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Ricercatore a tempo det. art. 24 c. 3 lett. A L. 240/2010




Davide Malfacini, an assistant professor (i.e., RTD-A) at the Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences of the University of Padova (IT), focuses on G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and their pharmacology. He has vast expertise spanning ligand and assay development, molecular pharmacology of opioids, GPCRs, G proteins, and arrestins. He has also authored papers in the fields of pain, behavior, obesity, and metabolism. Davide's impact on the field is summarized by an extensive publication record, with more than 30 papers since 2013, an H-index of 16, and more than 750 citations.
Davide has worked in prominent laboratories across Europe, where he delved into molecular pharmacology, pain, behavior, obesity, metabolism, and GPCR-related research. His Ph.D. thesis in Pharmacology and Molecular Oncology, carried out at the University of Ferrara (IT), focused on the development and evaluation of novel assays and ligands acting on the whole family of opioid receptors. His work at the University of Leicester (UK), utilizing methodologies like receptor binding, and his continuing collaboration with the "Istituto Superiore di Sanità" (Rome, IT), where he utilized molecular biology and bioluminescence techniques to dissect downstream GPCR effectors, were important milestones at the beginning of his career.
Davide unraveled novel insights into GPCR activities, G protein inhibition modes, and arrestin function at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology (University of Bonn, Bonn, DE). His endeavors then extended to the Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology (University of Bonn, Bonn, DE), where he worked with tissue-specific knock-out mice, animal models relevant to obesity, and approaches such as CRISPR/Cas9 and lentiviral overexpression to comprehend GPCR functionality and metabolic processes in adipose tissues. There, he could learn cutting-edge approaches, including transcriptomic analysis, oxygen consumption, lipolysis, second messenger assays, and label-free approaches to quantify GPCR expression and function.


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Ten selected publications

- Malfacini, D., & Pfeifer, A. (2023). GPCR in Adipose Tissue Function-Focus on Lipolysis. Biomedicines, 11(2).
- Piekielna-Ciesielska, J., Malfacini, D., Djeujo, F. M., Marconato, C., Wtorek, K., Calo’, G., & Janecka, A. (2023). Functional selectivity of EM-2 analogs at the mu-opioid receptor. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 14, 1133961.
- Sturaro, C., Malfacini, D., Argentieri, M., Djeujo, F. M., Marzola, E., Albanese, V., Ruzza, C., Guerrini, R., Calo’, G., & Molinari, P. (2022). Pharmacology of Kappa Opioid Receptors: Novel Assays and Ligands. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 13, 873082.
- Voss, J. H., Nagel, J., Rafehi, M., Guixà-González, R., Malfacini, D., Patt, J., Kehraus, S., Inoue, A., König, G. M., Kostenis, E., Deupi, X., Namasivayam, V., & Müller, C. E. (2021). Unraveling binding mechanism and kinetics of macrocyclic Gαq protein inhibitors. Pharmacological Research, 173.
- Malfacini, D., Patt, J., Annala, S., Harpsøe, K., Eryilmaz, F., Reher, R., Crüsemann, M., Hanke, W., Zhang, H., Tietze, D., Gloriam, D. E., Bräuner-Osborne, H., Strømgaard, K., König, G. M., Inoue, A., Gomeza, J., & Kostenis, E. (2019). Rational design of a heterotrimeric G protein subunit with artificial inhibitor sensitivity. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 294(15), 5747–5758.
- Malfacini, D., Simon, K., Trapella, C., Guerrini, R., Zaveri, N. T., Kostenis, E., & Calo, G. (2018). NOP receptor pharmacological profile – A dynamic mass redistribution study. PLoS ONE, 13(8).
- Grundmann, M., Merten, N., Malfacini, D., Inoue, A., Preis, P., Simon, K., Rüttiger, N., Ziegler, N., Benkel, T., Schmitt, N. K., Ishida, S., Müller, I., Reher, R., Kawakami, K., Inoue, A., Rick, U., Kühl, T., Imhof, D., Aoki, J., … Kostenis, E. (2018). Lack of beta-arrestin signaling in the absence of active G proteins. Nature Communications, 9(1).
- Malfacini, D., Ambrosio, C., Gro’, M. C., Sbraccia, M., Trapella, C., Guerrini, R., Bonora, M., Pinton, P., Costa, T., & Calo’, G. (2015). Pharmacological profile of nociceptin/orphanin FQ receptors interacting with G-proteins and β-arrestins 2. PLoS ONE, 10(8).
- Miller, R. L., Thompson, A. A., Trapella, C., Guerrini, R., Malfacini, D., Patel, N., Han, G. W., Cherezov, V., Caló, G., Katritch, V., & Stevens, R. C. (2015). The Importance of Ligand-Receptor Conformational Pairs in Stabilization: Spotlight on the N/OFQ G Protein-Coupled Receptor. Structure, 23(12), 2291–2299.
- Perlikowska, R., Malfacini, D., Cerlesi, M. C., Calo’, G., Piekielna, J., Floriot, L., Henry, T., Do-Rego, J. C., Tömböly, C., Kluczyk, A., & Janecka, A. (2014). Pharmacological characterization of endomorphin-2-based cyclic pentapeptides with methylated phenylalanine residues. Peptides, 55, 145–150.

Research Area

Currently, Davide's academic research interests lie in exploring Nociceptin/Orphanin FQ (N/OFQ) peptide (NOP) and opioid receptors and their modes of activation, as well as investigating ectopic olfactory receptors (eORs) pharmacology.

Thesis proposals

to be discussed