Nanobiotechnology. Coordinator: Zuccheri

The nanobiotechnology research group employs nanotechnological techniques and strategies towards the characterization of biological systems (through microscopy, single-molecule techniques, biosensors) and it exploits the features of biological molecules for designing and making nanosystems.

Fluorescence microscopy of mammalian cells after their spontaneous internalization of fluorescently-labelled engineered DNA nanostructures (a model is shown in the inset)

Research themes

Atomic Force Microscopy: The research group develops nanotechnology techniques, with a focus on Atomic Force Microscopy. These are used to characterize nucleic acids, nucleoprotein complexes, proteins, biological nanostructures and nanostructured materials (surfaces, nanoparticles, nanofibers, nanostructured polymers). Single molecule force spectroscopy is used to study the conformational equilibria in proteins or to characterize the interactions amongst molecules. 

DNA nanotechnology: The group exploits Structural DNA Nanotechnology, the strategies to design the self-assembly of DNA nanostructures to make functional nanostructures (for biosensing, for affecting cell behavior, or for other applications). 

Biosensors: The group works on the development of biosensing systems, especially focusing on the recognition of biomolecular analytes from solutions. The group’s main expertise lies in the use of biosensors based on nucleic acids. 

3D cell culture: cell spheroids cultured in microstructured devices

Advanced cell culture: we are developing methods for advanced and 3D cell culture in collaboration with some department biologists and in the context of the reduction or substitution of animal models in research. 

The group can provide technical services in atomic force microscopy and related techniques (with the assistance of optical microscopy) for the characterization of biomolecules, nanostructures, and materials, including nanomechanical analysis. Please, contact the coordinator for details. 

Lab Members

Giampaolo Zuccheri (pagina web del gruppo), PI (email)

Farzad Rahbar Koui Bahran , PhD Student

Emanuela Mensà, Research Fellow

Manon Libotte,  PhD Student

Internship projects 

- Design and characterization of strategies for molecular self-assembly on the nanoscale for applications in biosensing and for the modulation of cell function. 

- AFM-based characterization of cells and natural or artificial nanostructures for diagnostics applications. 

- Advanced methods of cell culture for testing of chemicals and pharmaceuticals. 

Please, write to the coordinator for updated information and the availability of these or other internship projects.

Main publications

  • A. Raspadori, V. Vignali, A. Murello, G. Giachin,* B. Samorì, M. Tanaka, C. Bustamante, G. Zuccheri*, G. Legname* (2022) "Evidence of Orientation-Dependent Early States of Prion Protein Misfolded Structures from Single Molecule Force Spectroscopy" Biology (Basel) 11(9):1358.
  • A. Miti, S. Thamm, P. Müller, A.Csáki, W. Fritzsche, G. Zuccheri* (2020) "A miRNA biosensor based on localized surface plasmon resonance enhanced by surface-bound hybridization chain reaction" Biosensors and Bioelectronics 
  • P. M.Castro, P. Baptista, G. Zuccheri, A. R. Madureira, B. Sarmento, M. E. Pintado, (2019) "Film-nanoparticle composite for enhanced oral delivery of alpha-casozepine" Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces. DOI:10.1016/j.colsurfb.2019.05.029 
  • F. Massenzio , E. Peña-Altamira, S. Petralla, M. Virgili, G. Zuccheri, A. Miti, E. Polazzi, I. Mengoni , D. Piffaretti, B. Monti "Microglial overexpression of fALS-linked mutant SOD1 induces SOD1 processing impairment, activation and neurotoxicity and is counteracted by the autophagy inducer trehalose" Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2018 Oct 10;1864(12):3771-3785. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2018.10.013