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Attilio Marino

Post Doc
Post-doc (granted by European Research Council)

Research Line

Smart Bio-Interfaces




Pontedera, Viale rinaldo Piaggio 34
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Personal information:

First name: Attilio

Surname: Marino

Birth date October 11th, 1987

Nationality: Italian

Address: Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Smart Bio-Interfaces. Viale Rinaldo Piaggio 34, 56025 Pontedera (PI), Italy


Telephone +39 050883089; +39 3281211056


Attilio Marino received his Bachelor Degree in Ecology and Biodiversity, Neuroethologic Curriculum, with 110/110 summa cum laude and than the Master Degree in Medical Biology; grade 110/110 summa cum laude. In October 2016 he received his doctorate in Biorobotics (Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, SSSA), grade 100/100 summa cum laude, at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), Center for Micro-BioRobotics @SSSA with the project: “Nanoparticles and nanostructured surfaces as smart solutions for the modulation of cellular functions”. During doctorate, he spent six months as a visiting Ph.D. student at the Waseda Bioscience Research Institute in Singapore (Wabios). Dr. Marino was sponsored by Fondazione Umberto Veronesi and, currently, by European Research Council for the Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), Smart Bio-Interfaces group.

His main research interests are in the fields of nanomaterials for biomedical applications (e.g. remote cell stimulation mediated by piezoelectric nanoparticles, superparamagnetic nanostructures and NIR-absorbing nanomaterials), 3D nanostructured scaffolds for tissue engineering, bio-hybrid systems for the modelling of blood-brain barrier and biology in altered gravity conditions.

Dr. Marino is author or co-author of 33 ISI papers, 1 papers on international peer-reviewed non-impacted journals, 3 book chapter, 13 proceedings and 16 abstracts/posters at national/international conferences. He serves as Reviewer for more than 25 international journals and was selected as reviewer for the evaluation of ERC and Marie Skłodowska-Curie projects. He serves as Review Editor for Frontiers Bioengineering and Biotechnology. He delivered 6 talks and 4 invited talk in international contexts; Dr. Marino served as chairman at the 5th International Conference on Multifunctional, Hybrid and Nanomaterials (2017). For his research activity, he was awarded with several national and international prizes. Attilio Marino held seminars at the Polytechnic University of Turin (aa.yy. 2015/2016, 2016/2017, 2017/2018, 2018/2019 coordinated by prof. Gianluca Ciardelli and prof. Gianni Ciofani), University of Genova (aa.yy. 2017/2018, , coordinated by prof. Roberto Raiteri), and at the University of Pisa "Neuroscience Methods" (2012/2013, 2013/2014, 2014/2015, coordinated by prof. Mario Pellegrino). He is currently supervisor of one M.Sc. student. He supervised the activity of other 3 M.Sc.

Education and training:

February 2018 – present: - Post-Doctoral Fellowship, granted by European Research Council, at IIT (Smart Bio-Interfaces group).

February 2017 – January 2018: - Post-Doctoral Fellowship, granted by Fondazione Umberto Veronesi, at IIT (Smart Bio-Interfaces group).

October 2016 – January 2017: - Post-Doctoral Fellowship granted by Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), at IIT (Center for Micro-BioRobotics @SSSA).

October 2016: - PhD in Biorobotics; grade 100/100 summa cum laude

November 2012 – October 2016: - Ph.D. student in Biorobotics (Center for Micro-BioRobotics @SSSA). Title of the research project: “Nanoparticles and nanostructured surfaces as smart solutions for the modulation of cellular functions”. Six months period abroad at the Waseda Bioscience Research Institute in Singapore (WABIOS) in collaboration with prof. Madoka Suzuki and dr. Satoshi Arai.

May 2012: - M.Sc. Biology Applied to Biomedicine (University of Pisa, 02/05/2012), 110/110 cum laude

April 2011 – April 2012: - Master thesis internship at the Department of Biology, Unit of Cellular Biology, University of Pisa, in collaboration with the Unit of Physiology, University of Pisa. Thesis of the Master's Degree: "Characterization of knockin line mouse embryonic stem cells Tph2eGFP: an in vitro model to study the differentiation of serotonergic neurons.

December 2009: - B.Sc. in Ecology and Biodiversity (Curriculum in Neuroethology), at University of Pisa (Italy); grade 110/110 summa cum laude

October 2008 – October 2009: - Bachelor's Thesis internship at the Department of Biology, Unit of Cellular Biology, University of Pisa. Thesis of Degree "in vitro differentiation of serotonergic neurons from embryonic stem cells Tph2eGFP

Language skills:

Mother tongue: Italian. English: understanding C2, speaking C1, writing C2. French: understanding C1, speaking C1, writing C1.

Technical skills:

Cellular biology: Electroporation of embryonic stem cells (ESCs). In vitro culture of ESCs, human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs), primary neurons, astrocytes, cardiomyocytes, cancer cells (neuroblastoma, glioblastoma, HeLA, SKBR3, SaOS-2,) and other cell lines (C2C12, RAW, BeND.3).

Molecular biology: Immunocytochemistry and immunohistochemistry. Handling of DNA: use of restriction enzymes, cloning, sequencing of DNA, extraction of genomic DNA and plasmid. Use of quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). ELISA assay. Flow cytometry.

Cellular physiology: Calcium, sodium, voltage and temperature imaging on living cells. Study of cell up-take pathways through the use of different cell trackers: staining of plasma membranes, endoplasmic reticulum, early endosomes, late endosomes / lysosomes, mitochondria and Golgi apparatus on living cells. Viability assays (e.g. WST-1, Pico green, calcein/propidium iodide). Evaluation of the activity of different enzymes (e.g. superoxide dismutase and catalase).

Microscopy: Optical and fluorescence microscopy (expert user). Confocal laser scanning microscopy (expert user). Raman confocal spectroscopy (expert user). Time-lapse microscopy (expert user). Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). Scanning probe microscopy (basic skills in scanning ion conductance microscopy, and atomic force microscopy).

Nanofabrication: Functionalization of nanomaterials with specific antibodies for promoting their crossing through the blood-brain barrier and their targeting towards cancer cells. Characterization of nanomaterials through dynamic light scattering (DLS), spectrophotometer and spectrofluorimeter. Design and polymerization of 2D/3D nanostructured scaffolds through the “two-photon polymerization” (2pp) technique. Fabrication of 3D nanostructured microfluidic systems for the generation of bio-hybrids blood-brain barriers through 2pp. Preparation of 2D-3D nanostructured scaffolds characterized by different properties (e.g. biocompatible, biodegradable, fluorescent, magnetic, piezoelectric, photo-thermic) and specific topographies (e.g. biomimetic and fractal) for the stimulation of specific cell behaviour.

Cell stimulation: Wireless cell stimulation mediated by piezoelectric nanoparticles, NIR-absorbing nanoparticles and superparamagnetic nanoparticles.

Other expertise: Experiments in altered gravity conditions through the Large Diameter Centrifuge (LDC) and on International Space Station (ISS).

Bioinformatics and software: Operating System: Macintosh, Windows, Linux. Programming languages: R (certified by “Progetto obiettivo, ambiente open source R”, June 2011). Applications: word processors, spreadsheets (e.g., Origin, Excel), analysis of AA and DNA sequences (e.g., CodonCode Aligner, Serial-Cloner), image analysis and image editing (e.g., ImageJ, NIS), statistical analysis (e.g., R, Excel, Kaleidagraph), design of nanostructured 3D scaffolds (SketchUp, Meshlab, Nanoslicer, Describe, Nanowrite).

Research topics:

Nanomaterials for applications in biomedicine: Piezoelectric remote stimulation driven by ultrasounds. Wireless cell stimulation mediated by NIR-absorbing nanomaterials. Remote stimulation assisted by superparamagnetic nanoparticles and driven by alternated magnetic fields for hyperthermia and photothermal ablation. Self-regenerative antioxidant nanoparticles for biomedical applications. Assessment of the ability of nanomaterials to cross the blood-brain barrier.

Nanostructured surfaces/scaffolds: Topographical cues for the control of cell behaviour (osteogenic and neural differentiation, guidance and promotion of the axonal outgrowth). Nanocomposite 3D scaffolds for cell stimulation. 3D microfluidic models of the blood-brain barrier. Biomechanical investigations of the force exerted by cells.

Extreme biology: altered gravity conditions: Nanotechnology solutions against oxidative stress in muscle tissue during long-term microgravity exposure: experiment on international space station (ISS). Hypergravity effects on the production of reactive oxigen species in vivo models. Hypergravity-mediated nanoparticle up-take, hypergravity-mediated transfection and hypergravity-induced osteogenesis.

Invited talks in international contexts

Marino A. Piezoelectric Nanotransducers for Wireless Therapy in Advanced Nanomedicine. Invited talk at Osaka University, Institute for Protein Research. Osaka, Japan (2019)

Marino A. Lipid Magnetic Nanovectors: a Multifunctional Platform for the Treatment of Brain Tumors. ERC Starting Grant SlAMM Workshop. Pontedera, Italy (2019)

Marino A. Nanostructured Smart Materials for the Remote Manipulation of Cell Behavior. The 55th Annual Meeting of The Biophysical Society of Japan. Kumamoto, Japan (2017)

Marino A. Nanomaterials for the treatment of living systems in altered gravity conditions. ESA-ELGRA Gravity-Related Research Summer School 2017. Redu, Belgium (2017)

Talk at international conferences

Battaglini M., Tapeinos C., Grillone A., Marino A., Ciofani G. In vitro modeling of the blood-brain barrier: From static systems to 3D biomimetic microdevices. 6th International Conference on Multifunctional, Hybrid and Nanomaterials. ABC07.04 (2019)

Marino A., Tapeinos C., Battaglini M., Migliorin S., Tomatis F., CiofaniG. Ultrasound-sensitive piezoelectric nanotransducers for the treatment of brain tumors. 6th International Conference on Multifunctional, Hybrid and Nanomaterials. SYMA05.08 (2019)

Marino, A. Tricinci O., Battaglini M., Mattoli V., Sinibaldi E., Ciofani G. A 3D biomimetic model of the blood-brain barrier fabricated with a two-photon lithography approach. 29th European Conference on Biomaterials. 232 (2017)

Marino A., Tonda-Turo C., de Pasquale D.,1 Ruini F., Genchi G. G., Ciardelli G., Ciofani G. Nanoceria-doped gelatin nanofibers for neuronal regeneration. 5th International Conference on Multifunctional, Hybrid and Nanomaterials. 39 (2017)

Marino A., Arai S., Hou Y., Suzuki M., Ciofani G. Gold nanoshell-assisted wireless activation of myotube contraction. International Conference on Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology, OS3-101-3 (2016)

Marino A., Rocca A., Rocca V., Moscato M., de Vito G., Piazza V., Mazzolai B., Mattoli V., Ngo-Anh J.T., Ciofani G. Hypergravity enhances nanoparticle up-take by stem cells: implications in biomedicine. 65th International Astronautical Conference, 269-272 (2014)

Teaching experience:

- Seminars at the Polytechnic University of Turin (aa.yy. 2015/2016, 2016/2017, 2017/2018, 2018/2019) within the course “Bionanotechnologies” (prof. Gianni Ciofani, course in Biomedical Engineering)

- Seminar at the University of Genova (aa.yy. 2017/2018) within the course “Bionanotechnologies” (prof. Roberto Raiteri, course in Biomedical Engineering)

- Seminars at the University of Pisa (aa.yy. 2012/2013, 2013/2014, 2014/2015) within the course "Neuroscience Methods" (prof. Mario Pellegrino, M.Sc. course in Medical Biology: Neurobiology)

Review activities:

- Reviewer selected for the evaluation of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellowship Programme.

- Reviewer selected for the evaluation of ERC projects

- Review Editor for Bioengineering and Biotechnology and Materials

- Manuscript reviewer for more than 25 ISI journals, including ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, Acta biomaterialia, International Journal of Nanomedicine and Biomaterials Science.

Special courses attended:

-EMBO Workshop on Stem Cell mechanobiology in development and disease. Capri (Italy). 18-21 October 2015

- Nanoscribe's User Meeting Europe (3D mesoscale printing, high resolution printing, 2D mask lithography and lab sessions). Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen (Germany). 05-08 October 2015

- The toolbox for investigating the function of neural circuits at the CSNII School on Neurotechniques; Padua (Italy), 10-14 March 2014

- Nanomechanics of biomolecular adhesion at the XVIII School of Pure and Applied Biophysics; Venice (Italy), 27-31 January 2014


nanomaterials for biomedical applications; 3D nanostructured scaffolds for tissue engineering; bio-hybrid systems for the modelling of blood-brain barrier; biology in altered gravity conditions.


Attilio Marino worked in the framework of the following projects:

- Magnetic Solid lipid nanoparticles as a multifunctional platform against glioblastoma multiforme (project funded by ERC; ID project 709613; February 2018 - present)

- Nanoparticle-mediated electromagnetic stimulation of living cells (framework agreement between Institute for Protein Research, Osaka and the Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia; November 2018 – present)

- Investigation of nanoparticle-cell interactions during piezoelectric nanomaterials-mediated cell stimulation (framework agreement between Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia and the Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia; March 2018 - present)

- Piezoelectric nanoparticle-mediated inhibition of cell proliferation: molecular mechanisms in breast cancer and therapeutic implications (project granted by Fondazione Umberto Veronesi and Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia; January 2017 - January 2018)

- Nanotechnology solutions against oxidative stress in muscle tissue during long-term microgravity exposure (project funded by Italian Space Agency; ID project 2016-7-U.0; February 2016 - January 2017)

- Nanostructured scaffolds bioinspired to vegetal ultrastructures for cell cultures (project Plantoid funded by European Union; ID project 293431; November 2015 – January 2016)


- Cover image of issue of ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, 2019, 5(2), 670–682

- Cover image of issue of Nanoscale, 2019, 11, 72-88

- Cover image of issue of Small, 2018, 14(6)

- Julia Polak European Doctoral Award 2017

- Winner of the Fondazione Umberto Veronesi Fellowship 2017

- Cover image of issue of Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2017, 6(9)

- Winner of the Spin Your Thesis! Campaign (2016), promoted by the ESA, presenting the experiment “Hypergravity-induced oxidative stress in planarians: nanotechnology-based countermeasures” (A. Marino, A. Grillone, I. Pezzini, D. De Pasquale; advisors prof. G. Ciofani, prof. A. Salvetti, dr. G.G. Genchi)

- Cover image of issue of Nanoscale, 2015, 7 (7), 2815–3320

- Winner of the “Salvatore Venuta” 2014 scholarship

- Winner of the travel grant awards for the following 4 conferences: i) 5th International Conference on Multifunctional, Hybrid and Nanomaterials, 2017, Lisbon (Portugal), ii) 4th Nano Today Conference; 2015, Dubai (United Arab Emirates) iii) EMBO Workshop on Stem Cell mechanobiology in development and disease; 2015 Capri (Italy). iv) 5th International Conference on Multifunctional, Hybrid and Nanomaterials. 39 (2017)

- “Arte o scienza?” photo-contest in 2015. The picture “Canestro e doppio canestro” was selected for the exhibition and won the second price

- Winner of the Spin Your Thesis! Campaign (2014), promoted by the ESA, presenting the experiment “Implementation of hypergravity in mammalian cell transfection procedures” (A. Rocca, A. Marino, A. Grillone, S. Gualtieri; advisors dr. G. Ciofani, dr. G.G. Genchi, dr. T.J. Ngo-Anh)

- Winner of the Spin Your Thesis! Campaign (2013), promoted by the European Space Agency (ESA), presenting the experiment: “Combination of hypergravity and nanotechnology for the improvement of the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells into osteoblasts” (A. Marino, A. Rocca, V. Rocca; advisors dr. G. Ciofani, dr. T.J. Ngo-Anh)


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I numeri di IIT

L’Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) è una fondazione di diritto privato - cfr. determinazione Corte dei Conti 23/2015 “IIT è una fondazione da inquadrare fra gli organismi di diritto pubblico con la scelta di un modello di organizzazione di diritto privato per rispondere all’esigenza di assicurare procedure più snelle nella selezione non solo nell’ambito nazionale dei collaboratori, scienziati e ricercatori ”.

IIT è sotto la vigilanza del Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca e del Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze ed è stato istituito con la Legge 326/2003. La Fondazione ha l'obiettivo di promuovere l'eccellenza nella ricerca di base e in quella applicata e di favorire lo sviluppo del sistema economico nazionale. La costruzione dei laboratori iniziata nel 2006 si è conclusa nel 2009.

Lo staff complessivo di IIT conta circa 1440 persone. L’area scientifica è rappresentata da circa l’85% del personale. Il 45% dei ricercatori proviene dall’estero: di questi, il 29% è costituito da stranieri provenienti da oltre 50 Paesi e il 16% da italiani rientrati. Oggi il personale scientifico è composto da circa 60 principal investigators, circa 110 ricercatori e tecnologi di staff, circa 350 post doc, circa 500 studenti di dottorato e borsisti, circa 130 tecnici. Oltre 330 posti su 1400 creati su fondi esterni. Età media 34 anni. 41% donne / 59 % uomini.

Nel 2015 IIT ha ricevuto finanziamenti pubblici per circa 96 milioni di euro (80% del budget), conseguendo fondi esterni per 22 milioni di euro (20% budget) provenienti da 18 progetti europei17 finanziamenti da istituzioni nazionali e internazionali, circa 60 progetti industriali

La produzione di IIT ad oggi vanta circa 6990 pubblicazioni, oltre 130 finanziamenti Europei e 11 ERC, più di 350 domande di brevetto attive, oltre 12 start up costituite e altrettante in fase di lancio. Dal 2009 l’attività scientifica è stata ulteriormente rafforzata con la creazione di dieci centri di ricerca nel territorio nazionale (a Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) e internazionale (MIT ed Harvard negli USA) che, unitamente al Laboratorio Centrale di Genova, sviluppano i programmi di ricerca del piano scientifico 2015-2017.

IIT: the numbers

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is a public research institute that adopts the organizational model of a private law foundation. IIT is overseen by Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca and Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze (the Italian Ministries of Education, Economy and Finance).  The Institute was set up according to Italian law 326/2003 with the objective of promoting excellence in basic and applied research andfostering Italy’s economic development. Construction of the Laboratories started in 2006 and finished in 2009.

IIT has an overall staff of about 1,440 people. The scientific staff covers about 85% of the total. Out of 45% of researchers coming from abroad 29% are foreigners coming from more than 50 countries and 16% are returned Italians. The scientific staff currently consists of approximately 60 Principal Investigators110 researchers and technologists350 post-docs and 500 PhD students and grant holders and 130 technicians. External funding has allowed the creation of more than 330 positions . The average age is 34 and the gender balance proportion  is 41% female against 59% male.

In 2015 IIT received 96 million euros in public funding (accounting for 80% of its budget) and obtained 22 million euros in external funding (accounting for 20% of its budget). External funding comes from 18 European Projects, other 17 national and international competitive projects and approximately 60 industrial projects.

So far IIT accounts for: about 6990 publications, more than 130 European grants and 11 ERC grants, more than 350 patents or patent applications12 up start-ups and as many  which are about to be launched. The Institute’s scientific activity has been further strengthened since 2009 with the establishment of 11 research nodes throughout Italy (Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) and abroad (MIT and Harvard University, USA), which, along with the Genoa-based Central Lab, implement the research programs included in the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan.