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NanoInnovation Laboratory HOME

The NanoInnovation Laboratory has been established in 2003.

We use a combination of Atomic Force Microscopy and synchrotron radiation techniques to study the properties and reactions of surface confined biomolecules and of Self-Assembled Monolayers (SAM) of organic molecules often on gold surfaces. Typically, we compare in-situ the properties of one or more monolayer patches of the molecule of interest "grafted" into a SAM with a lithographical technique called nanografing.

A general applied aim is to study the way to optimize the fabrication of protein nanoarrays for the study of proteomics and of DNA nanoarrays of high sensitivity, suitable for the genetic characterization of single cells without the use of PCR. Single cell DNA analysis has many applications in medical diagnostics and in analysing the cell type distribution in the brain.

From a more fundamental point of view we aim at studying systematically the behavior of biomolecules at different well characterized densities, to glean from there how they behave under the crowded conditions that prevail typically in a cellular environment.

Research highlights

Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy- based Biosensors

We developed an electrochemical impedance biosensor based on capacitance readout for the detection of biomolecules in small sample volumes.  We demonstrated that our three-electrode setup is stable, reproducible, and suitable for real-time measurements in complex matrices. With this device we were able to follow in situ and in real time the process of DNA hybridization.  P.Capaldo et al. ACS Sensors 1, 1003-1010 (2016)

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AFM-based Nanoimmuno Assays

We have designed a quantitative approach to eventually enable precise and multiplexing protein analysis of very small systems, down to a single or a few cells. DNA nanoarrays were fabricated by means of AFM based nanografting and antibodies were then immobilized using DNA-directed immobilization of DNA-protein conjugates. We tested the efficiency of our assay in standard solution and in cellular lysate and we compared it with conventional ELISA assay. Ambrosetti et al. ACS Omega 2, 2618 (2017)         

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DNA-conjugated gold nanoparticles based colorimetric assay

We designed a novel assay for the study of helicase activity  based on DNA-conjugated gold nanoparticles. We were able to disentangle the action of RecQ4 helicase and its mutants with this colorometric assay, comparing it with standard and costy fluorescent methods.  Deka et al Scientific Reports, 7, 444538 (2017)  

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Enzymes in dsDNA confined monolayers

We investigated the action of enzymes in crowded environment. Combining AFM and Molecular Dynamics simulations we were able to demonstrate that in DNA confined monolayers, restriction enzymes are inhibited or allowed to act depending on DNA sequence confromation and restriction site position along the chain.  C. Rotella et al., Nanoscale 9, 6399 (2017)      

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By construction, the laboratory is equipped with various AFM microscope systems for operation in air and liquid environment. We can perform nanolithography, conductance, surface capacitance, work function and high resolution measurements on a large variety of samples ranging from biological (dna, protein, cells, etc.) to organic (alkanethiols, acenes, etc.) and inorganic (gold, Si, mica, etc.) samples either conducting or insulating. Furthermore the laboratory is equipped with a chemical and biological sample preparation room.

The laboratory is also available to italian and foreign students who spend part of their studies at Elettra often introducing in the lab new research topics.

The laboratory team work consists of:

  • short measurements (few days) carried out as a support of other labs/beamilnes at Elettra, or at other research institutions;
  • experiments related to long-term projects lead by the internal team or related to the staging external students course of study.
Ultima modifica il Venerdì, 13 Maggio 2016 12:32