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Nicola Micali, PhD

Associate Research Scientist in Neuroscience

Contact Information

Nicola Micali, PhD


Dr. Micali is associate research scientist in Rakic lab. He received his Master Degree in Biology from the State University of Lecce-Italy in 2002, and then his Ph.D in Genetics, Molecular and Cellular Biology from the State University of Milan-Italy in 2006. From 2003 to 2008, he worked at the Molecular Genetics unit led by Professor Francesco Blasi, at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute (Milan). He was interested in studying the role of TALE transcription factors (Pbx, Prep and Meis) in controlling cell survival and proliferation genes during mammalian development, using mouse and human “diseased” genetics models, such as Down Syndrome patient derived cells, and cancer cells. In 2008, as post-doc fellow, Dr. Micali joined Professor Pier Paolo Di Fiore's lab, at IFOM Istitute, Milan, where he worked on the role of Notch signaling in breast cancer. From 2010 to 2017, Dr. Micali received a post-doctoral training in molecular neurodevelopmental biology at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development (LIBD), Johns Hopkins Medical School, Baltimore-USA. Here, he worked in Dr. Ronald McKay's lab on modeling corticogenesis in vitro and defining the cellular and transcriptional dynamics as human neural stem cells (NSCs) progress throughout neurogenesis. At LIBD, Dr. Micali studied the key molecular steps that control the generation of functional cortical neurons from NSCs derived from fetal mouse and human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), and the regulatory events that during corticogenesis control the different developmental neural lineages. Major interest was dedicated to understand the role of fate determinant molecules, such as FGF2, BMPs and WNTs in specifying NSC states and neurogenesis. Dr. Micali has also been involved in projects to define and systematically analyze developmental variation in multiple hPSC lines. He collaborated with AstraZeneca Neuroscience in a genetic study to screen schizophrenia patient specific iPSC derived neurons. In this pipeline, he was directly involved in the development of new cellular assays. From July 2017, Dr. Micali is in Professor Pasko Rakic's lab, where he is continuing to study the regulatory mechanisms of radial glial cell (RGC) specification, in particular cortical area specification (frontal vs occipital and dorsal vs ventral forebrain RGC specification) and zone specificity (VZ vs SVZ and CP). Dr. Micali is working to identify new neuronal subtype precursors during the development of neocortex in rodents, non-human primates (NHP) and humans. His current focus is on the identification and characterization of the cellular and transcriptional dynamics underlying the species-specific differences in corticogenesis.

Education & Training

  • Post-doctoral fellow
    Lieber Institute for Brain Development-Johns Hopkins Medical school (2010-2017) (2017)
  • PhD
    State University of Milan-Italy, San Raffaele Scientific Institute (2006)
  • MSc
    State University of Lecce-Italy, Biology

Professional Service

Cerebral CortexOfficial Peer Reviewer2017 - Present

Departments & Organizations