Explore This Lab


Part of the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center, the Laboratory of Rosaria Fiorentino, PhD, at Massachusetts General Hospital studies host-microbe interactions in the context of human immunological response.

The lab is also investigating potential connections between the integrity of the blood-brain barrier and neuroinflammation in autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia.

Research Projects

Host-Microbe Interaction

The overall objective of the Fiorentino lab is to understand the molecular mechanisms of the host functional and immune response to specific human pathogens, including Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi and Shigella dysenteriae-1.

Through the development of new methodologies, we are interested in studying (in vitro and ex vivo) this interplay between microorganisms and the host to shed light on clinical conditions in which this interplay may lead to disease status.

Gut-Brain Axis in Neurodevelopmental Disorders

We are interested in the study of the blood-brain barrier integrity and function (BBB) and neuroinflammation in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and schizophrenia.

Our goal is to understand whether a dysfunctional blood-brain barrier, possibly associated with microbial dysbiosis and an abnormal gut function (“leaky” gut), could be implicated in the pathogenesis of these neuropsychiatric disorders.

Our goal is to contribute to the designing and development of targeted and more effective intervention strategies.

Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Team photo
Dr. Fiorentino and team in the lab

Rosaria Fiorentino, PhD
Investigator, Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Research Staff, Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition Program, Massachusetts General Hospital

Research Team

Alba Miranda-Ribera, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow
Kourtney Nickerson, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow
Giacomo Caio, MD, PhD, Visiting Fellow


Selected Publications

Senger S, Sapone A, Fiorentino MR, Mazzarella G, Lauwers GY, Fasano A. Celiac Disease Histopathology Recapitulates Hedgehog Downregulation, Consistent with Wound Healing Processes Activation. PLoS One. 2015 Dec 9;10(12):e0144634. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0144634. eCollection 2015. PubMed PMID: 26649570; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4674131.


Fiorentino M, Levine MM, Sztein MB, Fasano A. Effect of wild-type Shigella species and attenuated Shigella vaccine candidates on small intestinal barrier function, antigen trafficking, and cytokine release. PLoS One. 2014 Jan 9;9(1):e85211. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085211. eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 24416363; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3887025.


Fiorentino M, Ding H, Blanchard TG, Czinn SJ, Sztein MB, Fasano A. Helicobacter pylori-induced disruption of monolayer permeability and proinflammatory cytokine secretion in polarized human gastric epithelial cells. Infect Immun. 2013 Mar;81(3):876-83. doi: 10.1128/IAI.01406-12. Epub 2013 Jan 7. PubMed PMID: 23297384; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3584868.


Fiorentino M, Lammers KM, Levine MM, Sztein MB, Fasano A. In vitro Intestinal Mucosal Epithelial Responses to Wild-Type Salmonella Typhi and Attenuated Typhoid Vaccines. Front Immunol. 2013 Feb 12;4:17. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2013.00017. eCollection 2013. PubMed PMID: 23408152; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3569575.


Fu L, Sun G, Fiorentino M, Shi YB. Characterization of Xenopus tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-2: a role in regulating matrix metalloproteinase activity during development. PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e36707. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036707. Epub 2012 May 31. PubMed PMID: 22693555; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3365048.


Heimeier RA, Das B, Buchholz DR, Fiorentino M, Shi YB. Studies on Xenopus laevis intestine reveal biological pathways underlying vertebrate gut adaptation from embryo to adult. Genome Biol. 2010;11(5):R55. doi: 10.1186/gb-2010-11-5-r55. Epub 2010 May 19. PubMed PMID: 20482879; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2898076.


Mathew S, Fu L, Fiorentino M, Matsuda H, Das B, Shi YB. Differential regulation of cell type-specific apoptosis by stromelysin-3: a potential mechanism via the cleavage of the laminin receptor during tail resorption in Xenopus laevis. J Biol Chem. 2009 Jul 3;284(27):18545-56. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.017723. Epub 2009 May 8. PubMed PMID: 19429683; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2709371.


Fiorentino M, Fu L, Shi YB. Mutational analysis of the cleavage of the cancer-associated laminin receptor by stromelysin-3 reveals the contribution of flanking sequences to site recognition and cleavage efficiency. Int J Mol Med. 2009 Mar;23(3):389-97. PubMed PMID: 19212658; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2643359.


Fiorentino M, D'Aniello B, Joss J, Polese G, Rastogi RK. Ontogenetic organization of the FMRFamide immunoreactivity in the nervus terminalis of the lungfish, Neoceratodus forsteri. J Comp Neurol. 2002 Aug 19;450(2):115-21. PubMed PMID: 12124756.


Rastogi RK, Di Fiore MM, D'Aniello A, Iela L, Fiorentino M. GnRH in the invertebrates: an overview. Prog Brain Res. 2002;141:19-29. Review. PubMed PMID: 12508558.


Rastogi RK, D'Aniello B, Pinelli C, Fiorentino M, Di Fiore MM, Di Meglio M, Iela L. FMRFamide in the amphibian brain: a comprehensive survey. Microsc Res Tech. 2001 Aug 1;54(3):158-72. Review. PubMed PMID: 11458399.


Fiorentino M, Pinelli C, D'Aniello B, Iela L, di Meglio M, Rastogi RK. Development and distribution of FMRFamide-like immunoreactivity in the toad (Bufo bufo) brain. J Chem Neuroanat. 2001 May;21(3):201-13. PubMed PMID: 11382532.


Pinelli C, D'Aniello B, Sordino P, Meyer DL, Fiorentino M, Rastogi RK. Comparative immunocytochemical study of FMRFamide neuronal system in the brain of Danio rerio and Acipenser ruthenus during development. Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 2000 Feb 7;119(2):195-208. PubMed PMID: 10675769.


Pinelli C, D'Aniello B, Fiorentino M, Calace P, Di Meglio M, Iela L, Meyer DL, Bagnara JT, Rastogi RK. Distribution of FMRFamide-like immunoreactivity in the amphibian brain: comparative analysis. J Comp Neurol. 1999 Nov 22;414(3):275-305. PubMed PMID: 10516597.


Fiorentino M, Yamamoto K, Tanaka S, Pinelli C, D'Aniello B, Kikuyama S, Rastogi RK. Ontogenetic profile of FSH and LH in Rana esculenta. Gen Comp Endocrinol. 1999 Oct;116(1):114-21. PubMed PMID: 10525367.


Rastogi RK, Meyer DL, Pinelli C, Fiorentino M, D'aniello B. Comparative analysis of GnRH neuronal systems in the amphibian brain. Gen Comp Endocrinol. 1998 Dec;112(3):330-45. PubMed PMID: 9843639.


Pinelli C, D'Aniello B, Fiorentino M, Bhat G, Saidapur SK, Rastogi RK. Distribution of gonadotropin-releasing hormone immunoreactivity in the brain of Ichthyophis beddomei (Amphibia: Gymnophiona). J Comp Neurol. 1997 Jul 28;384(2):283-92. PubMed PMID: 9215723.


Pinelli C, Fiorentino M, D'Aniello B, Tanaka S, Rastogi RK. Immunohistochemical demonstration of FSH and LH in the pituitary of the developing frog, Rana esculenta. Gen Comp Endocrinol. 1996 Nov;104(2):189-96. PubMed PMID: 8930609.


D'Aniello B, Fiorentino M, Pinelli C, di Meglio M, Vallarino M, Rastogi RK. Distribution of FMRFamide-like immunoreactivity in the brain and pituitary of Rana esculenta during development. Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1996 Sep 2;95(2):194-204. PubMed PMID: 8874894.


D'Aniello B, Vallarino M, Pinelli C, Fiorentino M, Rastogi RK. Neuropeptide Y: localization in the brain and pituitary of the developing frog (Rana esculenta). Cell Tissue Res. 1996 Aug;285(2):253-9. PubMed PMID: 8766161.


D'Aniello B, Imperatore C, Fiorentino M, Vallarino M, Rastogi RK. Immunocytochemical localization of POMC-derived peptides (adrenocorticotropic hormone, alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone and beta-endorphin) in the pituitary, brain and olfactory epithelium of the frog, Rana esculenta, during development. Cell Tissue Res. 1994 Dec;278(3):509-16. PubMed PMID: 7850861.

Full list of publications