2013 – present: researcher, DIFI
2011 – 2013: EU FP7 Marie-Curie post-doc fellow, INSERM, Paris (France)
2008 – 2011: EU FP7 Marie-Curie post-doc fellow, INSERM, Paris (France)
2007 – 2008: post-doc researcher, DIFI
2007 – 2008: consulting, scientific EU FP7 project writing, D’Appolonia S.p.A., Genoa (Italy)
2007: PhD in Physics, DIFI
2006: Post-graduate degree in Science Communication, SISSA, Trieste (Italy)
2004: Physics Master degree, DIFI
I am a researcher in the field of condensed matter. I use theoretical and computational tools to investigate the properties of hard and soft matter, including artificial and biological systems, at the nanoscale.
Interactions between synthetic materials and biological membranes.
Syntesis nanomaterials play a more and more important technological role. Yet, their production and use might also imply some environmental and biological risks. One of the most relevant processes for the toxicity of nanomaterials is their interaction with cell membranes. Cell membranes are the physical barrier that regulates exchange of matter and information between the cell and the outer environment, and the alteration of membrane properties can seriously harm the overall cell functioning. A computational approach, based on atomistic or coarse-grained models, can shed light on the molecular mechanisms of interaction between synthetic nanomaterials and biological membranes. Our research group (Riccardo Ferrando, Federica Simonelli), often in collaboration with the group of Luca Monticelli (INSERM/CNRS, Lyon), studies the interaction between plastic or metal nanoparticles and model lipid membranes.
Thanks to the ERC Starting Grant (677513) BioMNP - Understanding the interaction between metal nanoparticles and biological membranes, in the next five years (2016-2021) we will focus on monolayer-protected gold nanoparticles and on their interactions with lipid membranes and proteins.
A monolayer-protected gold nanoparticle entering the core of a lipid bilayer.
Nanoalloys are nanometer-sizes metal nanoparticles composed by two or more metal species. Nanoalloy properties, catalytic and optical in particular, make them interesting for a variety of applications, ranging from the development of efficient and low-cost catalyzers to the production of light-responsive coatings. Nanoalloy properties are driven by the atomic structure and chemical ordering of the metal components. In the group of Riccardo Ferrando we investigate the structural and chemical properties of nanoalloys by means of Global Optimization tools, and we study their thermodynamic behavior via Molecular Dynamics and enhanced sampling techniques.
A silver-nickel nanoparticle deposited on an oxide surface