Stefana-Maria Petrescu, Dr.

Stefana-Maria Petrescu
Group: Molecular Cell Biology
Department: Molecular Cell Biology

Director of Institute, Head of Department

Research interests: Dr Petrescu's research aims to understand the folding and degradation pathways regulating protein synthesis and maturation within the endoplasmic reticulum of mammalian cells. Tyrosinase related proteins were chosen as model systems for glycoprotein folding due to the extreme complexity of the process along the maturation pathway. Since tyrosinase regulates melanogenesis in melanocytes and melanoma cells, the cell biology of these two cell types is a major focus of her research. Other major research topics include: -Protein degradation associated with the ER, ERAD, and the particular function of EDEM family proteins in this pathway - Proinsulin folding and maturation within the ER, a process that influences proinsulin conversion to insulin and insulin secretion in the pancreatic islets - Role of ERAD in the antigen processing and presentation pathway and discovery of new antigenic peptides in melanoma


Dr. Petrescu graduated from the Department of Biochemistry, University of Bucharest and obtained a PhD in Biology from the Romanian Academy. She was a DAAD fellow and FEBS fellowship recipient at University of Wurzburg, Germany, during 1990. She followed postdoctoral studies in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, UK. She obtained three consecutive Wellcome Trust Grants in collaboration with the University of Oxford from 1995- 2004. She investigated the glycobiology of tyrosinase from melanoma cells contributing to the fundamental mechanisms of calnexin associated folding and quality control of glycoproteins. She proposed tyrosinase as a model glycoprotein for the investigation of the endoplasmic reticulum quality control and protein degradation in ERAD.
Dr. Petrescu has been granted the Award Emil Racovita of the Romanian Academy for the work on tyrosinase folding in 2002. She is President of the Romanian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology since 2010. She served as a member of the ERC panel Development and Cell Biology 2007- 2015 and as a member of the FEBS Advanced Courses Committee from 2016-2019. She is Deputy- Editor of Molecular Life.


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Dezvoltarea infrastructurii de cercetare a Institutului de Biochimie in vederea cresterii competitivitatii in domeniul proteomicii biomedicale 2010-2012
Acronym: PROCERA
Project director: Stefana-Maria Petrescu

Scopul PROCERA este de a dezvolta infrastructura IBAR pentru cresterea capacitatii de cercetare-dezvoltare C-D in domeniul biochimiei si biologiei moleculare pe plan national, precum si a competitivitatii cercetarii stiintifice romanesti la nivel european.

Biotehnologii Celulare si Moleculare cu Aplicatii in Medicina 2010-2013
Acronym: Programul Postdoctoral
Project director: Stefana-Maria Petrescu

Programul Postdoctoral "Biotehnologii Celulare si Moleculare cu Aplicatii in Medicina", se adreseaza tinerilor cu diploma de doctor in biologie, chimie, fizica, medicina si informatica - interesati de burse de cercetare Post Doctorala la standarde europene.

In vitro evaluation of potential biomedical strategies aimed to prevent bone loss during spaceflight 2017-2019
Project director: Stefana-Maria Petrescu

Bone loss represents one of the most important health problems experienced by Space travelling astronauts. Microgravity produces deterioration of the skeleton due to lack of mechanical loading thus affecting both muscle and bones. Tendons stiffness decreases, muscle fibres atrophies and attenuates their metabolic capacity, whileprogressive cartilage loss occurs.

Role of the ERAD pathway in the degradation of tyrosinase and production of antigenic peptides in human melanoma 2012-2015
Acronym: TYRPRES
Project director: Stefana-Maria Petrescu

A detailed knowledge of the mechanisms of antigen processing and presentation is essential to optimize cancer vaccination. known as Endoplasmic Reticulum Associated Degradation (ERAD). Non cytosolic misfolded proteins, synthesized at the endoplasmic reticulum are degraded to peptides by a complex machinery Cancer immunotherapy aims at harnessing the resources of the immune system to treat cancer.

Selectia cailor de degradare a proteinelor in patogeneza bolilor umane 2013-2015
Project director: Stefana-Maria Petrescu

A considerable fraction of all newly synthesized secretory polypeptides fail to attain their native conformation due to mutations, transcriptional and translational errors, folding defects or endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress conditions.

Mass spectrometry based investigation of the oxidative stress as a potential key-player in the immunobiology of melanoma 02/05/2018 - 31/08/2020
Budget: 250 000 RON
Project director: Cristian Munteanu

High-throughput screening platform for small-molecules with anti-inflammatory potential 2020-2022
Acronym: HTS-IL-1β
Budget: 600.000 RON
Project director: Mari Chiritoiu

This project aims to develop a sensitive high-throughput screening platform by generating an endogenously tagged interleukin-1β reporter cell line by CRISPR-Cas9 technology, able to monitor stimulated IL-1β secretion with the purpose to identify new chemical compounds with anti-inflammatory activity that will be validated in primary macrophages and a mouse model for sepsis.