. The group I belongs to has developed a very fruitful cooperation with the National reference center for the hygiene and technology of water buffalo farming of the IZSM of Naples, located in Salerno and headed by Dr Esterina De Carlo. This will be the main topic that I will approach together with Carlotta, who has just begun to work with me as PhD. Focus will be on innate immunity during mastitis, and its relationship with resident microbiota. Epigenetic regulation of water buffalo immunity will also be investigated. The paper my group and I have been published so far can be found at this Pubmed address: My full Cv can be found at




OMICS approaches to innate immunity in water buffalo

The aim of the project is to determine at a molecular level the innate immunity of water buffaloes by means of a system biology approaches relying on OMICS techniques, including Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and gel free (label based) differential proteomics. The project will proceed following two lines:

A: the relationship between the microbiota and innate immunity. Experimental design in brief:

- Determination of mammary gland microbiota, and how it changes during clinical and subclinical mastitis on sample collected in the field

- Determination of mammary gland microbiota after experimental infection of mammary gland.

B: the investigation of innate immunity during mastitis. Experimental design in brief:

- Determination of cytokine network by means of gene expression, by using an OMICS approach followed by an open array.

- Determination of epigenetic modulation of innate immunity by determining the microRNA asset during mastitis.

- Development of protocols to measure APP in water buffalo, namely AGP, Hp and SAA. 

- In vitro experiments: immune-related cell populations (monocytes, lymphocytes and neutrophils) isolated from blood and mammary gland, and challenged with inactivate Str. uberis. Immune defense activities, such as phagocytosis, chemotaxis, oxidative stress, neutrophil traps and immune response modulation will be investigated.

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The OMICS analyses will be carried out in cooperation with the Autonomous University of Barcelona, in the frame of the agreement of the co-tutorship for the double title of Doctorate signed by the two Universities.

The development of APP assay will be carried out in the frame of the MIUR - DAAD Joint Mobility Program 2015 - project “Innovative biomarkers for metabolic stress in large dairy animals (57266232)” and will be carried out with the support of the University of Bonn.

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