Pier Luigi San Biagio


Pier Luigi San Biagio has coordinated the research activity in the field of Biophysics at the CNR Institute for Interdisciplinary Applications of Physics (IAIF) since its creation in 1980. After one year spent working at NIH (Bethesda, MD, USA), he returned in Italy and set up a lab with outstanding equipment for the characterization of biomolecular aggregation. He was Director of the Institute from 1998 to 2002 when the Institute became part of the Biophysics Institute as Palermo U.O.S.. From 1998 to 2002 he helped to establish the scientific and administrative actions for the creation of the new Institute of Biophysics resulting from the merging of five research structures of CNR . Since then, he is the head of U.O.S. (since 2015) and director of the Palermo research group. In all these years, the number of researchers and equipment of laboratories have experienced a considerable increase.
The research activity is based on complementary approaches to the study of biomolecular aggregation at microscopic and mesoscopic level by the use of Molecular Dynamics simulations and experimental techniques exploring different length scale. In particular the research activity covers the following subjects: sol-sol-gel phase transition in proteins and biopolymer solutions; static and dynamic properties of polymers, polyelectrolytes, micro emulsions and colloids; dynamics in crowded macromolecular solutions; glass transition; structure of amyloid fibrils and the mechanism of their formation using biophysical methods; protein folding; characterization of micro-nano particles for controlled drug delivery. The activity is proved by more than 100 published articles on ISI journal and books, 2 edited books and more than 250 abstracts presented at national and international meetings.



- Email pierluigi.sanbiagio@cnr.it
- Phone +39-091-6809311
- Site Palermo



Research interests:

- Biomolecular Aggregation Processes (Principal investigator)

- Protein aggregation and the onset of neurodegenerative diseases (Principal investigator)

- Extraction, identification and characterization of naturally occurring compounds and study of their biological activity on cell lines.

- Insulin drug delivery in neurodegeneration

- Study of natural and chemically modified natural polymers for biotechnological applications

- Development of bio-adhesives for wet environments from marine mussels

- Laboratory of protein engineering for production of recombinant proteins.

- Extraction and characterization of polyphenols from complex systems of agri-food origin; study of antioxidant properties and of neuroprotective and anti-amyloidogenic effects in neurodegenerative processes

- Structure and Functionality of Molecular chaperones

- Polysaccharides Substitutes for Gluten-Free Baking

Further collaborations:

- F. Cappello (Università di Palermo, BIONEC e IEMEST)
- A. Padova (Fondazione Ri.MED)
- A. Pastore (Dip. Medicina Molecolare, Università di Pavia )
- M. Leone (Dipartimento di Fisica e Chimica, Università di Palermo)

Financial support:

- Avviso 11/2017 Rafforzare l'occupabilità nel sistema R&S e la nascita di spin off di ricerca in Sicilia – P.O. FSE 2014/2020

Key publications:

Bulone D, San Biagio PL, Quinones-Ruix T, Alomar MR, Lednev IK, Robb FT, Conway de Macario E and Macario AJ (2018). A multipronged method for assessing the effects of mutations on chaperone molecules
causing human chaperonopathies. Methods in Molecular Biology, in press.

Vilasi S, Bulone D, Caruso Bavisotto C, Campanella, C, Gammazza AM, San Biagio PL, Cappello F,
Conway de Macario E and Macario AJ (2018). Chaperonin of Group I: Oligomeric Spectrum and Biochemical and Biological Implications. Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences, 4, 1-14.

Giacomazza D, Bulone D, San Biagio PL, Marino R and Lapasin R (2018). The role of sucrose concentration
in self-assembly kinetics of HM pectin. Int J. Biol. Macromol., 112,1183 - 1190.

Battisti A, Piccionello AP, Sgarbossa A, Vilasi S, Ricci C, Ghetti F, Spinozzi F, Gammazza AM, Giacalone V, Martorana A, Lauria A, Ferrero C, Bulone D, Mangione MR, San Biagio PL and Ortore MG (2017). Curcumin-like compounds designed to modify amyloid beta peptide aggregation patterns. RSC Advances, 7, 31714 - 24.

Picone P, Vilasi S, Librizzi F, Contardi M, Nuzzo D, Caruana L, Baldassano S, Amato A, Mule F, San Biagio PL, Giacomazza D and Di Carlo M (2016). Biological and biophysics aspects of metformin-induced effects:cortex mitochondrial dysfunction and promotion of toxic amyloid pre-fibrillar aggregates. Aging (Albany NY), 8, 1718-34.

Publication list