Dr Michelangelo Certo PhD

Dr Michelangelo Certo

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
Research Scientist

Contact details

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Mindelsohn Way
Birmingham, B15 2WB

Dr Michelangelo Certo is a Senior Researcher in Immunometabolism and Inflammation at the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, University of Birmingham. He investigates the interconnections between metabolic and inflammatory pathways and how systemic and local metabolic alterations in diseases with an inflammatory component lead to aberrant immune cell responses, which favour both the establishment and the propagation of inflammation. In particular, he focuses on unveiling how specific metabolites, including lactate and fatty acids, can surprisingly act as signalling molecules modulating many aspects the immune-inflammatory response.

Google Scholar Profile


Research Fellow in Immunometabolism & Inflammation

• Expert in the field of Pharmacology 2014
• Ph.D. in Cellular Biochemistry and Pharmacology, University of Calabria (Italy) 2013
• M.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology (cum laude), University of Calabria (Italy), 2010


Dr Michelangelo Certo qualified for a MSc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology cum laude in 2010 and a PhD in Cellular Biochemistry and Pharmacology in 2013 from the University of Calabria (Italy). Post-doc at the Centre of Preclinical and Translational Pharmacology, University of Calabria (2013-2015), he worked on the characterization of the interactions between the immune system and the brain subjected to ischemic injury for the identification of novel immunotherapeutics for stroke.

In 2015 he was appointed as an expert in the field of Pharmacology by the Department Council at the School of Pharmacy of the University of Calabria. In 2016 Michelangelo was awarded a Research Fellowship from the Italian Society of Pharmacology and he joined the University College London to apply his research to the field of chronic pain. His research has always been devoted to the study of inflammatory mechanisms controlling immunity and inflammation with a focus on therapeutic innovation in the context of cell trafficking, target identification and therapeutic exploitation, reparative and regenerative therapeutics. In 2017 he moved to Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry at Queen Mary, University of London, where he focused on the investigation of the metabolic control of immune cell effector functions and the implications of the metabolic dependence of immune responses in inflammatory conditions. In 2018 he joined the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing at the University of Birmingham as Senior Research Fellow in Metabolism and Inflammation to investigate the interconnections between metabolic and inflammatory pathways and how specific metabolites, including lactate and fatty acids, can surprisingly act as signalling molecules modulating many aspects the immune-inflammatory response.

His current research activities address the study of cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of chronic inflammatory diseases, such as atherosclerosis (BHF) and Sjogren's syndrome (MRC funded).


Cell Metabolism


Chronic Inflammation


T Lymphocytes

Other activities

Scientific Illustration

As a science illustrator, Dr Certo help scientists disseminate their research – to both an academic and lay audience – opening conversations that revert in better science (https://certo-michelangelo.jimdofree.com). 


Highlight publications

Certo, M, Tsai, C-H, Pucino, V, Ho, P-C & Mauro, C 2020, 'Lactate modulation of immune responses in inflammatory versus tumour microenvironments', Nature Reviews Immunology. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41577-020-0406-2

Certo, M, Elkafrawy, H, Pucino, V, Cucchi, D, Cheung, KCP & Mauro, C 2020, 'Endothelial cell and T-cell crosstalk: targeting metabolism as a therapeutic approach in chronic inflammation', British Journal of Pharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1111/bph.15002

Pucino, V, Certo, M, Bulusu, V, Cucchi, D, Goldmann, K, Pontarini, E, Haas, R, Smith, J, Headland, SE, Blighe, K, Ruscica, M, Humby, F, Lewis, MJ, Kamphorst, JJ, Bombardieri, M, Pitzalis, C & Mauro, C 2019, 'Lactate buildup at the site of chronic inflammation promotes disease by inducing CD4+ T cell metabolic rewiring', Cell Metabolism, vol. 30, no. 6, pp. 1055-1074.e8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2019.10.004

Recent publications


Farah, H, Wijesinghe, S, Nicholson, T, Alnajjar, FAQ, Certo, M, Alghamdi, AMA, Davis, E, Young, S, Mauro, C & Jones, S 2022, 'Differential metabotypes in synovial fibroblasts and synovial fluid in hip osteoarthritis patients support inflammatory responses', International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 23, no. 6, 3266. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063266

Camacho-Muñoz, D, Niven, J, Kucuk, S, Cucchi, D, Certo, M, Jones, SW, Fischer, DP, Mauro, C & Nicolaou, A 2022, 'Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids reverse the impact of western diets on regulatory T cell responses through averting ceramide-mediated pathways', Biochemical Pharmacology, vol. 204, 115211. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bcp.2022.115211

Garcia, AM, Bishop, E, Li, D, Jeffery, L, Garten, A, Thakker, A, Certo, M, Mauro, C, Tennant, DA, Dimeloe, S, Evelo, CT, Coort, SL & Hewison, M 2021, 'Tolerogenic effects of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D on dendritic cells involve induction of fatty acid synthesis', The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, vol. 211, 105891. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2021.105891

Cucchi, D, Camacho-muñoz, D, Certo, M, Niven, J, Smith, J, Nicolaou, A & Mauro, C 2019, 'Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids impinge on CD4+ T cell motility and adipose tissue distribution via direct and lipid mediator-dependent effects', Cardiovascular Research. https://doi.org/10.1093/cvr/cvz208

Maiarù, M, Leese, C, Certo, M, Echeverria-Altuna, I, Mangione, AS, Arsenault, J, Davletov, B & Hunt, SP 2018, 'Selective neuronal silencing using synthetic botulinum molecules alleviates chronic pain in mice', Science Translational Medicine, vol. 10, no. 450, eaar7384. https://doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aar7384

Amantea, D, Certo, M, Petrelli, F, Tassorelli, C, Micieli, G, Corasaniti, MT, Puccetti, P, Fallarino, F & Bagetta, G 2016, 'Azithromycin protects mice against ischemic stroke injury by promoting macrophage transition towards M2 phenotype', Experimental Neurology, vol. 275 , no. Part 1, pp. 116-25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.expneurol.2015.10.012

Amantea, D, Certo, M, Petrelli, F & Bagetta, G 2016, 'Neuroprotective Properties of a Macrolide Antibiotic in a Mouse Model of Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion: Characterization of the Immunomodulatory Effects and Validation of the Efficacy of Intravenous Administration', ASSAY and Drug Development Technologies, vol. 14, no. 5. https://doi.org/10.1089/adt.2016.728

Certo, M, Endo, Y, Ohta, K, Sakurada, S, Bagetta, G & Amantea, D 2015, 'Activation of RXR/PPARγ underlies neuroprotection by bexarotene in ischemic stroke', Pharmacological Research, vol. 102, pp. 298-307. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2015.10.009


Amantea, D, Certo, M & Bagetta, G 2015, 'Drug repurposing and beyond: the fundamental role of pharmacology', Functional neurology, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 79-81. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4520678/>

Review article

Certo, M, Llibre, A, Lee, W & Mauro, C 2022, 'Understanding lactate sensing and signalling', Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, vol. 33, no. 10, pp. 722-735. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tem.2022.07.004

Conway, J, Certo, M, Lord, JM, Mauro, C & Duggal, NA 2022, 'Understanding the role of host metabolites in the induction of immunesenescence: future strategies for keeping the ageing population healthy', British Journal of Pharmacology, vol. 179, no. 9, pp. 1808-1824. https://doi.org/10.1111/bph.15671

Certo, M, Marone, G, de Paulis, A, Mauro, C & Pucino, V 2020, 'Lactate: fueling the fire starter', Wires Systems Biology and Medicine, vol. 12, no. 3, e1474, pp. 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1002/wsbm.1474

Pucino, V, Certo, M, Varricchi, G, Marone, G, Ursini, F, Rossi, FW, de Paulis, A, Mauro, C, Raza, K & Buckley, C 2020, 'Metabolic checkpoints in rheumatoid arthritis', Frontiers in Physiology, vol. 11, 347. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2020.00347

Cucchi, D, Camacho-Muñoz, D, Certo, M, Pucino, V, Nicolaou, A & Mauro, C 2019, 'Fatty acids - from energy substrates to key regulators of cell survival, proliferation and effector function', Cell Stress - The journal of the European Research Institute for Integrated Cellular Pathology, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 9-23. https://doi.org/10.15698/cst2020.01.209

Amantea, D, Russo, R, Certo, M, Rombolà, L, Adornetto, A, Morrone, LA, Corasaniti, MT & Bagetta, G 2016, 'Caspase-1-independent Maturation of IL-1β in Ischemic Brain Injury: is there a Role for Gelatinases?', Mini - Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry , vol. 16, no. 9, pp. 729-37. https://doi.org/10.2174/1389557516666160321112512

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