Maria Carrara


Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, University of Padova
Largo Meneghetti, 2 - 35131 Padova - Italy

Position: Assistant Professor of Pharmacology (SSD: BIO/14)

Phone: +39-049-827-5776
Fax: +39-049-827-5093

  Short Cv

Maria Carrara is Assistant Professor in Pharmacology at the Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences (UniversityofPadova). Her main research interests are toxicological risk assessment of environmental samples of different origin (in particular air and water samples) and evaluation of anti-tumoral activity of natural compounds to overcome cancer cell drug resistance.  She published numerous articles and reviews in different international journals of pharmacology. She recently approached the research of novel food supplements, in particular by studying innovative formulation useful in maintain a good health status and improve metabolic syndrome-related diseases.


  Office hours

previo appuntamento da concordare via mail

  Availability for Thesis Projects

Study of novel food supplements for the management of metabolic syndrome and related diseases In vitro study of natural compounds to overcome cancer cell drug resistance Toxicological risk assessment of environmental matrices. 

Availability of internship position: please contact me


  Scientific Activities

1. Toxicological risk assessment of environmental matrices

In this field, our study is focused on the application of in vitro assays to detect molecular and cellular effects relevant to potential chemical exposure as a means of screening for chemical contaminants in different environmental samples (wastewater and air samples). For this purpose, we used selected assays to provide measures of primary nonspecific (cytotoxicity to various cell types) and markers of xenobiotic metabolism (liver enzyme induction) to correlate the biological effects measured by means of in vitro assays with the presence of chemicals in complex environmental matrices in order to provide useful tools for routinely quality control analysis. 


2. In vitro study of natural compounds to overcome cancer cell drug resistance

The aim of the project is to investigate natural compounds that might affect metabolic pathways that are differently regulated in cancer cell lines resistant to classical chemotherapy. We used many types of cancer cell lines, in particular we focused on colon cancer cell lines (LoVo-S and LoVo-R). We investigated the activity of many natural compounds (phenols, alkaloids and triterpenes) using different in vitro assays and molecular biology techniques (real time PCR, western blot, ICC).


3. Study of novel food supplements for the management of metabolic syndrome and related diseases

In our lab, we investigate different combinations of natural extracts that might positively improve metabolic syndrome and other related diseases, such as obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, elevated serum levels of triglycerides (TG) and cholesterol. We used animal model of metabolic syndrome to test in vivo activity of these natural extracts in order to produce novel food supplements.

  Technical expertise

In vitro enzymatic assays

Cell cultures

In vivo animal studies

Molecular biology methods 


Gabbia D, Dall’Acqua S, Di Gangi IM, Bogialli S, Caputi V, Albertoni L, Marsilio I, Paccagnella N, Carrara M, Giron MC,De Martin S (2017). Phytocomplex from Fucus vesiculosus and Ascophyllum nodosum controls postprandial plasma glucose levels: an in vitro and in vivo study in a mouse model of NASH. Marine Drugs, 15(2). 

Catanzaro D, Filippini R, Vianello C, Carrara M, Ragazzi E, Montopoli M., Chlorogenic Acid Interaction with Cisplatin and Oxaliplatin: Studies in Cervical Carcinoma Cells. Nat Prod Commun. 2016 Apr;11(4):499-502. 

Catanzaro D, Rancan S, Orso G, Dall'Acqua S, Brun P, Giron MC, Carrara M, Castagliuolo I, Ragazzi E, Caparrotta L, Montopoli M., Boswellia serrata Preserves Intestinal Epithelial Barrier from Oxidative and Inflammatory Damage. PLoS One. 2015 May 8;10(5):e0125375. 

Casarin E, Dall'Acqua S, Smejkal K, Slapetová T, Innocenti G, Carrara M., Molecular mechanisms of antiproliferative effects induced by Schisandra-derived dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans (+)-deoxyschisandrin and (-)-gomisin N in human tumour cell lines. Fitoterapia. 2014 Oct;98:241-7. 

Buriani A, Garcia-Bermejo ML, Bosisio E, Xu Q, Li H, Dong X, Simmonds MS, Carrara M, Tejedor N, Lucio-Cazana J, Hylands PJ. Omic techniques in systems biology approaches to traditional Chinese medicine research: present and future. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Apr 10;140(3):535-44. 

Smejkal K, Slapetová T, Krmenčík P, Babula P, Dall'Acqua S, Innocenti G, Vančo J, Casarin E, Carrara M, Kalvarová K, Dvorská M, Slanina J, Kramářová E, Julínek O, Urbanová M., Evaluation of cytotoxic activity of Schisandra chinensis lignans. Planta Med. 2010 Oct;76(15):1672-7. 

Innocenti G, Dall'Acqua S, Scialino G, Banfi E, Sosa S, Gurung K, Barbera M, Carrara M., Chemical composition and biological properties of Rhododendron anthopogon essential oil. Molecules. 2010 Mar 31;15(4):2326-38. 

  Research projects and Funds

2015 PRAT UniPD
Search for natural molecules to counteract cancer metabolic reprogramming