Research Activity in Biophysical Sciences
Research activity within the PhD program in Biophysical Sciences is directed towards the investigation of biological processes at the molecular level. In order to pursue this goal, we develop and apply (i) advanced high-resolution imaging techniques (optical, electronic, NMR), (ii) novel high-efficiency probes and labeling techniques based on nanoparticles, organic chromophores or fluorescent proteins. Laboratory work is completed by computer modeling and the methodologies developed are applied also in the context of Lab-on-a-chip diagnostics, particularly with architectures based on SAW-actuated microfluidics.
Specific research directions include drug delivery with a special attention on endocytosis and escape processes, the design of peptidic vectors (cell-penetrating peptides) and the use of peptidic sequences or aptamers for cellular and subcellular targeting. Other research projects target the study of exosomes for nanobiotechnological applications and biosensing at high resolution in vitro and in vivo. Collaboration with medical and clinical groups is actively pursued to ensure a translational approach to research whenever possible.
Students will carry out their research activity within the National Enterprise for nanoScience and nanoTechnology (NEST) and will benefit from the presence not only of Scuola Normale Superiore research and teaching staff, but also from that of scientists and facilities of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (Center for Nanotechnology Innovation) e of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Istituto Nanoscienze) that are located within NEST. Close collaborations exist also with neuroscience and computational chemistry groups at the Scuola Normale Superiore. The Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia will participate to the program also with its central seat in Genova which will offer further research opportunities to the PhD students. The Fondazione Gabriele Monasterio and the Fondazione Pisana per la Scienza will provide expertise and equipment of medical and clinical relevance.