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Academic year 2019/2020

Course ID
BIO0168B Pds 306-TB
Teaching staff
Prof. Gianmario Martra (Lecturer)
Prof. Gabriele Ricchiardi
Modular course
Degree course
[0101M21] Molecular Biotechnology
2nd year
Course disciplinary sector (SSD)
CHIM/02 - chimica fisica
Formal authority
Type of examination
- basic knowledge in Physical-Chemistry (structure of matter; intermolecular interactions; thermodynamic of molecular systems; main molecular spectroscopic methods)
- basic knowledge in Physiscs (nautire of electromagnetic radiation, electric dipoles; coulomb interactions; elastic and inelastic interactions)
- basic knowledge in biochemistry
Course borrowed from

Sommario del corso


Course objectives

The objectives proosed to the studentd as targets of this course are aimed to the achievements of good capabilities dealing with:
- establishment of relationships between the features of amphiphlic molecules/self-assembled amphiphilic molecules and their functional behaviours relevant for their use in nanobiotechnology
- establishment of relationships between features of inorganic nanoparticles and their functional behaviours relevant for their use in nanobiotechnology
- selection and aplication of proper experimental methods for the study of nanobiotecnological systems


Results of learning outcomes

Knowledge of and expertise in:
- main methods for the preparation of nanomaterials of interest in the
field of biotechnology
- fundamental aspects of physical and physical-chemical features of nanomaterials at the basis of their possible exploitation in nanobiotechnology
- fundamental aspects of the combined use of nanoparticles and biomacromolecules
- experimental methods for the characterization of nanobiotechnologycal systems, and selection of the most proper ones in dependence on specific features of the systems
- electron microscopy, and capability to design the proper observation methods for the investigation of samples of biological/biotechnological interest.


Course delivery

  1. Traditional + visit at the EM lab

Learning assessment methods

Written examination, usually based on 5 open questions
For exam sessions during Covid-19 period: oral examination, in remote (via Webex).


This course is devoted to the knowledge and understanding of physical-chemical features of naomaterials at the basis of their functional behaviours which can be exploited for biotechnological applications.
The topics will then deal with:
"soft" nanomaterials
- self-assembling of amphiphilic molecules resulting in the formation of micelles
- relationships between compositional and structural features of amphiphilic molecules and structure and functional behaviour of micelles
- methods for the characterization of micelles-based nanomaterials
- cases-study related to actual or potential application of self-assembled soft materials in biotechnology (e.g, drug delivery, gene therapy)

"hard" nanomaterials
- oxide nanoparticles (typically made of silica), hybridized with fluorophores, intented for applications in "in vitro" and "in vivo" optical imaging: preparation, characterization, surface functionalization for targeting, possible uses
- metal nanoparticles(typically made of gold): origin and dependences of peculiar optical behaviours (plasmon resonance, effect on the emission features of nearby fluorophores), possible uses in cellular and molecular biology
TImaging of nanoparticles: electron microscopy
Scanning electron microscopy: principles; signals to be exploited for the formation of images; type of information present in the images depending on teh signal collected; sample preparation; uses in biology/biotechnology
Transmission electron microscopy: principles; origin and importance of the high resolution, sample preparation; uses in biology/biotechnology
Chemical analysis by energy dispersion spectroscopy of X-rays emitted by samples impinged by a beam of accelerated electrons: principles; uses in biology/biotechnology

Suggested readings and bibliography


- I.A. Israelechvili, Intermolecular and surface forces, Wiley&Sons, Chichester-UK, 1999, second edition

- J.I. Goldstein et al., Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Microanalysis : A Text for Biologists, Materials Scientists, and Geologists, Springer-Verlag New York Inc., New York 2011, 

- William & Carter, Transmission electron Microscopy, Interscientia, San Diego, 2002, seconda edizione

- scientific papers, uploaded on the webpage of the course

Last update: 27/04/2020 00:22
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