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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. 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-
  2. 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.
  3. 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. Available online 6 July 2021. ePrinted online 6 July 2021. In press, Corrected proof.
  4. 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)
  5. 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, doi: 1080/14737159.2021.1917998
  6. 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.
  7. 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)
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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).
  11. 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.
  12. 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)
  13. 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)
  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. 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.
  16. 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).
  17. 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)
  18. 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.
  19. Benedetti F, Pachetti M, Marini B, Ippodrino R, Ciccozzi M, Zella D. SARS‐CoV‐2: march toward adaptation. Journal of Medical Virology. 29 June 2020. doi:1002/jmv.26233
  20. 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).
  21. 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).
  22. 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.
  23. 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)
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.

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)
  • Reviewer Board Member of the “International Journal of Molecular Sciences”