The former Centro di studio sulla Biologia Cellulare e Molecolare delle Piante, affiliated with the of the University of Milan, was established in the 1950s, and was the first Centre of the CNR in Italy to deal with Plant Physiology with the methods of modern biophysics, biochemistry and cell physiology.
Established on the initiative of Sergio Tonzig, professor of botanic at Milan, the Centre has expanded and deepened the study of the plant kingdom focused on three main aspects: photosynthesis, bioenergetics, and molecular genetics.
In the last decade, the structural biology group was established in Milan. The group, working in the context of the Department of Biosciences (University of Milan), integrates X-ray crystallography, Small-angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) and, more-recently, Cryo-electron microscopy together with computational biology methods and protein biochemistry and biophysics, to address several biological questions related to different human diseases. In particular the application of biophysical methods to analyze the structure of proteins can be useful for the identification/optimization of small molecules that can be developed as new drugs. Currently the group is involved in the study of tumors, rare genetic diseases, neglected viral and bacterial infections, and neurodegenerative diseases.