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Giuseppe Vicidomini

Senior Researcher Tenured - Principal Investigator
Molecular Microscopy and Spectroscopy
Research center

I am a computer scientist specializing at the intersection of physics, computer science, engineering, and biology, with a focus on pioneering optical microscopy techniques for life science research.

Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Genoa (Italy) in 2003, under the mentorship of Prof. Mario Bertero and Prof. Patrizia Boccacci. From 2003 to 2007, I pursued my Ph.D. at the Laboratory of Advance Microscopy and Spectroscopy (LAMBS) at the University of Genoa, under the supervision of Prof. Alberto Diaspro. My doctoral research concentrated on developing innovative image deconvolution methods specifically for fluorescence microscopy.

From February 2008 to April 2011, I was a post-doctoral fellow at the Department of NanoBiophotonics, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (Germany), under the direction of Prof. Stefan W. Hell, Nobel Laureate in 2014. During this tenure, I developed a groundbreaking approach based on the temporal analysis of fluorescence signals, significantly advancing stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy. This method, known as gated-STED, achieved tens of nanometres spatial resolution with a substantial reduction in the required light dose, facilitating the effective application of STED microscopy with fluorescent proteins and living cells.

From May 2011 to April 2016, I joined the Department of Nanophysics at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Italy under the mentorship of Prof. Alberto Diaspro. Initially serving as a post-doctoral fellow, I transitioned to a Researcher position in September 2013. During this tenure, I continued to advance STED microscopy and explored its combination with fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS). Building on the principles of gated-STED microscopy, I developed computational methods to address the signal-to-noise limitations, resulting in a class of techniques known as time-resolved STED microscopy. This innovation further strengthened the resolution of STED microscopy without compromising its ability to image living cells. Currently, all commercially available STED microscopes implement time-resolved STED microscopy.

In May 2016, I became the principal investigator of the Molecular Microscopy and Spectroscopy (MMS) lab at the Italian Institute of Technology. In December 2019, I was granted tenure. The mission of our lab is to design, develop, and validate advanced optical and analytical tools to empower biologists in exploring living biological systems with precision and minimal invasiveness.

One groundbreaking achievement of the MMS lab is the introduction of a new microscopy paradigm known as photon-resolved microscopy. By integrating a novel asynchronous read-out single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) array detector into laser-scanning microscopy (LSM), photon-resolved LSM (PR-LSM) captures fluorescence photons individually, assigning distinct spatial and temporal signatures to each photon. This wealth of spatiotemporal data, previously unattainable with conventional LSM, enables us to enhance all LSM capabilities—from spatiotemporal resolution and range to information content. In this context, we introduced fluorescence lifetime image scanning microscopy (FLISM), which combines fluorescence lifetime imaging and super-resolution microscopy. FLISM is currently the core product of the Genoa Instruments startup, of which I am a co-founder and scientific advisor. The impact and potential of SPAD array detectors for microscopy are further validated by their integration into commercial microscopes from leading companies such as Nikon, Abberior, and PicoQuant.

My research has been supported by grants from prestigious institutions, including the Fondazione San Paolo, Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions (MSCA), and the European Research Council (ERC). My most recent research grant is the five-year ERC Consolidator Grant project, entitled BrightEyes: Multi-Parameter Live-Cell Observation of Biomolecular Processes with Single-Photon Detector Arrays. The objective of the BrightEyes project is to develop innovative and non-invasive imaging and spectroscopy tools capable of observing single biomolecules at work within living multicellular systems. Specifically, by exploring the photon-resolved microscopy paradigm, the project aims to implement an optical system capable of continuously tracking a biomolecule of interest in real-time, measuring its nano-environment and structural changes, observing its interactions with other biomolecules, and visualizing its sub-cellular micro-environment with nanometre resolution.

Besides my research commitments, I lead the imaging efforts for the RNA initiative at IIT, focusing on using microscopy to decipher RNA-based processes with the aim of developing new RNA-based therapeutics. Additionally, I coordinate the Curriculum of Nanobiotechnology in the Ph.D. program of Bioengineering and Robotics at the University of Genoa.

My journey as a researcher has been defined by a continuous pursuit of innovation at the forefront of optical microscopy, driven by a deep commitment to advancing our understanding of biological systems and translating discoveries into tangible applications for societal benefit.

I have authored or co-authored 76 articles in peer reviewed international journals (10 as first author, 3 as shared first author, 2 as shared last author, and 26 as last author), 5 reviews in peer reviewed international journals, 25 proceedings in international conferences, 12 chapters in books and 1 editorial. I have given 1 opening lecture, 61 invited talks at international conferences, advanced schools or workshops, 20 oral communications (as speaker). I have filled 5 patents (two granted, and two licensed), and signed 1 know-how licence agreement. My bibliometrics data (source Scopus, May 2024) scores a total of 3925 citations (h-index 32).

Top Publications
Zunino A., Slenders E., Fersini F., Bucci A., Donato M., Vicidomini G.
Open-source tools enable accessible and advanced image scanning microscopy data analysis
Nature Photonics, vol. 17, (no. 6), pp. 457-458
Letter Journal
Tortarolo G., Zunino A., Fersini F., Castello M., Piazza S., Sheppard C.J.R., Bianchini P., Diaspro A., Koho S., Vicidomini G.
Focus image scanning microscopy for sharp and gentle super-resolved microscopy
Nature Communications, vol. 13, (no. 1)
Rossetta A., Slenders E., Donato M., Zappone S., Fersini F., Bruno M., Diotalevi F., Lanzano L., Koho S., Tortarolo G., Barberis A., Crepaldi M., Perego E., Vicidomini G.
The BrightEyes-TTM as an open-source time-tagging module for democratising single-photon microscopy
Nature Communications, vol. 13, (no. 1)
Slenders E., Castello M., Buttafava M., Villa F., Tosi A., Lanzano L., Koho S.V., Vicidomini G.
Confocal-based fluorescence fluctuation spectroscopy with a SPAD array detector
Light: Science and Applications, vol. 10, (no. 1)
Koho S., Tortarolo G., Castello M., Deguchi T., Diaspro A., Vicidomini G.
Fourier ring correlation simplifies image restoration in fluorescence microscopy
Nature Communications, vol. 10, (no. 1)