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Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia

IIT is a scientific research center established in 2003 by Italian law with the mission of promoting excellence in both basic and applied research and of facilitating national economic development. Scientific activities started in 2006 fostering an interdisciplinary scientific vision based on the concept of translating evolution into technology, i.e., mimicking natural solutions to develop new technologies.

IIT is currently populated by over 1500 people, mainly young actors aged 35 years on average. Research is carried out in the Central Research laboratory in Genova (IIT headquarters), in 11 satellite centers across Italy and in 2 outstations in the US.

IIT participates in Lion-Hearted project with the CNST laboratories, located in Milan.

IIT Partecipants

Maria Rosa Antognazza


Maria Rosa Antognazza (Coordinator) is a physicist by background and currently works as a researcher at IIT. She set up and manages the ‘Opto-cell facility’ at IIT-CNST, and developed in the latest years huge experience in the characterization and implementation of bio-polymer interfaces, studied by optical, electronic, photo-electrochemical, ion imaging and electrophysiology techniques.

Her main research interests are in the emerging field of organic bio-electronics, and concern the realization, implementation and characterization of hybrid interfaces for applications in neuroscience and life sciences.  +60 publications in high rate journals, h-index 21, >1200 citations (Scopus), 4 patents. > 40 Invited talks at international conferences and schools.

She recently acted as the Coordinator of a FET European Project (PHOCS) and a national project (ON-IRIS, Cariplo foundation), and she participated as unit PI to several European and National projects. In 2018 she was awarded with an ERC Starting Grant (LINCE).

Gabriele Tullii

Post Doc

Dr Tullii received the Master’s degree in Materials Science in 2013 at University of Milano-Bicocca and started the PhD course in Physics in 2014 at Politecnico di Milano. His main PhD research topic concerned the study of the conjugated polymers-mediated optical excitation of living cells, focusing both on the fabrication, morphological and electrochemical characterization of materials and on the study of the electrophysiological properties of living cells plated on the devices. After receiving the PhD degree (cum laude) in 2019, He joined the Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie Chimiche Giulio Natta (SCITEC) of the National Research Council (CNR) as a Postdoc researcher. During this period, he was involved in the MIUR-PRIN2015 project “LIFE”, working on the fabrication and morphological characterization of micro/nanopatterned polymer-based substrates for Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) applications. He joined the LION-HEARTED project at the Centre of Nanoscience and Technology of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) in 2020 as a junior PostDoc.

Camilla Marzuoli

PhD student

Camilla Marzuoli is a PhD student in Physics at Politecnico di Milano.

She graduated cum laude in Physics at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Brescia, discussing a thesis concerning the development and characterization of electronic noses based on functionalized graphene. Applications of this work were mainly in the field of volatolomics and environmental monitoring applications.

In November 2020 she joined the LION-HEARTED project at the Center for Nanoscience and Technology of IIT in Milan. She is working in the field of Bio-Organic Electronics. Her project focuses on chemical/physical characterization of bio-hybrid interfaces and optimization of phototransduction processes, aiming at an efficient optical modulation of endothelial progenitor cells and cardiomyocytes derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells.

Carlotta Ronchi

Post Doc

Carlotta Ronchi graduated in Biology in 2012 at the University of Milano-Bicocca. She obtained the PhD in Biology in 2016 in the Cardiac Electrophysiology laboratory in the Department of Biotechnology and Biosciences, where she developed a strong knowledge of cardiac electrophysiology in healthy and pathological cardiomyocytes.

During the postdoctoral fellow, her research was focused on the characterization of patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes carrying mutations associated with rare malignant cardiomyopathies or congenital cardiac arrhythmias. She also investigated the pharmacological and pathophysiological modulation of protein interaction in cardiac ventricular myocytes to identify novel compounds for the treatment of heart failure.

In 2020, she moved to the Antognazza’s laboratory as postdoctoral fellow in the Centre of Nanoscience and Technology of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) and she joined the LION-HEARTED project. She currently investigate the use of light-activated organic semiconductors for biological applications, with a specific interest in exploring their potential applications in the cardiovascular field.

Former Colleagues

Francesco Lodola

Post Doc

Francesco Lodola graduated in Biotechnology in 2007 and received his PhD in Physiology and Neuroscience under the supervision of Prof. Tanzi and Prof. Moccia at the University of Pavia in 2012.
Later he joined Prof. Priori’s group at ICS Maugeri in Pavia focusing on the study of arrhythmogenic mechanisms in cardiac disorders and on the development of targeted therapies to reduce mortality in affected individuals.
Since 2016, Francesco worked at The Center for Nano Science and Technology, IIT@PoliMI in Milan directed by Prof. Lanzani. His research concerns the use of light-activated bioactuators for biological application, with particular emphasis on the cardiovascular field.

Alessandro F. Pellegata

Post Doc

Alessandro Pellegata had his training in bioengineering at Politecnico di Milano (Italy) in the group of Professor Mantero, demonstrating that decellularised blood vessels can be functional arterial grafts in a large animal model. He was then appointed to a postdoctoral research associate position at the UCL GOS Institute of Child Health (London, UK) in Professor De Coppi’s group working on vascular biology, whole-organ tissue engineering and innovative 3D in-vitro models. He worked as Senior Postdoc at the Centre for Nanoscience and Technology at the Italian Institute of Technology. His research focuses on the use of light-activated bioactuators in regenerative medicine, in particular for the regeneration and engineering of the heart.