Biologia e Genetica

Temi e progetti di ricerca

BioMolecular, Genome and Complex Systems BioMedicine (BMGS) Unit
(Coordinator: Michele Purrello)

  • Expression profiles and molecular functions of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) in the following pathological models

Michele Purrello

  • Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM): GBM Tumor Biopsies and Serum from GBM patients - In vitro GBM cell models
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Serum and saliva from ASD patients • Arnold-Chiari Syndrome (ACS): Serum and saliva from Arnold-Chiari patients
  • Connectome, microbiome and related molecular profiles in ASD and TS

Cinzia Di Pietro

  • Human Reproduction
  • Female Reproductive Health (Oocytes, Somatic Follicular Cells, Follicular Fluid)
  • Embryo Implantation (Blastocoel Fluid, Blastocyst, Endometrium)

Marco Ragusa

  • Colorectal Cancer (CRC): CRC Tumor biopsies, Serum, exosomes from serum and in vitro cell models from CRC patients
  • Vitreous humor, Vitreal exosomes and serum from patients with ocular diseases
  • Saliva ncRNAs and microbiome profiles in ASD patients • Senile Dementias including AD

Microscopy Unit (MI-1)

Marina Scalia

  • Bacterial infections in in vitro models of Blood–brain (BBB) and blood- retina (BRB) barriers
  • Fusogenic action of nanoparticles containing antibiotics (liposomes) against Gram (-) bacteria
  • Isolation and chracterization of Outside Membrane Vescicles (OMVs) from different bacterial strains
  • Isolation and chracterization of exosomes from different cell types (hematopoietic tissues, tumour cells, follicular fluid)
  • Analysis of the expression of PARP genes involved in tumors and diabetes through Laser Scanning Microscopy (LSM)

Microscopy Unit (MI-2)

Fulvia Sinatra

• Cell adhesion and mesenchimal stem cell differentiation,
• Effects of natural biomolecules on neoplastic cells
• Biomaterials: biosensors, nanomaterials, microscopy technologies

Molecular Biology Unit (MB-1)

Vito De Pinto

  • VDAC1 as pharmacological target in cancer and neurodegeneration: focus on its role in apoptosis
  • Functional roles of VDAC1 in physiological conditions
  • Structure and electrophysiological features of human VDAC1

Francesca Guarino

  • Bioinformatic and molecular analysis of the promoter interactions of VDAC
  • Molecular characterization and analysis of cellular and mitochondrial damage induced by cigarettes smoke extract from conventional and electronic cigarettes
  • Modification of the functional features of VDAC1 in hypoxia and starvation

Molecular Biology Unit (MB-2)

Nunzio Iraci

  • Parkinson’s disease and molecular mechanisms of CNS protection and repair
  • Cell-to-cell communication via extracellular vesicles, including exosomes
  • Horizontal RNA transfer (coding and non-coding)
  • Immunometabolism
  • Nanotechnologies and Synthetic Biology

Awarded Grants / Achievements of Junior Researchers

BioMolecular, Genome and Complex Systems BioMedicine

PON-Hyppocrates 2012
Fir 2014 (UniCT)
Research Plan 2016-2018 (UniCT)
I.R.C.C.S. Associazione Oasi Maria SS. ONLUS – TROINA Post- Doctoral Fellowship granted to Davide Barbagallo by Fondazione Umberto Veronesi
Grant for Fertility Innovation (GFI) 2018 by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Microscopy-2 Unit

Project PON R&C 2007-2013, project “Hyppocrates” (PON0200355) Finanziamento annuale dell’attività base di ricerca (2018) ANVUR FIR 2014 PE AA71DE, (Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche-Università degli Studi Catania)

University Research Project Grant (Triennial Research Plan 2016-2018)

Molecular Biology-1 Unit

PRIN 2010-2013, PRIN 2015, CHANCE, FIR ARISLA 2015 Post-Doctoral Fellowship granted to Andrea Magrì by Fondazione Umberto Veronesi

Molecular Biology-2 Unit

“Brains2South” grant (Fondazione con il Sud - Bando Capitale Umano ad Alta Qualificazione 2015)



  • Antonio Belli (University of Birmingham, Great Britain)
  • Valentina Di Pietro (University of Birmingham, Great Britain)
  • Thomas Birkballe Hansen (University of Aarhus, Denmark)
  • Jorge Hoheisel (German Cancer Research Center, Germany)
  • Hadi Valadi (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)

MB-1 Unit

  • Salvatore Oddo (University of Arizona, USA)
  • Mathias Winterhalter (Biotechnologie, Jacobs Universität Bremen, Germany)
  • R. Mahalakshmi (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Bhopal, India
  • Varda Shoshan-Barmatz (Ben Gurion Univ. & Negev Institute of Technology, Beer Sheva, Israel

MB-2 Unit

  • Jose Manuel Garcia Verdugo (University of Valencia, Spain) 
  • Stefano Pluchino (University of Cambridge, UK) 
  • Nuno Faria (University of Cambridge, UK) 
  • Anton Enright (University of Cambridge, UK)