De Benedictis Paola

Paola De Benedictis | Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie Role and Department Veterinarian – SCS5 – Research and innovation
Head – National and FAO Reference Centre for Rabies
Phone +39 049 8084385

Professional profile

Paola De Benedictis obtained her degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Bologna in 2002 and her PhD degree in Animal health, breeding and livestock production from the University of Teramo in 2006. In 2012 she earned her specialization in Innovative technologies for the detection and control of rabies.

She is currently working at the Laboratory for viral zoonoses and emerging and re-emerging pathogens, Research and Innovation Department, at the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSVe). She is the responsible of both the FAO-UN and the national reference centers for rabies at the IZSVe and is member of the WOAH Collaborating Center for Diseases at the human-animal interface.

As an experienced virologist she is mainly involved in research activities targeting viral zoonoses, in particular rabies diagnosis both in animals and humans, with special focus on RNA viruses. Within this field of research, she is strongly committed to identifying innovative diagnostic pathways for rabies diagnosis and to developing new generation immunotherapeutics for rabies prevention in humans. Her research topics also embrace animal welfare and intend to replace the use of laboratory animals by maximizing the 3Rs principle (replacement, reduction and refinement) of animal use for rabies diagnosis and research.

In recent years, her team has implemented active surveillance plans of synanthropic insectivorous bats in northern Italy, an activity included in a broader research project funded by the Italian Ministry of Health aimed at investigating the interplay between a rabies-related LYSV and its natural host. She coordinates diagnostic and research activities implemented at the National reference Centre for rabies and WOAH Collaborating Center for Diseases at the human-animal interface, especially in investigating infections caused by Lyssavirus, Coronavirus e Influenza viruses.

She coordinates several international training programmes promoted by the IZSVe jointly with other international institutions (i.e., UN-FAO, IAEA, EU, ILRI, WHO and WOAH). She has been and still is project/work package leader and/or collaborator in national and international research projects embracing topics such as the pathogenesis, diagnosis, molecular epidemiology and control of viral zoonoses, with particular reference to rabies. In 2015 she joined the Partners for Rabies Prevention group.


  • Leopardi S, Holmes EC, Gastaldelli M, Tassoni L, Priori P, Scaravelli D, Zamperin G, De Benedictis P. Interplay between co-divergence and cross-species transmission in the evolutionary history of bat coronaviruses. Infect Genet Evol. 2018 Mar;58:279-289. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2018.01.012. Epub 2018 Jan 30. PubMed PMID: 29355607
  • Eggerbauer E, de Benedictis P, Hoffmann B, Mettenleiter TC, Schlottau K, Ngoepe EC, Sabeta CT, Freuling CM, Müller T. Evaluation of Six Commercially Available Rapid Immunochromatographic Tests for the Diagnosis of Rabies in Brain Material. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2016 Jun 3;10(6):e0004776. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004776. eCollection 2016 Jun. PubMed PMID: 27336943; PubMed Central PMCID: MC4918935
  • Rota Nodari E, Alonso S, Mancin M, De Nardi M, Hudson-Cooke S, Veggiato C, Cattoli G, De Benedictis P. Rabies Vaccination: Higher Failure Rates in Imported Dogs than in those Vaccinated in Italy. Zoonoses Public Health. 2017 Mar;64(2):146-155. doi: 10.1111/zph.12268. Epub 2016 May 6. PubMed PMID: 27152896
  • Aiello R, Zecchin B, Tiozzo Caenazzo S, Cattoli G, De Benedictis P. Disinfection protocols for necropsy equipment in rabies laboratories: Safety of personnel and diagnostic outcome. J Virol Methods. 2016 Aug;234:75-9. doi:
    10.1016/j.jviromet.2016.03.017. Epub 2016 Apr 16. PubMed PMID: 27091100
  • De Benedictis P, Minola A, Rota Nodari E, Aiello R, Zecchin B, Salomoni A, Foglierini M, Agatic G, Vanzetta F, Lavenir R, Lepelletier A, Bentley E, Weiss R, Cattoli G, Capua I, Sallusto F, Wright E, Lanzavecchia A, Bourhy H, Corti D. Development of broad-spectrum human monoclonal antibodies for rabies post-exposure prophylaxis. EMBO Mol Med. 2016 Apr 1;8(4):407-21. doi: 10.15252/emmm.201505986. PubMed PMID: 26992832; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4818751
  • Nouvellet P, Donnelly CA, De Nardi M, Rhodes CJ, De Benedictis P, Citterio C, Obber F, Lorenzetto M, Pozza MD, Cauchemez S, Cattoli G. Rabies and canine distemper virus epidemics in the red fox population of northern Italy (2006-2010). PLoS One. 2013 Apr 22;8(4):e61588. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061588. Print 2013. PubMed PMID: 23630599; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3632604
  • Fusaro A, Monne I, Salomoni A, Angot A, Trolese M, Ferrè N, Mutinelli F, Holmes EC, Capua I, Lemey P, Cattoli G, De Benedictis P. The introduction of fox rabies into Italy (2008-2011) was due to two viral genetic groups with distinct
    phylogeographic patterns. Infect Genet Evol. 2013 Jul;17:202-9. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2013.03.051. Epub 2013 Apr 19. PubMed PMID: 23603764
  • De Benedictis P, De Battisti C, Marciano S, Mutinelli F, Capua I, Cattoli G. Pyrosequencing of the rabies virus glycoprotein gene to demonstrate absence of vaccine-associated rabies cases following oral vaccination. Vet J. 2013 Mar;195(3):388-90. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2012.06.030. Epub 2012 Jul 28. PubMed PMID: 22841448
  • De Benedictis P, Schultz-Cherry S, Burnham A, Cattoli G. Astrovirus infections in humans and animals – molecular biology, genetic diversity, and interspecies transmissions. Infect Genet Evol. 2011 Oct;11(7):1529-44. doi:
    10.1016/j.meegid.2011.07.024. Epub 2011 Aug 5. Review. PubMed PMID: 21843659
  • De Benedictis P, De Battisti C, Dacheux L, Marciano S, Ormelli S, Salomoni A, Caenazzo ST, Lepelletier A, Bourhy H, Capua I, Cattoli G. Lyssavirus detection and typing using pyrosequencing. J Clin Microbiol. 2011 May;49(5):1932-8. doi: 10.1128/JCM.02015-10. Epub 2011 Mar 9. PubMed PMID: 21389152; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3122702.