Research field
  • Structural biology: Prof. A. Mattevi, Dept. of  Biology and Biotechnology

The common theme of the research projects in our groups is the investigation of medically relevant proteins and enzymes with interesting chemical properties, such as complex multifunctional systems and proteins performing unusual catalytic functions. The core of the research activity is represented by X-ray crystallography, employed to study protein three-dimensional structures. This is complemented by other approaches such as biochemistry, biophysics, cell biology and computational chemistry. The main research lines involve structural and biochemical characterization of flavin-dependent enzymes of medical and industrial relevance (

  • The Armenise-Harvard Laboratory of Structural Biology: Prof. F. Forneris, Dept. of  Biology and Biotechnology

We develop integrative structural biology methods to study molecular recognition and regulation processes in bio-medically relevant proteins. In many cases, the targets are extracellular multi-domain proteins involved in signaling and intercellular communication. Our goal is to reveal the atomic details of structure-function relationships enabling cellular interactions to form tissues and organs, and to enable precise interventions in case of diseases or malfunctions. Detailed information about our projects are available in the “Topics” page of our website (

  • Bioinorganic Chemistry: Prof. E. Monzani, Dept. of Chemistry

The research activity of the Bioinorganic Chemistry Group, in the Chemistry Department, focuses on biological oxidation processes, both those promoted by metalloenzymes under normal physiological conditions and those produced under oxidative stress, which depend on the dyshomeostasis of redox-active metals, such as iron and copper, and that are involved in many neurodegenerative pathologies.

  • Biocatalysis: Prof. D. Ubiali, Dept. of Drug Sciences

“From enzymes to biocatalysts”
BIOCATALYSIS applied to the synthesis of APIs or intermediates. Development of robust and recyclable biocatalysts by immobilization for in batch and flow processes.

“From waste to resource”
Upgrading waste/by-products from the agrifood productive chain by biotransformations/bioseparations for the production of high value added molecules (i.e. nutraceuticals, cosmetics) according to the BIOREFINERY concept.

  • Pharmaceutical Technology and Law: Prof. B. Conti, Dept. of Drug Sciences

Research lines:

-Formulation, characterization and study of micro- and nano-particulate drug delivery systems made of biodegradable and biocompatible polymers.
- Formulation studies on nanoparticulate adjuvants for protein subunit vaccine.
- Formulation studies on targeted nanoparticulate drug delivery system for cancer and anti-inflammatory therapies.
- Development of formulations specific for paediatric use.
- Formulation and characterization of scaffolds as implantable and temporal devices for tissue regeneration based on synthetic and natural polymers.
- Studies on in situ forming gels as topic and implantable drug delivery systems.
- Study of the effect of ionizing radiation on natural and synthetic polymers and micro/nanoparticulate drug delivery systems.
- Study of physico-chemical properties and degradation performances of synthetic and
natural polymers.
- Overcoming biopharmaceutical drug issues by suitable drug delivery systems.
- Health communication. Information to prevent medication errors by patients

  • Molecular basis of heritable skeletal disorders: Prof. A. Rossi, Dept. of Molecular Medicine

The study of rare diseases is crucial to dissect novel skeletal functions providing a better picture of cartilage and bone biology. Using animal and cellular models the objectives of our research are:
- the understanding of the molecular basis of heritable skeletal diseases to gain a deep knowledge of the cellular, molecular and genetic aspects contributing to the initiation and progression of the disorders;
- the development of effective approaches for the diagnosis, prevention and/or correction of the disorder course through new molecular and/or pharmacological trials.

  • Neuropharmacology: Prof. C. Lanni, Dept. of Drug of Sciences

For Alzheimer's disease one of the most accredited pathogenetic hypotheses is the so-called "amyloid cascade". We aim to characterize the correlation between the hyperproduction of Aβ, its pathological aggregation in amyloid fibrils and the neurotoxic activity of the fibrils, to allow new therapeutic intervention strategies.

  • Molecular Ematology: Prof. M. Torti, Dept. of  Biology and Biotechnology

The research group of prof. Torti investigates the biochemical mechanisms of blood platelet activation, focusing on the characterization of the signal transduction pathways stimulated by adhesive receptor as well as receptors for soluble agonists that involve intracellular effectors such as phospholipases, tyrosine kinases , small GTPases, and phosphoinositides kinases. The goal of these studies is to decipher the molecular mechanisms regulating the physiological hemostasis but also responsible for arterial thrombosis, that represent that major cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Moreover, these researches are also aimed to highlight novel functions of blood platelets beyond hemostasis and thrombosis, such as their implication in neurodegenerative disorders and cancer  metastasis.

  • Molecular Microbiology: Prof. S. Buroni, Dept. of Biology and Biotechnology

Two main lines of research are actually pursuing:
1) Identification of targets for new drugs in Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Tuberculosis (TB) remains the leading cause of mortality due to a bacterial pathogen, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, specially because of the spread of multidrug-resistant strains. Consequently, there is an urgent necessity of new TB drugs. More precisely, our laboratory is aimed to find the target and the mechanism of action of new drugs. One of this molecule (Macozinone) is in phase 2 of clinical development.

2) Identification of new drugs and novel targets for Burkholderia cenocepacia
Burkholderia cenocepacia is a Gram-negative bacterium that infects the airways of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. The intrinsic resistance of this microorganism to different antibiotics complicates eradication of this infection. The development of novel antibiotics remains a major issue for the treatment of infectious lung disease, such as that in CF.
The current research involves the synthesis of new molecules effective against B. cenocepacia and the study of their mechanism of action.