Maria Moroni, PhD

Maria Moroni, PhD

Name: Maria Moroni, PhD

Department of Primary Appointment: Radiobiology
Position: USU Faculty
Title: Assistant Professor (Adjunct appointment)

Research Interests:
Pathophysiology of radiation injury; validating the minipig as a large-animal model for ARS in adult and pediatric populations

Email: (link sends e-mail)
Office Phone: (301) 295-2347



Assistant Professor (secondary appointment)
Department of Radiation Biology

A critical issue for radiation countermeasure development is the limited number of animal models suitable for countermeasure testing under the FDA Animal Rule. We are characterizing the minipig as an additional large-animal model for advanced drug testing for the Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS). Our previous work has shown that the minipig is a suitable model for longitudinal blood sampling in irradiated, immunocompromised animals, and that the hematopoietic sub-syndrome of the ARS closely mimics that in humans in terms of clinical signs, symptoms and kinetics of blood cell depletion and recovery.

Administration of G-CSF, the standard cytokine treatment for radiation injury, provided protection and hematological recovery as expected from other models. Utility of the minipig for ex vivo and in vivo biodosimetric studies was confirmed by the similarity in response between human and porcine samples of gamma-H2AX, a surrogate marker for double-strand breaks and a potential tool for quickly assessing exposure to radiation.

My current research interests include understanding the pathophysiology of radiation injury and validating the minipig as a large-animal model for ARS in adult and pediatric populations, for radiation countermeasure efficacy testing.

Recent publications

  1. 2013—Moroni M, Maeda D, Whitnall MH, Bonner WM, Redon CE. Evaluation of the gamma-H2AX assay for radiation biodosimetry in a swine model.Int J Mol Sci. 14:14119–14135.
  2. 2013—Moroni M, Ngudiankama B, Christensen C, Olsen C, Owens R, Lombardini E, Holt R, Whitnall MH. The Gottingen minipig is a model of the hematopoietic acute radiation syndrome: G-CSF stimulates hematopoiesis and enhances survival from lethal total-body gamma-irradiation. IJROBP 86:986–992.
  3. 2013—Whitnall MH, and Maria M. Gottingen minipig model of the acute radiation syndrome. In: Proceedings of NATO RTO HFM-223 Symposium "Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation Exposure and Countermeasures: Current Status and Future Perspectives," Slovenia 2012.
  4. 2012—Whitnall MH, Cary LH, Moroni M, Ngudiankama BF, Landauer MR, Singh VK, Ghosh SP, Kulkarni S, Miller AC, Kiang JG, Satyamitra M, Srinivasan V, Xiao M. United States Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute countermeasures program and related policy questions. In: Report from the 2011 Hirosaki University Radiation Emergency Medicine International Symposium 117–129.
  5. 2012—Hulet SW, Moroni M, Whitnall MH and Mioduszewski RJ (2012) The minipig in chemical, biological, and radiological research. In: McAnulty PA, Dayan AD, Ganderup NC, Hastings KL (eds.) The Minipig in Biomedical Research. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL: 533–547.
  6. 2011—Moroni M, Martin PR, Subramanian, Krasnopolsky K. RTG 033 Subgroup 2: Radiation Injury Assessment and Biodosimetry High Throughput Robotic Blood Handling and Cytogenetic Sample Preparation. NATO HFM-099/RTG-033Final Report, Chapter 8.
  7. 2011—Moroni M, Lombardini E, Salber R, Kazemzedeh M, Nagy V, Olsen C, and Whitnall MH. Hematological changes as prognostic indicators of survival: Similarities between Gottingen minipigs, humans, and other large animal models. PLoS ONE 6: e25210.
  8. 2011—Moroni M, Coolbaugh TV, Lombardini E, Mitchell JM, Moccia KD, Shelton LJ, Nagy V, and Whitnall MF. Hematopoietic radiation syndrome in the Gottingen minipig. J Radiat Res.176:89–101.
  9. 2011—Moroni M, Coolbaugh TV, Mitchell JM, Lombardini E, Moccia KD, Nagy V, Whitnall MH. Vascular access port implantation and serial blood sampling in a Gottingen minipig (Sus scrofa domestica) model of acute radiation injury. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 50:65–72.