Dr. Nunzio Bottini received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Rome "Tor Vergata", in Rome, Italy, where he trained in human genetics and allergy/autoimmune diseases. There he was introduced to the study of protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs), a class of enzyme involved in signal transduction by removing a phosphate residue linked to tyrosine aminoacids.
During his PTP-focused postdoc training at the Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute, in La Jolla, CA, Dr. Bottini discovered a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the gene PTPN22, which encodes a PTP called lymphoid tyrosine phosphatase (LYP). LYP is a critical negative regulator of T lymphocyte activation. The PTPN22 SNP is a predisposing factor for several autoimmune diseases including type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases.
In May 2009 Dr. Bottini was recruited to the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology (LIAI) from the University of Southern California where he was an assistant professor at the Institute for Genetic Medicine. He is currently an associate professor in the division of cellular biology and is a full member of the type 1 diabetes research center at LIAI.
The Bottini laboratory works on understanding the role of LYP and other PTPs in autoimmune diseases. In collaboration with other PTP laboratories, the lab is also developing and validating novel approaches to detection/characterization of PTP activity in cells. This technology will help identifying compounds that can inhibit all or specific PTPs and can be used as potent pharmacological tools to study the mechanism of action of specific phosphatases.