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News & Events ■ News ■ 2014 News

News 2014

The winner of "Mettici la faccia" contest: Alessio Vierti, 19 years old and a passion for drawing and computer science.

The drawing contest "Mettici la faccia" launched by IIT in January 2014 has a winner: Alessio Vierti, 19 years old, a student at "Enrico Fermi" High School in Genoa. Alessio made the drawing of the face of the humanoid robot Coman. The face is round and coloured in blue and orange in order to "transmit humans a sense of confidence”. The drawing convinced the international group of scientists who are developing the robot. The prize for the student were 250 euros and a training course either in drawing or in English language after the summer.

Alessio Vierti has a passion for drawing and computer science, therefore in drawing the robot’s face he was able to combine the two. In the explanatory memorandum of his proposal Alessio wrote: "the humanoid robot CoMan is designed to be a useful resource for people in emergency situations, so I thought to give his face a look as much familiar and reassuring as possible", thus demonstrating a lot of attention to the interaction between humans and machines, which is a very important aspect in advanced robotics research. The proposed face has an ovoid shape and is blue in color, with a kind of semitransparent orange visor. The drawing will serve as a reference for scientists in the realization of the robot’s head.

 Alessio met some researchers working on the robot Coman: Darwin Caldwell, director of IIT Department of Advanced Robotics, Nikolaos Tsagarakis, IIT researcher responsible for the Coman project, Alessio Rocchi, PhD student at IIT (photo by A. Abrusci - IIT). Vierti, along with his brother and parents, had the opportunity to see the robot live, to touch it and watch it move, as well as discuss with researchers about his future university choices – has just taken his high school diploma.

"Mettici la faccia " is the competition organized by IIT with the aim of raising young people’s awareness of science and technology through an interdisciplinary approach by stimulating their skills, artistic feeling and analytical spirit when it comes to look at a real scientific object. The contest was open to high school students of the Province of Genoa. The contest web page:

Last Updated on Friday, 18 July 2014 17:02

SMARTCup Liguria 2014

Anche quest’anno si terrà la competizione tra idee imprenditoriali SMARTCup Liguria 2014. L’iniziativa sarà presentata in diversi incontri dal 21 al 29 luglio su tutto il territorio regionale, a Genova, La Spezia, Savona e Imperia.

SMARTCup Liguria 2014 è il concorso di idee imprenditoriali per stimolare la nascita di imprese innovative, organizzato da FI.L.S.E. su incarico della Regione ed in collaborazione con l’Università di Genova, il CNR, l’IIT, i Centri di Ricerca e tutti gli attori che concorrono allo sviluppo di impresa del territorio.

Le presentazioni saranno un momento utile per acquisire informazioni sullo svolgimento della competizione, mirata ad individuare e supportare nuove idee nate dalla ricerca, con la collaborazione di esperti d'impresa, investitori e professionisti partner dell'iniziativa. 

Per maggiori informazioni:

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 10:43

IIT and IEO: new perspectives for non-invasive cancer treatments

The joint research IIT-IEO defines the role of Myc protein in regulating genes associated with uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells. This is a first step towards the development of molecular-targeted therapies replacing chemotherapy

A non-invasive cancer treatment making use of molecular-targeted therapies is one of the major milestones in oncological medicine as the selected molecules act directly on biological targets of disease, reducing chemotherapy side effects.

Scientists at the IIT – Genoa and IEO – Milan have gone one-step further towards the comprehension of genetic mechanisms controlling tumour-specific cell proliferation associated with B-cell lymphoma, and their studies elucidated the role of Myc protein and its target genes. The new achievement opens new paths for therapeutic development such as anti-tumour drugs with targeted action.

The study was carried out by a team of scientists from IIT’s Center for Genomic Science (CGS) and IEO’s Department of Experimental Oncology, coordinated by Bruno Amati, Director of CGS. The work has been published in Nature with the title “Selective transcriptional regulation by Myc in cellular growth control and lymphomagenesis”.

The Myc protein controls the expression of many genes at the DNA level. This role is described by the term “transcription factor”: the protein is there in order to activate individual genetic sequences or genes and regulate cellular metabolism. It is well known that Myc is one of the most common oncogenes (potential cancer-causing genes) in many different types of tumours. Precisely, an increase in Myc protein is often detected in association with the onset of oncological diseases.

Scientists at the IIT and IEO have analysed the gene transcription process controlled by Myc protein during the B-cell lymphoma tumour progression, identifying the genes abnormally expressed when the level of Myc protein is high.

“Recent publications suggested that Myc acts amplifying gene activity in an indiscriminate manner”, says Bruno Amati, “Instead our work revises these results demonstrating that Myc protein intervenes regulating specific group of genes, and the transcription rises, when take place, indirectly from the Myc activity”.

In order to identify the link between Myc oncogenic activity and the expression of target gene sets, a fine genomic analysis of a transgenic mice line carrying the B-cell lymphoma tumour was set up. This neoplasia is associated with elevated levels of Myc in B lymphocytes (cells of the immune system with the task to produce antibodies), that develop in human body when specific mutations occur in the MYC gene sequence.

Monitoring the tumour in the animal model during its stepwise progression offered the chance to study the neoplasia in early and late stage growth– which is not directly observable in patients – allowing a more accurate characterization of protein function in tumour formation.

“These results pave the way to both scientific and therapeutic major development” – says Amati – “it is now crucial to focus and study in detail the target genes identified and their role in tumour progression and maintenance. Moreover, the proteins, product of these genes, will constitute the target to develop an efficient therapy for tumour cell suppression. In this pre-clinical phase, we will base our tests on the same animal model reported in publication.” After this step, the genes and proteins selected will play as the final targets to design and build the novel therapeutic approaches for patients.

Last Updated on Friday, 18 July 2014 09:36