Professor Flaviano Giorgini


Dr Flaviano Giorgini

Professor of Neurogenetics

Subject: Neurogenetics

Tel: 0116 252 3485
Fax: +44 (0)116 252 3378



BSc (West Lafayette), MA (St. Louis), PhD (Seattle)



Flaviano Giorgini grew up amidst the corn fields of Indiana and pursued a BSc degree in Biological Sciences (with an emphasis in Genetics) at Purdue University. He obtained a MA degree in Molecular Genetics at Washington University in Saint Louis and a PhD in Genetics at the University of Washington in Seattle. His interest in neurodegeneration research began as a Senior Fellow in the Department of Pharmacology (University of Washington). His work during this time, combined with his background in genetics and model organisms, formed the basis for his current research in neurogenetics at the University of Leicester. He started as a Lecturer in the Department of Genetics in 2006, was promoted to Reader in Neurogenetics in 2012, as has been Professor of Neurogenetics since 2015.



Research Interests


Laboratory page

A funded PhD studentship is available in the Giorgini group, see below for more details:



Exploring the therapeutic potential of Rab GTPases in Parkinson’s disease (Complex Diseases: Cells to Systems)

Primary Supervisor: Prof Flaviano Giorgini (Dept Genetics)

Secondary Supervisor: Dr Vincenzo Marra (Dept Neuroscience, Psychology, & Behaviour)


Parkinson’s disease (PD), the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, is characterized by loss of dopaminergic neurons and the accumulation of misfolded -synuclein (aSyn). Aberrant aSyn aggregation and consequent perturbed vesicular trafficking likely contribute to neurodegeneration. Rab GTPases play critical roles in vesicular trafficking in the cell, and have been implicated in the pathogenesis of PD. We have found that both Rab11 and Rab8a can strongly suppress disease phenotypes in models of PD. However, systematic testing of the ~60 Rab family members in PD models has not been performed, and therapeutic strategies targeting these proteins are lacking.

We recently performed a siRNA screen targeting Rab GTPase genes in mammalian cells to identify genes which modulate aSyn aggregation. We identified 22 genes, a subset of which will be investigated in this project.  The student will assess modulation of aSyn-dependent disease-related phenotypes by candidate Rabs using biochemical and microscopy approaches. Alterations in synaptic vesicular release and Rab localisation due to aSyn will be examined using fluorescence and ultrastructural imaging of synaptic vesicles in neurons. The effects of Rabs upon aSyn disease phenotypes in Drosophila will also be examined. This work will provide important insight into the mechanisms and therapeutic potential of Rab GTPases in PD.

Funding Notes

For further information on the doctoral training program please check on

The interview is expected to be in the week of 25/01/2016.


Breda et al., Hum Mol Genet, 2015, 24(4):1077-91.
Chutna et al., Hum Mol Genet, 2015, 23(25):6732-45.
Yin  et al., Neurobiol Dis, 2014, 70:149-61. 
Steinert et al., Hum Mol Genet, 2012, 21(13):2912-22.
Richards et al., Cell Death Differ, 2011, 18(2):191-200.


Postgraduate Teaching

MSc Molecular Genetics Mouse as a model organism

Undergraduate Teaching

BS3018 Mouse transgenic technologies

MG3050 Huntington’s disease

BS1005 Genes’ – practicals

Medical School Year 1 Molecules, Genes and Disease - tutorials

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