Lugli obtained his PhD in Immunology from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy, under the supervision of Prof. Andrea Cossarizza, where he studied T cell immune responses and homeostasis in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection. He then moved to the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, USA, to join the ImmunoTechnology Section directed by Dr. Mario Roederer, where in collaboration with Nicholas Restifo, identified stem-like memory T cells, thus defining a novel paradigm for the development of more effective adoptive cell transfer immunotherapies.
In collaboration with Dr. Thomas Waldmann, he moved Interleukin (IL)-15, a cytokine capable of activating anti-tumor effector cells, from the preclinical stage to the first-in-human phase I clinical trial in patients with solid cancers. After a brief period as a senior scientist under the supervision of Prof. Domenico Mavilio, he became group leader at Humanitas Research Hospital, where he studies how T cell responses mediate human tumor regression and how these are hindered by the presence of immunosuppressive populations, especially CD4+ regulatory T cells (Treg).
Lugli’s research has been funded by a Starting Grant from the European Research Council, the Lloyd J. Old STAR award from the Cancer Research Institute, the Italian Association for Cancer Research (Fondazione AIRC) and by the Italian Ministry of Health.