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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 Virology, Pathogenesis and Cancer (VPC), Institute of Human Virology Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology


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. Journal of Translational Medicine 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. 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. Journal of Translational Medicine 2017 May 10;15(1):100. (#corresponding author)
  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. Altmetric score 207 (top 2%).
  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 4, 15 (2019) (#corresponding author)
  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. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 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. Journal of Translational Medicine 18, 179 (2020). Altmetric score 210 (top 2%).
  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 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. 2020; 92: 22742276.
  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. AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses. Oct 2020.835-841.
  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. Journal of Translational Medicine 18, 329 (2020). (*These authors contributed equally)
  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. Journal of Translational Medicine 18, 338 (2020). Altmetric score: 278 (top 1%).
  13. Benedetti F, Curreli S, Zella D. Mycoplasmas–Host Interaction: Mechanisms of Inflammation and Association with Cellular Transformation. Microorganisms 2020, 8, 1351.
  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.
  18. Benedetti F, Curreli S, Gallo RC, Zella D. Exogenous bacterial DnaK increases protein kinases activity in human cancer cell lines. Journal of Translational Medicine 19, 60 (2021).
  19. Ciotti M, Benedetti F, Zella D, Angeletti S, Ciccozzi M, Bernardini S. (2021) SARS-CoV-2 infection and the COVID-19 pandemic emergency: the importance of diagnostic methods. Chemotherapy.
  20. Cella E, Benedetti F, Fabris S, Borsetti A, Pezzuto A, Ciotti M, Pascarella S, Ceccarelli G, Zella D, Ciccozzi M, Giovanetti M. (2021). SARS-CoV-2 lineages and sub-lineages circulating worldwide: a dynamic overview. Chemotherapy, 2021 Mar 18;1-5.
  21. Benvenuto D*, Benedetti F*, Demir AB, Ciccozzi M, Zella D. (2021). Analysis of three mutations in Italian strains of SARS-CoV-2: implications for pathogenesis. Chemotherapy, 2021 Mar 18;1-5. (*These authors contributed equally)
  22. Curreli S, Tettelin H, Benedetti F, Krishnan S, Cocchi F, Reitz M, Gallo RC, Zella D. Analysis of DnaK expression from a strain of Mycoplasma fermentans in infected HCT116 human colon carcinoma cells. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 22, 3885.
  23. Zella D, Giovanetti M, Cella E, Borsetti A, Ciotti M, Ceccarelli G, D'Ettorre G, Pezzuto A, Tambone V, Campanozzi L, Magheri M, Unali F, Bianchi M, Benedetti F, Pascarella S, Angeletti S, Ciccozzi M. (2021). The importance of genomic analysis in cracking the coronavirus pandemic. Expert review of molecular diagnostics, 1–16.
  24. Giovanetti M*, Cella E*, Benedetti F*, Rife Magalis B*, Fonseca V, Fabris S, Campisi G, Ciccozzi A, Angeletti S, Borsetti A, Tambone V, Sagnelli C, Pascarella S, Riva A, Ceccarelli G, Marcello A, Azarian T, Wilkinson E, de Oliveira T, Alcantara LCJ, Cauda R, Caruso A, Dean NE, Browne C, Lourenco J, Salemi M, Zella D, Ciccozzi M. SARS-CoV-2 shifting transmission dynamics and hidden reservoirs limited the efficacy of public health interventions in Italy. Communications Biology 4, 489 (2021). (*These authors contributed equally)
  25. Angeletti S, Giovanetti M, Fogolari M, De Florio L, Francesconi M, Veralli R, Antonelli F, Donati D, Miccoli GA, Fonseca V, Benedetti F, Zella D, Riva E, Ciccozzi M. Detection of a new SARS-CoV-2 P.1.1 variant lacking N501Y in a vaccinated Health Care worker in Italy. Journal of Infection. ePrinted online 6 July 2021. Volume 84, Issue 1, January 2022, Pages 94-118.
  26. Zella D, Giovanetti M, Benedetti F, Unali F, Angeletti S, Ciccozzi M. The variants question: what is the problem? Journal of Medical Virology. 2021; 1-7.
  27. Pascarella S, Ciccozzi M, Zella D, Bianchi M, Benedetti F, Broccolo F, Cauda R, Caruso A, Angeletti S, Giovanetti M, Cassone A. SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617 Indian variants: are electrostatic potential changes responsible for a higher transmission rate? Journal of Medical Virology. 2021; 1-
  28. Weichseldorfer M, Affram Y, Heredia A, Rikhtegaran-Tehrani Z, Sajadi MM, Williams SP, Tagaya Y, Benedetti F, Ramadhani HO, Denaro F, Bryant J, Zella D, Reitz M, Romerio F,
    Latinovic OS. Combined cART including Tenofovir Disoproxil, Emtricitabine, and Dolutegravir has potent therapeutic effects in HIV-1 infected humanized mice. Journal of Translational Medicine 19, 453 (2021).
  29. Benedetti F*, Silvestri G*, Mavian C*, Weichseldorfer M, Munawwar A, Cash MN, Dulcey M, Vittor AY, Ciccozzi M, Salemi M, Latinovic OS, Zella D. Comparison of SARS-CoV-2 receptors expression in primary endothelial cells and retinoic acid-differentiated human neuronal cells. Viruses 2021, 13(11), 2193; (*These authors contributed equally).
  30. Sorrenti V*, Benedetti F*, Buriani A, Fortinguerra S, Caudullo G, Davinelli S, Zella D, Scapagnini G. Immunomodulatory and Antiaging Mechanisms of Resveratrol, Rapamycin, and Metformin: Focus on mTOR and AMPK Signaling Networks. Pharmaceuticals 2022, 15, 912. (*These authors contributed equally)
  31. Rocchi G*, Giovanetti M*, Benedetti F*, Borsetti A, Ceccarelli G, Zella D, Altomare A, Ciccozzi M, Guarino MPL. Gut Microbiota and COVID-19: Potential Implications for Disease Severity. Pathogens. 2022; 11(9):1050. (*These authors contributed equally)
  32. Curreli S, Benedetti F, Yuan W, Munawwar A, Cocchi F, Gallo RC, Sherman NE and Zella D (2022). Characterization of the interactome profiling of Mycoplasma fermentans DnaK in cancer cells reveals interference with key cellular pathways. Frontiers in Microbiology
  33. Benedetti F*, Silvestri G*, Saadat S, Denaro F, Latinovic OS, Davis H, Williams S, Bryant J, Ippodrino R, Rathinam CV, Gallo RC, Zella D. Mycoplasma DnaK increases DNA copy number variants in vivo. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Jul 25;120(30):e2219897120. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2219897120. Epub 2023 Jul 17. PMID: 37459550. (*These authors contributed equally). Altmetric score 59 (top 3%).
  34. Scarpa F, Bazzani L, Giovanetti M, Ciccozzi A, Benedetti F, Zella D, Sanna D, Casu M, Borsetti A, Cella E, Pascarella S, Maruotti A, Ciccozzi M. Update on the Phylodynamic and Genetic Variability of Marburg Virus. Viruses 2023, 15, 1721.
  35. Cella E, Giovanetti M, Benedetti F, Scarpa F, Johnston C, Borsetti A, Ceccarelli G, Azarian T, Zella D, Ciccozzi M. Joining Forces against Antibiotic Resistance: The One Health Solution. Pathogens. 2023; 12(9):1074.
  36. Giovanetti M, Cella E, Moretti S, Scarpa F, Ciccozzi A, Slavov SN, Benedetti F, Zella D, Ceccarelli G, Ciccozzi M, et al. Monitoring Monkeypox: Safeguarding Global Health through Rapid Response and Global Surveillance. Pathogens. 2023; 12(9):1153.


Additional Publication Citations



Professional Activity

Editorial Board Membership

2022-current     Editorial Board member of Clinical Microbiology Reviews (CMR) (American Society for Microbiology - ASM)

2021-current     Reviewer Board Member of the International Journal of Molecular Sciences

2020- current    Review Editor for Infectious Agents and Diseases (Frontiers in Microbiology)

2020- current    Review Editor for Molecular and Cellular Oncology (Frontiers in Oncology)