New cover at ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science for Voliani's Group

Pisa, 11 June, 2021 -On the cover of ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science the methodological paper from Voliani’s group that provides a suitable guide for the production of optimized HPV-negative head and neck tumor grafts and subsequent imaging and biomolecular assays. The reported step-by-step method allows the establishment of an alternative in vivo model that can provide insights on the biological processes at the basis of oral malignancies and push the translation of novel (nano)therapeutics to the clinics.

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Research of the Electron Crystallography group awarded with a cover by Crystal Growth and Design journal

Pisa, 18 May, 2021 -The journal Crystal Growth and Design has awarded the paper “Crystal Structure of Linagliptin Hemihydrate Hemiethanolate (C25H28N8O2)2(H2O)(C2H5OH) from 3D Electron Diffraction Data,Rietveld Refinement, and Density Functional Theory Optimization” with a cover (see below). The research is an international collaboration between the Electron Crystallography group lead by Mauro Gemmi, the Nanomegas company, and the International Center for Diffraction Data (ICDD) and reports one of the largest pharmaceutical compounds ever solved with 3D electron diffraction (3D ED). Linagliptin, a potent dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor that is used with diet and exercise to treat type-2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes, has 70 non hydrogen atom in the asymmetric unit, whose position has been determined ab-initio by 3D ED on crystals smaller than one micron! A real record in the field.

TGR Leonardo intervista Camilla Coletti

Pisa, 5 March, 2021 - L’intervista a Camilla Coletti, capo dei Graphene Labs dell'IIT di Pisa, sul nuovo metodo green per produrre cristalli di grafene e un dispositivo ad alta efficienza per le telecomunicazioni a banda larga realizzati nell'ambito dell'iniziativa europea Graphene Flagship.


NanED has started!

Pisa, 1 March, 2021 - As coordinator of the NanED project I am happy to announce that the 1st of March 2021 the project has officially started. The Nan ED Project - Electron Nanocrystallography, is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska Curie grant agreement No 956099. Naned aimed to train a new generation of electron crystallographers thereby paving the way for future development and establishment of the method more broadly in the academic community and within the industry. NanED includes all European scientists hitherto active in the development of electron diffraction methods for structural crystallography and a pool of large and small companies interested in instruments development and materials or pharmaceuticals production and analysis. Nine different countries are represented: Italy, Czech Republic, France, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and United Kingdom. Electron diffraction for structural crystallography has grown considerably after the development of dedicated protocols for data acquisition and analysis, to the point where it was listed in Science magazine as one of the major scientific breakthroughs of the year 2018. The so-called "3D" electron diffraction (3D ED) is a novel method for atomic structure determination of inorganic, organic and macromolecular compounds when their crystal size falls in the scale of few tenth of nanometer. Up to now, the development of 3D ED has remained limited to a few laboratories and has been slowed by the lack of both dedicated instruments and young researchers trained in this field at PhD level. NanED aims to form a new generation of electron crystallographers, able to master and develop 3D ED techniques in an interdisciplinary and interconnected network, where competences and know-how of usually distant scientific sectors are shared and merged. NanED will also establish a new standard of crystallographic training, closer to current industrial needs. Finally, NanED will boost the dissemination of 3D ED in academic and industrial laboratories, pushing Europe to be the leader for nanomaterial characterisation and development, with a noticeable and global economic impact.

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Nuovo metodo di fabbricazione del grafene per il futuro delle telecomunicazioni

IIT Open Talk, 25 February, 2021 - Un nuovo metodo di produzione del grafene adattabile alle esigenze industriali e un nuovo dispositivo ad alta efficienza per le telecomunicazioni a banda larga: queste le innovazioni sviluppate dai ricercatori italiani nell’ambito dell’iniziativa europea Graphene Flagship, che ha l’obiettivo di sviluppare nuove soluzioni ad alto contenuto tecnologico per favorire la competitività dell’UE sui mercati internazionali. I risultati sono stati presentati in due pubblicazioni su riviste scientifiche internazionali, ACS NANO e Nature Communications, dal team coordinato dalla ricercatrice Camilla Coletti, a capo dei Graphene Labs dell’Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) a Pisa, e da Marco Romagnoli, responsabile dell’Advanced Technologies for Photonic Integration Lab al CNIT a Pisa.

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Wafer-scale production of graphene-based photonic devices

Graphene Flagship News, 11 February, 2021 - Graphene Flagship researchers have devised a wafer-scale fabrication method that paves the way to the next generation of telecom and datacom devices. Our world needs reliable telecommunications more than ever before. However, classic devices have limitations in terms of size and cost and, especially, power consumption – which is directly related to greenhouse emissions.

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5DNanoPrinting has started!

Pontedera, 21/09/2020 - The 5D NanoPrinting project has started with its first virtual kick-off meeting held in the IIT - Center for MicroBioRobotics in Pontedera the 21st of September. The goal of the project is to create an innovative technology for the rapid-prototyping realization of micro(nano)machines and components that will find several cutting-edge applications in fields like consumer electronics, automotive and healthcare. 5dNanoPrinting was granted a budget of 3.58 million euros under the EU’s Horizon 2020 FET Open Program. CNI is participating to the project with a team of researchers of the Electron Crystallography research line coordinated by Mauro Gemmi.

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Kaliophilite structure determination highlighted in Science!

Pisa, 19/01/2021 The paper by Mugnaioli et al. published on IUCrJ on the crystal structure determination of Kaliophilite mineral, unknown since 180 years, has been highlighted in the “Editor Choice” of Science as a remarkable achievement of mineralogy. The existence of kaliophilite was attested in 1839, at the dawn of modern mineralogy. Despite the seemingly simple formula KAlSiO4 and a well-defined diffraction signal, the structure of this porous mineral could not be determined in more than one century of x-ray crystallography. The difficulty derives from the huge asymmetric unit of kaliophilite, which ranks among the twenty most complex minerals known so far, and from a complex tangle of pseudo-symmetries and twinning. The long-lasting riddle was finally solved by Mugnaioli et al., which applied cutting-edge 3D electron diffraction protocols developed by the Electron Crystallography research line at CNI@NEST and succeeded in the acquisition of structural data from coherent kaliophilite domains of few hundreds of nanometers. Once the correct crystalline class and an ab-initio model were attained, kaliophilite structure could be refined using high-quality single-crystal x-ray data. The topology of kaliophilite revealed particularly complex, because comprises three different types of 6-tetrahedra rings, a feature never observed in either natural or synthetic frameworks. Thus, the existence of kaliophilite structure poses unforeseen challenges and perspectives in the design of material for catalysis, photonics and green chemistry.

Cowlesite: the first natural 2D zeolite

Pisa, 26/10/2020 Researchers of the Electron Crystallography research line coordinated by Mauro Gemmi have just published onACS Central Science the crystal structure of Cowlesite, a natural zeolite known since the 70’s but whose structure remained a mystery for years. The crystal structure determination is based on 3D electron diffraction, a novel method of structure characterization developed at CNI. The researchers have prepared the sample of Cowlesite by fast freezing a dispersion of crystals in water. In this way the crystals have been covered by vitrified ice, which prevented them to lose the interstitial water in the vacuum of the microscope, maintaining their crystal structure intact. Cowlesite structure is really unconventional. It is formed by 2D zeolitic blocks weakly bounded by Ca and water layers, which are responsible for its highly defective structure. Interestingly, if Cowlesite is not covered with vitrified ice, in the microscope vacuum it loses water and the 2D blocks attached forming a novel 3D zeolitic framework. Cowlesite is the first 2D natural zeolite ever discovered.

Pubblished a Cover to ACS Biomaterials journal from Valerio Voliani

Pisa, 14/09/2020

Is pubblished in ACS Biomaterials & Engineering journal a cover about :

The integration into the preclinical research workflow of 3D neoplasms models is particularly appealing to promote the success of therapeutics in clinical trials while reducing the number of in vivo models. The cover image reports head and neck squamous cell carcinoma aggregates (yellow) on the lid of a petri dish before the formation of the tridimensional structures. The research leading to these results has received funding from AIRC under MFAG 2017, ID 19852 project, P.I. Voliani Valerio. View the article.

Electron crystallography at CNI awarded among the most cited papers of IUCrJ journal

In a recent summary paper on IUCr journal perspective J. Allen cites our paper ‘Nanobeam precession assisted 3D electron diffraction reveals a new polymorph of hen egg-white lysozime’ Lanza et al. (2019)as one of the most cited of the IUCrJ journal among those on Cryo-EM. Literally Allen says that in this paper “a group from Italy, present the first new protein structure both determined from 3D electron diffraction data and validated by X-ray crystallography. The authors point to potential new insights being achievable by combining electron and X-ray crystallography methods.”

Photothermal effect by NIR-triggered nano passion fruits: a step forwards to the translation of metal nanomaterials to clinics

The research unit coordinated by Dr. Valerio Volianiat the Center for Nanotechnology Innovation of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia located in Pisa (Italy) has reported on Materials Horizons (Royal Society of Chemistry) the first noble metal nanoarchitecture able to jointly combine efficient photothermal conversion and renal excretion of the building blocks. The Authors have employed home-made 3D neoplasm models to confirm the exciting potentiality of nano passion fruits for the treatment of some solid cancers. This pioneering work is showcased on the inside back cover of the journal and might unlock the true potential of noble metal nanoplatforms for the treatment of neoplasms, filling the gap between bench-to-bed side. Congratulation to all co-Authors, and in particular to: Dr. Domenico Cassano, Dr. Melissa Santi, and Katrina Mapanao.

link to article

3D electron diffraction of protein nanocrystals: a new scenario in the field of crystallography

The research groups lead by Mauro Gemmi and Gianpiero Garau at the Center for Nanotechnology Innovation of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia located in Pisa (Italy), determined for the first time the structure of a new polymorph of a protein by collecting 3D electron diffraction data from single nanocrystals. Obtaining crystals of sufficient size in the micrometer range for diffraction data collection is well known to be the major bottleneck of protein crystallography, the most powerful methodology to investigate at atomic level how proteins and other biostructures are made, function and interact in living organisms. The IIT researchers demonstrated that also protein nanocrystals, obtained at the first stages of the crystallization process and invisible in optical microscopes, can be used for the characterization of protein architectures. This result opens innovative scenarios in the field of crystallography of biomaterials and discovery of novel drugs by structure-based design.

More details can be found at following link

3D electron diffraction revealed a new nanocrystalline form of calcium carbonate.

An international team made of Hungarian, Austrian and Italian researchers discovered a new natural form of CaCO3, a well-known formula already associated with three polymorphic minerals: calcite, aragonite and vaterite. The new form was sampled in the first precipitates of percolating water inside a dolomitic Alpine cave, where it appears as sub-micrometric needles that naturally turn into conventional aragonite with time. Enrico Mugnaioli and Mauro Gemmi, of the Center for Nanotechnology Innovation@NEST (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia), were able to unveil the atomic structure of these tiny crystals using 3D electron diffraction, a cutting-edge technique that allows structure determination of crystals too small for conventional X-ray methods. The structure of the new polymorph can be imagined as a modulated sequence of conventional aragonite layers, from which derived its name monoclinic-aragonite (mAra). mAra results to be a straight precursor of common aragonite explaining why this mineral, that should otherwise not form on Earth surface conditions, is so common among the carbonates playing a major role in bio-mineralizations.

More details can be found at the following link

Lions of Science: Ready to Go!

Il prossimo 28 marzo il nostro Valerio Voliani, in stretta collaborazione con i Lions Club International, darà il via ad una serie di incontri incentrati sulla divulgazione dei metodi e dei risultati più recenti delle scienze dei materiali. L'iniziativa è rivolta ai professori e agli alunni delle scuole superiori delle province di Pisa, Lucca e Livorno.

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Boost-UP Day One - The New Generation of Materials Scientists

Da una brillante idea del nostro giovane ricercartore Valerio Voliani è nato il progetto "Boost-UP Day" realizzato con il finaziamento della società scientifica Materials Research Society.

Questo progetto prevede una serie d'incontri con gli istituti delle medie superiori del territorio toscano coi quali si parlerà di temi e tecniche legate al mondo della ricerca dei nuovi materiali sia con gli insegnanti che con gli studenti

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Serate Scientifiche Lungarno

Siamo lieti di presentare una serie di incontri su tematiche scientifiche, in collaborazione con "Argini e Margini", che saranno svolte tutti i martedì di giugno presso la suggestiva sede di Argini e Margini sul Lungano Galilei in comitanza della maggiore manifestazione pisana ("Giugno Pisano").

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Workshop European Multidisciplinary Scientific Day

Il prossimo 19 aprile saremo presenti al workshop European Multidisciplinary Scientific Day (E.M.S.D.) presso il dipartimento di Chimica e Chimica Industriale in via moruzzi,13 (Pisa ) con l'intervento di Gianpiero Garau.

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