The CNR Laboratory for the Study of the Physical Properties of Biomolecules and Cells was created in 1969 under the guidance of Dr. Alessandro Checcucci and became the Institute of Biophysics in 1980. In 2001, following a reorganization of the CNR scientific network, the Institute was annexed to other CNR research centres to form an enlarged Institute, which retained the name of Institute of Biophysics and now has its head-office in Genova. The main research topics under investigation at the Pisa division of the Institute of Biophysics are:
Biodevices and biomolecules
Characterization of algae photoreceptive proteins by means of biochemical, microspectroscopical and molecular biology approaches. Over-expression of these proteins in bacterial and synthetic systems. The target of this research is the creation of bioelectronics devices using bi- and three-dimensional film of the photoreceptive proteins.
Structure and dynamics of protein
The main research topics addressed by the Protein Structure and Dynamics group include: the investigation by spectroscopic techniques such as fluorescence and phosphorescence of the relationship between structures, flexibility and function of proteins; for this study we use well characterized proteins as a model system as well as proteins of potential interest to human health; ii) the study of photoreceptor proteins in extremophile microorganisms along with the process of photo-transduction and its modeling.
Biophysics and molecular biology in environmental processes
1) Study of the carbon cycle in the sea: dynamics and optical properties of dissolved organic matter, to obtain information on the health of marine ecosystems; 2) Analysis and validation of radar altimeter data to monitor water levels from space; 3) Identification of cellular and molecular biomarkers in plants and microalgae in response to environmental pollutants exposure, including those deriving from nanotechnologies.
Mathematical models of biological systems Nonlinear dynamics and nonlinear time series analysis. Neural dynamics: theoretical and computational approaches. Calcium dynamics. Cancer: dynamics of cellular populations. DNA dynamics.
The head of the Pisa unit of IBF is Dr. Angelo Di Garbo
Webpage of the Pisa unit of IBF: http://www.pi.ibf.cnr.it/