- Research Group Leader, Iorio Group
Francesco is a computer scientist by training. He completed his PhD studies at the University of Salerno and the TeleThon Institute of Genetics and Medicine (TIGEM, Naples – Italy), where he focused on computational methods for drug discovery and repositioning.
Subsequently, he has been awarded a joint EMBL – European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) and Wellcome Sanger Institute (WSI) post-doctoral (ESPOD) fellowship to work on integrative computational frameworks for predicting and dissecting drug sensitivity in cancer, analysing data from large-scale in vitro drug screens.
Following this, as a senior bioinformatician at EBI, Francesco has been the leading the analysis of data from a large-scale genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 pooled screen across hundreds of cancer cell lines, with the aim of identifying synthetic lethalities in cancer and identifying new therapeutic targets.
From 2018 to 2020 he has been leading the WSI’s Cancer Dependency Map Analytics team, providing computational support to the Cancer Dependency Map partnership: an international endeavour involving the WSI and Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard aiming at identifying all the genetic dependencies and vulnerabilities existing in cancer cells. In this role, he has been leading the development of new algorithms and computational tools for the analysis and integration of large-scale cancer pharmacogenomics and functional genomics datasets (from chemical and genome editing screens).
Since late 2020 Francesco is a Research Group Leader in Computational Biology at the Human Technopole (Milan, Italy) where he is establishing a research program in Computational cancer Pharmacogenomics and Therapeutic Target Discovery.
Since November 2019 he is a Scientific Advisor for the joint Cancer Research Horizon – AstraZeneca Functional Genomics Centre (Cambridge, UK).
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 […]
05/2020 - Cell Systems
CELLector: Genomics-Guided Selection of Cancer In Vitro Models
Selecting appropriate cancer models is a key prerequisite for maximizing translational potential and clinical relevance of in vitro oncology studies. We developed CELLector: an R package and R Shiny application allowing researchers to select the most relevant cancer cell lines in a patient-genomic-guided fashion. CELLector leverages tumor genomics to identify recurrent subtypes with associated genomic signatures. It then evaluates […]
12/2019 - Nature Communications
Agreement between two large pan-cancer CRISPR-Cas9 gene dependency data sets
Genome-scale CRISPR-Cas9 viability screens performed in cancer cell lines provide a systematic approach to identify cancer dependencies and new therapeutic targets. As multiple large-scale screens become available, a formal assessment of the reproducibility of these experiments becomes necessary. We analyze data from recently published pan-cancer CRISPR-Cas9 screens performed at the Broad and Sanger Institutes. Despite […]