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M. Laura                       Feltri

M. Laura Feltri MD

Department of Biochemistry

Professor of Biochemistry and Neurology

Specialty/Research Focus

Cytoskeleton and cell motility; Inherited Metabolic Disorders; Molecular and Cellular Biology; Molecular Basis of Disease; Molecular genetics; Neurobiology; Neurology; Signal Transduction; Transgenic organisms

Professional Summary:

My laboratory seeks to understand the molecular basis of myelination and myelin diseases. Myelin is a multi-lamellar sheath that invests large axons and permits rapid conduction of nerve signals. Failure in myelin synthesis and myelin breakdown cause several important neurological diseases, including multiple sclerosis, leukodystrophies and peripheral dysmyelinating neuropathies.

In some of these diseases, genetic mutations cause defects in cytoskeletal, adhesion and signaling molecules. I work with a team of undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, technicians, senior scientists and many international collaborators to discover how these molecules normally coordinate cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix interactions to generate the cytoarchitecture of myelinated axons. We use a variety of approaches, including generation of mice carrying genetic abnormalities, cultures of myelinating glia and neurons, imaging, biochemistry and morphology to understand the role of these molecules in normal and pathological development. By comparing normal myelination to the abnormalities occurring in human diseases, we aim to identify molecular mechanisms that pharmacological intervention might correct.

For example, we described how the protein dystroglycan associates with different proteins, some of which impact human neuropathies, depending on a proteolitic cleavage that can be regulated to improve the disease. Similarly, we found that molecules such as integrins and RhoGTPAses are required for glia to extend large processes that will become myelin around axons. In certain neuromuscular disorders, defective signaling pathways that converge on these molecules cause failure to produce or mantain an healthy myelin Finally, in collaborations with scientists and clinicians in the Hunter J. Kelly Research Institute, we are generating transgenic forms of GalC, an enzyme deficient in Krabbe leukodystrophy, to investigate which cells requires the enzyme. Investigating how GalC is handled may help find a cure for this devastating disease.

Education and Training:
  • Residency, Neurology, University of Milano, Italy (1992)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Neuroscience, Thomas Jefferson University (1992)
  • MD, Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano, Italy, Summa Cun Laude (1988)
  • Professor, Hunter James Kelly Research Institute & Biochemistry, University at Buffalo (2011-present)
  • Head of Neuro Glia Unit, Division of Cell Biology & Genetics, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Medicine, Italy (2006-present)
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, Neurology, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine (2002-present)
  • Assistant Professor, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, DIBIT (1995–2004)
  • Assistant Professor, Neurology, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Neurology, Italy (1992–1995)
  • Post Doctoral Fellow, Neurology, Thomas Jefferson University, Medicine (1989–1992)
  • Resident, Neurology, University of Milano, Italy, Italy (1988–1992)

Research Centers:
  • Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences
UB 2020 Strategic Strengths:
  • Molecular Recognition in Biological Systems and Bioinformatics
Grants and Sponsored Research:
  • July 2003–March 2019
    Laminin receptors and signals in Schwann cells
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • January 2014–September 2017
    National Multiple Sclerosis Society
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • September 2012–August 2014
    Subcellular domains of myelinating-glia: capturing axonal contact
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • April 2013–April 2014
    Modulation of neuroinflammation repairs the brain after traumatic injury by remyelination.
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • October 2011–December 2013
    Modulating neuregulin−1 signals to treat hereditary demyelinating neuropathies
    Telethon Italia
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • July 2008–June 2012
    Laminin receptors and signals in schwann cells
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • April 2008–March 2012
    Neuron-glia interactions in nerve development and disease.
    European Community, FP7
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • January 2008–January 2011
    Laminins and their receptors in hereditary neuropathies.
    Telethon, Italia
    Role: Principal Investigator

Journal Articles:
See all (75 more)
Books and Book Chapters:
  • Steven Scherer, M. Laura Feltri & Lawrence Wrabetz. Genetics mutations affecting myelin formation..

  • "UB2020 Molecular Recognition in Biological Systems and Bioinformatics Minisymposium" Molecular Basis of Neurodegenerative Disorders, University at Buffalo (2012)
  • "Discussion Leader, “Cell Biology of Myelin” session" Myelin Gordon conference, Gordon Research Conference (2012)
  • "Laminin receptors and signals in Schwann cell development" Center for Neuroscience Research at Children’s National Medical Center seminar series, Institute for Neuroscience at the George Washington University (2012)
  • "Cytoskeletal Proteins in Myelinating Glia" American Society for Neurochemistry Meeting, American Society for Neurochemistry (2012)
  • "Cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions in morphogenesis of peripheral nerves" PhD Invited Series, New York University (2011)
  • "alpha6 beta1 and alpha7beta1 are the integrins required for axonal sorting of axons by Schwann cells" ISN/ASN Myelin Satellite, International Society for Neurochemistry/American Society for Neurochemistry (2011)
  • "Mouse models of developmental neuropathies" ESNM meeting on preclinical models of Charcot-Marie-Tooth, European Neuromuscular Center (2011)
  • "Matrix and receptors in myelination" Fondation Le Treilles, Fondation Le Treilles (2010)
  • "Regulation of dystroglycan by metalloproteinases in nerve development and pathology" Roswell Park Cancer Institute seminar series, Roswell Park Cancer Institute (2010)
  • "Laminins in peripheral nerve development" Basal Lamina Consortium, Vanderbilt University (2010)
  • "Laminin signals in myelination" Paris Lecture Series, Hopital La Salpétriere (2010)
  • "Laminin receptors and signals in nerve development" Paris Lecture Series, Pierre & Marie Curie University (2010)
  • "Laminin signals in myelination and demyelinating neuropathies" ISF-Legacy Heritage Fund Inaugural Meeting On New Approaches To Neurodegenerative Diseases, Israel Science Foundation (2010)
  • "Laminin receptors and proteinases in congenital muscular dystrophy and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease" MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases, The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
  • "Laminin receptors and signals in myelination" University of Marseille seminar series, University of Marseille (2009)
  • "Non-redundant function of dystroglycan and beta1 integrins in radial sorting of axons Myelin Development, Function and Related Diseases." Ninth Biennial Satellite Meeting of the ISN on Myelin Biology, International Society for Neurochemistry/American Society for Neurochemistry (2009)
  • "Laminin receptors and signals in nerve development and disease" The Children Hospital of Philadelphia, Developmental Biology Program for Pediatric Disorders Seminars Series (2008)
  • "Dystroglycan Complex in Schwann cells" Myelin Gordon Research Conference (2008)
  • "Extracellular Matrix in Peripheral nervous system development and myelination" Erasmus Lectures on Genetics (2008)
  • "Genetic models of complex neuropathies" Meeting Gruppo Italiano Sistema Nervoso Periferico, Italian Peripheral Nerve Society (2008)
  • "Dystroglycan in the architecture of internodes and nodes of Ranvier in the peripheral nervous system" Lecture Series, University of Marseille (2008)
  • "Extracellular matrix in Schwann cell-axon interactions and myelination." Finland Lecture Series, University of Oulu (2008)
  • Lecture Series, University of Koln (2007)
  • "Common regulatory mechanisms in hemopoiesis and neurogenesis" EMBO Workshop (2007)
  • Euroglia Meeting, ECM in myelination session, organizer and speaker (2007)
  • ESN Meeting, Federation of Europeans Neurological Society (FENS), Symposium on Hereditary Neuropathies (2007)
See all (16 more)

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Contact Information

701 Ellicott Street
Hunter James Kelly Research Institute
NYS Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences, B4-322
Buffalo, NY 14203
Phone: (716) 881-8969
Fax: (716) 849-6651

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