NanoInnovation Laboratory HOME

The NanoInnovation Laboratory has been established in 2003. 

Our group works on applications of nanotechnology to biophysics and translational medicine. The focus is on world spread diseases, as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. We implement innovative sensing strategies for the detection of disease molecular biomarkers at the early stage of disease progression, as well as integrated platforms to decipher the mechanisms of disease development. Our platforms are based on Atomic Force Microscopy, to study macromolecules and biorecognition events as well as cell and tissue biomechanics; Fluorescence Microscopy; Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy. These platforms are complemented by other Synchrotron Radiation-based techniques. Expertise in surface bio-functionalization, bio-recognition at surfaces, self-assembling, nanopatterning, is at the core of our activities.

Our group is composed by highly motivated graduate students and postdoctoral researchers from Physics, Biology, Biotechnology, Bioengineering, and Materials Science. We collaborate extensively with groups from University of Trieste, the International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA), the medical school of Udine, and many other Universities in Europe, Africa, India and in the US.

Research highlights

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Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy- based Biosensors

We developed an electrochemical impedance biosensor based on capacitance readout for the detection of biomolecules in small sample volumes.  We demonstrated that our three-electrode setup is stable, reproducible, and suitable for real-time measurements in complex matrices. With this device we were able to follow in situ and in real time the process of DNA hybridization.  P.Capaldo et al. ACS Sensors 1, 1003-1010 (2016)

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AFM-based Nanoimmuno Assays

We have designed a quantitative approach to eventually enable precise and multiplexing protein analysis of very small systems, down to a single or a few cells. DNA nanoarrays were fabricated by means of AFM based nanografting and antibodies were then immobilized using DNA-directed immobilization of DNA-protein conjugates. We tested the efficiency of our assay in standard solution and in cellular lysate and we compared it with conventional ELISA assay. Ambrosetti et al. ACS Omega 2, 2618 (2017)         

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DNA-conjugated gold nanoparticles based colorimetric assay

We designed a novel assay for the study of helicase activity  based on DNA-conjugated gold nanoparticles. We were able to disentangle the action of RecQ4 helicase and its mutants with this colorometric assay, comparing it with standard and costy fluorescent methods.  Deka et al Scientific Reports, 7, 444538 (2017)  

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Enzymes in dsDNA confined monolayers

We investigated the action of enzymes in crowded environment. Combining AFM and Molecular Dynamics simulations we were able to demonstrate that in DNA confined monolayers, restriction enzymes are inhibited or allowed to act depending on DNA sequence confromation and restriction site position along the chain.  C. Rotella et al., Nanoscale 9, 6399 (2017)      

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By construction, the laboratory is equipped with various AFM microscope systems for operation in air and liquid environment. We can perform nanolithography, conductance, surface capacitance, work function and high resolution measurements on a large variety of samples ranging from biological (dna, protein, cells, etc.) to organic (alkanethiols, acenes, etc.) and inorganic (gold, Si, mica, etc.) samples either conducting or insulating. Furthermore the laboratory is equipped with a chemical and biological sample preparation room.

The laboratory is also available to italian and foreign students who spend part of their studies at Elettra often introducing in the lab new research topics.

The laboratory team work consists of:

  • short measurements (few days) carried out as a support of other labs/beamilnes at Elettra, or at other research institutions;
  • experiments related to long-term projects lead by the internal team or related to the staging external students course of study.
Last Updated on Friday, 22 June 2018 15:38