Cirillo Nicola

A/Prof. Nicola Cirillo


A/Prof. Nicola Cirillo
A/Prof. Nicola Cirillo


Telephone: +61 3 9341 1473


Main degrees

  • DMD cum laude – Doctor of Dental Medicine, with honors and distinction (Naples, Italy)
  • PhD - Doctor of Philosophy (Naples, Italy)

Other qualifications

  • PGCPH – Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health (Manchester, UK)
  • Certificate in Executive Coaching (Cambridge, UK)
  • LDS MIUR – Licentiate in Dental Surgery, Ministry of Higher Education and Research (Italy)
  • SLE(D) SCHS - Saudi Licensing Exam for Dentist, Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (KSA)
  • MTC (CEd) - Melbourne Teaching Certificate (Melbourne, AUS)
  • Certificate in Strategy and Competition In Higher Education (Harvard, US)


  • 2012 – present: Melbourne Dental School, The University of Melbourne (Australia)
    • Associate Professor* in Dental Medicine, Pathology, Pharmacology
    • Coordinator of Dental Medicine and Surgery 1 (DDS)
  • 2012- 2013 (Visiting series): College of Dentistry, University of Dammam (KSA)
    • Associate Professor in Oral Pathology, Diagnosis and Medicine
    • Consultant in Oral Medicine
  • 2008 – 2012: School of Oral and Dental Sciences, University of Bristol (UK)
    • Clinical Lecturer** in Oral Medicine
    • Honorary Clinical Teacher in Oral Medicine
  • 2005 – 2009: School of Dentistry, University of Naples II (Italy)
    • Research Associate, Oral Immunopathology (2007-2009)
    • Honorary Teaching Assistant in Oral Medicine (2005-2008)

*Level D appointment, equivalent to Professor in North American [1,2], Asian [2], and certain Australian [3] universities
** Level C appointment, corresponding to Senior Lecturer in post-1992 institutions (or “new universities”) in Britain [4]


My academic records mirror my way of being: innate aptitude for looking at things from different perspectives and passion for diversity, in terms of culture, traditions, and knowledge in general. After completing my clinical training in Oral Medicine in Italy (Naples, Florence, Palermo), USA (UCSF, San Francisco) and India (TATA Memorial Centre/ACTREC, Mumbai; and Regional Cancer Center, Trivandrum), in 2008 I joined the Dental School at the University of Bristol, England, as a Clinical Lecturer in Oral Medicine. Early in 2012 I went on to take up a visiting professorship with consultant responsibilities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Dammam) before joining this prestigious university based in the multicultural Melbourne.

I am author of some 60 publications in peer-reviewed international scientific journals, have written 2 books and various book chapters on autoimmune disease and cancer, and have delivered speeches and keynote lectures at >20 meetings worldwide. I am also committed to dissemination of science and technology in a broader sense, being the Editor-in-Chief of an international journal of experimental oral medicine (The Journal of Stomatological Investigation), member of the Editorial Board of scientific journals in the fields of dentistry, dermatology, biochemistry and immunology, as well as reviewer for >30 scientific journals and funding bodies. I am currently President of the Italian Academy of Experimental Stomatology (AISS) and currently the youngest professor (Level D and above) of dentistry in Australia as well as within the world’s top 10 medical faculties. For more info, please visit



  • Systems level understanding of the patho-mechanisms associated with oral autoimmune disease and cancer
  • Role of the novel oral glucocorticoid system in physiology and disease
  • Tumour microenvironment and cancer progression


  • Development of novel therapies for common oral conditions recurrent oral ulcerations and burning mouth syndrome
  • Prevention of chemoradiation-induced oral mucositis
  • Novel diagnostic/prognostic markers for oral squamous cell carcinoma.


  • Hassona Y, Cirillo N*, Heesom K, Parkinson EK, Prime SS. Senescent cancer-associated fibroblasts secrete active MMP-2 that promotes keratinocyte dis-cohesion and invasion. Br J Cancer. 2014; 111:1230-7. [I.F. 5.08]

  • Hassona Y, Cirillo N, Lim KP, Herman A, Mellone M, Thomas GJ, Pitiyage G, Parkinson EK, Prime SS. Progression of genotype-specific oral cancer leads to senescence of cancer associated fibroblasts and is mediated by oxidative stress and TGF-ß. Carcinogenesis 2013; 34:1286-95. [I.F.=5.7]
  • Cirillo N, Hassona Y, Gasparoto T, Pignatelli M, Morgan D, Prime SS. Characterisation of a novel oral glucocorticoid system and its role in disease. J Dent Res 2012; 91:97-103. [I.F.=3.77]
  • Lim KP, Cirillo N, Hassona Y, Wei W, Thurlow JK, Cheong SC, Pitiyage G, Parkinson EK, Prime SS. Fibroblast gene expression profile reflects the stage of tumor progression in oral squamous cell carcinoma. J Pathol 2011; 223:459-69. [I.F.=7.27]
  • Lanza A, Lanza M, Santoro R, Soro V, Prime SS, Cirillo N. Deregulation of PERK in the autoimmune disease Pemphigus Vulgaris occurs via IgG-independent mechanisms. Br J Dermatol 2011; 164:336-43. [I.F.=4.35]
  • Cirillo N, Lanza A, Prime SS. Induction of hyper-adhesion attenuates autoimmune-induced keratinocyte cell-cell detachment and processing of adhesion molecules via mechanisms that involve PKC. Exp Cell Res 2010; 316:580-92. [I.F.=3.95]
  • Cirillo N, Prime SS. Desmosomal interactome in keratinocytes: a systems biology approach leading to an understanding of the pathogenesis of skin disease. Cell Mol Life Sci 2009; 66: 3517-33. [I.F.=5.51]
  • Cirillo N, Lanza M, De Rosa A, Femiano F, Gombos F, Lanza A. At least three phosphorylation events induced by pemphigus vulgaris sera are pathogenically involved in keratinocyte acantholysis. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol 2008; 21:189-195. [I.F.=4.66]
  • Lanza A*, Cirillo N*, Rossiello R, Rienzo M, Cutillo L, Casamassimi A, de Nigris F, Schiano C, Rossiello L, Femiano F, Gombos F, Napoli C. Evidence of key role of CDK-2 overexpression in pemphigus vulgaris. J Biol Chem 2008; 283:8736-45. [I.F.=5.8]
  • Cirillo N, Gombos F, Lanza, A. Changes in desmoglein 1 expression and subcellular localization in cultured keratinocytes subjected to anti-desmoglein 1 pemphigus autoimmunity. J Cell Physiol 2007; 210:411-6. [I.F. = 4.36]
  • Cirillo N, Lanza M, Rossiello L, Gombos F, Lanza A. Defining the involvement of proteinases in pemphigus vulgaris: evidence of matrix metalloproteinase-9 overexpression in experimental models of disease. J Cell Physiol 2007; 212:36-41. [I.F. = 4.36]
  • Cirillo N, Gombos F, Lanza A. Pemphigus vulgaris immunoglobulin G can recognize a 130 000 MW antigen other than desmoglein 3 on peripheral blood mononuclear cell surface. Immunology 2007; 121:377-82. [I.F.=3.67]
  • Cirillo N, Femiano F, Gombos F, Lanza A. Serum from pemphigus vulgaris reduces desmoglein 3 half-life and perturbs its de novo assembly to desmosomal sites in cultured keratinocytes. FEBS Lett 2006; 580:3276-81. [I.F.=3.84]

# Journal’s impact factor (I.F.) at the time of publication is reported in square brackets. Please note that I.F. only in part reflects the relative importance of a journal within its field, and should never be considered in isolation.


Journal articles

  • Cirillo N. 150th anniversary series: desmosomes in physiology and disease. Cell Commun Adhes. 2014; 21:85-8.
  • Graziano A, Cirillo N#, Pallotti S, Cricenti L, Romano F, Aimetti M. Unexpected resilience to experimental gingivitis of subepithelial connective tissue grafts in gingival recession defects: a clinical-molecular evaluation. J Periodont Res 2014 49:527-35:10.
  • Cirillo N, Al-Jandan BA. Desmosomal adhesion and pemphigus vulgaris: the first half of the story. Cell Commun Adhes 2013; 20:1-10.
  • Cirillo N. Merging experimental data and in silico analysis: a systems level approach to autoimmune disease and cancer. Exp Rev Clin Immunol 2012; 8:361-72. [Invited review]
  • Cirillo N, Cozzani E, Carrozzo M, Grando SA. Urban legends: pemphigus vulgaris. Oral Dis 2012; 18:442-58. [Invited review]
  • Femiano F, Rullo R, Spirito FD, Lanza A, Festa VM, Cirillo N. A comparison of salivary substitutes versus a natural sialogogue (citric acid) in patients complaining of dry mouth as an adverse drug reaction: a clinical, randomized controlled study. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2011; 112:e15-20. [Clinical trial]
  • Femiano F, Buonaiuto C, Gombos F, Lanza A, Cirillo N. Pilot study on recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS): a randomized placebo-controlled trial for the comparative therapeutic effects of systemic prednisone and systemic montelukast in subjects unresponsive to topical therapy. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2010; 109:402-7. [Clinical trial]
  • Lanza A, Heulfe I, Perillo L, Dell'Ermo A, Cirillo N. Oral Pigmentation as a Sign of Addison`s Disease: A Brief Reappraisal. Open Dermatol J. 2009; 3:3-6.
  • Compilato D, Cirillo N, Termine N, Kerr AR, Paderni C, Ciavarella D, Campisi G. Long-standing oral ulcers: proposal for a new ‘S-C-D classification system'. J Oral Pathol Med 2009; 38:241-53.
  • Femiano F, Lanza A, Buonaiuto C, Perillo L, Dell'Ermo A, Cirillo N. Pyostomatitis vegetans: a review of the literature. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal. 2009; 14:E114-7.
  • Femiano F, Lanza A, Buonaiuto C, Gombos F, Cirillo N. Burning mouth disorder (BMD) and taste: a hypothesis. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal. 2008; 13:E470-4. [Clinical study]
  • Femiano F, Lanza A, Buonaiuto C, Gombos F, Nunziata M, Cuccurullo L, Cirillo N. Burning mouth syndrome and burning mouth in hypothyroidism: proposal for a diagnostic and therapeutic protocol. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2008; 105:e22-e27. [Clinical study]
  • Femiano F, Lanza A, Buonaiuto C, Gombos F, Rullo R, Festa VM, Cirillo N. Oral manifestations of adverse drug reactions: Guidelines. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2008; 22:681-91.
  • Lanza A, Laino L, Rossiello L, Perillo L, Dell’Ermo A, Cirillo N. Clinical Practice: giant cell tumour of the jaw mimicking bone malignancy on Three-Dimensional Computed Tomography (3D CT) reconstruction. Open Dent J. 2008; 2:73-77.
  • Femiano F, Lanza A, Buonaiuto C, Gombos F, Di Spirito F, Cirillo N. A review of the literature of oral malignant melanoma. J Oral Pathol Med. 2008; 37:383-8.
  • Femiano F, Lanza A, Buonaiuto C, Gombos F, Cirillo N. Oral aphthous-like lesions: PFAPA syndrome, a review. J Oral Pathol Med. 2008; 37:319-23.
  • Cirillo N, Dell’Ermo A, Gombos F, Lanza A. The specific proteolysis hypothesis of pemphigus: does the song remain the same? Med Hypotheses. 2008; 70:333-337.
  • Femiano F, Lanza A, Buonaiuto C, Gombos F, Nunziata M, Piccolo S, Cirillo N. Guidelines for diagnosis and management of aphthous stomatitis. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2007; 26:728-32.
  • Cirillo N, Gombos F, Ruocco V, Lanza A. Searching for experimental models of Pemphigus vulgaris. Arch Dermatol Res. 2007; 299:9-12.
  • Lanza A, Cirillo N, Femiano F, Gombos F. How does acantholysis occur in pemphigus vulgaris: a critical review. J Cutan Pathol. 2006; 33:401-12
  • Cirillo N. 150th anniversary series: desmosomes in physiology and disease. Cell Commun Adhes. 2014 Apr;21(2):85-8. [Guest Editorial]  

Book chapters

  • Lanza A, Cirillo N. Basi molecolari dell’embriogenesi dentaria. [Molecular basis of tooth embryogenesis] In: Gombos F, Serpico R. Clinica Odontoiatrica e Stomatologica. Piccin Ed., Padova. 2007; pp. 10-14.
  • Lanza A, Cirillo N. Indagini predittive e basi molecolari del carcinoma orale. [Predictive investigation and molecular basis of oral carcinoma] In: Gombos F, Serpico R. Clinica Odontoiatrica e Stomatologica. Piccin Ed., Padova. 2007; pp. 239-242.
  • Lanza A, Gombos F, Cirillo N. Malattie autoimmuni sistemiche e del cavo orale. [Systemic and oral autoimmune diseases] In: Balestrieri C, Giordano A, Napoli C, Pavan A. Diagnostica molecolare nella Medicina di Laboratorio. Piccin Ed., Padova. 2009; pp. 239-258.


  • Cirillo N, Lanza A, Gombos F. Pathophysiology of the desmosome. Research Signpost Ed; Kerala, India. 2009. ISBN 978-8130803265
  • Cirillo N. Techniques in epidermal biology: an integrated approach to autoimmune skin disease. Nova Science Publishers Ed; New York, NY, 2011. ISBN: 978-1612096216


  • “Active Member”, SIPMO (Italian Society of Oral Pathology and Medicine)
  • AISS, Italian Academy of Experimental Stomatology
  • International Association for Dental Research (Member of IADR Scientific Groups & Networks: Microbiology/Immunology, and Oral Medicine & Pathology) (2007-2009)
  • General Dental Council, UK
  • Ordine dei Medici e Odontoiatri (Medical and Dental Council), Italy
  • Ordine dei Giornalisti della Campania (Regional Association of Journalists), Italy
  • Licence to Practice Dentistry in Italy, UK and Saudi Arabia


  • Valerio Margiotta Award by SIPMO (Italian Society of Oral Pathology and Medicine) for the year’s best DDS/DMD dissertation in Oral Pathology and Medicine in Italy. 2005
  • SIPMO Award 2007 for the best presentation of original research in Oral Pathology and Medicine), bi-annual meeting in Capri, Italy
  • Journal Cover Page selected by the Editorial Board of Experimental Dermatology (from Cirillo et al., Exp Dermatol. 2008; 17:858-63)
  • Biography included in Who is Who in the World, 2009-13
  • Research Poster Prize awarded by the British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at its annual meeting in 2011(presenting author was my student Ryan Hughes)
  • Invited speaker presentations and appreciation plaques at major meetings worldwide
  • Acknowledgement of innovation by third parties, such as meeting reports,[5] use of free (non patented) novel techniques by other researchers (for instance, Cirillo’s high salt-urea (C-HSU) buffer),[6] and invited reviews on cutting edge research in relevant scientific journals (see Scholarly activity)
  • Editor in Chief, The Journal of Stomatological Investigation
  • Editorial Board: The Open Dentistry Journal, The Open Dermatology Journal, Global Journal of Biochemistry, World Journal of Immunology; Guest Editor, Cell Communication and Adhesion.
  • President, AISS (Italian Academy of Experimental Stomatology)
  • Youngest academic professor (Level D/E and equivalent in US/UK) among the world's top 10 Universities in Medicine (QS 2013). Youngest dental academic (Level D and above) in Australia (2013).


[4] Graham Webb, Making the most of appraisal: career and professional development planning for lecturers, Routledge, 1994 (page 30) ISBN 0-7494-1256-9
[5] Paschoal and Chamberlin W. (2010) Expert Rev. Clin. Immunol. 6: 757–9
[6] Feng et al., (2011) Eur. J. Dermatol. 21: 696-9