Research area: Biochemical, molecular biology and nanotechnology approaches for investigating the endosomal-lysosomal-autophagic system in health, aging and neurodegenerative diseases and developing innovative therapeutic strategies; (ii) identification of risk and protective factors for the prevention of chronic-degenerative diseases.

Scientific categories: Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Hygiene.

Main Topics

Endosomal-lysosomal system characterization and function
Lysosomal enzymes expression, intracellular trafficking, secretion, sub-cellular localization in normal and pathological conditions.
Involvement of the endosomal-lysosomal system in aging, neurodegenerative disorders and cancer.
Purification and characterization of exosomes from different human cell types and body fluids.
Role of autophagic-lysosomal pathway in the pathogenesis of neuronal damage and evaluation of neuroprotective effect of mTOR inhibitors treatment.

Regenerative and translational medicine
Development of enzyme /gene/stem cell-replacement therapeutic strategies for lysosomal metabolic disorders with neurological involvement.
Generation of biohybrid tissue/organ by using stem cells and biomaterials for regenerative medicine application.
Diseases modeling by using patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells.

Nanobiotechnology applications
Nanocomposite biomaterials for tissue regeneration.
Functionalized biodegradable nanoparticles for drug delivery.
Nanobiosensors for diagnostic applications.
Mechanotransduction: identification of molecular signals generated by the mechanical properties of biomaterials that induce specific stem cell response (e.g. self-renewal, differentiation, reprogramming, epigenetic modifications).

Metabolism of phopholipids
Biochemical studies of the phospholipidic metabolism in different cellular pathways (e.g. signal transduction and apoptosis) and in pathological conditions (e.g. drug induced phospholipidosis).

Production of recombinant proteins
Production of recombinant proteins for biomedical, bioremediation and green energy applications.

Molecular basis of Toxoplasma gondii reactivation
Study of the molecular basis of the reactivation of Toxoplasma gondii tissue cysts and development of new therapeutic strategies for Toxoplasma chronic infection by using lysosomal protease inhibitors.

Prevention of chronic-degenerative diseases
Study of Mediterranean diet components, environmental pollutants and genetic susceptibility effects on the molecular mechanisms (e.g. DNA damage, gene expression, oxidative stress, apoptosis, proliferation, inflammation) responsible for the onset of chronic-degenerative disease.

Healthy aging
Identification of molecular, behavioural, nutritional, clinical, social and environmental cues in healthy and active aging to target different risk factors for dementia, and reliable prognostic and intervention monitoring tools.