Saturday, October 19 2019

New biophysical tools for nanomedicine

Francesco Cardarelli

Scuola Normale Superiore, Piazza dei Cavalieri 7 - 56100 Pisa, Italy

Probing life (mis)regulation at the nanoscale, within living matter, is a crucial challenge for present and future biophysics. To successfully get molecular information at this level, in fact, high spatial (i.e. nanometer) and temporal (i.e. micro-to-millisecond) resolutions are simultaneously needed. In this context, the Biophysics Group at NEST recently developed a number of fluorescence-based optical microscopy platforms capable of increasing the amount of quantitative information extracted from experiments. In more detail, new imaging technologies (e.g. feedback-based orbital tracking) and analytical approaches (e.g. fast spatiotemporal fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, phasor-based fluorescence lifetime imaging) were introduced and tested in a number of applications of paramount biomedical relevance. These latter include: the study of the synthetic and biological molecular identity of nanocarriers for drug-delivery applications, the molecular analysis of the 3D-trafficking nanoscopic organelles involved in nanocarrier intracellular processing, the metabolic fingerprinting of living matter in selected theranostic applications. These pilot studies are carried out at NEST in strict collaboration with external biomedical research units and medical clinics. If successful, such research activity is expected to open new perspectives in molecular biophysics and related fields, nanomedicine above all.