M. Laura Feltri MD

M. Laura Feltri

M. Laura Feltri

SUNY Distinguished Professor, Professor of Biochemistry and Neurology. Acting Director, Institute for Myelin and Glia Exploration

Department of Biochemistry

Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Specialty/Research Focus

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

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

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:

  • Neuroscience, Thomas Jefferson University (1992)
  • Residency, Neurology, University of Milano, Italy (1992)
  • Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano, Italy (1988)
  • MD, Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano, Italy (1988)


  • Professor, Hunter James Kelly Research Institute & Biochemistry, University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (2011-present)
  • Head of Neuro Glia Unit, Division of Cell Biology & Genetics, San Raffaele Scientific Institute Medicine (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 (1992–1995)
  • Post Doctoral Fellow, Neurology, Thomas Jefferson University Medicine (1989–1992)
  • Resident, Neurology, University of Milano, Italy (1988–1992)

Awards and Honors:

  • Chair, Cellular and molecular biology of Glia Study Session (2021)
  • President Elect (2021)
  • SUNY Distinguished Professor (2020)
  • State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor award for Excellence in Scholarship & Creative Activities (2019)
  • Exceptional Scholar – Sustained Achievement Award (2016)
  • Distinguished Postdoc Mentor Award (2013)

Research Centers:

  • Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences
  • Hunter J. Kelly Research Institute (Hunter's Hope Foundation)

UB 2020 Strategic Strengths:

  • Molecular Recognition in Biological Systems and Bioinformatics

Grants and Sponsored Research:

  • January 2020–December 2025
    Laminin receptors and signals in Schwann cells
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • November 2020–November 2024
    4. NIH/NINDS 1 R01 NS 112327 (PI Shin, Feltri co-I) 12/01/2020-11/30/2024. Selective galactosylceramidase ablation to study the pathogenesis of Krabbe leukodystrophy. Total cost 125000$
    Role: Co-Investigator
  • November 2021–October 2024
    Innovative model systems to study and boost innate immunity in Krabbe Disease
    Th Legacy of Angels Foundation
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • February 2019–January 2024
    The peripheral nervous system: a window over Krabbe disease
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • November 2021–October 2023
    Support for the infrastructure of Krabbe disease and myelin research at the University at Buffalo
    The Legacy of Angel Foundation
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • January 2021–November 2022
    Improving proteasome function to treat Charcot Marie Tooth 1
    Charcot Marie Tooth Association
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
  • May 2021–February 2022
    P38MAPK gamma as a target to promote demyelination in Multiple Sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases
    Empire Development Corporation
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • January 2019–November 2021
    Mechanisms of axonal degeneration in late onset CMT1B neuropathies: molecular pathways and therapeutic approaches
    Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association
    Role: Co-Investigator
  • December 2016–November 2021
    The prohibitin family and their function in myelination and axonal health
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • May 2019–October 2021
    GALC Pharmacological Chaperone Drugs for Krabbe Disease
    Role: Co-Investigator
  • July 2018–June 2021
    Novel Stress-Activated Inhibitor of Myelination
    US Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity (DOD)
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • 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
See all (9 more)

Journal Articles:

See all (129 more)

Books and Book Chapters:

  • Steven Scherer, M. Laura Feltri & Lawrence Wrabetz. (1900) Neuro Glia. In: Genetics mutations affecting myelin formation. Oxford University Press

Professional Memberships:

  • President Elect; Peripheral Nerve Society (2021–2023)
  • Chair , Cellular and Molecular Biology of Glia NINDS Study session (2019–2021)
  • Member of the CBMG NINDS-NIH Study Session (2015–2021)
  • Member of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Study Session (2012–2015)
  • Scientific Advisory Board Member of the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association (2009–2018)


  • "Striatins in Peripheral Nerve Development Invited Plenary Speaker" Argentinian Society for Neuroscience (2021)
  • "Richard Bunge Plenary Lecture: Signals to Schwann cells during myelination and peripheral Neuropathies" Peripheral Nerve Society Annual Meeting (2021)
  • "Invited speaker" Krabbe Research and Translational Consortium (2021)
  • "UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT: Novel components of the Hippo pathway and their role in peripheral nerve myelination" Department series, NEUROSCIENCE (2021)
  • "“Schwann cell myelination: riding on a Hippo from the basal lamina to the nucleus and back”" Max Plank Institute invited Speaker series (virtual) (2020)
  • Myelin Gordon Conference (2018)
  • "Chemical and Mechanical Signals Govern Schwann Cell Development and Myelination" Plenary Lecture Euroglia Meeting (2017)
  • "The Role of Prohibitins in Myelination and Axonal Health" Pittsburgh Institute of Neurodegeneration Lecture (2017)
  • Euroglia Meeting (2017)
  • "Ensheathment and Support of Neurons" Cold Spring Harbor Meeting (2016)
  • "Adhesive and Mechanical Signals that Control Schwann Cell-Axon Interactions" Helen Wilshire Walsh Lecture at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis (2016)
  • "Extracellular Signals in Demyelinating Diseases" PFIZER Neuroscience Series (2016)
  • "Essential Role for Prohibitions in Myelination Revealed by Proteomic Analysis of Early Axo-Glial Interactions" International Society for Neurochemistry/American Society for Neurochemistry biannual meeting (2015)
  • "Pseudopods and Prohibitins: New Methods and Molecules in Peripheral Myelination" (2015)
  • "Spatial Mapping of Polarized Axo-Glial Interactions Reveals New Molecules Involved in Myelination" XII European Meeting on Glial Cells in Health and Disease (2015)
  • Peripheral Nerve Society Meeting (2015)
  • "International Graduate Training Course in Peripheral Nervous System Development and Disease" (2014)
  • ; Adelson Medical Research Foundation (2014)
  • "Signaling from the Extracellular Matrix in Myelination" (2013)
  • "First Contact Between Neurons and Schwann Cells" Great Lakes Glia Meeting (2013)
  • "Peripheral Demyelination" Muscle Study Group Meeting (2013)
  • "Laminin Receptors in Peripheral Neuropathies" (2013)
  • "The Many Faces of Dystroglycan in Peripheral Nerve Development" (2013)
  • "Regulation of myelination and re-myelination symposium" International Society for Neurochemistry/American Society for Neurochemistry biannual meeting (2013)
  • "Signaling by p38 MAPK in Myelination" ; Cleveland Clinic (2013)
  • "UB2020 Molecular Recognition in Biological Systems and Bioinformatics Minisymposium" Molecular Basis of Neurodegenerative Disorders; University at Buffalo (2012)
  • "Glia in Health and Disease" Cold Spring Harbor Meeting (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)
  • "Invited speaker: Schwann cell development" Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. Nobel Mini-Symposium “The Dark Side of The Brain: Myelinating Glia in the Central and Peripheral Nervous System”,
See all (43 more)

Service Activities:

  • E-life, Plos Biology , J. of Neuroscience, Nature Communication; Ad hoce reviewer (2021)
  • Journal of the peripheral nervous system; Editorial board member (2021)
  • UB - SUNY distinguished professorship and chancellor award committee; Member of the committee (2021)
  • Peripheral Nerve Society (international); President-Elect (2021)
  • ; Ad Hoc member F35 neurodegeneration Study section (2021)
  • JSMBS Dean and VP of Health Sciences; Member of the search committee (2021)
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth 4B3 research Foundation; Member of the scientific advisory Board (2021)
  • GLIA; Editorial Board member (2019–2021)
  • Krabbe Connect Association; Scientific Advisory Board Member (2019–2021)
  • ; Chair (2019–2021)
  • Journal of Experimental Neurology; Editorial Board member (2018–2021)
  • ; Faculty Council Steering Committee for Admission policies to the Medical School, University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. (2016–2021)
  • CMBG;; Panel Member (2015–2021)
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association USA; Muscular Dystrophy Association USA;; Panel Member (2012–present)
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society; (2012–2018)
  • Charcot Marie Tooth association (USA); Scientific Advisory Board member (2011–present)
  • European Leukodystrophy Association (ELA); European Leukodystrophy Association (ELA);; Grant Reviewer (2010–present)
  • Italian Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (FISM); Italian Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (FISM);; Grant Reviewer (2010–present)
  • The French National Research Agency (ANR); The French National Research Agency (ANR);; Grant Reviewer (2009–present)
  • Charcot Marie Tooth Association;; Panel Member (2009–present)
  • French Muscular Dystrophy Association; French Muscular Dystrophy Association;; Grant Reviewer (2008–present)
  • Charcot Marie Tooth Association; Charcot Marie Tooth Association;; Grant Reviewer (2007–2008)
  • UK Multiple Sclerosis Society; UK Multiple Sclerosis Society;; Grant Reviewer (2007)
  • Medical Research Council UK (MRC); Medical Research Council UK (MRC);; Grant Reviewer (2007)
  • University of Antwerp Research Counsel; University of Antwerp Research Counsel;; Grant Reviewer (2006)
  • Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation;; Grant Reviewer
  • Great Britain Multiple Sclerosis Society;; Grant Reviewer
  • Austrian Science Foundation;; Grant Reviewer
  • MRC;; Grant Reviewer
  • INSERM-CNRS;; Grant Reviewer
  • Genethon;; Grant Reviewer
  • AFM;; Grant Reviewer
  • ELA foundation;; Grant Reviewer
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association;; Grant Reviewer
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association;; Grant Reviewer
  • Fondazione Italiana Sclerosi Multipla (FISM);; Grant Reviewer
  • Search Committee, Faculty position Assistant/Associate Professor, Hunter James Kelly Research Institute; Member

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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, New York 14203
Phone: (716) 881-8969
Fax: (716) 849-6651