Molecular and applied microbiology (MAM-Lab). Coordinator: Oggioni

Molecular and functional studies on various aspects related to clinical, pharmaceutical (i.e. beneficial microorganisms or pathogens for human health, interactions among mutualistic bacteria, pathogens and host), environmental and industrial microbiology (i.e. biotransformation and bioconversion of organic and inorganic wastes and/or toxic molecules, “omic” characterization of microbial communities and microbial strains isolated from contaminated and/or extreme environments with biotechnological interest)

Research themes

AREAS: drug discovery and development; human microbiota; probiotic bacteria; microbial omics; biomineralization, biodegradation and bioconversion; industrial biotechnology; environmental microbiology

Marco Rinaldo Oggioni, Full Professor (website of M.O.)

  • Characterisation of the first phases of the interaction of bacteria with cells, tissues and organs during invasive bacterial infection using in vitro, in vivo and ex vivo infection models on which to perform confocal microscopy and molecular investigations. The aim of this work is to identify novel approaches for treatment and prevention. A separate topic of research of the same team
  • Investigation of the importance of epigenetic gene regulation in bacteria using luminescent reporter systems and qPCR to monitor variation in promoter strengths due to DNA methylation. The aim of this second topic is to investigate fundamental mechanisms governing epigenetic gene regulation in bacteria.

Beatrice Vitali, Associate Professor (web page of B.V.) ; Carola Eleonora Parolin, Researcher (web page of C.P.); Barbara Giordani, Postdoctoral fellow (web page of B.G.).

  • Characterization of human microbial ecosystems. Phylogenetic analysis using molecular techniques based on the 16S rRNA gene, and functional analysis by means of metabolomic and proteomic approaches. Study of the interactions between mutualistic bacteria, pathogens and cellular epithelium of the host.
  • Study of the health-promoting effects of probiotic bacteria. Study of the molecular mechanisms underlying the therapeutic activities of probiotic bacteria: production of antimicrobial metabolites, ability to form biofilms, modulation of cellular epithelial membrane functions, interaction with the immune system.
  • Selection/characterization of bacterial strains and metabolites/derivatives for the development of probiotic formulations. New health-promoting strains, belonging to the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, and their metabolites/derivatives are characterized in terms of antimicrobial activities, interactions with epithelial tissues, compatibility with the biological fluids and with technological processes used for their formulation.

Davide Zannoni, Alma Mater Professor (web page of D.Z.); Roberto Borghese, Adjunct Professor (web page of R.B.); Stefano Fedi, Researcher (web page of S.F.); Martina Cappelletti, Researcher (web page of M.C.); Andrea Firrincieli, Postdoctoral fellow (web page of A.F.); Daniele Ghezzi, Postdoctoral fellow in collaboration with Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli (web page of D.G.); Silvia Nici, Research fellow; Luana Morelli, Research fellow (in collaboration with Sant’Orsola Hospital and DICAM)

  • Genetic, genomic and metabolic analyses and synthetic biology of microorganisms with environmental and industrial interest (e.g. Rhodococcus and Pseudomonas strains), which are able to metabolize toxic organics (e.g. aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons) and inorganics (e.g. arsenic), under both planktonic and biofilm growth conditions.
  • Omic, functional and applied analyses of microorganisms and microbial communities isolated from natural environments (also extreme ones, e.g. caves, contaminated sites, glaciers) and bioreactors, which are able to biodegrade toxic compounds, bioaccumulate metals, produce secondary metabolites, and can be applied/involved in bioremediation, biomineralization, bioleaching, and biogeochemical cycles in soil and aquatic environments.
  • Characterization of antibacterial properties of inorganic materials of different chemical nature (e.g. ceramic, metal and filtering materials)

Lab members

Marco Rinaldo Oggioni, Full Professor (website of M.O.)

Beatrice Vitali, Associate Professor (web page of B.V.)

Carola Eleonora Parolin, Researcher (web page of C.P.)

Barbara Giordani, Postdoctoral fellow (web page of B.G.)

Davide Zannoni, Alma Mater Professor (web page of D.Z.)

Roberto Borghese, Adjunct Professor (web page of R.B.)

Stefano Fedi, Researcher (web page of S.F.)

Martina Cappelletti, Researcher (web page of M.C.)

Andrea Firrincieli, Postdoctoral fellow (web page of A.F.)

Daniele Ghezzi, Postdoctoral fellow in collaboration with Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli (web page of D.G.)

Silvia Nici, Research fellow

Luana Morelli, Research fellow (in collaboration with Sant’Orsola Hospital and DICAM)

Internship projects

Internship positions are available for the above-mentioned research topics within the MAM-Lab groups.

Main publications

R. A. Ñahui Palomino, C. Vanpouille, L. Laghi, C. Parolin, K. Melikov, P. Backlund, B. Vitali, L. Margolis. Extracellular vesicles from symbiotic vaginal lactobacilli inhibit HIV-1 infection of human tissues. Nature Communications 10: 5656 (2019). doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13468-9.

B. Giordani, P. E. Costantini, S. Fedi, M. Cappelletti, A. Abruzzo, C. Parolin, C. Foschi, G. Frisco, N. Calonghi, T. Cerchiara, F. Bigucci, B. Luppi, B. Vitali. Liposomes containing biosurfactants isolated from Lactobacillus gasseri exert antibiofilm activity against methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains. European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics 139: 246-252 (2019). doi: 10.1016/j.ejpb.2019.04.011.

Firrincieli A, Presentato A, Marabottini R, Allevato Enrica, Stazi SR, Scarascia Mugnozza G, Harfouche A, Petruccioli M, Turner RJ, Zannoni D, Cappelletti M (2019) Identification of Resistance Genes and Response to Arsenic in Rhodococcus aetherivorans BCP1. Frontiers in Microbiology, 888. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2019.00888

Ghezzi, D., Filippini, M., Cappelletti, M., Firrincieli A, Zannoni D, Gargini A, Fedi S (2021) Molecular characterization of microbial communities in a peat-rich aquifer system contaminated with chlorinated aliphatic compounds. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-12236-3

Ercoli G, VE Fernandes, WY Chung, JJ Wanford, S Thomson, CD Bayliss, K Straatman, PR Crocker, A Dennison, L Martinez-Pomares, PW Andrew, ER Moxon, MR Oggioni. 2018. Intracellular replication of Streptococcus pneumoniae inside splenic macrophages serves as a reservoir for septicaemia. Nature Microbiology, 3(5):600-610. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-018-0147-1

Contacts