• Drug resistance
  • Targeted therapy
  • Molecular biology
  • Pharmacogenetic
  • Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
  • Thoracic cancers


  • Scientific Habilitation as Full Professor of Pharmacology, Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (ASN, MIUR 2022, June 17th): Evaluation: “the 3 bibliometric parameters are all far above the requested medians, and the candidate has all the 6 parameters requested by the committee (1 – Organization and attendance as invited speakers to scientific meetings in Italy and abroad, 2 – Direction of a research group with national and international collaborations, 3 – Responsibility of studies and researches funded by public and private institutions, 4 - Responsibility of research projects funded within competitive national and international grants; 5 – Teaching or fellowships in international Universities or Scientific Institutions; 6 – Patents)
  • Scientific Habilitation as Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (ASN, MIUR, January 2012). Evaluation: “The candidate Elisa GIOVANNETTI exceeds the requested medians in bibliometric parameters in 3/3 categories. The candidate's research addresses key aspects of cancer research and shows excellent productivity, quality and continuity
  • Board-certified Clinical Pharmacologist, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy (2004)
  • Licensed to practice Medicine in Italy/Europe, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy (2000)

Focus of research

The research led by Elisa Giovannetti in the Cancer Pharmacology Lab is focusing on the study of the mechanism of action, toxicity and efficacy of anticancer agents, as well as in the field of clinical pharmacology of chemotherapeutic drugs, including modeling of pharmacogenetic studies, mostly in pancreatic and thoracic cancers.

Translational Research on:

  • Molecular mechanisms underlying resistance to anticancer drugs in solid tumors, with a special focus on pancreatic cancer and thoracic tumors
  • Evaluation of key biomarkers of drug activity and of synergistic combinations with both chemotherapy and targeting compounds
  • Pharmacogenetic studies, towards the identification of polymorphisms that are predictive of drug sensitivity/toxicity and are helpful in the selection of therapeutic agents best suited to the individual patient
  • Establishment of a novel platform of preclinical models, encompass tumor omics profiles and attributes, that can be subject to state-of-the-art imaging techniques, enhancing our ability to monitor drug activity

The Cancer Pharmacology Lab aims at improving cancer therapeutics either by the development/optimization of new antitumor agents and more effective drug combinations (including chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy) or by the tailoring of existing and new therapies primarily in pancreatic cancer. Unique primary pancreatic cancer cell cultures and tissues libraries are used in order to establish a robust imaging platform for in vitro and in vivo screening of selected innovative drugs, as well as to further delineate the biology and genetic characteristics of these tumors.

The work in the lab involves a multidisciplinary team of pharmacologists, biologists, oncologists, surgeons and computer scientists supported by grants from AIRC, Bennink Foundation, CCA, NWO and European Union. More information on research and international collaborations can be found via the following links: http://www.cancerpharmacology.org and https://www.fpscience.it/giovannetti-elisa/ .

Teaching Activity:

Elisa Giovannetti has supervised 16 PhD students, including 3 PhDs as First Promotor and 9 as co-Promotor at VU University. She is currently supervising 18 PhD students (11 as First Promotor). She has been the member of the commission for the PhD theses of 11 PhD students at VUmc/AMC, Amsterdam, and for the theses of 29 PhD students at different International Universities, including Belgium, Italy, Span and Switzerland


  • Elected chair of the EORTC-PAMM (Pharmacology and Molecular Mechanisms group of the European Organisation for Research & Treatment of Cancer)
  • Working group leader (WG4) of the COST Action TRANSPAN “Identification of biological markers for prevention and translational medicine in pancreatic cancer”
  • Deputy Editor of Critical Reviews in Oncology and Hematology
  • Associate Editor of Advances in Cancer Biology – Metastasis, BMC Cancer, Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology, Cancer Drug Resistance, Cellular Oncology, Frontiers in Pharmacology of Anti-Cancer Drugs, Journal of Chemotherapy, World J Clinical Oncology, World J Pharmacol
  • Member of the Scientific Evaluation Committee of the French Ministry of Health and the National Cancer Institute of France (INCa) [basic and translational research]
  • Member of the Scientific Evaluation Committee of the National Science Center NCN), Poland [Life Science Panel]
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Board at Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori (National Cancer Center), Milan, Italy
  • Member of the preclinical Dutch Pancreatic Cancer (preclinical DPCG) group
  • Founder/member of the Italian Pancreatic Cancer Community (I-PCC)

Special events

Elisa Giovannetti was invited to give a lecture in the public ceremony at the Quirinale Palace, the official residence of the President of the Italian republic, to celebrate “I GIORNI DELLA RICERCA”, the week of research against cancer in 2018, and to support the Italian Association for Research of Cancer (AIRC). An item about the meeting was broadcasted on Italian TV (RaiUNO) http://www.rai.it/dl/RaiTV/programmi/media/ContentItem-06d75067-5541-4c41-bfcb-dedd4dfbb273.html#p=  

Elisa Giovannetti was invited to participate to the panel “Multidisciplinary clinical cancer research: where do we go from here?”, Chairs: E. Eisenhauer & M. Piccart at the Congress for the celebration of the EORTC 60th ANNIVERSARY on 30 September, 2022, Brussels (Belgium), bringing together EORTC members, partners, patient advocates and other key stakeholders in cancer research. The link to the video of this meeting is available at: https://vimeo.com/757214919/396199ebd9  https://event.eortc.org/60anniversary/