Project Description


A unique cohort to study mechanisms underlying cardiometabolic disorders in Women

Do you know that the leading cause of death for women is not breast or uterine cancer, but cardiometabolic diseases, which include type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome? Italian, national statistical data from 2018 indicates that the incidence of these diseases in women (425 per 100 thousand inhabitants) is 24% higher than that of men (343 per 100 thousand inhabitants). The picture is similar from worldwide statistics.

Unfortunately, our understanding of the specific mechanisms underlying cardiometabolic diseases in women, as well as appropriate treatment and prevention strategies, is very limited, as the inclusion of women in research and clinical trials has only become a requirement in recent years.

In the era of precision medicine, in which we try to define the personalized treatment for each patient on the basis of his characteristics, it is urgent to study emerging risk factors specific to women through research projects oriented towards female medicine.

From the collaboration between Dr. Serena Sanna of the Institute of Genetic and Biomedical Research (IRGB) of the CNR of Cagliari, Prof. Giorgia Girotto and Dr. Francesco De Seta of the I.R.C.C.S. Materno-Infantile Burlo Garofolo of Trieste, a unique cohort of female volunteers, “Women4Health” will be studied with the ambitious goal to understand the relationship between sex hormones, the intestinal and vaginal microbiome, and the glucose and lipid metabolism in women.

The results of this project will reveal the possible mechanisms that determine the onset and progression of cardiometabolic diseases in women and lay the foundations for a more specific prevention and treatment strategy for women.

Research Team:

The project is a joint effort between the IRGB-CNR (led by Dr. Serena Sanna) and the I.R.C.C.S. Burlo Garofolo (led by Prof. Giorgia Girotto and by Dr. Francesco De Seta). Team members include: Fabio Busonero, Francesca Crobu, Andrea Maschio, Michele Marongiu, Marco Masala, Daniela Mazzà, Stefania Lenarduzzi, Alma Kadric, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Roberta Gentile,  Francesco Cracco, Elena Stefani, Michele Stracquadaini.

We also acknowledge the collaboration with Prof. Claudio Conversano and Andrea Carta of the University of Cagliari.

Relevant links:

Facebook page:   @progetto.W4H

Instagram account:  _Women4Health_

Contact: (Trieste) e (Cagliari)

Funding sources:

This study has been funded by MUR RC 2021 and RC 2022 (to Prof. Giorgia Girotto), by ERC Starting Grant 2022 (to Dr. Serena Sanna) and supported by Sardegna Ricerche.


  • flyer for project advertising (for Cagliari and for Trieste)
  • brochure describing goals, criteria for enrollment as well as test returned to volunteers (for Cagliari and for Trieste)