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Teresa Pellegrino

Senior Researcher Tenured - Principal Investigator
Nanomaterials for Biomedical Applications
Research center

Personal Details

  • Name:                             Teresa Pellegrino    ORCID: 0000-0001-5518-1134

·     Birth date:                               January 26th, 1975 (in Grumo Appula (Ba), Italy)

·     Present address and status:    Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), Via Morego 30, 16 143 Genoa (Italy)

                                                     +39 010 2896730; teresa.pellegrino@iit.it, mom&married, Nationality: Italian, 

URL for web site: https://www.iit.it/people/teresa-pellegrino

Research interests

Preparation, characterization of organic-inorganic nanostructured materials in which different properties (i.e. chemical, and magnetic, stimuli responsive) are properly tailored and merged into single nano-objects for different medical applications. Her current research interests focus on the development of inorganic nanostructures for drug delivery, magnetic hyperthermia, photo-thermal treatment and radiotherapy exploiting cation exchange radio-protocols.


·     2005 Ph.D. in Chemistry, Uni. of Bari, Italy, (PhD Advisors: P. Alivisatos, G. Natile, and W.J. Parak)

·     2000 M.S. in Chemistry (110/110), University of Bari, Italy


Current Appointment

02/ 2014-current:            Senior Researcher Principal Investigator, Tenured Team Leader of the group ‘Nanomaterials for Biomedical Applications’ at IIT, Genoa, Italy

Previous Positions

02/2010-01/2014:           Permanent staff scientist at the Nanoscience Institute of CNR (National Nanotechnology Lab, Lecce, Italy)

03/ 2009-11/2013:          External collaborator at the Nanochemistry Facility at IIT, Genova, Italy

11/2004-02/2009:           Junior Scientist at the National Nanotechnology Lab, Lecce, Italy

06/2003-06/2004:           Marie Curie Fellowship at the Center for Nanoscience, LMU, Munich, Germany

06/2001-02/2003:           Visiting Student, Group of Prof. Alivisatos at Berkeley University, CA, USA

ERC grants

03/2016-08/2021 H2020 ERC Starting grant “ICARO” contract number 678109

07/2020-12/2021 -H2020 ERC Proof of Concept “Hypercube” contract number 899661

Fellowships, Honors and Awards

- 07-08/2019, 07-08/2018, 07-08/2017 06-08/2016 Affiliated Visiting Scientist at Molecular Foundry, Lawrence Berkeley Lab., Berkeley, CA (USA)

-03/2016 Awarded “European award of the European Group of Chemistry and Biology 2016”,

-2009/13: Project Coordinator of the FP7 EU project MAGNIFYCO ID-228622 (11 partners)

-2013 “Apulia Women Talent 2012”, Lions International Club for the work on “Magnetic Nanocontainers for Combined Hyperthermia and Controlled Drug Release”

-2012 Highlighted among the top emerging investigators by Chemical Communications

-2011 most downloaded review articles in Pharmacological Research in 2011 for the work A Figuerola, R Di Corato, L Manna, T Pellegrino, Pharmacological Research 62 (2), 126-143 (corresponding author)

-2009 Pellegrino T et al., Nano Lett. 2004, 4, 703 manuscript was selected as an “Emerging Research Front Paper in the field of Materials Science” by ScienceWatch (Thomson Reuters)

-2009 International Award “Primo Levi” from the Italian Chemical Society (age < 35), for the work: A. Quarta et al., J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2008,130, 10545-10555 (I was last and corresponding author).

-2003-2004: one-year Marie Curie Fellowship at the Center for Nanoscience_LMU, Munich, Germany

-2001: 6-month fellowship to support my early carrier in USA, granted by the University of Caserta, Italy

-Covers of journals articles: Front cover: Silva K. A. et al (Nanoscale, 2013, 5, 11374) 2014 Back covers: Guardia P. et al (J. Mater. Chem. B, 2013, 2, 4426)and Quarta A. et al (Nanoscale, 2013, 7, 2336)

Teaching Activities: 2013-2020 an annual 8-hour course to PhD school at IIT/UNIGE on Nanomedicine; 03/2007-04/2007 20-hour course on "Fundamentals of organic chemistry" and 3/2006-4/2006 20-hour course and 80-hour lab class on "Quantum dot and Gold nanoparticles " at Scuola Superiore Isufi, Lecce, Italy; 2/2006-5/2006  8-hour course on “Nanomaterials” at Sanofi-Aventis, Brindisi, Italy; 3/2001–6/2001 Polytechnic of Bari, Italy: 30-hour course on: "General and Inorganic Chemistry"


My current group: 6 Post Docs, 5 PhDs (out of 11 members 7 are paid on external funds) ALUMNI: (5 undergraduates, 13 PhDs, 18 Post Docs, 1 Marie Curie Research Fellow (Stefano Persano) Some of them have established themselves in academia or research institutes: Nadja Bigall (ERC assistant professor, University of Hannover, Germany); Andreas Riedinger (Group leader, Max Planck Institute, Mainz, Germany); Hamilton Kakwere (Research Fellow, Stanford University, USA), Aidin Lak (Researcher at Braunschweig University, Germany); Manuel P. Leal (Researcher, University of Sevilla, Spain); Pablo Guardia (researcher at IREC, Barcelona, Spain); Alessandra Quarta (CNR researcher at Nanotech, Lecce, Italy); Marco Cassani (Global Marie Curie Fellow at Brno Check Republic-Australia); Preethi Bala (Research Fellow, Stanford University, USA) Seal of Excellence for the Marie Curie Fellow proposals: Manuel P. Leal, Pablo Guardia, Nisarg Sony

Organisation of Scientific Meetings

  • 2014 Organizer of Minicolloquium entitled: "The life-cycle of nanomaterials in the (bio)environment: impact on physical properties and toxicity issues" at Condensed Matter in Paris, France(60 people); 2013 Chair of the final International workshop of the Magnifyco project, Barcelona, Spain (150 people); 2013 Organizer of Symposium Q at the e-MRS meeting: "Bionanomaterials for imaging, sensing and actuating", Nice, France (80 people); 2011 Organizer of the Symposium O at the e-MRS meeting:“Bionanomaterials for imaging, sensing and  actuating”, Strasbourg, France (70 people); 2011 Organizer of the International Workshop on “Magnetic Nanocontainers for Combined Hyperthermia and Drug Release” at the Italian Institute of Technology, Genoa, Italy (60 people); 2015 Kick off meeting of ERC ICARO, Genoa, Italy (60 people).

Institutional Responsibilities/Reviewer activities/Membership

- National habilitation as Full Professor for the area of "Fundamental of Chemical Science and Inorganic System for the period (23/12/2013 - 23/12/2017).

- External expert member for the commission of 6 PhD thesis defences of: Dr. Elie Balloul, (2019), Pierre et Marie Curie Institute, Paris, France; Dr. Elena González Domínguez (2016) University of Vigo, Spain; Dr. Soraia Fernandes (2016), University of Regensburg, Germany; Dr. Nadia Licciardello (2015), CNRS Strasbourg, France; Dr. Juan Comenge (2010), Institut Catala de Nanotecnologia, Spain; Dr. Elena Taboada Cabellos (2009), Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain; - External expert member for the jury of "Habilitation à diriger les recherches" in Chemistry of Dr. Jerome Fresnais (2016), Sorbonne-Université - Paris, France Expert member for the selection of a permanent researcher at CNR- INRiM, Turin (2020) -Member of the PhD Commission at the Chemistry Department, Genoa (2013-2020) - Regular reviewer for peer review international journals.

Panel Evaluator: 2020 Panel member for the INRiM-CNR selection of a permanent researcher 2017 Expert panel member for the Future and Emerging Technology (FET) European project Magnuron;

Proposal reviewer: 2012-Croatian Science Foundation; 2012-Molecular Foundry, LBL Berkeley; 2008-2009-Swiss National Science Foundation

 Membership: Member of the American Chemical Society

Major collaborations: PAST CNRS, Paris (Florence Gazeau and Claire Wilhelm); University of York(Roy Chantrell); Imdea, Madrid (Francisco Teran); Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (Juan Grancja, David Serantes); University of Southampton (Ondrej Hovorka); University of Hamburg (Wolfgang Parak); Statale University Milan, (Luisa De Cola); Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori; Milan (Mariangela Figini, Silvana Canevari); Dompe Pharma (Candida Cesta); ON-GOING: IRCCS Besta, Milan (Emilio Ciusani), University of Palermo (Matilde Todaro, Giorgio Stassi), University of Genoa (Cristina Bottino, Roberta Castriconi), IIT-Naples(Velia Siciliano), IIT-Milan (Francesco Nicassio) IIT-Genoa (Remo Porietti, Andrea Toma).

Palermo Hospital (Giorgio Stassi and Matilde Todaro); Marburg University (Joerg Bartsch) IIT-IEO-Milan (Francesco Nicassio) Gaslini hospital (Cristina Bottino), San Martino Hospital (Roberta Castriconi), IIT-Naples (Velia Siciliano)IIT-Genoa(Andrea Toma, Liberato Manna and Remo Proietti).

Invited Seminars (personal invitations)/Lectures/Colloquia, conference presentations: 37 international conference presentations (33 invited talks), 20 invited seminars, 6 invited talks at international schools. During the last six years, I have been regularly invited to present my work to the spring eMRS meeting and to the International Cell Model System summer school in Rome. In July 2019, I gave my first plenary talk at the International-Conference-of-Magnetic-Fluids, Paris.

Overall funds ensured from competitive projects. Since 2009 when I started my independent research carrier, I have ensured a total budget from competitive calls of more than 7,200,000 €. This budget includes among the most relevant grants the European project Magnyfyco (I was coordinator) two individual research grants of AIRC-Italian association of cancer research and the ERC starting grant.

Ongoing projects:

EU: H2020-MSCA-ITN-2019-HeatNMof:Heating triggered drug release from nanometric inorganic-metal organic framework composites, Started in March 2019, 48 months, PI for the IIT Partner

Italian association of Cancer research-AIRC Project: Glioblastoma targeting and MHT treatment combined with drug delivery, 60 months project, Ending in December 2023 (In 2020 I passed the 3-year evaluation and I am now funded for two additional years)

H2020-ERC-POC-2019-HyperCube: Gram scale production of ferrite nanocubes and thermo-responsive polymer coated nanocubes for medical applications and further exploitation in other hyperthermia fields, 18 months project ending in December 2021

EU: H2020-MSCA-IF-2018-MHT-Immuno Enhancer: Stimuli-Responsive Nanoplatform to Combine Magnetic Hyperthermia with Immunemodulators Delivery for Glioblastoma Treatment, 48 months, Started in October 2019; Scientific Supervisor of the Individual fellow Research Stefano Persano

ROCHE research for the oncology area - A new way to avoid side effects and treat efficiently glioblastoma, exploiting the combination of magnetic hyperthermia and differentiation therapy; 12 months starting in October 2020 ending in September 2022;              Scientific Supervisor for the  Dr. Tamara Fernandez (senior Post Doc in my group)

EU: H2020-MSCA-IF-2019- 3ActionTherapy : Single nanoplatform mediated trimodal cancer therapy: Merging self-activated photodynamic therapy with radiotherapy and magnetic hyperthermia-Not funded but the project received the SEAL OF EXCELLENCE; I am paying Dr. Nisarg Soni, the recipient of the seal of excellence, on my internal IIT fund, Scientific Supervisor Nisarg Soni (now Post Doc in my group)

Past granted projects:

Since 2009 when I started applying to competitive national and international grants call as an independent researcher, I have ensured so far a total budget of more than 7,200,000 €. Among the past grants that are considered by me relevant for my professional career are here listed a 3 major projects, organized in terms of  date received from the oldest to the newest:

1. EU-small collaborative- FP7 2009-2013 Magnifyco project : Magnetic Nanocontainers for Combined Hyperthermia and Controlled Drug Release (contract n. 228622) 3.400 000 of which I was the coordinator and I started to get involved in magnetic hyperthermia;

2. AIRC-Individual Principal Investigator Grant of the Italian Association of Cancer Research 2013-2016 entitled NanoCure: Stimuli-Responsive Nanoparticles for eradicating different subsets of cancer cells within tumors 270 000 digging in oncological aspects of the drug delivery. With the results obtained I have built another 5-year grants from the same AIRC association

3. EU: H2020-ERC-starting grant- ICARO 2015-2020 : Colloidal Inorganic Nanostructures for Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy, (1 160 000 €) enabling to establish my independent career at the host institution and developing magnetic-semiconductors materials for radiotherapy and heat-mediated drug deliver.

Among the other past grants that I have ensured, the involvement in the International Marie Curie Training Network -ITN Magneticfun in 2012-2016 and the Cariplo project  in 2014-2015 have allowed me to networking with many of the national and international colleagues in collaborations now still in place. Last year beside the ERC-POC Hypercube (150000 €)   I was also able to attract a little contract service from an industrial company Colorobbia

Summary of the Scientific output: Citation Track Record

Since my first publication in 2002, so far I have published in total 134 papers in international journals (7 invited reviews, 5 as a first author and 71 out of 121 as corresponding author) and 7 book chapters. I was invited to write reviews for Chemical Society Reviews, Accounts of Chemical Research, Pharmacological I have nearly 17000 citations of total citations, H index 58 source: Google scholar, updated at October 21st, 2021, https://scholar.google.it/citations?user=ssxCVUAAAAAJ&hl=it

Patents: Since 2009, when I joined IIT, my technology transfer activity has generated 9 patent families (inventions) and 23 applications (9 IT, 6 PCT, 5 EP, 3 US) leading to 22 patents. Before moving to IIT, I had generated other 5 patents. Among them the most relevant for my research are: i) “Methods of making ferrite nanocrystals” T Pellegrino et al, 2016, US Patent 9,376,328ion); ii) Heat-sensitive nanoparticle system, T Pellegrino et al.,  2017, US Patent 9,821,060; iii) For the synthesis of iron oxide nanocubes with benchmark MHT heat performance, we have patented a synthesis method to gram scale production of ferrites of cubic shape (T. Pellegrino et al.; IT 102019000006469, filing date April 30, 2019). iv) A further patent was filed for the gram scale production of ferrite at shape different than nanocubes (Appl.N.IT 102020000025738, October 29, 2020).

Dissemination and Outreach activities: In the last three years (before Covid), we have done experimental activities to elementary school kids -2020 Participation to the IIT video for celebrating the International day of women in Science, -2020 Presentation at the event Women & Science, my hometown Palo del Colle (Italy). -2017 BEERC Initiative for the 10th ERC anniversary, at IIT I presented to the general public my ERC project ICARO, Genoa (Italy); -2017 Public presentation on the topic ‘Nanotechnology and medicine’ at the Teatro Elfo, Milan (Italy) -Public presentation: 2008 “Art and Science: TEM images, Colours and Design”, at Manifatture Knos exposition center (Lecce, Italy).

Pellegrino T.
The research of the Nanomaterilas for Biomedical Applications group
in March 2021, I have a Presentation at the event 'Women & Science', organized by my hometown Palo del Colle (Italy) to inspire other women.
Public Event
Pellegrino T., Barthel M.J., Lak A.
Nanoparticelle “termiche” all’assalto dei tumori
IIT si racconta, serie dei Caffè Scientifici
Public Event
Scientific Talks
Pellegrino T.
'Combining magnetic hyperthermia with other therapautic strategies to tackle cancer
C'Nano meeting, Tolouse, France (Plenary Talk)
Gavilán H., Rizzo G. M., Mandriota G., Avugadda S. K., Silvestri N., Mai T. B., Pellegrino T.
Ferrite nanocubes as sophisticated tools for magnetic hyperthermia: Keys for the achievement of high heat doses in the applicable conditions for clinics
3rd Spanish Conference on Biomedical Applications of Nanomaterials (SBAN)
Pellegrino T.
'Magnetic nanoparticles and clusters as platforms for combining magnetic hyperthermia with other therapeutic treatments to tackle cancer
Congress of the Italian Association of Biomaterials meeting, Lecce-Italy
Pellegrino T.
Nanoparticles for magnetic hyperthermia and radiotherapy to treat tumors
University of Sidney-IIT workshop organized by G. Ciofani
Pellegrino T.
Nanoparticles for magnetic hyperthermia and radiotherapy to treat tumors
TNT (Trends in Nanotechnology) Tirana, Albania,
Oral presentations
El Merhie A., Ravasenga T., Barberis A., Dante S., Pellegrino T.
Tuning the Interaction of Nanoparticles of Different Surface Charge with Neurons
Nanomaterials Applied to Life Sceinces
Sahitya Kumar A., Niculaes D., Aidin L., Pellegrino T.
Controlled clustering of iron oxide nanocubes for magnetic fluid hyperthermia treatment.
16 th International Conference on nanoscience and nanotechnologies
Barbara S., Sahitya Kumar A., Amira El M., Pellegrino T., Diaspro A., Dante S.
Interaction of nanoparticles with cellular and model membranes: influence of surface charge, size and membrane potential
International Conference on Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology
Gavilán H., Fiorito S., Niculaes D., Guardia P., Pellegrino T.
Magnetic Nano-systems with High Heat Performance: Fe3O4 Assemblies and Au-FexOy Heterostructures
Final RADIOMAG Conference
Awards and Achievements
Pellegrino T.
Energy Spotlight New Advances in Energy Storage and Perovskite Nanocrystals (Spot light to our ACS Energy Letters manuscript https://doi.org/10.1021/acsenergylett.1c01232 )
Sahitya Kumar A., Dina N., Aidin L., Pellegrino T.
Controlled clustering of iron oxide nanocubes for magnetic fluid hyperthermia treatment.
Silvestri N., Gavilan H., Pellegrino T.
Special award "Marco Paganuzzi" for my team’s business idea
Silvestri N., Gavilan H., Pellegrino T.
Special award "Ricci and Partners" for the creation of an innovative start-up