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Dr Chiara Francavilla

Dr Chiara Francavilla

Research Fellow


Chiara Francavilla is a Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale-funded research fellow in the Molecular and Cellular Function Division, SBS, FBMH and a Principal Investigator of the Manchester Breast Centre. Chiara and her team study how the breast microenvironment regulates signalling specificity and the formation of metastasis. They use a comprehensive approach, which combines quantitative omics, bioinformatics, and functional assays in vitro and in vivo, and participate in several national and international collaborations.


Michael Smith Building

Oxford Road

M13 9PT, Manchester
Tel: +44 161 275 5208



Chiara got her master’s in Industrial Biotechnology at the University of Milan-Bicocca, Milan, Italy, in 2004 and her PhD in Molecular Medicine in 2009 working at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy.


She then moved to the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research (NNF-CPR) in Copenhagen, Denmark, as a Marie Curie IEF and EMBO Long-term post-doctoral fellow (2010-2013), to work in the group of Prof Jesper V. Olsen, where she remained as senior post-doctoral fellow until 2015.


Funded by the Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale fellowship, Chiara became a Research Fellow at the Molecular and Cellular Function Division, SBS, FBMH in 2016, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2020, and a Principal Investigator of the Manchester Breast Centre in 2021. She is currently the Junior Lead for Proteomics, the representative of non-clinical fellows in FBMH, and a Mentor in the Gold Manchester mentoring programme. She was the founder of the Fellows Forum, which she has led between 2016 and 2021.

Watson, J., Schwartz, J-M. & Francavilla, C., 24 Jun 2021, In: Journal of Proteome Research. 20, p. 3532-3548

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.1c00150 

Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptors (FGFRs) and Non-Canonical Partners in Cancer Signaling

Ferguson, H., Smith, M. & Francavilla, C., 9 May 2021, (Accepted/In press) In: Cells.

Reciprocal Priming between Receptor Tyrosine Kinases at Recycling Endosomes Orchestrates Cellular Signalling Outputs

Smith, M., Ferguson, H., Ferguson, J., Zindy, E., Kowalczyk, K., Kedward, T., Bates, C., Parsons, J., Watson, J., Chandler, S., Fullwood, P., Warwood, S., Clarke, R. & Francavilla, C., 28 Apr 2021, In: EMBO Journal. p. e107182 26 p., e107182.

Proteomic investigation of Cbl and Cbl-b in neuroblastoma cell differentiation highlights roles for SHP-2 and CDK16

Pedersen, A., Pfeiffer, A., Karemore, G., Akimov, V., Bekker-jensen, D. B., Blagoev, B., Francavilla, C. & Olsen, J. V., 17 Mar 2021, In: iScience. 24, 4, p. 102321

DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.102321 

Discovery of a gatekeeper residue in the C-terminal tail of the extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 5 (ERK5)

Pearson, A. J., Fullwood, P., Tapia, G. T., Prise, I., Smith, M. P., Xu, Q., Jordan, A., Giurisato, E., Whitmarsh, A. J.Francavilla, C. & Tournier, C., 1 Feb 2020, In: International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 21, 3, 929.

DOI: 10.3390/ijms21030929 

‘Omics Approaches to Explore the Breast Cancer Landscape

Parsons, J. & Francavilla, C., 2020, In: Frontiers in cell and developmental biology. 7

DOI: 10.3389/fcell.2019.00395

Chiara’s vision is to delineate how extracellular environment signals are decoded and integrated by cells to drive specific responses (e.g. proliferation, motility). Defining signalling specificity is crucial in pathophysiological conditions, as cells interpret signals from their environment and decide whether to proliferate or move by regulating signalling networks. However, it is still unknown how signalling architecture is regulated in the presence of different combination of extracellular signals.

As a PhD student, Chiara discovered that Receptor Tyrosine Kinase (RTK) signalling and trafficking were altered by the crosstalk between growth factors and adhesion molecules. As a Marie Curie and EMBO post-doctoral fellow, Chiara creatively used “functional proteomics” - which combines proteomics, bioinformatics to narrow down candidates for validation, and functional assays - to compare the response of growth factors binding to the same RTK (FGFR2b or EGFR) and found growth factor-specific signalling/trafficking outputs in epithelial cells. More recently, Chiara’s team in Manchester has shown that FGFR2b and EGFR reciprocally regulate each other’s trafficking and signalling outputs in breast cancer cells, thus untangling the functional crosstalk between RTK localization and signalling outputs. .

Chiara and her team are now applying the functional proteomics approach and other omics to bio-medical questions, including how the microenvironment regulates breast cancer metastasis.