Elisa  Fanunza


Department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology

Mentor:  Reuben Harris

Phone:  6124027089


ORCID iD:  0000-0002-2044-8473

Research Mentor's Lab


2011 Bachelor Degree in Biology University of Cagliari, Italy
2013 Master Degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology University of Cagliari, Italy
2019 PhD in Virology University of Cagliari, Italy


I am interested on studying viral evasion of innate immunity. My project is focused on investigating novel strategies adopted by Herpesviruses to escape the APOBEC family of cytosine DNA deaminases.


2019 "Best PhD Thesis" supported by Con.Scienze, Conferenza Nazionale dei Presidenti e dei Direttori delle Strutture Universitarie di Scienze e Tecnologie, Italy
2019 "Best PhD Thesis in Biomedicine" supported by ADI, Italian Association PhD student

Professional Memberships

2020-present American Society of Virology
2016-present Italian Society of General Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnologies


Abner, E., Stoszko, M., Zeng, L., Chen H.C., Izquierdo-Bouldstridge, A., Konuma, T., Zorita, E., Fanunza, E., Zhang, Q., Mahmoudi, T., Zhou, M.M, Filion G.J., and Jordan, A. A new quinoline BRD4 inhibitor targets a distinct latent HIV- 1 reservoir for re-activation from other ‘shock’ drugs, J. Virol. 2018, doi:10.1128/JVI.02056-17.

Fanunza, E., Frau, A., Sgarbanti, M., Orsatti, R., Corona, A., Tramontano, E., Development and Validation of a Novel Dual Luciferase Reporter Gene Assay to Quantify Ebola Virus VP24 Inhibition of IFN Signaling, Viruses 2018, doi: 10.3390/v10020098.

Fanunza, E., Frau, A., Corona, A., Tramontano, E., Antiviral Agents Against Ebola Virus Infection: Repositioning Old Drugs and Finding Novel Small Molecules, Annual Reports in Medicinal Chemistry 2018, doi: 10.1016/bs.armc.2018.08.004.

Daino, G.L., Frau, A., Sanna, C., Rigano, D., Distinto, S., Madau, V., Esposito, F., Fanunza, E., Bianco, G., Taglialatela- Scafati, O., Zinzula, L., Maccioni, E., Corona, A., Tramontano, E.,
Identification of Myricetin as Ebolavirus VP35-dsRNA interaction inhibitor through a novel fluorescence-based assay, Biochemistry 2018, doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.8b00892.

Fanunza, E., Frau, A., Corona, A., Tramontano, E. Insights into Ebola Virus VP35 and VP24 Interferon inhibitory functions and their initial exploitation as drug targets, Infectious Disorders - Drug Targets 2018, doi: 10.2174/1871526519666181123145540.

Flego, M., Frau, A., Accardi, L., Mallano A., Ascione, A., Gellini, M., Fanunza, E., Vella, S., Di Bonito, P., Tramontano, E. Intracellular human antibody fragments recognizing the VP35 protein of Zaire Ebola filovirus inhibit the protein activity. BMC Biotechnol. 2019; doi: 10.1186/s12896-019-0554-2.

Di Palma, F., Daino, G.L., Ramaswamy, V.K., Corona, A., Frau, A., Fanunza, E., Vargiu, A., Tramontano, E., and Ruggerone P. Relevance of Ebola virus VP35 homo-dimerization on the type I interferon cascade inhibition. Antivir Chem Chemother. 2019; 27: 2040206619889220.

Fanunza, E., Iampietro, M., Distinto, S., Corona, A., Quartu, M., Maccioni, E., Horvat, B., Tramontano E.
Quercetin blocks Ebola Virus infection by counteracting the VP24 Interferon inhibitory function. Antimicrob Agents Ch. 2020; doi: 10.1128/AAC.00530-20.

Cheng, A.Z., Moraes, S.N., Shaban, N.M., Fanunza, E., Bierle, C.J., Southern, P.J., Bresnahan, W.A., Rice, S.A., Harris, R.S. APOBECs and Herpesviruses. Viruses 2021; doi: 10.3390/v13030390.

Fanunza, E., Carletti, F., Quartu, M., Grandi, N., Ermellino, L., Milia, J., Corona, A., Capobianchi, M.R., Ippolito, G., Tramontano, E. Zika Virus NS2A inhibits Interferon signaling by degradation of STAT1 and STAT2. Virulence 2021; doi: 10.1080/21505594.2021.1935613.

Kuo, Y.T., Liu, C.H., Corona, A., Fanunza, E., Tramontano, E., Lin, L.T. The Methanolic Extract of Perilla frutescens Robustly Restricts Ebola Virus Glycoprotein-Mediated Entry. Viruses 2021, 13, 1793. doi: 10.3390/v13091793.

Fanunza, E., Grandi, N., Quartu, M., Carletti, F., Ermellino, L., Milia, J., Corona, A., Capobianchi, M.R., Ippolito, G., Tramontano, E. INMI1 Zika Virus NS4B Antagonizes the Interferon Signaling by Suppressing STAT1 Phosphorylation. Viruses. 2021 Dec 6;13(12):2448. doi: 10.3390/v13122448.

Corona, A, Fanunza, E., Salata, C., Morwitzer, M.J., Distinto S., Zinzula L., Sanna C., Frau A., Daino G.L., Quartu M., Taglialatela-Scafati, O., Rigano, D., Reid, S.P., Mirazimi, A., Tramontano, E. Cynarin blocks Ebola virus replication by counteracting VP35 inhibition of interferon-beta production. Antiviral Res. 2022 Feb; 198:105251. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2022.105251.