Teaching Schedule

Teaching Schedule / Attività didattica Dottorato SVA 2016

Date Day Course Time Classroom Teacher
01/02/2016 monday Medical Statistic 3 12.00-14.00 310 Elisabetta Sala
08/02/2016 monday Medical Statistic 3 12.00-14.00 310 Elisabetta Sala
15/02/2016 monday Medical Statistic 3 12.00-14.00 310 Elisabetta Sala
24/02/2016 wednesday Medical Statistic 3 12.00-14.00 309 Elisabetta Sala
29/02/2016 monday Medical Statistic 3 12.00-13.00 310 Elisabetta Sala
02/03/2016 wednesday Communication 3
14.00-18.00 Aula 14 Ettore Galanti
07/03/2016 monday Medical Statistic 3 12.00-13.00 310 Elisabetta Sala
09/03/2016 wednesday Communication 3
14.00-18.00 Aula 14 Ettore Galanti
14/03/2016 monday Medical Statistic 3 13.00-15.00  310  Elisabetta Sala 
06/04/2016 wednesday Communication 3 09.00-13.00 Aula 14 Ettore Galanti

Stranieri / Paltrinieri


Angelica Stranieri, DVM, Phd Student

I graduated in February 2013 in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Milan, with a thesis entitled “Aqueous humor and cerebrospinal fluid analysis in cats affected by feline infectious peritonitis” (Supervisor: Prof. Saverio Paltrinieri; Assistant supervisor: Dr. Chiara Giudice).
After graduation and the professional license acquisition, I started a professional training across several veterinary private clinics. At the same time, I continued to work as a volunteer assistant at the laboratory of the Veterinary Science and Public Health department (former institute of General Patology), where I had the opportunity to acquire more skills about the execution and the interpretation of hematological and biochemical analysis.
My main research interests are the pathogenesis of clinical pathologic alterations due to infectious diseases in domestic animals, especially regarding Feline Infectious Peritonitis, and the analytical validation of innovative diagnostic markers.


Saverio Paltrinieri, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ECVCP

After his degree in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Milan, Saverio Paltrinieri obtained a PhD in Comparative pathology of domestic animals at the same University. Currently he is associate professor of Veterinary general pathology and pathophysiology at the Department of Veterinary sciences and Public Health of the University of Milan and vicedirector of the Clinial Pathology Unit of the Central Lab of the veterinary teaching hospital of the University of Milan. Saverio Paltrinieri is a charter member of the European College of Veterinary Clinical Pathology (ECVCP) and he is the current ECVCP Past-President. Saverio Paltrinieri is also the current president of the Italian association of feline medicine (SIMEF) and a member of the working group on canine leishmaniasis. Research interest are focused on the pathogenesis and diagnosis of the main clinico-pathological abnormalities of domestic animals, with special emphasis on biomarkers of inflammation and on infectious diseases of dogs and cats.

Research project

Innovative approaches for the clinic-pathological diagnosis of inflammatory and metabolic diseases of domestic animals

This project is focused on the development of innovative approaches for the diagnosis and clinical monitoring of inflammatory and metabolic diseases of domestic animals. These approaches will include the analytical and biological validation of potential novel biomarkers or the application of innovative testing strategies using traditional biomarkers already validated and routinely used in veterinary medicine. 

Specifically the project will deal with inflammatory diseases, either associated with non-specific inflammatory stimuli or due to infectious agents such as feline infectious peritonitis virus and other viruses in cats, leishmaniasis and other vector borne diseases in dogs. Moreover, since inflammation may influence several metabolic pathways, especially lipid metabolism and renal functions, part of the project will be focused on the evaluation of biomarkers potentially involved in such metabolic disfunctions.
On biologic fluids (e.g. blood, serum, urine, effusions, etc.) collected from dogs and cats affected by the conditions mentioned above, we will evaluate molecules potentially involved in the pathogenesis of each condition (e.g. acute phase proteins, enzymes/isoenzymes, signaling molecules) to assess their usefulness for diagnosing and staging the disease. Moreover, many biomarkers have been already investigated in the past, but there are lacking information about their analytical performances and the inter-species differences. Therefore, part of the project will be focused on analytical validation of innovative biomarkers using the approaches traditionally included in validation studies (e.g. evaluation of precision, accuracy, linearity, recovery tests, etc.), followed by studies on the overlap performance in diseased animals compared with healthy controls and finally by studies on the potential applicability in field condition.
Finally, part of the project will deal with the definition of innovative diagnostic or preventive strategies based on the combination of multiple biomarkers, including both the biomarkers validated within the project (e.g. innovative acute phase proteins, renal or lipid biomarkers) and biomarkers traditionally used in veterinary medicine (e.g. C-reactive protein in dogs, alpha 1 acid-glycoprotein in cats, traditional serum or urinary markers of renal or lipid metabolism). These strategies will be applied either on a diagnostic standpoint (e.g. to improve the possibility of an earlier or more accurate diagnosis compared with traditional diagnostic approaches) or on the evaluation of the follow up of animals treated for a given disease or receiving preventive treatments (vaccination, immunomodulatory treatments) in order to verify the potential role of these approaches in an early identification of responders or of susceptible/resistant animals.


Electrophoretogram of serum proteins from a dog with leishmaniasis. The electrophoretic profile is characterized by evident peaks corresponding to alpha, beta and gamma-globulins (red, black and blue arrow, respectively)


Cytology of a thoracic effusion from a cat with feline infectious peritonitis. The image displays few mesothelial cells, non degenerated neutrophils and scattered RBC, as well as the typical proteinaceous granular background

Quintavalle / Albertini


Giovanni Quintavalle Pastorino

1993-2000 Genoa University (Italy)
- BSc in Biology, ecology with the score 104/110.
2002 Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool (U.K.)
- MSc in “Applied parasitology and medical entomology”.
December 2002 - Exam for the national Biologist List, score: 140/150.
Winter-Spring 2012 Bologna’s University Veterinary Medicine
- Cetaceans and large marine vertebrates: anatomy, physiology, pathology, biology

Working experience:
Summer 2008-now
Main researcher in ZSL’s Project MOSI (Mosquito Onset Surveillance Initiative)
November 2006-June 2008
- Anatomy teacher at “Istituto Gaslini” (Genova, Italy)
April-October 2006
- Temporary Keeper in London Zoo
July 2005-2008
- Honorary Research Associate at Zoological Society of London
April 2003-March 2004
- External researcher at Manchester University


Mariangela Albertini is associate Professor at Department of Veterinary Science and Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Milan.
Main Research areas: Ethology and Physiology.
Ethology: studies on behavior and stress in control, agility and pet therapy dogs; particularly has been evaluated the prevalence of behaviors in dogs separated from the litter for adoption at different ages.
Physiology: studies on vascular and bronchial smooth muscle tone activity exerted by some endogenous mediators, such as nitric oxide (NO), Endothelin-1 (ET-1) and prostacyclin released by endothelium and bronchial epithelium. Studies are carried out on swine experimental models of bronchoconstriction, pulmonary hypertension and systemic hypotension.
Have been also evaluated, during experimental endotoxic shock in pigs, thrombin-ET-1 interactions with the use of lepirudin as specific thrombin inhibitor and of RO47-0203, a non selective inhibitor of ET-1 receptors, and the role exerted by haemoxigenase and carbon monoxide.
The protective effect exerted by recombinant human activated protein C (rhAPC) and by pretreatment with carbon monoxide (CO) during acute lung injury has been analyzed.
Experimental studies about the use of mechanical ventilation and the potential strategies to avoid volutrauma and barotrauma have been also performed. Particularly: studies on matrix metalloproteinasis expression and activation in different biological systems and under different pathophysiological conditions, and studies on acid infusion as a potential strategy for less invasive extracorporeal Co2 removal.

Research project

Polar Bears and zoos: An international zoo and wildlife park initiative to monitor the effects of climate change (diet, mosquito-transmitted diseases and hybridization) on Ursus maritimus physiology and species survival

Wild polar bears are threatened due to the pressures of climate change, habitat reduction, poaching, and population declines. More responsibility has been placed on zoos in the role of conservation for polar bears. They participate in research that compliments field studies of this large predator that can be difficult and dangerous to get close to in the field. Zoos also provide sanctuary for captive polar bear legacies and orphan/adult polar bears that cannot be released in the wild for various reasons. Eightyfour institutions around the world host polar bears. Some of these polar bears are located in a similar environment to their original one, while others are in a completely different latitude and weather system like in Singapore.

The scope of this PhD is to create a network between some of the aforementioned zoos to collect physiological, behavioral and nutritional data from their host polar bears to understand how these aspects are influenced by local temperature, humidity, weather and vector species (mainly arthropods like mosquitoes) and eventual vector-transmitted diseases. From this data we wish to develop a predictional model to understand how polar bears could adapt to a changing environment.
Using the zoo network we’ll also collect polar bears’ hair samples to build a Dna fingerprint library to better understand genetic relations and for a population study. Polar bear hair can be also collected from wild areas where polar bear build temporary “beds” in the soil or where brown bear mark territory for population genetics purpose and to identify eventual polar/brown bear hybrid presence. Hybrids between polar bears and other bear species happens in the wild and in zoos and in 2004 two grizzly–polar hybrid cubs were born at Osnabrück Zoo in Germany, and their physical traits are generally an intermediate between the polar bear and the grizzly bear. Similarly, the hair of the hybrids exhibits a pattern of hollowness, which blends the traits of both polar bears and grizzlies. In cross section, the hair of polar bears is hollow, while the hair of grizzlies is either solid or has small hollow regions. This morphological difference could be used to determine if the hair samples belong to polar bears or hybrids.
We would also ask zoos hosting polar bears to set mosquito traps nearby bear’s enclosures to protect them from eventual mosquito-transmitted diseases and to monitor mosquito species attracted by polar bear and their potential to carry transmittable diseases.

Principle objectives:
1. Establish an international network of zoos hosting polar bears.
2. Gather data regarding polar bears’ behaviour, enclosure type, diet regime and physiological values in zoos participating at the network.
3. Help clarifying zoo polar bears’ population genetic composition using hair samples. From which of the 19 wild subpopulations do zoo polar bears come from? Are there any differences in adaptation to captive environment and different weather from a subpopulation to another?
4. Set a mosquito trap/s near polar bears’ enclosures to protect them from mosquito bites and potential disease transmission and to monitor for changes in mosquitoes species composition, abundance & activity profiles.
5. Help clarify the effect of increasingly warmer environments on polar bear’s welfare, physiology and behaviour, recording these data from zoos close to polar bears’ natural environment to totally different ones (tropical or even equatorial).
6. Provide an early warning network for detecting movement of disease vector species.
7. Help develop an indirect monitoring (using bears’ hair samples) of potential hybrids presence in the wild.
8. Help establishing the optimal blubber thickness necessary to allow females’ fertility in warm climates where overheating is an health issue.




Polar bear population and distribution map

Giovanni Quintavalle Pastorino has been in London working in London zoo from March the 4th to March the 15th 2014. He collaborated with Mr. Paul Pearce-Kelly (London zoo senior curator), Prof. Richard Preziosi (Manchester University) and Dr. Fiona Sache (London zoo nutrition expert) on the organization of an international zoo monitoring network on polar bears.

Roggero / Proverbio


Nora Roggero obtained her degree in Veterinary Medicine in 2004 by the University of Milan. She worked at laboratory analysis of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the same University until 2005. Until 2007 she  worked at the University of Sacro Cuore of Piacenza with a project  contract. From 2007 to 2010 she worked at Centro Veterinario Torinese in Turin (Italy) as referral in laboratory medicine. In the same period she obtained a second degree in Biomedical Laboratory Techniques in 2010 by Genoa University (Italy). In 2013 she worked with a project contract at laboratory analysis of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Milan in the field of Transfusion Veterinary Medicine


Date and place of birth
10 Aprile 1961, Middelburg South Africa

1988 Doctor in Veterinary Medicine (DVM), State University of Milan (Italy)

Licence to practice and professional specialties
1988 Licence to practice (Veterinary Medicine)
1993 PhD Large animal internal medicine

Professional acitivities
1996-2005 Researcher
2005-2014 Associate Professor*
* Veterinary Internal Medicine and Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Department Veterinary Science for Health, Animal production and Food Safety, University of Milan

Courses held at School of Veterinary Medicine of Milan
1999-2005 “Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory”
2005- 2014 “Small Animal Internal medicine”

1996- Member of the Italian Society of Veterinary Science (SISVET)
2012- Member and Scientific director of the Italian Association of Veterinary Transfusion Medicine (AIMVET)
2014 Member HAAH (Ass di Ematologia y Emoterapia Animal- Spain)

Research interests
- Small Animal Endocrinology and Dermatology
- Small Animal Infectious diseases (Leishmaniasis, FIV, FeLV)
- Diagnostic Laboratory (enzymology, blood group)
- Transfusion Medicine

5 Selected Publications
1)Increases in heart rate and serum cortisol concentrations in healthy dogs are positively correlated with an indoor waiting-room environment. Perego R, Proverbio D, Spada E. Vet Clin Pathol. 2014 Jan 21. doi: 10.1111
2)Comparison of VIDAS and radioimmunoassay methods for measurement of cortisol concentration in bovine serum. Proverbio D, Perego R, Spada E, Bagnagatti de Giorgi G, Belloli A, Pravettoni D., ScientificWorldJournal. 2013 Oct 29;2013
3)Assessment of blood types of Ragdoll cats for transfusion purposes. Proverbio D, Spada E, Perego R, Della Pepa A, Bagnagatti De Giorgi G, Baggiani L. Vet Clin Pathol. 2013 Jun;42(2):157-62
4)Comparison of a clinic-based ELISA test kit with the immunofluorescence antibody test for assaying Leishmania infantum antibodies in dogs. Proverbio D, Spada E, Baggiani L, Bagnagatti De Giorgi G, Perego R. Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013
5) Comparison of gel column agglutination with monoclonal antibodies and card agglutination methods for assessing the feline AB group system and a frequency study of feline blood types in northern Italy. Proverbio D, Spada E, Baggiani L, Perego R, Milici A, Ferro E. Vet Clin Pathol. 2011 Mar;40(1):32-9.

Research project

Veterinary transfusion medicine began to be used in the 50s but only in recent decades, the interest in this type of medicine has increased due to the progress in the fields of oncology and emergency medicine. In some countries, blood components are prepared routinely by specific institutions and commercial enterprises. As in Europe and in the rest of the world, recently in Italy, veterinary blood banks have grown. They can store blood and its components for amounts of time accordingly to the type of blood product. Quality controls and good laboratory practices are mandatory to get excellent products. In literature there are numerous studies about the changes regarding the quality of the human blood components, expecially about red blood cells. During stockage these cells can reduce their functionality making transfusion ineffective or causing problems to the receiving patient. Some authors reported problems like multiple organ failure, pneumonia, increased mortality, increased time of hospitalization in intensive care unit, increased risk of infections and renal failure.
This project aims to assess the quality of blood products stored in the Department of Veterinary Science for Health, Animal Production and Food Safety of the Milan University blood bank (Unit of Transfusion Medicine REV). New methods about blood typing and production of no transfusional blood components (canine platelet rich plasma - PRP) will be evaluated. For the PRP quality control will be necessary to assess the viability of cells and to quantify platelet growth factor levels before evaluating the in vivo efficacy of PRP treatment The possibility of bacterial contamination has to be considered. The quality control of emotrasfusional blood products will be performed by evaluation of % of hemolysis, determination of free hemoglobin, LDH, Fe, K and ammonia and evaluation of cellular integrity and erythrocytes morphology in bags of PRBC preserved in SAG-mannitol during storage.
The plasma (FFP, FP) quality control will be carried out through multiple conservability tests regarding its components (total protein, protein fractions, coagulation factors) for a maximum period of one year.


PRP smear stained with a rapid method for cytological preparations (MGG STAIN QUICK BIO-OPTICA) (magnification x1000)


Units of whole blood at the end of the preparation. Small aliquots (visible on the
top of the bags) are used to perform evaluation of hematological parameters, concentration and blood culture


Blood smear of canine PRBC in CPD-SAGM at D42 (x1000 magnification) (presence of some macrocytes)

Prinsen / Bagnato


Ph.D student: Raphaёlle Prinsen

Currently involved in research on structural genomics and association analysis: copy number variants mapping in several cattle breeds and association with functional and health traits. In particular bioinformatics and data analysis. Involved in the Quantomics EU funded project (7th FW). Worked as veterinary assistant on canine reproduction.
Master of Science in Veterinary Biotechnologies. Final thesis: Identification and a validation approach of copy number variants in the Italian Brown breed. Final grade: 110/110 cum laude.
Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Biotechnologies. Final thesis: Biomolecular research on ticks gathered on the Socotra island from Bos Taurus.


Tutor: Alessandro Bagnato

Associate Professor in Animal Breeding and Genetics at the Department of Health, Animal Science and Food Safety of the Veterinary Medicine Faculty of the University of Milan, Italy.
At present his main research field deals with the identification of structural genomic variants, mapping of genes and QTLs for traits of economic importance (traits related to animal production animal health and welfare and correlated to food health and safety) in dairy cattle populations and with application in breeding programs of marker assisted selection (MAS), of gene assisted selection (GAS) and genomic selection in livestock. Part of his research activity is devoted to national and international optimization of genetic evaluation and selection programs, mainly in dairy cattle. He also has developed research in the field of in situ conservation of endangered livestock populations.
He is coordinating the molecular genetics and Bioinformatics facility of his Department, equipped for DNA fragment analysis, Genome Wide Association Analysis, linkage analysis, and SNP genotyping (Illumina iScan) whole sequence data analysis (Illumina GAIIx). He is also coordinating the Animal Genetic Sector of the Genomic and Bioinformatics Platform of the University of Milan and of Filarete Foundation.

Research project

Identification of structural variation in cattle

The project aims to investigate genomic structural variation in cattle using dense SNP information and whole genome sequences. Furthermore the association of new identified structural variants in cattle with functional, health and productive traits will be an additional goal of the project. Specifically the structural variation that will be investigated is the Copy Number Variant (CNV).
The mapping of CNVs has been recently developed on the Italian Brown Swiss by Pellegrino (2012) on a 50k Illumina Bovine SNP chip and by Dolezal (2012) using a Illumina HD Bovine SNP chip. The mapping of the CNVs on this breed is currently under validation on the basis of the result of the thesis by Prinsen (2013) that envisage a qPCR to confirm the mapping of the identified CNVs.
The availability of whole genome sequences on a large number of individuals is shifting the mapping of genomic variation to the most “basic and real” available genomic information, the single base pairs and sequences themselves.
The project will benefit form data sets of genomic data produced by previous projects. These data can be further analysed according to new concepts and goals to improve the state of the art. The availability of data previously produced reduce the costs of the overall project, leaving anyhow open the possibility, if needed during the development of the study, the production of novel genomic data.
The project Quantomics genotyped about 200 sires with the Illumina HD Bovine SNP chip (777K SNPs genotyped) in the Italian Brown Swiss and 143 sires of the Valdostana Red Pie breed. Additionally 20 sires of the Italian Brown Swiss have been whole genome sequenced at 20x with an Illumina HiSeq2000. Furthermore the unit of Prof. Bagnato is partner of the 1000 bull genome project and has access to additional whole genome sequences information, to map CNVs on a larger data base respect to the 20 Italian Brown Swiss bull’s sequences of the Quantomics project.
The Genomic and Bioinformatics’ platform at the Filarete Foundation together with the server at the Department V.E.S.P.A. allows the development of bioinformatics analysis needed to analyse the raw sequence data and to produce the expected results.
Available public domain software (e.g. CNVNator, PennCNV software) will be used to develop the analyses jointly with SVS7 a dedicated software of Golden Helix.


A Copy Number Variant Region visualized with Golden Helix GenomeBrowse 1.1.2