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NanoInnovation Laboratory @ Elettra


The NanoInnovation Lab has expertise in: the physical-chemistry of organic thin films self-assembling; surface (bio)-functionalization and characterization; use of nanotechnologies for the controlled immobilization of confined, density-controlled monolayers of biomolecules for biosensing applications; single molecule interaction studies. Main topics of our research are:

  1. lipid bilayers of variable composition as mimicking platforms to study proteins/extra-cellular vesicles interactions with cell membranes
  2. development of high-sensitivity analytical platforms (Au-based nanoparticles; nanoarrays) for quantitative diagnostics and disease monitoring of molecular and vesicular biomarkers, as exosomes, in the context of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases
  3. tissue and cell biomechanics in health and disease

Towards these aims we use a combination of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and AFM-lithography, fluorescence microscopy and synchrotron radiation based techniques. Also, we use advanced AFM imaging modes in liquid environment, to highlight structural details of protein/DNA interaction, at a single molecule level, and AFM force spectroscopy for studies in biomechanics.

The NanoInnovation Lab of Elettra is led by Dr. Loredana Casalis and Dr. Pietro Parisse. It is equipped with 4 state-of-the-art Atomic Force Microscopes (AFMs), one of which is mounted on a Nikon Eclipse Ti Inverted Microscope with a TIRF fluorescence setup and a CCD cooled camera, soon upgraded to single photon counting EM-CCD to habilitate super-resolution fluorescence imaging. We work in collaboration with other facilities/beamlines as The Structural Biology Lab, a fully equipped biological laboratory, including HT cloning, large-scale protein expression/purification equipment and different biophysical and biochemical approaches to characterize proteins and protein/protein interactions (FRET, UV-vis, etc.); vibrational spectroscopy beamlines (SISSI for Infrared Spectroscopy; IUVS for Raman Microscopy); microfabrication beamlines; the Small Angle X-ray Scattering beamline (SAXS), and of the free electron laser FERMI, as pump-probe experiments with ultra-short (fs) pulses.

4µm x 3µm three dimensional rendering of Atomic Force Microscopy topographic map of extracellular vesicles
fused with a lipid bilayer mimicking a plasma cell membrane



Loredana Casalis
Elettra-Sincrotone Trieste

Pietro Parisse
Elettra-Sincrotone Trieste

Last updated on: 06/08/2020 - 10:29