The main research area focuses on amyloidogenic proteins and on the identification of new therapeutic strategies for the corresponding diseases, with a range of approaches including in silico methods, in vitro biochemical assays and analysis of molecular interactions (in particular by Surface Plasmon Resonance), up to in vivo pharmacokinetics (PK) with HPLC-MS. These approaches are also applied for the: characterization of nanoparticles (eg their interaction with biological targets and PK properties); identification and PK profile of anti-ischemic lectine inhibitors; PK properties of new psychoactive substances; analysis of endogenous molecules used as biomarkers.
Main Research Projects:
• Misfolding protein diseases: i) characterization of the anti-amyloidogenic effects of molecular chaperones and development of synthetic derivatives with similar properties; ii) identification of biological effectors underlying amyloid-β toxicity, using a new mutagenesis approach in C. elegans; iii) identification and characterization of conformational antibodies suitable for the specific recognition of toxic oligomeric aggregates, potentially useful for diagnosis/therapy of amyloidosis; iv) analysis of the PK profile of doxycycline in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease and prion disease.
• Development of innovative assays based on Surface Plasmon Resonance for the determination of plasmatic and tissue concentrations of nanoparticles and therapeutic antibodies; and for the screening of ligands/inhibitors of Mannose Binding Lectin, with potential anti-ischemic activity.
• Development of new analytical methods to measure plasma and tissue levels of New Psychoactive Substances; PK studies carried out in parallel with the evaluation of the pharmaco-toxicological effects of these substances.
• Analysis of the brain levels of metabolites of the kinurenine pathway after cardiac arrest: correlation with plasmatic levels and role in neurological consequences.