Alice Frigerio, M.D., Ph.D.

Harvard Medical School

Instructor in Otolaryngology

Massachusetts Eye and Ear


Research Summary

Research Area

Research Summary

Dr. Frigerio’s primary research interests include investigating the pathogenesis of vascular anomalies and finding possible new cures.  Her research involves working with a large cohort of vascular anomaly patients, eliciting details of the progression of their disease and familial origins.  She is investigating the genetic determinants of capillary malformations, their molecular pathways, and their possible relationship with other neural crest-derived disorders such as melanoma.

Dr. Frigerio is also interested in research and development of technologies for the robotic rehabilitation of facial movements (facial pacing).  She has pioneered an external biomimetic device for the rehabilitation of the eye blink in patients affected by acute facial paralysis.

Select Publications

Laser applications for benign oral lesions. Frigerio A, Tan OT. Lasers Surg Med. 2015 Oct;47(8):643-50. doi: 10.1002/lsm.22404. Epub 2015 Aug 26.

Electrical Stimulation of Eye Blink in Individuals with Acute Facial Palsy: Progress toward a Bionic Blink. Frigerio A, Heaton JT, Cavallari P, Knox C, Hohman MH, Hadlock TA. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2015 Oct;136(4):515e-23e. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000001639.

Genetic Variants Associated with Port-Wine Stains. Frigerio A, Wright K, Wooderchak-Donahue W, Tan OT, Margraf R, Stevenson DA, Grimmer JF, Bayrak-Toydemir P. PLoS One. 2015 Jul 20;10(7):e0133158. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0133158. eCollection 2015.

Surface electromyographic mapping of the orbicularis oculi muscle for real-time blink detection. Frigerio A, Cavallari P, Frigeni M, Pedrocchi A, Sarasola A, Ferrante S. JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2014 Sep-Oct;16(5):335-42. doi: 10.1001/jamafacial.2014.283.

Infrared-based blink-detecting glasses for facial pacing: toward a bionic blink. Frigerio A, Hadlock TA, Murray EH, Heaton JT. JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2014 May-Jun;16(3):211-8. doi: 10.1001/jamafacial.2014.1.

Determining the threshold for asymmetry detection in facial expressions. Hohman MH, Kim SW, Heller ES, Frigerio A, Heaton JT, Hadlock TA. Laryngoscope. 2014 Apr;124(4):860-5. doi: 10.1002/lary.24331. Epub 2013 Oct 2.

Quantitative three-dimensional assessment of port-wine stain clearance after laser treatments. Frigerio A, Bhama PK, Tan OT. Lasers Surg Med. 2014 Mar;46(3):180-5. doi: 10.1002/lsm.22193. Epub 2013 Oct 24.

The genetics of vascular anomalies. Frigerio A, Stevenson DA, Grimmer JF. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012 Dec;20(6):527-32. doi: 10.1097/MOO.0b013e3283587415. Review.

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2004: M.D. Cum laude et plauso, Università degli Studi di Milano
2013: Ph.D. Physiology (Biomedical Devices), Università degli Studi di Milano

Postgraduate Training

2004 - 2009: Residency in Maxillofacial Surgery: Università degli Studi di Milano
2013 - 2014: Postdoctoral Research Fellowship: Vascular Anomalies (Oon Tian Tan, M.D., Ph.D., Advisor), Harvard Medical School

Professional Memberships (select)

2009 - present: Girandola Onlus for Vascular Anomalies, Board Member

Honors (select)

2011: Top 3 Winner, Start Cup Milano Lombardia, Fondazione Politecnico di Milano & PoliHub business accelerator
2013: Basic Science Award, American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
2013: Zonta International Award, Zonta Club Milano Sant'Ambrogio
2014: For Women in Science National Fellowship, L’Oréal Italia in partnership with Unesco
2015: For Women in Science International Rising Talents Nominee, L’Oréal Foundation in partnership with Unesco