- Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Texas at Austin, 2007-2010
- PhD, Universita di Pavia, Italy, 2007
- BS, Universita di Pavia, Italy, 2003
- Pattern-based recognition in molecular sensing
- Molecular assembly through non-covalent interactions
- Physical organic chemistry of supramolecular systems
- Fluorescence techniques
The primary focus of my research group is supramolecular chemistry. Non-covalent supramolecular interactions are pervasive in Nature. They have also evolved into a powerful and versatile tool in the hands of chemists, for instance in the directed assembly of complex functional structures otherwise unattainable through covalent architecture, or in the design of molecular sensors for analytical purposes.
Making molecular sensors from DNA using pattern-based recognition: We intend to use DNA strands immobilized on a solid support as molecular recognition motifs in connection with fluorescence signaling and pattern recognition methods. In fact, an array of non-selective receptors responds to analytes through a signal pattern, whose ìshapeî (intensity vs. position) is typical of the species that generated it. Data treatment through chemometric pattern recognition techniques such as principal component analysis (PCA), linear discriminant analysis (LDA) or artificial neural networks (ANN) will allow us to classify these patterns and thus construct specific sensing systems. Concurrently, we will carry out in-depth physicochemical characterization of the modes of interaction between dyes and DNA through a range of fluorescence techniques: an improved understanding of the nature of these interactions at the fundamental level will allow us to further fine-tune our sensing systems.
Fluorescent liposomes as water-dispersed nanoreactors: Liposomes can be used as water-compatible nanoreactors for confinement of solutions at the nanoscale. We are interested in constructing liposome-based reactor vessels and reagent delivery systems equipped with traceable fluorescent labeling as a general-purpose method for diversity-oriented synthesis in aqueous solution. Embedding of fluorescent labels in the liposome membranes will allow tracking of each reactorís contents, thus greatly simplifying library screening and deconvolution compared to current methods. Fluorescently tagged liposome-based libraries also lend themselves to further automation using methods drawn from the biologistís toolbox.