Dr Dario Leonardo Balacco BSc, MSc, PhD

Dr Dario Leonardo Balacco

School of Dentistry
Research Fellow

Contact details

Dario is a Research Fellow in the School of Dentistry. He obtained his PhD in Gene Regulation and RNA Biology from the University of Nottingham in 2017. His PhD was based in the School of Pharmacy and focused in applying biochemical and bioinformatic approaches to study and characterize pivotal proteins involved in the mRNA decay. He worked on exciting projects in different fields such as molecular evolutionary biology, paleobiology, and genetics. He undertakes research at the School of Dentistry in the fields of genetic diseases and microbiome.


  • PhD in Gene Regulation and RNA Biology, School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham, UK, 2017
  • MSc in Molecular and Cell Biology focusing in Genomics, University of Bari, Italy, 2012
  • BSc in Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Bari, Italy, 2010


Dario graduated in Molecular Cell biology focussed in Genomics in 2012. During his Master final year he joined the Attimonelli’s lab where he had his first approach with bioinformatics methods working on the identification and annotation of Nuclear Mitochondrial Sequences (NUMTs) in the genome of several organisms.

He then started his PhD in the Gene Regulation and RNA Biology group at the School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham. Here he worked in the Winkler’s lab studying the impact of mutations found in cancer on the functions and assembly of the Ccr4-Not Complex deadenylase enzyme using biochemical and bioinformatics approaches.

He graduated at the beginning of 2017 and joined the Wickstead’s lab at the School of Life Science, University of Nottingham where he reconstructed the genetic repertoire of the Last Eukaryotic Common Ancestor (LECA) using bioinformatics and phylogenetic approaches.

In 2018 he briefly joined the Soller’s lab at the School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham where he used Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism to study the m6A methylation and its impact on sex differentiation. In November 2019 he joined the School of Dentistry, University of Birmingham, where he is currently working on an exciting project aimed to investigate the different bacteria that are present on the skin of people with Epidermolysis Bullosa (Founded by DEBRA UK).  


Dario’s research combines computational and molecular biology approaches. He is focused in studying the skin microbiome of people with Epidermolysis Bullosa, a very rare genetic disease that affects 1 in 50000 births in UK.


The m6A Writer: Rise of a Machine for Growing Tasks.Balacco DL, Soller M. Biochemistry. 2019 Feb 5;58(5):363-378. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.8b01166. Epub 2018 Dec 27.

 PDZD8 is not the 'functional ortholog' of Mmm1, it is a paralog. Wideman JG, Balacco DL, Fieblinger T, Richards TA. F1000Res. 2018 Jul 16;7:1088. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.15523.1. eCollection 2018.

NumtS colonization in mammalian genomes. Calabrese FM, Balacco DL, Preste R, Diroma MA, Forino R, Ventura M, Attimonelli M. Sci Rep. 2017 Nov 27;7(1):16357. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-16750-2.

Heterogeneity and complexity within the nuclease module of the Ccr4-Not complex. Winkler GS, Balacco DL. Front Genet. 2013 Dec 23;4:296. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2013.00296. Review.