Our research is focused on the experimental and theoretical characterization of protein-protein and protein-ion interactions of biomedical relevance. We are specifically interested in the structure-function properties of Neuronal Calcium Sensors (NCS) and the mechanism of regulation of their targets under physiological and disease-associated conditions, such as genetic diseases.
We use a multidisciplinary approach that integrates experimental and computational techniques to unravel the biochemical mechanisms behind complex cell behaviours, in particular we have a long-standing interest in photoreceptor biochemistry under both physiological and pathological conditions.
We also investigate the the potential of nanodevices, such as nanoparticles and liposomes, as carriers of proteins and other molecules for applications in nanomedicine.
Our final goal is to reach a system-level description of the biological system under investigation by comprehensive and deep knowledge of the main components.
We use classical biochemical and molecular biology techniques, such as recombinant protein expression and purification, enzymatic assays, transfection and culture of eukaryotic cells, as well as a number of experimental biophysical techniques such as Surface Plasmon Resonance, Isothermal Titration Calorimetry, Circular Dichroism, Fluorescence and Absorption spectroscopies, in order to characterize the (thermo)dynamics and the kinetics of the processes under investigation.
From the experiments we obtain kinetic and thermodynamic parameters that are useful to build mathematical models, describing the kinetics of the biochemical system in a molecular Systems Biology fashion.
We are also active in computational structural biology, especially in molecular simulations of proteins and protein assemblies, with the goal to unveil intra- and intermolecular communication pathways responsible for complex function. To this aim, we use homology modeling, molecular dynamics and docking simulations , and bioinformatics techniques.
Here is a list of the running research project. A brief description is available following the link.