Daniela Cimini

Professor of Biological Sciences
162A Biocomplexity Institute (MC 0477)
1015 Life Science Circle
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Major Field of Interest

The cellular mechanisms responsible for inducing aneuploidy in somatic cells

Current Research

Aneuploidy, the condition of a cell possessing an incorrect chromosome number, is well known for inducing severe pathological genetic syndromes (e.g., Down syndrome), and is a hallmark of cancer. Somatic cell aneuploidy arises as a consequence of inaccurate chromosome segregation during mitosis. Whereas many possible mitotic errors can cause inaccurate chromosome segregation, we believe that not all of them are equally likely to occur in the living organism, and that some of them represent a more severe threat than others to chromosome stability. By using a combination of live-cell imaging, quantitative light microscopy, protein inhibition, and mathematical modeling (performed by our collaborators Dr. Alex Mogilner and Dr. Gul Civelekoglu-Scholey) we aim at identifying and characterizing the cellular mechanisms responsible for chromosome mis-segregation in both normal and cancer cells.

  • Virginia Tech, Biocomplexity Institute Biology Fellow, Nov 2013 – Present
  • Virginia Tech, Health Sciences Faculty of Health Sciences, Nov 2013 – Present
  • University Roma Tre (Rome, Italy), Visiting Faculty, Jun 3-22, 2013
  • Virginia Tech, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Associate Professor, Jul 2012 – Jun 2017
  • Virginia Tech, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Assistant Professor, Dec 2005 – Jun 2012
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Biology, Postdoctoral Fellow (Advisor Dr. E.D. Salmon), May 2002 – Dec 2005
  • Visiting Researcher, Jan 2000 – Apr 2001, Center for Evolutionary Genetics (Italian National Research Council), Rome, Italy
  • Research Fellow, Italian Federation for Cancer Research (FIRC), Jan – Dec 2001
  • Ph.D., Genetics and Molecular Biology March 2001, University of Rome “La Sapienza,” Center for Evolutionary Genetics. Dissertation title: Cellular mechanisms of aneuploidy induction in mammalian cells: role of mitotic spindle and mitotic checkpoint. Advisor: Dr. Francesca Degrassi
  • Specialty degree (Highest honors), Applied Genetics October 1997. University of Rome “La Sapienza,” Thesis title: Study of chromosome malsegregation mechanisms by means of in situ hybridization on anaphases and binucleate cells. Advisors: Prof. Caterina Tanzarella and Dr. Francesca Degrassi
  • Degree (Laurea, Highest honors) in Biology November 1993. University of Rome “La Sapienza,” Thesis title: Use of CREST staining and in situ hybridization for the analysis of micronuclei induced by 5-azacytidine in human fibroblast cultures. Advisors: Prof. Caterina Tanzarella and Dr. Francesca Degrassi
  • Virginia Tech Scholar of the Week, October 17-21, 2016
  • Recognized through the Virginia Tech National Distinction Program, 2016
  • Department of Biological Sciences Outstanding Research Award, 2016
  • The Triangle Cytoskeleton Meeting Keynote Speaker, 2014
  • Department of Biological Sciences Outstanding Research Award, 2010
  • Biography included in “Who’s Who in Science and Engineering,” 2008
  • Cell Dance Festival Award, American Society for Cell Biology, 2005
  • Honorable Mention, Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition, 2005
  • Postdoctoral Award for Research Excellence, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2003
  • Young Scientist Award, European Environmental Mutagen Society, 2001
  • Graduate Student Full Scholarship, Univ. of Rome “La Sapienza,” Nov 1997 – Oct 2000
  • Best Poster Award, European Environmental Mutagen Society, 1996
  • Three-year Full Scholarship for top three Specialty School of Applied Genetics