Nicoli earned her BS in pharmaceutical biotechnology in 2003 from the University of Milan and a PhD in Biomedical Biotechnology in 2007 from University of Brescia. Following post-doctoral research at UMASS Medical School, where she identified how microRNAs regulate cardiovascular development, she joined the faculty of UMASS in 2011. Nicoli was recruited to Yale as an assistant professor in the Section of Cardiovascular Medicine and the Yale Cardiovascular Research Center (CVRC) in 2012 and currently serves as the CVRC co-director. In 2018 Nicoli was promoted to associate professor. Since 2019, she has held the position of director of Yale Zebrafish Phenotyping Core for Precision Medicine, with a dual appointment in the Department of Genetics.
The Nicoli lab aims to answer the question of how the post-transcriptional control of gene expression via non-coding RNA shapes an individual cardiovascular system. Since 2012, the lab has been awarded over $4 million in funding from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Disease (NIDKK), the United States Public Health Service (USPHS), and other agencies focused on the physiology of the cardiovascular system. Research led by Nicoli has demonstrated how the AGO2-miRNA complex interfaces the interaction between a cell and the extracellular matrix — a crucial factor in how cells and tissues maintain their shape.
More recently, the Nicoli lab uncovered a crucial biological link in the process that transforms certain complex sugars into hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. These findings could provide new avenues for regulating blood stem cell production. She also co-authored a landmark study on intracranial aneurysms in Nature Medicine. The study reported on the unique the role of the PPIL4-Wnt signaling pathway for brain vessel development and integrity.
Nicoli will receive the Folkman Award Lecture at the International Vascular Biology Meeting, October 15, 2022.