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Biophysics and physics of biological soft matter  

BioSoftMatterLab - Laboratory of Biophysics and Physics of Biological Soft Matter.

We study the physico-chemical properties of complex systems of biological molecules : structure, dynamics, thermotropic and lyotropic behavior and interactions. The experimental techniques are spectroscopy (light, x-rays, neutrons) , calorimetry and densitometry , microscopy (AFM). We perform our experiments  both in our laboratory and at the European Large Scale Facilities: synchrotron ( ESRF - Grenoble) and neutron sources , nuclear reactors and spallation sources (ILL - Grenoble , ISIS - Oxford, LLB - Paris , HZB - Berlin).

Research lines in physics applied to biological soft matter include:

- Biological colloids. Aggregated  phases and phase diagram of biological self- aggregating molecules. Micelles, lamellas, spontaneous vesicles; sponge, cubic phases and biopolymer gels.

- Biomimetic membranes and model systems of membrane microdomains (rafts) . Role of cholesterol and its asymmetrical arrangement in the membrane. Interaction of membrane proteins: enzymes and ion channels. Individual extended membranes, supported and floating, for structure investigation down to the local scale of single bilayer, asymmetric in the composition of leaflets and in interaction with functional molecules (technique developed in collaboration with ILL Grenoble)

- Nanoparticles for drugs and gene delivery. Studies with pharmacological application: tuning of the nanoparticle structural properties in order to optimize the loading, to modulate the kinetics of drug release and in the case of gene-delivery to optimize the efficiency of transfection.

- Ab - amyloid peptides . Kinetics of self-assembly and structure of the complexes since the early stages: from monomers to oligomers. Interaction with peptides or macromolecules for the development of therapeutic strategies in the pathology of Alzheimer's disease .


Paola Brocca    paola.brocca@unimi.it
Laura Cantù     laura.cantu@unimi.it
Elena Del Favero  elena.delfavero@unimi.it            


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