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Renato V. Iozzo M.D., Ph.D. (Honoris causa)

Renato V. Iozzo is currently the Gonzalo E. Aponte Endowed Chair Professor of Pathology, Anatomy, and Cell Biology at Thomas Jefferson University. After receiving an M.D. degree summa cum laude from the University of Florence, Italy, he moved to the Department of Pathology at the University of Washington, where he completed a five-year Residency/Fellowship. Following a six-year faculty appointment at the University of Pennsylvania, he was promoted to Associate Professor and then moved the same year to Thomas Jefferson University as Full Professor with tenure.

Dr. Iozzo has received many awards including the Benjamin Castleman Award from the International Academy of Pathology, the Jaiyua council member of both ISMB (2001-2006) and ASMB (2001-2003). He was President of the American Society for Matrix Biology Award from the University of Patras, Greece. Recently, Dr. Iozzo received two honorary doctorates (Doctor Honoris Causa). The first was conferred in 2011 from Semmelweis University (Budapest, Hungary) and the second was conferred by the University of Patras (Patras, Greece) in 2016. 

In 2010, Dr. Iozzo was invited to become a member of the College of CSR reviewers of the NIH. Dr. Iozzo has been on the editorial board of many journals including, Laboratory Investigation (five terms), the Journal of Biological Chemistry (two terms), the Journal of Clinical Investigation (three terms), the American Journal of Pathology, and currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Matrix Biology. During his tenure, Matrix Biology has reached an impact factor of 11.583 as of 2020, and a current CiteScore of 20.5, which makes it the top-ranked journal in the field of extracellular matrix science. The journal currently ranks in the 94th percentile, #20 out of 382 journals in Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology. His has accumulated 357 peer-reviewed articles, numerous reviews (including a top-trending review article published in Matrix Biology) and edited two books on proteoglycans. His work is one of the most cited in the Matrix Biology field, with over 35,000 citations and an h-index of 102. Dr. Iozzo's Google Scholar profile is accessible by clicking on the blue arrow (page will open in new window).

Professional Milestones

Graduated with an M.D. Summa Cum Laude, University of Florence School of Medicine, Florence, Italy
1982 Completed Residency and Postdoctoral Fellowship (NRSA NIH), Dept. of Pathology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA.
1982 Board Certified in Anatomic Pathology, American Board
1983 Benjamin Castleman Award, International Academy of Pathology
1984 Junior Faculty Research Award, American Cancer Society
1988 Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
1988 Professor, Dept. of Pathology and Cell Biology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA
1989 Elected to the Pluto Society, American Association of Academic Pathologists
1990 Faculty Research Award, American Cancer Society
1991- Professor, Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA
1993 Chairman, East Coast Connective Tissue Society Meeting, Philadelphia, PA
1994 Burlington Resources Foundation Faculty Achievement Award 
1997-1999 Co-Director, Cell Biology Program, Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University
1999- Director, Extracellular Matrix Program, Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University
2000 Chair, Gordon Research Conference on Proteoglycans, Proctor Academy, NH
2001-2006 Council Member, International Society for Matrix Biology
2001-2005 Council Member, American Society for Matrix Biology
2006-2007 Co-Leader, Cell Biology & Signaling Program, Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University
2005-2008 Vice-President and President, American Society for Matrix Biology
2007-2010 Vice-President and President, International Society for Matrix Biology
2008- Honorary Professor, School of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, UK
2009 Honorary Medal Award from the University of Patras, Greece
2010- Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Thomas Jefferson University
2010- Member of the College of CSR Reviewers, NIH
2011- Listed within the Top 100 Italian Scientists based on h-index citation, out of >1,600

2011- Doctor Honoris Causa, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
2012- Recipient of a "Distinguished Mentor Award" from Thomas Jefferson University
2013- Appointed Editor-In-Chief for Matrix Biology (click button to access) 
2013- Recipient of Research Career Award from Thomas Jefferson University
2016- Doctor Honoris Causa, University of Patras, Greece
2016- Recipient of the Senior Investigator Award from the American Society of Matrix Biology

Key Scientific Advancements from the Iozzo Lab

1). Goldoni, S., Humphries, A., Nyström, A., Sattar, S., Owens, R.T., McQuillan, D.J., Ireton, K., and Iozzo, R.V. Decorin is a novel antagonistic ligand of the Met receptor. J. Cell Biol. 185:743-754, 2009. PMID:19433454


[This paper was highlighted in J. Cell Biol., and selected by the Faculty of 1000 in 2009 with a rating of 6,” Must read”; It was also highlighted in Science Signaling, E.M.Adler, Inhibiting Met. Science Signaling 2, ec173, 2009]


Our results provide a novel mechanism of action for decorin: inhibition of the Met receptor biological activity via a dual activity comprising enhanced shedding and intracellular degradation.



2). Buraschi, S., Pal, N., Tyler-Rubinstein, N., Owens, R.T., Neill, T. and Iozzo, R.V. Decorin antagonizes Met receptor activity and downregulates b-catenin and Myc levels. J. Biol. Chem. 285:42075-42085, 2010. PMID: 20974860


[This paper was selected by the Faculty of 1000 in 2011;].


In this study we have further explored the mechanism of decorin-evoked antagonistic action toward Met and discovered that decorin evokes intracellular degradation of two key molecules, β-catenin and its downstream effector Myc. These effects occur at both transcriptional and post-translational levels via a noncanonical Wnt pathway, and cause inhibition of motility and migration, and ultimately lead to tumor growth suppression, both in vitro and in vivo.



3). Merline, R., Moreth, K., Beckman, J., Nastase,M., Zeng-Brouwers,J.,Tralhão, J.G., Lemarchand, P., Pfeilshiffter, J., Schaefer, R.M., Iozzo, R.V.* and Schaefer, L. Signaling by the matrix proteoglycan decorin controls inflammation and cancer via PDCD4 and miR-21. Science Signal.15: ra75, 2011. PMID: 22087031 *Co-senior Author


[Editor’s Choice, Science 334:1033, 2011; Highlighted in Nature Immunol. 13:19, 2012]


Decorin binding to TLR-2/4 promotes a decrease in miR-21, thus leading to PDCD4 de-repression and typified by a more pro-inflammatory microenvironment that augments innate immunity to combat infection, sepsis, and tumorigenesis.



4). Neill, T., Painter,H., Buraschi, S., Owens, R.T., Lisanti, M.P., Schaefer, L., and Iozzo, R.V. Decorin antagonizes the angiogenic network: concurrent inhibition of Met, HIF-1α and VEGFA and induction of thrombospondin-1 and TIMP-3. J. Biol. Chem. 287: 5492-5506, 2012. PMID:22194599


[This paper was selected by the Faculty of 1000 in 2012 with a rating of 6;]


Decorin mediated antagonism of Met cripples tumor angiogenesis by reducing HIF-1α and VEGFA levels while simultaneously inducing critical anti-angiogenic factors such as thrombospondin-1 and TIMP-3 under normoxia in basal breast carcinoma.



5). Buraschi, S., Neill, T., Owens, R.T, Iniguez, L.A., Purkins, G., Vadigepalli, R., Evans, B., Schaefer, L., Peiper, S.C., Wang, Z., Iozzo, R.V., Decorin protein core affects the global gene expression profile of the tumor microenvironment in a triple-negative orthotopic breast carcinoma xenograft model. PLoS One 7:e45559, 2012. PMID:23029096


[This paper was highlighted in NCI Cancer Centers News website, Florida Weekly “New research brings doctors closer to a cure for breast cancer”, Science Daily and Medical News Today].


These findings provide a new paradigm for decorin protein core in controlling the tumor microenvironment as a fundamental biological mechanism with great implications for curbing tumorigenic growth by the induction of novel tumor suppressor genes within the stroma and for the discovery of novel gene signatures that could eventually help clinical assessment and prognosis.


6). Buraschi, S., Neill, T., Goyal, A., Poluzzi,C., Smythies,J., Owens, R.T, Schaefer, L., Torres,A. and Iozzo, R.V., Decorin causes autophagy in endothelial cells via Peg3. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 110 (28): E2582-E2591, 2013 PMID:23798385


[This paper was selected by the faculty of 1000 and highlighted in Science Daily and in Extracellualr Matrix News, 4.27, 2013;also]


We have discovered a highly novel role for decorin to evoke autophagyautophagy in a VEGFR2 and Peg3 dependent manner. 


7). Poluzzi, C., Casulli, J., Goyal,A., Mercer, T.J., Neill, T., Iozzo, R.V. Endorepellin evokes autophagy in endothelial cells. J.Biol. Chem. 289:1614,1628, 2014. PMID:24737315 PMCID: PMC4047384


[This paper was highlighted in Extracellualr Matrix News, 5.15, April 24, 2014; Cover Page for J. Biol. Chem, June 6, 2014; this paper was also selected by the Faculty-of-1000 Prime,]


8). Iozzo, R.V., Schaefer, L. Proteoglycan form and function: A comprehensive nomenclature of proteoglycans. Matrix Biol. 42:11-55, 2015. PMID:25701227 


This article represents a comprehesive review of the currently known proteoglycan. It contains over 600 references and remains the most downloaded and most cited paper in Matrix Biology over the last 2.5 years.



9). Gubbiotti, M.A., Neill, T., Frey, H., Schaefer, L., Iozzo, R.V. Decorin is an autophagy-inducible proteoglycan and is required for proper in vivo autophagy. Matrix Biol. 48:14-25. 2015. PMID:26344480 PMCID:PMC4661125


For the first time, it is shown that cardiac expression of decorin is stimulated by canonical autophagic stimuli. Moreover, decorin deficient mice have an impaired autophagic flux.

10). Neill, T., Buraschi, S., Goyal, A., Sharpe, C., Natkanski, E., Schaefer, L., Morrione, A., and Iozzo, R.V. EphA2 is a functional receptor for the growth factor progranulin. J. Cell Biol. 215:687-703. 2016. PMID:27903606.  


This paper was highlighted in J. Cell Biol. and selected by the Faculty of 1000 in 2017, It was showcased by several news outlets including Alzforum, ecancer, The Medical News, MedicalXpress, Newswise, and EurekAlert! as well as mentions on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The paper is in the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric with an overall score of 48.

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