Daniela Puzzo

Università degli Studi di Catania

Beta-amyloid-induced memory loss: beneficial effect of drugs acting on the nitric oxide cascade


Puzzo is a neuroscientist who has contributed to the characterization of the mechanisms of learning in both normal conditions and during neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Puzzo received her M.D. from the University of Catania (Italy) where she graduated in 1999 (110/110 with honours). In 2002 she obtained her Ph.D. in Applied Biomedical Sciences at the University of Catania. She has also obtained a Degree in Acupuncture and she is attending a Gestalt Therapy School. She has focused her scientific interest on learning and memory, with particular attention to hippocampal synaptic plasticity. She started performing research at the Nathan Kline Institute (NYU School of Medicine, New York) in 2002 with Prof. O. Arancio. She determined that a signaling pathway initiated by nitric oxide is inactivated by beta-amyloid during synaptic plasticity and learning. Thanks to her experience in electrophysiology, immunocytochemistry and behaviour, she has started an independent research line in Italy in collaboration with Prof. S. Sapienza and Prof. A. Palmeri at the University of Catania. Her results have been communicated at several national and international meetings, with great enthusiasm from the neuroscience community, and published in international scientific journals. The fruitful collaboration with Prof. Arancio is continuing, so Dr. Puzzo has returned to work with him at Columbia University.
Dr. Puzzo combines her scientific skills with a great artistic talent. Graduated in music in 1993, she has performed piano concerts in Italy and abroad. Together with a percussionist of Arabic instruments, Giorgio Rizzo, she performs an original fusion of traditional Middle Eastern music with classical music. Her main artistic project consists in a composition of a lyric opera. As a fellow of the Italian Academy, she will focus on the beneficial effect of drugs acting on the nitric oxide cascade to counteract memory loss in Alzheimer's Disease and other neurodegenerative disorders characterized by cognitive impairment.