“My laboratory investigates the role of non-coding RNAs in glioblastoma, and how they control the epigenetic landscape of the tumor and its microenvironment. Our ultimate goal is to harness their structure and functions to offer novel therapeutic options for this unforgiving disease. The support from the Sontag Foundation will be vital to accomplish this project, and I am humbled by the idea to be sharing this honor with prior awardees who have shaped the neuro-oncology field over the past 20 years. ”

- Dr. Pierpaolo Peruzzi

Dr. Peruzzi's Biosketch

Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Neurosurgery, Brigham & Women's Hospital/HMS, Boston, MA
  • Associate Surgeon, Neurosurgery, Brigham & Women's Hospital/HMS, Boston, MA

About DSA-Funded Research

GBM evades toxicity from therapies by activating genetic programs which induce damage repair, escape from the immune system, and regression to a more undifferentiated state. This response is mediated at the epigenetic level by the activation of a multitude of oncogenes which are often redundant, making their targeting extremely challenging, and current therapies largely ineffective. MicroRNAs, short non-coding genes which regulate protein expression, are a promising solution to this problem, as we recently found  that in normal cells a specific group of them is the natural gatekeeper of a large component of this  epigenetic survival response. We have also observed that microRNA genes produce previously unrecognized accessory RNA sequences, which are leftovers from a process of sequence “pruning”, and which persist within the cell, providing a tool for expanded gene therapy applications.


“He is an outstanding  and quintessential  hypothesis-driven  scientist who is keen to create new ideas and challenge the status quo.”

Dr. Khalid Shah
Brigham and Women's Hospital

"Pierpaolo has been the most remarkable student that I have ever trained and collaborated with during the past ten years since I have been faculty…Pierpaolo has it all! He is very smart, extremely creative, unbelievably resourceful, technically gifted and more than anything else, he is on a mission against glioblastoma.”

Dr. Jakub Godlewski
Brigham and Women's Hospital

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