People

  

Marco Cecchini, PhD

Physicist – Senior Researcher, INTA srl CTO - Group leader

Born in Italy in 1975, he received his Master degree in Physics from the Physics Department of the University of Pisa (Italy) in 1999, and PhD in Condensed Matter Physics from the Scuola Normale Superiore (Italy) in 2006. Currently, he is senior researcher and member of the scientific council of the Nanoscience Institute (Pisa, Italy) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR), CTO of INTA srl (a joint spin-off company of the CNR and Scuola Normale Superiore) and Lecturer of Biomaterial Science at the University of Pisa (Biology Department, Laurea Degree Course in Biotechnology). 

His main research interests are: development of nanomaterials for brain pathologies and nerve regeneration; development of surface-acoustic-wave devices for microfluidics and sensing applications.

• M. Agostini, F. Amato, ML. Vieri, G. Greco, I. Tonazzini, L. Baroncelli, M. Caleo, E. Vannini, M. Santi, G. Signore, and M. Cecchini. Glial-fibrillary-acidic-protein (GFAP) biomarker detection in serum-matrix: Functionalization strategies and detection by an ultra-high-frequency surface-acoustic-wave (UHF-SAW) lab-on-chip. Biosensors and Bioelectronics 172, 112774 (2021). 

• A. Del Grosso, M. Galliani, L. Angella, M. Santi, I. Tonazzini, G. Parlanti, G. Signore, and M. Cecchini. Brain-targeted enzyme-loaded nanoparticles: A breach through the blood-brain barrier for enzyme replacement therapy in Krabbe disease. Science Advances 5, no. 11, eaax7462, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax7462 (2019).  

• A. Grosso, L. Angella, I. Tonazzini, A. Moscardini, N. Giordano, M. Caleo, S. Rocchiccioli, M. Cecchini. Dysregulated autophagy as a new aspect of the molecular pathogenesis of Krabbe disease. Neurobiology of Disease, 2019, doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2019.05.011.  

Ilaria Tonazzini, PhD

Pharmaceutical chemist – Researcher

2019: Researcher at the Nanoscience Institute CNR, Pisa (IT)
2018: Individual Fellowship Marie Curie @ Erasmus Medical Center, Dept. Neuroscience, Rotterdam (NL), project NeuroGuide.
2015-2017: Fellow of Fondazione Umberto Veronesi, Istituto Nanoscienze-CNR, Pisa.
2010-2014: Post-doc position at NEST Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa (IT).
2007-2009: Post-doc, Istituto per lo Studio dei Materiali Nanostrutturati-CNR, Bologna (IT).
2005-2006: Marie Curie PhD fellowship at the Centre for Molecular Biology and Neuroscience, Oslo (NO).
2005: PhD visiting student at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm (SE).
2004-2007: PhD in Drug’ Science, University of Pisa.

My main research interest focuses on the study of neuronal environmental sensing in patho-physiological conditions, by means of nano-structured substrates and microfluidics.

• A. De Masi, I. Tonazzini, C. Masciullo, R. Mezzena, F. Chiellini, D. Puppi, M. Cecchini. Chitosan films for regenerative medicine: fabrication methods and mechanical characterization of nanostructured chitosan filmsBiophys Rev, 11, 807–815 (2019).  

• I. Tonazzini, GM Van Woerden, C. Masciullo, E. Mientjes, Y. Elgersma, M. Cecchini . The role of ubiquitin ligase E3A in polarized contact guidance and rescue strategies in UBE3A-deficient hippocampal neurons. Molecular Autism, 10, 41 (2019).  

• R. Mezzena, C. Masciullo, S. Antonini, F. Cremisi, M. Scheffner, M. Cecchini, I. Tonazzini. Study of adhesion and migration dynamics in Ubiquitin E3A ligase (UBE3A)-silenced SYSH5Y neuroblastoma cells by micro-structured surfaces. Nanotechnology, 32(2), 025708 (2021).  

 

Mariacristina Gagliardi, PhD

Chemical Engineer – Researcher

Currently: Researcher at the CNR-NANO Institute, Pisa, Laboratorio NEST, Scuola Normale Superiore

2015-2019: Postdoctoral fellow at the IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca, Lucca

2013-2015: Postdoctoral fellow at the CMBR @SSSA, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Pontedera, The Biorobotic Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna

2011-2013: Postdoctoral fellow at the CNI @NEST, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Pisa, Laboratorio NEST, Scuola Normale Superiore

2010-2011: Postdoctoral fellow at the Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Industrial Chemistry and Materials Science, Pisa, University of Pisa

2007-2010: PhD student in Chemical and Materials Engineering at the Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Industrial Chemistry and Materials Science, Pisa, University of Pisa

Research interests: synthesis and development of biodegradable nanocarriers and nanosized polymer-based systems with high molecular recognition properties (MIPs) with applications in drug delivery and sensors

•  M. Gagliardi, A. Bertero, A. Bifone. Molecularly imprinted biodegradable nanoparticlesScientific Reports, 7, 40046 (2017). 

• M. Gagliardi, A. Bertero, G. Bardi, A. Bifone. A poly(ether-ester) copolymer for the preparation of nanocarriers with improved degradation and drug delivery kinetics.  Materials Science and Engineering C, 59, 488-499 (2016).  

• M. Gagliardi, G. Bardi, A. Bifone.Polymeric nanocarriers for the controlled and enhanced delivery of therapeutic agents to the CNS. Therapeutic Delivery, 3, 875–887 (2012). 

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Matteo Agostini, PhD

Nanotechnology engineer – INTA srl, CEO

Born on 27-Nov-1988 in Latina (Italy). 2013-2017 PhD program in Molecular Biophysics at Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa (Italy); 2013 MSc in Nanotechnology Engineering at La Sapienza, Rome (Italy).

From 2020 I am the CEO of INTA Systems (www.intasystems.net). The activity of the company focuses on the development and commercialization of surface-acoustic-waves (SAWs) based biosensors and microfluidic devices for life-sciences applications.

• M. Agostini, G. Greco, M. Cecchini. A Rayleigh surface acoustic wave (R-SAW) resonator biosensor based on positive and negative reflectors with sub-nanomolar limit of detection. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 254, 1–7 (2018).  

 

• A. Sonato*, M. Agostini*, G. Ruffato, E. Gazzola, D. Liuni, G. Greco, M. Travagliati, M. Cecchini, F. Romanato. A surface acoustic wave (SAW)-enhanced grating-coupling phase-interrogation surface plasmon resonance (SPR) microfluidic biosensor. Lab on a Chip, 16(7), 1224–1233 (2016).  

 

• R. Shilton, V. Mattoli, M. Travagliati, M. Agostini, A. Desii, F. Beltram, M. Cecchini. Rapid and Controllable Digital Microfluidic Heating by Surface Acoustic Waves. Advanced Functional Materials, 25, 5895–5901 (2015).  

Ambra Del Grosso, PhD

Biologist - Post-Doc

I have just completed the PhD program in biophysical science of the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa. I graduated at the University of Pisa in Molecular and Cellular Biology in October 2014 with a thesis based on the development of a TALEN gene therapy approach for a rare disease: Primary ciliary dyskinesia. 

For my PhD project I’m working on another rare disease, Globoid Cell Leukodistrophy (or Krabbe disease, KD), a lethal childhood leukodystrophy with no cure available to date. In particular, I aim to develop a new nanovector-mediated enzyme replacement therapy for KD and I am also investigating autophagy as a possible pathogenic mechanism involved in the disease.

• A. Del Grosso, S. Antonini, L. Angella, I. Tonazzini, G. Signore, M. Cecchini. Lithium improves cell viability in psychosine-treated MO3.13 human oligodendrocyte cell line via autophagy activation. Journal of Neuroscience Research, 94(11), 1246-1260, 201 (2016).  

• Del Grosso A., Angella L., Tonazzini I., Moscardini A., Giordano N., Caleo M., … and Cecchini, M. Dysregulated autophagy as a new aspect of the molecular pathogenesis of Krabbe disease. Neurobiology of disease, 129, 195-207 (2019).  

• Galliani M., Santi M., Del Grosso A., Cecchettini A., Santorelli F. M., Hofmann S. L., … and Signore G. Cross-Linked Enzyme Aggregates as Versatile Tool for Enzyme Delivery: Application to Polymeric Nanoparticles. Bioconjugate chemistry, 29(7), 2225-2231 (2018).  

  

Sara Carpi, PhD

Pharmaceutical Chemist - Post-Doc

From 2020: post-Doc position at NEST, Istituto Nanoscienze-CNR, Pisa.

2017-2020: Researcher (RTDa) in Pharmacology (BIO/14), Department of Pharmacy, University of Pisa (Italy).

2016-2017: Post-Doc position at Department of Pharmacy, University of Pisa (Italy).

2016: EMBO short-term fellowship at the ImmunoViroTherapy Lab, Department of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki (Finland).

2015-2016: Fellowship MSD-SIF.

2012-2015 Ph.D. in Medical Pathophysiology and Pharmacology (Ph.D. Program: “Clinical Pathophysiology and Science of Medicine”), University of Pisa (Italy).

My main research interest focuses on the study of pathogenic mechanisms involved in Krabbe disease (KD) and of the development of a novel platform for Enzyme Replacement Therapy (ERT) for the treatment of KD.

• Carpi S, Polini B, Manera C, Digiacomo M, Salsano JE, Macchia M, Scoditti E, Nieri P. Modulation and Antitumor Activity by the Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Polyphenol Oleacein in Human Melanoma Cells. Front Pharmacol. 2020 Sep 23;11:574317. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2020.574317. eCollection 2020. PMID: 33071785.

• Polini B, Carpi S, Doccini S, Citi V, Martelli A, Feola S, Santorelli FM, Cerullo V, Romanini A, Nieri P. Tumor Suppressor Role of hsa-miR-193a-3p and -5p in Cutaneous Melanoma. Int J Mol Sci., 2020 Aug 27;21(17):6183. doi: 10.3390/ijms21176183. PMID: 32867069.  

• Carpi S, Polini B, Nieri D, Dubbini N, Celi A, Nieri P, Neri T. Expression Analysis of Muscle-Specific miRNAs in Plasma-Derived Extracellular Vesicles from Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Diagnostics, 2020 10(7), 502. doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics10070502.  

Miriam De Sarlo, PhD

Biologist - Post-Doc

I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of Salento (IT) in 2014. I got a master’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Pisa (IT) in 2017.

In 2021, I concluded the Ph.D. program in Biology at the University of Pisa (IT). My Ph.D. project was about the development of new tools to study neural aging and neurodegeneration.

Currently, I have a post-doc position at the NEST,-Istituto Nanoscienze-CNR, Pisa (IT).

 

 

• Valentina Naef, Miriam De Sarlo, Giovanna Testa, Debora Corsinovi, Roberta Azzarelli, Ugo Borello, and Michela Ori. The stemness gene mex3A is a key regulator of neuroblast proliferation during neurogenesis. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 2020, doi: 10.3389/fcell.2020.549533.

• Simona Candiani, Silvia Carestiato, Andreas F. Mack, Daniele Bani, Matteo Bozzo, Valentina Obino, Michela Ori, Francesca Rosamilia, Miriam De Sarlo, Mario Pestarino, Isabella Ceccherini and Tiziana Bachetti. Alexander disease modeling in zebrafish: an in vivo system suitable to perform drug screening. Genes, 2020, 11, 1490; doi: 10.3390/genes11121490.  

• Diana Corallo, Michael Donadon, Marcella Pantile, Viktoryia Sidarovich, Simona Cocchi, Michela Ori, Miriam De Sarlo, Simona Candiani, Chiara Frasson, Martin Distel, Alessandro Quattrone, Carlo Zanon, Giuseppe Basso, Gian Paolo Tonini, Sanja Aveic. LIN28B increases neural crest cell migration and leads to transformation of trunk sympathoadrenal precursors. Cell Death & Differentiation, 2020, doi: 10.1038/s41418-019-0425-3.  

  

Roberta Mezzena, MSc

Biotechnologist – PhD student

I’ve taken my bachelor’s degree in Biology, and the master’s degree in Molecular Biotechnology. During my master thesis I’ve worked on a rare disease which affects mainly the females, the PCDH19 related-epilepsy. Now I’m a Ph.D. student in Nanosciences at Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa).

My research will be focused on biomaterials applied to another rare disorder, the Krabbe disease.

• Mezzena R, Masciullo C, Antonini S, Cremisi F, Scheffner M, Cecchini M, Tonazzini I. Study of adhesion and migration dynamics in ubiquitin E3A ligase (UBE3A)-silenced SYSH5Y neuroblastoma cells by micro-structured surfaces. Nanotechnology , 2021 Jan 8;32(2):025708. doi: 10.1088/1361-6528/abbb03. PMID: 33055385.  

• De Masi A, Tonazzini I, Masciullo C, Mezzena R, Chiellini F, Puppi D, Cecchini M. Chitosan films for regenerative medicine: fabrication methods and mechanical characterization of nanostructured chitosan films. Biophys Rev., 2019 Oct;11(5):807-815. doi: 10.1007/s12551-019-00591-6. Epub 2019 Sep 16. PMID: 31529358; PMCID: PMC6815298.  

Luca Scaccini, MSc

Biotechnologist – PhD student

I was born in Arezzo on the 26th of December 1996. I got my bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology (curriculum: biomolecular) at the University of Florence in 2018. I have then obtained the master’s degree in Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Pisa in 2020.

My master’s thesis was about the development and testing of micro-patterned devices, made of a biocompatible and biodegradable material (chitosan), to enhance peripheral nerve regeneration.

I am now a Ph.D. student at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa.

My research is focused in studying a nanoparticles-based treatment for a rare disorder: the Krabbe disease.

Francesco Lunardelli, MSc

Physicist – PhD student

Undergraduated students

Laura Colagiorgio

I’m attending the last year of the master degree in Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Pisa. Thesis Project: Nanoparticle driven enzyme replacement therapy for Krabbe disease.

Giorgia Tori

I’m attending the last year of the master degree in Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Pisa. Thesis Project: Development of surface chemical functionalizations for biosensors.

Martina Niccolini

I’m attending the last year of the master degree in Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Pisa. Thesis Project: Nanoparticles for brain delivery via intranasal administration.