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Alberto Diaspro Write a Message

Senior Researcher - Research Director
Department Director

Research Line

Nanoscopy & NIC@IIT


+39 010 71781 503


Alberto Diaspro is Director of the Department of Nanophysics at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), Deputy Director of IIT, Chair of the Nikon IMaging Center at IIT ( AD is Professor of Applied Physics at the Department of Physics of University of Genova and supervisor for the Ph.D. Courses in the Bioengineering and Robostics and Physics programs of the Universitry of Genova within the IIT program. He was President of OWLS (Optics with Life Sciences), EBSA (European Biophysical Societies Association) and Appointed Vice President of ICO (Interational Commission of Optics). AD is afounder of the Nanoscale Biophysics Subgroup of the Biophysical Society (*). During the 90’s he carried out part of his research activity at Drexel University (PA, USA), Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Spain) and Czech Academy of Sciences (Czech Republic). He also coordinated a research program (2004-2012) at IFOM-IEO Campus in Milano on Biomedical Research and is currently associated with the Institute of Biophysics of the National Research Council (CNR)(since 2006). He founded LAMBS (Laboratory for Advanced Microscopy, Bioimaging and Spectroscopy) in 2003 - AD realized a hybrid artificial “nanobiorobot” within EU and national Research Projects (2000-2005), and designed and realized the first Italian multiphoton microscope within a research grant of the National Institute of Physics of Matter (1999). He directed the design and realization of the first Italian nanoscopy architecture at the Neuroscience and Brain Technologies Department of IIT  (2008).

At present, Alberto Diaspro coordinates the Nanobiophotonics  IIT research program (**).  He is coordinator of several EU and national research programs, and published more than 300 international peer reviewed papers, 6000 citations, H=38 (source Google Scholar ***). He is EDitore in Chief of the international Journal MIcroscopy Research and Technique and active member of international editorial boards and societies (SIOF, SIF, SISM, SIBPA, BS, EBSA, OWLS, IEEE, SPIE, OSA).
AD is IEEE senior member and SPIE fellow ( AD He received the Emily M.Gray Award in 2014. (*V)

His specific research experience is related to the design, realization and utilization of optical and biophysical instrumentation as far-field super resolution optical microscopy and nanoscopy, conventional and confocal microscopy, two-photon fluorescence microscopy and spectroscopy architecture, differential scanning calorimetry, scanning probe microscopy (STM, SNOM, AFM), polarized light scattering, signal and image digital processing. His main interests are molecular oncology (chromatin, endocytosis and adhesion mechanisms), neuroscience (brain mapping and neuronal network signaling) and smart materials (intelligent drug delivery and nanocomposite materials).


Microscopy skills

Super resolved fluorescence microscopy, Correlative Nnaoscopy, Mueller matrix signature, Bioimaging.

Confocal and Multiphoton Microscopy, i.e., FRAP, FRET, SHG, lifetime imaging, spectral fingerprint, single molecule detection, colocalization, 3D/4D.

Live imaging down to molecular resolution, single molecule/particle tracking with 5-10 nm accuray, 100-40 nm resolution, single molecule sensitivity, Nanoscopy - FCS, TIRF, STED/PALM, IML-SPIM (Individual Molecule Localization - Selective Plane Illumination Microscopy).

4D (x, y, z, t) particle tracking, fast scanning modes - 100 fps, 512x512 pixel, photoactivatable fluo markers - paGFP, other fluo probes.

Active optical microscopy molecular 3D/4D uncaging and events follow up.

Deep imaging towards small animal live imaging, depth penetration, 0.5-1 mm.

Integration with electrophysiological data, multimodal platform for simultaneous imaging and data analysis.

Implementation of a deconvolution and image processing platform powermicroscope - friendly remote web access, correlative microscopy vs. TEM, SEM, AFM.


Selected Publications

25 selected publications

1.     Lanzanò L., Coto Hernandez I., Castello M., Gratton E., Diaspro A., Vicidomini G. (2015) “Encoding and decoding spatio-temporal information for super-resolution microscopy” Nature communications.

2.     Viero G., Lunelli L., Passerini A., Bianchini P., Gilbert R. J., Bernabò P., Tebaldi T., Diaspro A., Pederzolli C. and Quattrone A. (2015) Three distinct ribosome  assemblies modulated by translation are the building blocks of polysome. Journal of Cell Biology , vol. 208, (no. 5), pp. 581-596  DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201406040

3.     Chacko JV, Harke B, Canale C, Diaspro A. (2014) Cellular level nanomanipulation using atomic force microscope aided with superresolution imaging. J Biomed Opt. 19(10):105003. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.19.10.105003

4.     Bianchini P, Cardarelli F, Luca MD, Diaspro A, Bizzarri R. (2014) Nanoscale Protein Diffusion by STED-Based Pair Correlation Analysis. PLoS One. 9 (6):e99619.

doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0099619

5.     Duocastella M., Vicidomini G., Diaspro A. (2014) Simultaneous multiplane confocal microscopy using acoustic tunable lenses. Optics Express. 22(16): 19293-19301

6.     Vicidomini G, Coto Hernández I, d'Amora M, Cella Zanacchi F, Bianchini P, Diaspro A (2014) Gated CW-STED microscopy: A versatile tool for biological nanometer scale investigation. Methods.  66(2) 124-130. doi:10.1016/j.ymeth.2013.06.029

7.     Deschout H., Zanacchi F.C., Mlodzianoski M., Diaspro A., Bewersdorf J., Hess S.T. and Braeckmans K. (2014) Precisely and accurately localizing single emitters in fluorescence microscopy. Nature Methods. 11(3):253-266. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.2843.

8.     Diaspro A. (2013) Taking three-dimensional two-photon excitation microscopy further: Encoding the light for decoding the brain. Microscopy Research Technique. 76(10): 985- 987. doi: 10.1002/jemt.22284.

9.     Chacko J.V., Cella Zanacchi F., Diaspro A. (2013) Probing Cytoskeletal Structures by Coupling Optical Superresolution and AFM Techniques for a Correlative Approach. Cytoskeleton 70(11): 729 – 740. doi: 10.1002/cm.21139

10.  Harke B., Dallari W., Grancini G., Fazzi D., Brandi F., Petrozza A., Diaspro A. (2013). Polymerization Inhibition by Triplet State Absorption for Nanoscale Lithography. Advanced Materials. 25 (6): 904-909 doi:10.1002/adma.201204141

11.  Ronzitti E., Harke B., Diaspro A. (2013) Frequency dependent detection in a STED microscope using modulated excitation light. Optics Express. 21 (1): 210 – 219.DOI: 10.1364/OE.21.000210.

12.  Bianchini P., Harke B., Galiani S., Vicidomini G., Diaspro A. (2012) Single wavelength 2PE-STED super-resolution imaging. PNAS 109 (17): 6390 - 6393.

13.  Cella Zanacchi F, Lavagnino Z., Perrone Donnorso M., Del Bue A., Furia L., Faretta M., Diaspro A. (2011) Live-cell 3D superresolution imaging in thick biological samples. Nature Methods. 8 (12): 1047 – 1049. DOI:10.1038/NMETH.1744

14.  Bianchini P., Diaspro A. (2008). Three-dimensional (3d) backward and forward second harmonic generation (shg) microscopy of biological tissues. J Biophotonics. 1(6): 443–50.

15.  Palamidessi A., Frittoli E., Garré M., Faretta M., Mione M., Testa I., Diaspro A., Lanzetti L., Scita G., Di Fiore P.P. (2008). Endocytic trafficking of rac is required for the spatial restriction of signaling in cell migration.Cell. 134(1): 135–47.

16.  Diaspro, A.; Chirico, G. & Collini, M. (2005) Two-photon fluorescence excitation and related techniques in biological microscopy. Q Rev Biophys 38(2), 97--166.

17.  Schneider, M.; Barozzi, S.; Testa, I.; Faretta, M. & Diaspro, A. (2005), 'Two-photon activation and excitation properties of PA-GFP in the 720-920-nm region. Biophys Journal 89(2), 1346--1352.

18.  Diaspro, A.; Silvano, D.; Krol, S.; Cavalleri, O. & Gliozzi, A. (2002), 'Single Living Cell Encapsulation in Nano-organized Polyelectrolyte Shells', Langmuir 18(13), 5047-5050.

19.  Chirico, G.; Cannone, F.; Beretta, S.; Baldini, G. & Diaspro, A. (2001), 'Single molecule studies by means of the two-photon fluorescence distribution.', Microsc Res Tech 55(5), 359--364.

20.  Diaspro, A.; Annunziata, S. & Robello, M. (2000), 'Single-pinhole confocal imaging of sub-resolution sparse objects using experimental point spread function and image restoration.' Microsc Res Tech 51(5), 464—468

21.  Pecere, T.; Gazzola, M. V.; Mucignat, C.; Parolin, C.; Vecchia, F. D.; Cavaggioni, A.; Basso, G.; Diaspro, A.; Salvato, B.; Carli, M. & Palù, G. (2000), 'Aloe-emodin is a new type of anticancer agent with selective activity against neuroectodermal tumors. Cancer Res 60(11), 2800--2804.

22.  Diaspro, A.; Bertolotto, M.; Vergani, L. & Nicolini, C. (1991), 'Polarized light scattering of nucleosomes and polynucleosomes--in situ and in vitro studies.', IEEE Trans Biomed Eng July 1991. 38(7): 670--678.

23.  Bianco, B. & Diaspro, A. (1989), 'Analysis of three-dimensional cell imaging obtained with optical microscopy techniques based on defocusing. Cell Biophys 15(3), 189--199.

24.  Diaspro, A. & Nicolini, C. A. (1987), 'Circular intensity differential scattering and chromatin-DNA structure. A combined theoretical approach. Cell Biophys 10(1), 45--60.

25.  Beltrame, F.; Bianco, B.; Castellaro, G.; Diaspro, A. & Nicolini, C. (1985), 'Quantitative phase contrast optical microscopy of cells', Medical and biological Engineering and Computing 23, 263--264.



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.


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