Francesco Iorio

Francesco Iorio

Francesco Iorio is a computer scientist, currently Group Leader at HT’s Computational Biology Research Centre and team leader at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Hixton (UK). He works on analytical methods for pharmacogenomics, therapeutic target discovery, drug repositioning and biomedical big-data mining, with a specific focus on cancer, rare diseases and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Francesco is building up his group and research activity, dividing his time between Milan and Cambdrige.


  • 01/2021 - Nature Computational Science

    Redefining false discoveries in cancer data analyses

    The nature of biological networks still brings challenges related to computational complexity, interpretable results and statistical signifcance. Recent work proposes a new method that paves the way for addressing these issues when analyzing cancer genomic data.

  • 10/2020 - Nucleic Acid Research

    Project Score database: a resource for investigating cancer cell dependencies and prioritizing therapeutic targets

    CRISPR genetic screens in cancer cell models are a powerful tool to elucidate oncogenic mechanisms and to identify promising therapeutic targets. The Project Score database ( uses genome-wide CRISPR–Cas9 dropout screening data in hundreds of highly annotated cancer cell models to identify genes required for cell fitness and prioritize novel oncology targets. The Project Score […]

  • 08/2020 - Patterns

    Identification of Intrinsic Drug Resistance and Its Biomarkers in High-Throughput Pharmacogenomic and CRISPR Screens

    High-throughput drug screens in cancer cell lines test compounds at low concentrations, thereby enabling the identification of drug-sensitivity biomarkers, while resistance biomarkers remain underexplored. Dissecting meaningful drug responses at high concentrations is challenging due to cytotoxicity, i.e., off-target effects, thus limiting resistance biomarker discovery to frequently mutated cancer genes. To address this, we interrogate subpopulations […]

  • 08/2020 - Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research

    Analysis of CRISPR‐Cas9 screens identify genetic dependencies in melanoma

    Targeting the MAPK signaling pathway has transformed the treatment of metastatic melanoma. CRISPR‐Cas9 genetic screens provide a genome‐wide approach to uncover novel genetic dependencies that might serve as therapeutic targets. Here, we analyzed recently reported CRISPR‐Cas9 screens comparing data from 28 melanoma cell lines and 313 cell lines of other tumor types in order to […]

  • 07/2020 - Molecular Systems Biology

    Drug mechanism‐of‐action discovery through the integration of pharmacological and CRISPR screens

    Low success rates during drug development are due, in part, to the difficulty of defining drug mechanism‐of‐action and molecular markers of therapeutic activity. Here, we integrated 199,219 drug sensitivity measurements for 397 unique anti‐cancer drugs with genome‐wide CRISPR loss‐of‐function screens in 484 cell lines to systematically investigate cellular drug mechanism‐of‐action. We observed an enrichment for […]