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BSMS > About BSMS > Contact us > Staff > Professor Pietro Ghezzi

Professor Pietro Ghezzi

Pietro Ghezzi 2016

Professor Pietro Ghezzi (PhD)

Director of Doctoral Studies, BSMS REF Lead, Research Lead for the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
T: +44 (0)1273 873112
Location: Trafford Centre for Medical Research, Room 210, BSMS, University of Sussex, BN1 9RY

DA: Pat Butler

T: +44 (0)1273 876768

Other roles: Director of Doctoral Studies; Research Lead for the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Areas of expertise: Inflammatory cytokines and the mechanisms of innate immunity; redox regulation of immunity; analysis of quality of health information
Research areas: Infection and immunology; neuroscience; information quality


Professor Pietro Ghezzi has a PhD in Pharmacology from the Mario Negri Institute in Milano and a Post-graduate Certificate in Higher Education at the University of Sussex.

From 1991 to 2008 he was the Head of the Laboratory of Neuroimmunology, Istituto Mario Negri, Milano and from 1998 to 2000 he was Research Associate at Stanford University School of Medicine, in the laboratory of the late Len Herzenberg. He joined BSMS in 2008.


The body responds to injury and infection both by killing the infectious agents and by tolerating the damage. It does so by producing soluble mediators called cytokines. These cytokines were originally studied for their role in the defense against cancer and infection. Later, researchers identified a role of cytokines in inflammation, and this led to the development of new drugs for chronic inflammatory diseases.

While in regenerative medicine the focus has often been in stem cell therapy, we believe we have identified a new role for cytokines in tissue repair and regeneration and established the definition of tissue-protective cytokines.
As part of the University of Brighton, Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Pietro works on characterizing the therapeutic potential of tissue-protective cytokines in several indications, their structural biology and molecular mechanism of action. This may effectively represent a way towards drug-induced regeneration and repair.

Redox regulation of immunity

Inflammation is induced as part of the innate immunity to infections, triggered by bacterial of viral molecules, or in autoimmune diseases, triggered by autoimmunity and T cell response to self. However, inflammation is also observed in injury or ischemia and we are investigating whether this is due to change in the cellular oxidoreductive metabolism (redox regulation). We have discovered how specific metabolites can act as inflammatory mediators and identified new biomarkers of redox imbalance.


Pietro runs a student-selected component for second year medical students on information literacy, teaching students how to evaluate the quality of information using various learning strategies. He also uses “big data” approaches to assess the health information on the Web in terms of information quality using statistical analysis and cluster analysis of health-related websites as well as natural language analysis, in collaboration with the Cultural Informatics group at the University of Brighton.

Selected publications

Mullen L, Seavill M, Hammouz R, Bottazzi B, Chan P, Vaudry D et al. Development of ‘Redox Arrays’ for identifying novel glutathionylated proteins in the secretome. Sci Rep. 2015;5:14630.

Frijhoff J, Winyard P, Zarkovic N, Davies S, Stocker R, Cheng D et al. Clinical Relevance of Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. 2015;23(14):1144-1170.

Yaqub M, Ghezzi P. Adding Dimensions to the Analysis of the Quality of Health Information of Websites Returned by Google: Cluster Analysis Identifies Patterns of Websites According to their Classification and the Type of Intervention Described. Frontiers in Public Health. 2015;3.

Checconi P, Salzano S, Bowler L, Mullen L, Mengozzi M, Hanschmann E et al. Redox Proteomics of the Inflammatory Secretome Identifies a Common Set of Redoxins and Other Glutathionylated Proteins Released in Inflammation, Influenza Virus Infection and Oxidative Stress. PLOS ONE. 2015;10(5):e0127086.

Chumber S, Huber J, Ghezzi P. A Methodology to Analyze the Quality of Health Information on the Internet: The Example of Diabetic Neuropathy. The Diabetes Educator. 2014;41(1):95-105.

Ghezzi P, Chumber S, Brabazon T. Educating Medical Students to Evaluate the Quality of Health Information on the Web. In: Illari P, Floridi L, editors. The Philosophy of Information Quality. New York: Springer International Publishing; 2014.

Salzano S, Checconi P, Hanschmann E, Lillig C, Bowler L, Chan P et al. Linkage of inflammation and oxidative stress via release of glutathionylated peroxiredoxin-2, which acts as a danger signal. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2014;111(33):12157-12162.

Mengozzi M, Ermilov P, Annenkov A, Ghezzi P, Pearl F. Definition of a Family of Tissue-Protective Cytokines Using Functional Cluster Analysis: A Proof-of-Concept Study. Front Immunol. 2014;5.