Professor Elena Cattaneo is Director of the Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology and Pharmacology of Neurodegenerative Diseases at the Department of Pharmacological Sciences, as well as a co-founder and first appointed Director of UniStem, the Centre for Stem Cell Research of the University of Milano. The main research theme of her lab is neural stem cells, and the molecular pathophysiology of Huntington’s Disease.
Funders of Prof Cattaneo's lab include the Huntington's Disease Society of America (H.D.S.A.), Hereditary Disease Foundation,High Q Foundation, the European Union (through EuroStemCell, NeuroStemcell, ESTOOLS, NeuroNE, STEM-HD and Stem-stroke projects), Fondazione Cariplo, and Telethon Italy.
Prof Cattaneo is a Coalition Investigator of the Huntington's Disease Society of America (H.D.S.A.), and a member of the Board of Directors of several European consortia (including EuroStemCell and NeuroNE). She acts as a reviewer for several journals (including Science, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Genetics, and Journal of Neuroscience) and international funding agencies, and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Hereditary Disease Foundation and of the Euro-HD Network.
Prof Cattaneo's studies on neural stem cells and Huntington's disease saw her awarded the “Le Scienze” Price for Medicine and a Gold Medal from the President of the Italian Republic in 2001. In 2005 she was awarded the Marisa Bellisario and Chiara D’Onofrio prizes, in 2006 was nominated Cavaliere Ufficiale (Knight) of the Italian Republic, and in 2013 was appointed senator for life by Italy's president, Giorgio Napolitano. She was also named Stem Cell Person of the Year in 2013 by Paul Knoepfler and the readers of his blog, and awarded the ISSCR Public Service Award in 2014, with Paolo Bianco and Michele De Luca, for "their recent involvement in public debate and policy-making in Italy, championing rigorous scientific and medical standards and stringent regulatory oversight in the introduction of new stem cell treatments into the clinic."
Prof Cattaneo has published 105 papers in peer-reviewed journals, has given more than 200 invited lectures, and is very active in organizing professional development and outreach events - for both the scientific community and lay public.