Dr Simona Francese
Senior lecturer in biomedical sciences
Phone 0114 225 6165
Biomedical mass spectrometry
Mass spectrometry (MS) is a powerful analytical technique that, over the years, has undergone tremendous technological improvements allowing its application to proteins, peptides, carbohydrates, DNA, drugs, and many other biologically relevant molecules.
For the past 11 years, I have been involved in developing MS methods to aid the elucidation of a variety of biological and biomedical problems involving proteins, peptides, nucleic acids and, recently, xenobiotics. Advanced mass spectrometric techniques, such as Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization (MALDI) and Electrospray Ionization (coupled with HPLC systems), have been employed for proteomic research and to study in vitro peptide-protein, protein-protein, protein-RNA and protein-metallodrug interactions in different biological systems and disease models.
Since 2005 I have been interested in MALDI MS Imaging (MALDI MSI) technology which allows molecular images of distribution of biomolecules to be obtained directly from intact tissue sections without the aid of antibodies or radioactive probes. Currently, I am involved in developing MALDI MSI strategies in a variety of lifescience fields including proteomics but particularly in three areas:
- analysis of latent fingermarks
- biological response to honeybee venom
- xenobiotics skin absorption and drug mapping
The first research area takes place within the capacity of the Sheffield Hallam University Fingermark Research Group (SHU FRG) which I lead.
To date, my work has resulted in 33 peer reviewed publications, one book chapter and over 40 presentations at national and international conferences of which five on invitation and two as keynote speaker.
Currently director of studies of
- Leesa Ferguson – 'Analysis of composition and ageing of latent fingerprints by spectroscopic imaging techniques'
- Robert Bradshaw – 'Integration of MALDI MSI into the Home Office operational fingermark examination workflow'
- Ekta Patel – Investigating drug response via mass spectrometry imaging and ion mobility.
Recent grants awarded
- PhD studentship-co-funded by BMRC (Sheffield Hallam University) and the Home Office: (£74,000 – Sept 2011 – Sept 2014): 'Integration of MALDI MSI into the Home Office operational fingermark examination workflow'. Director of Studies.
- Engineering For Life Scheme (Sheffield Hallam University-EPSRC): (£18,755 – May 2011–Jan 2012): A novel devise to enhance fingermarks at crime scenes.
- British Mass Spectrometry Society summer studentship: 'Mass Spectrometry Imaging of Fingermarks recovered from different surfaces'. (£1,500 – July–August 2010)
- BMRC PhD studentship: Analysis of composition and ageing of latent fingerprints by spectroscopic imaging techniques (£76,515 – October 2009–October 2012). Director of Studies
- The Royal Society, fellowship: 'Spectroscopic imaging techniques for the study of transdermal absorption (£3,700 – March –June 2007)
- Home Office Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST), St Albans, UK - Dr S. Bleay
- HTX Imaging, Carrboro, North Carolina (NC), USA – Dr A. Cressein
- ALK Abelló, Hørsholm, Denmark – Dr Ulla Seppälä
Francese S. and Clench MR (2010) MALDI Mass Spectrometry Imaging, a New Frontier in Biostructural Techniques: Applications in Biomedicine. In: Mass Spectrometry for Proteomics, 91-116. Wiley, London.
Application notes and others
Francese S and Wolstenholme R, A novel MALDI-MSI based analytical tool to process fingermarks recovered at a sexual assault crime scene, The Forensic Technological Review, 2011
Ferguson L, Lozano Diz E, Francese S and Wolstenholme R, Gold Nanoparticles for SERS in Fingermark Identification, Perkin Elmer Nov 2010
Peer reviewed articles
Marie-Claude Djidja, Simona Francese, Emmanuelle Claude, Paul Loadman, Chris Sutton, Steve Shynder, Patricia Cooper, Laurence H Patterson, Vikki A Carolan and Malcolm R. Clench (2012). Targeting of Hypoxia in AQ4N-treated Tumour Xenografts by MALDI-Ion Mobility Separation-Mass Spectrometry Imaging. Current Analytical Chemistry (In Press).
Waller R, Woodroofe MN, Francese S, Heath PR, Simpson JE (2012). Isolation of enriched glial populations from post-mortem human CNS material by immuno-laser capture microdissection. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 208: 108-113.
Paul J Trim, Marie-Claude Djidja, Tasneem Muharib, Laura M Cole, Bryn Flinders, Vikki A Carolan, Simona Francese and Malcolm R Clench (2012). Instrumentation and Software for Mass Spectrometry Imaging - Making the Most of What You've Got. Journal of Proteomics 75 (16), 4931-4940.
Seppälä U, Francese S, Turilazzi S, Moneti G, Clench M, Barber D, In situ imaging of honeybee (Apis mellifera) venom components from aqueous and aluminium hydroxide adsorbed venom immunotherapy preparations, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2011, in press
Baracchi, D., Francese, Simona and Turillazzi, S (2011). Beyond the antipredatory defence: honey bee venom functions as a component of social immunity. Toxicon, 58 (6-7), 550-557.
Donnini S, Finetti F, Francese S, Boscaro F, Dani F, Maset F, Frasson R, Plamieri M, Pazzagli M, De Filippis V, Garaci E, Ziche M (2011). A novel protein from the serum of Python sebae, structurally homologous to γ-phospholipase A2 inhibitor, displays antitumor activity. Biochem Journal, 440(2): 251-62.
Ferguson L, Bradshaw R, Wolstenholme R, Clench MR and Francese S, A novel two step matrix application for the enhancement and imaging of latent fingermarks, Analytical Chemistry, 2011 15;83(14):5585-91
Avery J, McKewen A, Flinders B, Francese S, Clench MR, Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Mass Spectrometry Imaging for the Examination of Imipramine Absorption by Straticell-RHE-EPI/001 an Artificial Model of the human epidermis, Xenobiotica, 2011 41(8):735-42
Hart PJ, Francese S, Claude E, Woodroofe MN, Clench MR, MALDI-MS imaging of lipids in ex vivo human skin, Anal Bioanal Chem, 2011, 401(1):115-25
Dani FR, Michelucci E, Francese S., Mastrobuoni G.,Cappellozza S., La Marca G., Niccolini A., Felicioli A, Moneti G, Pelosi P, 'Odorant-binding proteins and Chemosensory proteins in pheromone perception and release in the silk moth Bombyx mori.' Chemical Senses, 2011 doi:10.1093/chemse/bjq137
Bradshaw R, Wolstenholme R, Blackledge R, Clench MR, Ferguson L, Francese S, A novel MALDI MSI based methodology for the identification of sexual assault suspects. Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom, 2011; (3):415-22
Djidja M-C, Claude E, Snell M, Scriven P, Francese S, Carolan VA and Clench M.R Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. 2010: 397(2):587-601 'Novel Molecular Tumour Classification using MALDI-Mass Spectrometry Imaging of Tissue MicroArray'.
Trim PJ, Djidja MC, Atkinson SJ, Oakes K, Cole LM, Anderson DM, Hart PJ, Francese S, Clench MR. Introduction of a 20 kHz Nd:YVO4 laser into a hybrid quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer for MALDI-MS imaging. Anal Bioanal Chem. 2010; 397(8):3409-19
Scollato A, Terreni A, Caldini A, Salvadori B, Gallina P, Francese S, Mastrobuoni G, Pieraccini G, Moneti G, Bini L, Messeri G, Di Lorenzo N., CSF proteomic analysis in patients with normal pressure hydrocephalus selected for the shunt: CSF biomarkers of response to surgical treatment. Neurol Sci. 2010 31(3):283-91
Trim PJ., Francese S., Clench MR., 'Imaging mass spectrometry for the assessment of drugs and metabolite in tissue'. Bioanalysis. 2009 10.4155/BIO.09.33, Review
Wolstenholme R., Bradshaw R., Clench MR. and Francese S., Study of latent fingermarks by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry imaging of endogenous lipids. Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 2009; 23: 3031-3039
Djidja M-C., Claude E, Snell M, Scriven P., Francese S., Carolan V.A. and Clench M.R MALDI-Ion Mobility Separation-Mass Spectrometry Imaging of Glucose-Regulated Protein 78 kDa (Grp78) in Human Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Tissue Sections Journal of Proteome Research 2009 8: 4876-4884
Djidja MC., Francese S., Loadman PM., Sutton CW., Scriven P., Claude E., Snel MF., Franck J., Salzet M., Clench MR. Detergent addition to tryptic digests and ion mobility separation prior to MS/MS improves peptide yield and protein identification for in situ proteomic investigation of frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded adenocarcinoma tissue sections. Proteomics. 2009 9(10):2750-63
Cavatorta V, Sforza S, Mastrobuoni G, Pieraccini G, Francese S, Moneti G, Dossena A, Pastorello E.A., Marchelli R., Unambiguous characterization and tissue localization of Pru p 3 peach allergen by electrospray mass spectrometry and MALDI Imaging , Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 2009 44(6):891-7.
Grossi C, Francese S, Casini A, Rosi MA, Luccarini I., Fiorentini A., Gabbiani C., Messori L, Moneti G and Casamenti F Clioquinol reduces Aβ burden and recovers working memory impairments in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, Journal of Alzheimer's disease, 2009 DOI: 10.3233/JAD-2009-1063
Francese S, Dani F.R., Traldi P., Mastrobuoni G., Pieraccini G.and G. Moneti, MALDI Imaging Mass Spectrometry, from its origins up to today: the state of the art, Journal of Combinatorial Chemistry and High Throughput Screening, 2009 12(2):156-74, Review
Francese S, Lambardi D, Mastrobuoni G, la Marca G, Moneti G, Turillazzi S. Detection of Honeybee Venom in Envenomed Tissues by Direct MALDI MSI. J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2009, 20, 112-123
la Marca G, Malvagia S, Filippi L, Fiorini P, Innocenti M, Luceri F, Pieraccini G, Moneti G, Francese S, Dani FR, Guerrini R. Rapid assay of topiramate in dried blood spots by a new liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometric method. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2008 48(5):1392-6
Ottar Rolfsson, Katerina Toropova, Victoria Morton, Simona Francese, Gabriella Basnak, Gary Thompson, Stephen W. Homans, Alison E. Ashcroft, Nicola J. Stonehouse, Neil A. Ranson and Peter G. Stockley RNA Packing specificity and folding during assembly of the bacteriophage MS2, Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine (2008) 00(0) 1-12
Francesca R. Dani, Simona Francese, Guido Mastrobuoni, Antonio Felicioli, Beniamino Caputo, Alessandra della Torre, Frederic Simard Giuseppe Pieraccini, Gloriano Moneti, Stefano Turillazzi, Mario Coluzzi Exploring Proteins in Anopheles gambiae Male and Female Antennae through MALDI Mass Spectrometry Profiling PLos ONE (2008) 30;3(7):e2822
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