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Francesca Benedetti, PhD

Academic Title:

Research Associate

Primary Appointment:

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Additional Title:

Research Associate in the Division of Infectious Agents and Cancer, Institute Of Human Virology


725 W. Lombard Street, 21201 - Baltimore

Phone (Primary):


Education and Training

University of Parma, Italy, B.S. in Biotechnology, 2010

University of Parma, Italy, M.S. in Medical, Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, 2012

University of Parma, Italy, Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences, 2016

University of Maryland, College Park, USA, Master in Business Administration (MBA), 2020


Research Fellow, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Institute of Human Virology, 2013-2016

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Institute of Human Virology, 2016-2018

Research Associate, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Institute of Human Virology, 2018-present

Research/Clinical Keywords

Microbiota, Cancer biology, p53, Mycoplasma

Highlighted Publications

  1. Benedetti F, Davinelli S, Krishnan S, Gallo RC, Scapagnini G, Zella D, Curreli S. Sulfur compounds block MCP-1 production by Mycoplasma fermentans-infected macrophages through NF-κB inhibition. J Transl Med. 2014 May 24;12:145.

  2. Davinelli S, Scapagnini G, Denaro F, Calabrese V, Benedetti F, Krishnan S, Curreli S, Bryant J, Zella D. Altered expression pattern of Nrf2/HO-1 axis during accelerated-senescence in HIV-1 transgenic rat. Biogerontology. 2014;15(5):449-61.

  3. Benedetti F, Curreli S, Krishnan S, Davinelli S, Cocchi F, Scapagnini G, Gallo RC, Zella D. Anti-inflammatory effects of H2S during acute bacterial infection: a review. J Transl Med. 2017 May 10;15(1):100.

  4. Zella D, Curreli S, Benedetti F, Krishnan S, Cocchi F, Latinovic OS, Denaro F, Romerio F, Djavani M, Charurat ME, Bryant JL, Tettelin H, Gallo RC. Mycoplasma promotes malignant transformation in vivo, and its DnaK, a bacterial chaperon protein, has broad oncogenic properties. PNAS;2018 Dec 18;115(51):E12005-E12014

  5. Benedetti F, Krishnan S, Cocchi F, Tettelin H, Gallo RC, Zella D, Curreli S. Proteome analysis of Mycoplasma fermentans cultured under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Translational Medicine Communications, 2019. 4(1): p. 15.

  6. Benedetti F, Cocchi F, Latinovic OS, Curreli S, Krishnan S, Munawwar A, Gallo RC, Zella D. Role of Mycoplasma Chaperone DnaK in Cellular Transformation. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 1311.
  7. Pachetti M, Marini M, Benedetti F, Giudici F, Mauro E, Storici P, Masciovecchio C, Angeletti S, Ciccozzi M, Gallo RC, Zella D and Ippodrino R. Emerging SARS-CoV-2 mutation hot spots include a novel RNA-dependent-RNA polymerase variant. J Transl Med 18, 179 (2020).
  8. Benedetti F, Pachetti M, Marini B, Ippodrino R, Gallo RC, Ciccozzi M and Zella D. Inverse correlation between average monthly high temperatures and COVID-19-related death rates in different geographical areas. Journal of Translational Medicine. J Transl Med 18, 251 (2020).
  9. Benedetti F, Pachetti M., Marini B., Ippodrino R., Ciccozzi M, Zella D. SARS‐CoV‐2: march toward adaptation. J Med Virol. 29 June 2020. doi:10.1002/jmv.26233
  10. Weichseldorfer M, Affram Y, Heredia A, Tagaya Y, Benedetti F, Zella D, Reitz M, Romerio F, Latinovic OS. Anti-HIV Activity of Standard cART in Primary Cells Is Intensified by CCR5-Targeting Drugs. AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses. 2020.
  11. Benedetti F, Snyder G, Giovanetti M, Angeletti S, Gallo RC, Ciccozzi M, Zella D. Emerging of a SARS-CoV-2 viral strain with a deletion in nsp1. J Transl Med 18, 329 (2020).
  12. Pachetti M, Marini B, Giudici F, Benedetti F, Angeletti S, Ciccozzi M, Masciovecchio C, Ipprodrino R, Zella D. Impact of lockdown on Covid-19 Case Fatality Rate and Viral Mutations Spread in 7 Countries in Europe and North America. J Transl Med 18, 338 (2020).
  13. Benedetti F, Curreli S, Zella D. Mycoplasmas–Host Interaction: Mechanisms of Inflammation and Association with Cellular Transformation. Microorganisms. 2020;8(9):E1351. Published 2020 Sep 4.
  14. Denaro F*, Benedetti F*, Worthington MD, Scapagnini G, Krauss CC, Williams S, Bryant J, Davis H, Latinovic OS, Zella D. The HIV-1 Transgenic Rat: Relevance for HIV Noninfectious Comorbidity Research. Microorganisms 2020, 8, 1643. (*These authors contributed equally)
  15. Giovanetti M*, Benedetti F*, Campisi G, Ciccozzi A, Fabris S, Ceccarelli G, Tambone V, Caruso A, Angeletti S, Zella D, Ciccozzi M. Evolution patterns of SARS-CoV-2: Snapshot on its genome variants. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications (2020). (*These authors contributed equally)
  16. Benedetti F*, Sorrenti V*, Buriani A, Fortinguerra S, Scapagnini G, Zella D. Resveratrol, Rapamycin and Metformin as Modulators of Antiviral Pathways. Viruses 2020, 12, 1458. (*These authors contributed equally)
  17. Benedetti F, Curreli S, Gallo RC, Zella D. Tampering of Viruses and Bacteria with Host DNA Repair: Implications for Cellular Transformation. Cancers 2021, 13(2), 241.

Additional Publication Citations



Professional Activity

Editorial Board Membership

  • Assistant Guest Editor of Special Issue “Compounds and Molecular Targets affecting Immunosenescence” – International Journal of Molecular Sciences
  • Review Editor on the Editorial Board of Infectious Diseases (specialty section of Frontiers in Medicine, Frontiers in Public Health and Frontiers in Microbiology)
  • Review Editor on the Editorial Board of Molecular and Cellular Oncology (specialty section of Frontiers in Oncology and Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology)


Peer review activities for international journals:

  • Journal of Neurology & Neuromedicine
  • Journal of Oral Microbiology
  • Antioxidants
  • Journal of Translational Medicine
  • Biology
  • Infection, Genetics and Evolution
  • Applied Sciences
  • Virus Research
  • Plos Neglected Pathogens
  • Immunologic Research
  • Plos One
  • International Journal of Molecular Sciences
  • Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal
  • Cellular Signalling
  • Pathogens
  • International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health



  1. Mirandola P, Carubbi C, Galli D, Queirolo V, Di Marcantonio D, Benedetti F, Masselli E, Vitale M. Protein Kinase C (PKC) ε and human CD4 T cell proliferation. IJAE (Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology), Vol.117 N.2 (Supplement): 129, 2012. 66° Congresso della Società Italiana di Anatomia e Istologia. Pistoia, 20-23 settembre 2012.
  2. Denaro F, Benedetti F, Davinelli S, Scapagnini G, Bryant J, Zella D, Latinovic O. Identification of Premature Senescence Cells in the Brain of the HIV-1 Transgenic Rat (HIV-TG Rat). Microscopy and Microanalysis 2018, 24(S1), 1290-1291. doi:10.1017/S1431927618006931
  3. Edelstein L, Denaro F, Davis H, Davinelli S, Curreli S, Benedetti F, Krishnan S, Scapagnini G, Zella D, Bryant J. A New pediatric model of neuroAIDS: the HIV-1 transgenic rat. Neuroscience 2013. San Diego (California-USA), 9-13 November 2013. 
  4. Denaro F, Davinelli S, Curreli S, Benedetti F, Krishnan S, Scapagnini G, Royal W, Zella D, Bryant J.A new small animal model of AIDS: the HIV-1 transgenic NUDE rat (HIV-1TGNR), its importance for understanding HIV neuropathology. Neuroscience 2013. San Diego (California-USA), 9-13 November 2013.
  5. Scapagnini G, Davinelli S, Denaro FJ, Curreli S, Benedetti F, Krishnan S, Bryant JL, Zella D. Antioxidant defence systems and senescence markers in HIV-1 transgenic rat brain. Neuroscience 2013. San Diego (California-USA), 9-13 November 2013.