Marco Niello

Supervisor: Harald Sitte, Medical University of Vienna

Co-Supervisor: Margot Ernst, Medical University of Vienna


Title of the project: Pharmacological characterization and selectivity profile of different synthetic cathinones among monoamine transporters.

Finishing date: 12/2019

Research topic of the student: My research topic is focusing in understanding the crucial parameters involved in the selectivity between dopamine and serotonin transporter. These proteins are indeed target of many drugs approved in clinics for the treatment of several disorders, including depression, obesity and ADHD, but despite their importance, their beneficial effect has been a serendipitous discover and little is known about the exact way in which most of these drugs interact with their target. In order to accomplish my goal I’m making use of classical radiotracer assays and novel electrophysiological approaches combined with site directed mutagenesis in order to characterize on one hand which  chemical substitution are necessary to drive a molecule on one transporter rather than on the other and, on the other hand, which are the residues that are involved in this process. 


Research stays abroad01.01.2017 – 31.12.2017, Host: Roger L. Redondo, PhD, Lab Head/Roche Basel (CH), RISE Internship – Topic: „Investigation of substrate selectivity between dopamine and serotonin transporter in anaesthetized and freely moving animals“  

Lab Rotation (2 weeks): Host: Gerhard Ecker, Pharmacoinformatics Research Group, University of Vienna. Subject: Definition of docking process and guiding the further experimental approach; 2016.

Place after graduation: Postdoc position in the group of Harald Sitte at Medical University of Vienna.

In October 2020, Marco joined us for a presentation and discussion (both online) to the topic "What social media can do for scientists".

In 2021, Marco Niello became a early career reviewer for eLife  to review manuscripts in Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics.

 Abstract of the PhD thesis

 Alumni brochure contribution by Marco Niello