Leopardi Stefania

Palceholder Foto Dirigente IZSVe Role Veterinarian
Structure SCS5 – Virology, Research and Innovation
Phone +39 049 8084101
E-mail sleopardi@izsvenezie.it

Professional profile

Stefania Leopardi is a veterinary director at the Emerging Viral Zoonoses Laboratory of Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie.

She graduated in Veterinary Medicine in Bologna in 2010, and subsequently obtained a Masters in Wild Animal Health from the Royal Veterinary College, in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London. In 2019 she specialized in animal health, breeding and zootechnical production at the University of Milan. Prior to joining IZSVe in 2015, she worked as a freelance practitioner in pet, exotic, wild and zoo animal medicine.

Since 2015 she has been dealing with emerging infectious diseases at the Emerging Viral Zoonoses Laboratory of SCS5 – Research and innovation IZSVe. She is involved in diagnostic activities related to rabies, especially in the passive surveillance of bats. She is a member of the IUCN bat specialist group. She is involved in several projects on bat lyssaviruses and coronaviruses, with the objectives of: i) identifying the reservoir species of different viruses, ii) studying the biological and behavioural determinants that influence the host / pathogen relationship, iii) describing the viral circulation in bats, iv) studying the immune response of bats to viruses, and iv) identifying contact points that may favour the spillover of viruses from bats to humans or domestic animals.

Her interests are mainly focused on the ecology of infectious diseases in the wild reservoir, with particular focus on lyssaviruses and viruses emerging from the bats reservoir (bats). In this context, her activities aim to investigate the mechanisms of circulation, maintenance and transmission of zoonotic pathogens in wildlife, in relation to the host and the environment.


  • Leopardi S., Terregino C., De Benedictis P. 2020. Silent circulation of coronaviruses in pigs. Veterinary Record. 186 (10), p 323, DOI: 10.1136/vr.m932
  • Cavicchio, L., Tassoni, L., Zamperin, G., Campalto, M., 2020. Unexpected Genetic Diversity of Two Novel Swine MRVs in Italy 1–21. Viruses;12(5):574. doi:10.3390/v12050574.
  • Gourlaouen, M., Angot, A., Mancin, M., Bebay, C., Soumaré, B., Ellero, F., Zecchin, B., Leopardi, S., De Battisti, C., Terregino, C., De Benedictis, P. 2020. An inter-laboratory trial as a tool to increase rabies diagnostic capabilities of Sub-Saharan African Veterinary laboratories. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 14(2): e0008010. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0008010
  • Leopardi, S., Nouvellet, P., Priori, P., Zecchin, B., Salomoni, A., Mancin, M., Scaravelli, D., De Benedictis, P. 2019. Unraveling the role of Myotis myotis in the ecology and transmission of rabies-related lyssaviruses (RRLVs). International Journal of Infectious Diseases 79, supplement 1, p.56, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2018.11.148 (IMED 2018)
  • Leopardi, S., Priori, P., Zecchin, B., Poglayen, G., Trevisiol, K., Lelli, D., Zoppi, S., Scicluna, M.T., D’avino, N., Schiavon, E., Bourhy, H., Serra Cobo, J., Mutinelli, F., Scaravelli D., De Benedictis, P. 2018. Active and passive surveillance for bat lyssaviruses in Italy revealed serological 1 evidence for their circulation in three bat species. Epidemiology and Infection, 147, e63. doi:10.1017/S0950268818003072
  • Lelli D, Prosperi A, Moreno A, Chiapponi C, Gibellini AM, De Benedictis P, Leopardi S, Sozzi E, Lavazza A. 2018. Isolation of a novel Rhabdovirus from an insectivorous bat (Pipistrellus kuhlii) in Italy. Virol J, 15(1):37.
  • Leopardi S, Holmes EC, Gastaldelli M, Tassoni L, Priori P, Scaravelli D, Zamperin G, De Benedictis P.2018.  Interplay between co-divergence and cross-species transmission in the evolutionary history of bat coronaviruses. Infect Genet Evol. 58:279-289. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2018.01.012. Epub 2018 Jan 30. PubMed PMID: 29355607.
  • Lelli, D., Beato, M.S., Cavicchio, L., Lavazza, A., Chiapponi, C., Leopardi, S., Baioni, L., De Benedictis, P., Moreno, A. 2016. First identification of mammalian orthoreovirus type 3 in diarrheic pigs in Europe. Virology Journal, 13(139). DOI 10.1186/s12985-016-0593-4.
  • Leopardi, S., Oluwayelu, D., Meseko, C., Marciano, S., Tassoni, L., Bakarey, S., Monne, I., Cattoli, G., De Benedictis, P. 2016. The close genetic relationship of lineage D Betacoronavirus from Nigerian and Kenyan straw-colored fruit bats (Eidolon helvum) is consistent with the existence of a single epidemiological unit across sub-Saharan Africa. Virus Genes 52(4):573-7. DOI 10.1007/s11262-016-1331-0
  • Leopardi, S., Blake, D., Puechmaille, S.J. 2015. White-Nose Syndrome fungus introduced from Europe to North America. Current Biology, 25(6), pp. R217-R219. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.01.047.