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Cristina Montagna, PhD

Division of Radiation Cancer Biology

Dr. Montagna is a cancer biologist with extensive expertise in molecular cytogenetic and cell biology. Her laboratory has contributed significant work to the field of oncogene discovery, genomic instability in cancer, and age-related tissue degeneration. Dr. Montagna trained with Prof. Renato Dulbecco (1975 Nobel Laureate for the discovery of SV40 DNA integration in oncogenically transformed cells) in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes discovery using in culture systems of tumorigenesis. As a second postdoc, she was mentored by Dr. Thomas Ried, Chief of Cancer Genetics at NIH, who established Spectral Karyotyping (SKY), an advanced molecular cytogenetic technique based on Fluorescent in situ Hybridization (FISH) to simultaneously visualize all human chromosomes using pools of chromosome painting probes with unique chromatic properties. As an independent investigator Dr. Montagna continued functional work on oncogene discovery, especially in breast and cervical carcinogenesis. More recently she studied the functional consequences of genomic instability, particularly aneuploidy, on cell fitness to reveal molecular mechanisms that underlie age related increased risk to develop cancer. She is versed with second and third generation sequencing and she has applied these methodologies to single cell analyses of cancer cells. Throughout her training and independent career, Dr. Montagna gained expertise in molecular biology, cancer genetics and FISH techniques.



  1. Van Arsdale A, Patterson NE, Maggi EC, Agoni L, Van Doorslaer K, Harmon B, Nevadunsky N, Kuo DYS, Einstein MH, Lenz J, Montagna C. Insertional oncogenesis by HPV70 revealed by multiple genomic analyses in a clinically HPV-negative cervical cancer. Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2020 Feb;59(2):84-95. PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6916423.
  2. Andriani GA, Maggi E, Piqué D, Zimmerman SE, Lee M, Quispe-Tintaya W, Maslov A, Campisi J, Vijg J, Mar JC, Montagna C. A direct comparison of interphase FISH versus low-coverage single cell sequencing to detect aneuploidy reveals respective strengths and weaknesses. Sci Rep. 2019 Jul 19;9(1):10508. PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6642082.
  3. Marcus J, Bejerano-Sagie M, Patterson N, Bagchi S, Verkhusha VV, Connolly D, Goldberg GL, Golden A, Sharma VP, Condeelis J, Montagna C. Septin 9 isoforms promote tumorigenesis in mammary epithelial cells by increasing migration and ECM degradation through metalloproteinase secretion at focal adhesions. Oncogene. 2019 Jul;38(30):5839-5859. PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6859949.
  4. Andriani GA, Almeida VP, Faggioli F, Mauro M, Tsai WL, Santambrogio L, Maslov A, Gadina M, Campisi J, Vijg J, Montagna C. Whole Chromosome Instability induces senescence and promotes SASP. Sci Rep. 2016 Oct 12;6:35218. PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5059742.