Expertise

One of the strengths of our laboratory is a vast and multidisciplinary expertise in several complementary research fields. This is the result of the composition of the research team, characterized by different scientific and professional profiles, and supported by the heterogeneous assortment of several research instrumentations and infrastructures.

Raman Spectroscopy is one of the most characterizing technique of LABION. Thanks to this technique a specific recognition of the chemical composition of the sample can be obtained by “direct measurement”, thus avoiding the use of labels and of complicated sample preparation. Besides, the appealing features of Raman can be coupled with the new field of nanotechnology to develop several and more sophisticated methods.

One example of these work is surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) which can be obtained by coupling Raman spectroscopy and noble metal nanostructures (nanostructured chips, nanoparticles). Both Raman spectroscopy and SERS are used for several applications and in particular for the detection of disease biomarkers at molecular level (DNA, proteins, lipids, small molecules) and for the characterization of cells and tissues.

Another recently introduced innovative methodology is the Surface Plasmon Resonance Imaging (SPRi). SPRi is mainly used for the simultaneous, direct and label-free detection of several molecules contained in patient’s samples (e.g. proteins, small peptides, antibodies, drugs, DNA, vesicles, bacteria). Hundreds of different biomarkers are potentially measurable at the same time for different patients. In addition,  the affinity between different molecules can be easily studied in order to study their affinity for both basic research and clinical purposes.

Together with the use of the SPRi instrument in a traditional manner, we are starting to improve its performances by integrating this method with nanotechnological solutions, as for example the use of noble nanoparticles for the enhancement of the SPR signal.

Due to the wide range of samples analyzed, several other methodologies and expertises are present in our laboratory, mainly for supporting and validate the new developing methodologies based on biophotonics and nanotechnology.

Chemical, biotechnological, cytological and histological expertise (and related instrumentations) characterize the LABION. For example, in our lab we can perform independently the chemical synthesis and characterization of nanoparticles of different shapes, dimensions and materials; we are able to study several types of tissues, with a particular expertise on the morphological study of skin and other tissues; we study and use human cell lines in culture for diagnostic purposes and for testing nanodrugs; we perform nanotoxicological studies on skin and cells.