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Silvia Giordani

Visiting scientist
Founder and Director of the Nano Carbon Materials Lab


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In September 2013 Dr. Silvia Giordani founded the Nano Carbon Materials Research Lab at the Italian Institute of Technology.

Silvia Giordani received a Laurea in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technology from the University of Milan, Italy and a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Miami, USA. Supported by Marie Curie Fellowships she studied various aspects of nanotechnology as a post-doctoral fellow at both Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Ireland and the University of Trieste, Italy.  She has been awarded the prestigious Science Foundation Ireland President of Ireland Young Researcher Award (PIYRA) and from 2007 to 2013 she has been a Research Assistant Professor at TCD where she run an international and interdisciplinary research group. She was awarded the 2012 L’Oreal-UNESCO UK and Ireland for Women in Science Fellowship and has been a visiting scientist at the Joint Research Center in Ispra, Italy.  In 2014 she has been invited to give a “Women in Science” Masterclass at the Royal Irish Academy.  In 2018 she was awarded the William Evans Visiting Fellowship from the University of Otago (New Zealand)andis Visiting Scientist to the Bio-Nano Institute at Toyo University (Japan). 

Since April 2016 she is the Working Group Leader and Management Committee Member for the COST Action CA15107 “Multi‐Functional Nano‐Carbon Composite Materials Network” (MultiComp).

In 2012 she applied and received the Habilitation for Full Professor of Organic Chemistry; Models and Methodologies for Chemical Science; Chemical Fundaments of Technologies by the Italian Ministry of Education.  In December 2016 she was appointed Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Turin. 

Dr. Giordani research interests are on the design, synthesis, and characterization of a range of nanomaterials that are intended for applications in smart and responsive bio-related nanotechnologies. She has authored 90 peer-reviewed publications in International journals from 2001 to date, including Chemistry Society Reviews, Nature Nanotechnology, PNAS, Advanced Materials, ACS Nano and J. Am. Chem. Soc. that collectively have received over 5,000 citations and her results have been highlighted in journals such as Science, Nature, and New Scientist. Dr. Giordani has also presented her work at numerous conferences around the world e.g. in United States, Canada, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and across most of Europe.


List of invited presentations at international research conferences and symposium (last five years):

  1. Institute of Chemistry of Ireland Annual Congress 2019 ‘Molecular Sensing and Imaging’, Maynooth, Ireland 20 May 2019
  2. 4thChina Italy Bilateral Symposium on Organic Chemistry (CISOC), Bologna, Italy, 16-17 April 2019 
  3. 9th international conference on Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology (AMN9), Wellington, New Zealand, 10-14 Feb. 2019
  4. 6th International Conference Novel Functional Carbon Nanomaterials, CIMTEC, Perugia, Italy, 13 June 2018 
  5. Nanotechnologies in pharmaceutical sciences symposium, University of Milan, 21-23 May 2018
  6. NanoteC17, Carbon Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Conference, Nantes, France, 30 Aug-2 Sept. 2017 (Keynote)
  7. European Materials Research Society (EMRS) spring meeting, SymposiumK: Bioinspired and biointegrated materials as new frontiers nanomaterials, Strasbourg, France, 22-26 May 2017 (Keynote)
  8. Sensors: Diagnostics for Sustainable Healthcare CSCT Symposium, University of Bath, UK 12 April 2017
  9. 8th international conference on Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology (AMN8), Queenstown, New Zealand, Feb. 2017 (Keynote)
  10. COST Action CA 15107, Multi-Functional Nano-Carbon Composite Materials, Heraklion, Crete, 20 October 2016  (Work Group Leader)
  11. "Stato dell’arte della ricerca oncologia e prospettive future: il contributo dei chimici alla ricerca", Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry, University of Genova, Genova, Italy, 7 October 2016 (Keynote)
  12. 35thItalian Society of Chemistry Congress (TUMA 2016), Giulianova, Italy, 25 - 27 September 2016 (Keynote)
  13. 16thEuropean Microscopy Congress (EMC2016), Lyon, France, 28 Aug-2 Sept. 2016
  14. Living Materials Workshop, Tufts European Center, Taillores, France, 17-20 July 2016
  15. ChemOnTubes 2016, International meeting on the chemistry of graphene and carbon nanotubes, Brussells, Belgium 3-7 April 2016
  16. International Seminar on Bioscience and Nanotechnology, Bio-Nano Electronics Research Centre, Toyo University, Japan 22 March 2016
  17. International Workshop on International Collaborative Research on Interplay between Nanocarbon, Supramolecule, and Biochemistry, Okayama, Japan 14-16 March 2016.
  18. 9thInternational Congress on Chemical Sciences, Technology and Innovation, Quimicuba 2015, Nano and Supramolecular Chemistry symposium, Havana, Cuba, 13-16 Oct. 2015
  19. NanoteC15, Carbon Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Conference, Oxford, UK, 14-17 Sept. 2015
  20. International Conference on Diamond and Carbon Materials, Bad Homburg, Germany, 6-10 Sept. 2015 (Keynote)
  21. AIV XXII Conference, Biointerfaces, Genova, 20-22 May 2015 (Keynote)
  22. SPIE Photonics West – BiOS Biomedical Optics Conference2015, Colloidal Nanoparticles for Biomedical Applications X, San Francisco, CA, USA, 9 Feb. 2015
  23. Olimpia Summer School- Optogenetics and Neural Interfaces, Sestri Levante, Italy, 22-24 Sept. 2014
  24. Materials Research Society (MRS) Spring Meeting, Nanodiamonds symposium, ID: PP2.01, San Francisco, CA, USA, 22 April 2014 


carbon nanomaterials molecular switches supramolecular chemistry


Research Area and Interests:

Supramolecular Chemistry (design, synthesis and characterization of photoactive molecules for sensing and light-activated delivery and as building blocks of extended supramolecular systems)

Nanoscience (functionalization and characterization of nanomaterials for imaging, sensing, drug delivery, energy)

Toxicity and immunomodulatory properties of carbon nanomaterials

Selected Publications

List of Research Publications (last five years)

  1. Camisasca, A. Sacco*, R. Brescia and S. Giordani*(2018) “Boron/Nitrogen Co-Doped Carbon Nano-Onion Electrocatalysts for the Oxygen Reduction Reaction” ACS Applied Nanomaterials1(10), 5763-5773.
  2. Maffeis, R. O. Mc Court, R. Petracca, O. Laethem A. Camisasca, P. Colavita*, S. Giordani*, E. Scanlan* (2018)“Photocatalytic Initiation of Radical Thiol-Ene Reactions Using Carbon-Bi2O3 Nanocomposites”ACS Applied Nanomaterials1(8), 4120-4126.
  3. d’Amora, D. Cassano and S. Pòcovi-Martinez, S. Giordani*, V. Voliani* (2018) "Biodistribution and biocompatibility of passion fruit-like nano-architectures in zebrafish" NanotoxicologyDOI: 10.1080/17435390.2018.1498551(IF = 6.5, cit. 3) 
  4. Trusel, M. Baldrighi, R. Marotta, F. Gatto, M. Pesce, M. Frasconi, T. Catelani, F. Papaleo, P. Pompa, R. Tonini*,S. Giordani*(2018) "Internalization of Carbon Nano-onions by hippocampal cells preserves neuronal circuit function and recognition memory, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 10 (20), 16952-16963.(IF= 7.504)
  5. Cardano, M. Frasconi* and S. Giordani*(2018) “Photo-Responsive Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes to Control and Tackle Biological Systems” Invited Feature Article for Research Topic on "Functional Hybrid Nanostructures in Theranostics" hosted by Dr(s) Nanasaheb D Thorat, Frontiers in Chemistry, section Nanoscience, 6, article n. 102. (IF= 3.994, cit. 1)
  6. Nunn, M. d’Amora, N. Prabhakar, A.M. Panich, N. Froumin, M.D. Torelli, I. Vlasov, P. Reineckm B. Gibson, J.M. Rosenholm, S. Giordani,*O. Shenderova* (2018) “Fluorescent, Single-Digit Carboxylated Detonation Nanodiamond for Biological Applications”Methods Appl. Fluoresc.6 (3), 035010(IF=2.7 , cit. 1)
  7. Cammisuli, S. Giordani, A. Gianoncelli, C. Rizzardi, L. Radillo, M. Zweyer1, T. Da Ros, M. Salomé, M. Melato, R. Pascolo* (2018) “Iron-related toxicity of singlewalled carbon nanotubes and crocidolite fibres in human mesothelial cells investigated by Synchrotron XRF microscopy” Scientific Reports8 (1), 706 (IF=4.847, cit. 3)
  8. d’Amora, A. Camisasca, S. Lettieri and S. Giordani*(2017) "Zebra fish as a vertebrate model for carbon nanomaterials toxicity" Nanomaterials,Invited paper, 7 (12), 414 (IF= 3.553, cit. 3) 
  9. Lettieri, M. d’Amora, A. Camisasca, A. Diaspro and S. Giordani*(2017) "Carbon Nano-Onions as fluorescent on/off modulated theranostic nanoprobe" Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology,Invited special issue, 8, 1878-1888 (IF=3.1, cit. 3) 
  10. Lettieri, A. Camisasca M. d’Amora, A. Diaspro, T. Uchida, Y. Nakajima, K. Yanagisawa, T. Maekawa and S. Giordani*(2017) “Far-red fluorescent carbon nano-onions as biocompatible platform for cellular imaging” RSC Advances7, 45676-45681 (IF= 3.108, cit. 7)
  11. Camisasca and S. Giordani*(2017) “Carbon nano-onions in biomedical applications: promising theranostic agents” Invited for special issue dedicated to Prof. Echegoyen, Inorganica Chimica Acta, 468, 67-76 (IF=2.046, cit. 5)
  12. Milcovich, S. Lettieri, F. E. Antunes, B. Medronho, A. C. Fonseca, J. F. J. Coelho, P. Marizza, F. Perrone, R. Farra, B. Dapas, G. Grassi, M. Grassi and S. Giordani*(2017)“Recent advances in smart biotechnology: hydrogels and nanocarriers for tailored bioactive molecules depot” Advances in Colloid and Interface Science, in press DOI: 10.1016/j.cis.2017.05.009 (IF=7.813, cit. 5)
  13. Sun, F. Morales-Lara, A. Klechikov, A. V. Talyzin*, I. Baburin, G. Seifert, F. Cardano, M. Baldrighi, M. Frasconi* and S. Giordani*(2017) "Porous graphite oxide pillared with tetrapod-shaped molecules" Carbon 120, 1465-156(IF=6.198, cit. 7)
  14. d’Amora, M. Rodio, J. Bartelmess, G. Sancataldo, F. Cella Zanacchi, A. Diaspro and S. Giordani*(2016)“Biocompatibility and biodistribution of functionalized carbon nano-onions (f-CNOs) in a vertebrate model” Scientific Reports, 6, 33923. (IF=5.228, cit. 17)
  15. Baldrighi, G.Locatelli, J.Desper, C.B. Aakeroy and S. Giordani*(2016) “Probing Metal Ion Complexation of Ligands with Multiple Metal Binding Sites: The Case of Spiropyrans” Chem. Eur. J. 22 (39), 13976-13984(IF=5.731, cit. 16)
  16. Baldrighi, M. Trusel, R. Tonini and S. Giordani* (2016) “Carbon Nanomaterials interfacing with neurons: an in vivoperspective” Invitedfor the Research Topic “Current challenges and new avenues in neural interfacing: from nanomaterials and microfabrication state-of-the-art, to advanced control-theoretical and signal-processing principles” Frontiers in Neuroscience, 10, 1–27 doi: 10.3389/fnins.2016.00250. (IF=3.398; cit. 19)
  17. Bartelmess, S. Quinn and S. Giordani* (2015) “Carbon Nanomaterials: Multi-Functional Agents for Biomedical Fluorescence and Raman Imaging”Chem Soc Rev.44 (14), 4672-4698(IF=38.6, cit. 113) Invited for theme collection on Imaging Agents
  18. Baptista, S.A. Belhout, S. Giordaniand S.J. Quinn* (2015) “Recent Developments in Carbon Nanomaterial Sensors” Chem Soc Rev.44 (13), 4433-4453(IF=38.6, cit. 166) Invited for theme collection on Sensor Targets
  19. Bartelmess, M. Baldrighi, V. Nardone, E. Parisini, D. Buck, L. Echegoyen and S. Giordani* (2015)“Synthesis and characterization of far-red/NIR-fluorescent BODIPY dyes, solid-state fluorescence and application as fluorescent tags attached to carbon nano-onions“ Chem. Eur J.21, 9727- 9732 (IF=5.731, cit. 26)
  20. Frasconi, R. Marotta, L.Markey, K. Flavin, V. Spampinato, G. Ceccone, L. Echegoyen, E. Scanlan and S. Giordani*(2015) “Multi-Functionalized Carbon Nano-onions as Imaging Probes for Cancer Cells” Chem. Eur J.21 (52), 19071-19080 (IF=5.731, cit. 22)
  21. Bartelmess, M. Frasconi, P. Balakrishnan,A. Signorelli, L. Echegoyen, T. Pellegrino and S. Giordani* (2015)“Non-Covalent Functionalization of Carbon Nano-Onions with Pyrene-BODIPY Dyads for Biological Imaging“ RSC Advances5, 50253- 50258 (IF=3.708, cit. 15)
  22. Frasconi, V. Maffeis, J. Bartelmess, L. Echegoyen and S. Giordani*(2015) “Highly surface functionalized carbon nano-onions for bright light bioimaging” Invited for Special IssueMethods Appl. Fluoresc.3, 044005 (IF=3.1, cit. 15) Highlighted paper and video
  23. Marchesano, A. Ambrosone, J. Bartelmesss, F. Strisciante, A. Tino, L. Echegoyen, C. Tortiglione* and S. Giordani*(2015) “Impact of Carbon Nano-Onions on Hydra vulgaris as Model Organism for Environmental Ecotoxicology“ Invited for Special Issue Advancements in Nanotoxicology,Nanomaterials(3), 1331-1350 (IF=3.556, cit. 20) 
  24. Spampinato, G. Ceccone*, S. Giordani*(2015) “Surface analysis of zinc-porphyrin functionalized carbon nano-onions” Biointerphases10 (1), 019006, (IF=2.677, cit. 6)
  25. Bartelmess and S. Giordani*(2014) “Carbon Nano-onions (multi-layer fullerenes): chemistry and applications“ Beilstein J. Nanotechnol.5, 1980–1998. (IF=3.1, cit. 86)
  26. Bartelmess,E. De Luca, A. Signorelli, M. Baldrighi, M. Becce, R. Brescia,V. Nardone, E. Parisini, L. Echegoyen, P.P. Pompa and S. Giordani*(2014) “Boron dipyrromethene (BODIPY) Functionalized Carbon Nano-Onions for High Resolution Cellular Imaging” Nanoscale 6, 13761 – 13769 (IF=7.394, cit. 43)
  27. Giordani*, J. Bartelmess, M. Frasconi, I. Biondi, S. Cheung, M. Grossi, D. Wu, L. Echegoyen, D. F. O’Shea* (2014) “NIR Fluorescence Labelled Carbon Nano-Onions: Synthesis, Analysis and Cellular Imaging“J. Mater. Chem. B2, 7459 – 7463 (IF=4.872,cit. 32)
  28. Ventura, P. Thornton, S. Giordani, A.Heise* (2014) “Synthesis and photochemical properties of spiropyran graft and star polymers obtained by ‘click’ chemistry”Polymer Chem.5, 6318-6324. (IF=5.368, cit. 15)
  29. Yang M., Flavin K., Kopf I., Radics G., Hearnden H.A., McManus G. J., Moran B., Villalta-Cerdas A., Echegoyen L., Giordani S. *, Lavelle E.C.* (2013) “Functionalization of carbon nanoparticles modulates inflammatory cell recruitment and NLRP3 inflammasome activation”Small9 (24), 4194-4206, DOI: 10.1002/smll.201300481 (IF=8.368, cit. 81)                   Back Cover 20 Dec. 2013 Small9 (24), 4280, DOI: 10.1002/smll.201370150


2012 National habilitation as Full Professor for the area of "Organic Chemisty“for the period starting on 23/11/2013 and ending on 23/12/2019  (Docente di prima fascia)

2012 National habilitation as Full Professor for the area of "Models and Methodologies for Chemical Sciences” for the period starting on 29/1/2014 and ending on 29/1/2020  (Docente di prima fascia)

2012 National habilitation as Full Professor for the area of " Chemical Fundamentals of Technologies” for the period starting on 17/2/2014 and ending on 17/2/2020  (Docente di prima fascia)


2015 Our research highlighted in Methods and Applications in Fluorescence Highlights “Fluorescent labels and probes”




         Video Abstract

2014                Invited to give a “Women in Science” Masterclass, Royal Irish Academy, Dublin    

2012                Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow Award, International Rotary Club

2012                Premio alla professionalita’, Rotary Club, Bergamo Ovest

2012                L’Oréal UK & Ireland Fellowship For Women in Science, L’Oréal, UNESCO & Royal Society

2012                Leonardo-UGIS award for a young researcher/communicator, Italian National Museum of Science and Technology, Italian Scientific Journalists Union, Federchimica Plastics Europe Italia

2011                Invited contributor to the “Role models for mobility of MCFA women scientists” brochure, Marie Curie Fellows Association

2010                Listed as one of the 10 rising stars, Science Foundation Ireland

2009                Biogenous Ceramics Project Award, Okayama University, Japan

2008                7th R.O.S.A. Award, First price, Canova Club Roma, Italy

2007                President of Ireland Young Researcher Award, Science Foundation Ireland

2007                Invited contributor to the “Marie Curie Success Story” brochure, Irish University Association

2006-07           Marie Curie Re-integration Grant, European Commission

2003–06          Marie Curie Fellowship, European Commission

2004                Award of Academic Merit, University of Miami, Graduate School

2001–04          Robert E. Maytag Fellowship, University of Miami, College of Art and Science

2002                Outstanding Overall Performance in Research-Academics-and Teaching Award

2002                Elected into Alpha Epsilon Lambda Graduate Honour Society

2002                Outstanding Senator Award, University of Miami, Graduate Student Association

2002                First Place Graduate Student Research and Creativity Forum, University of Miami

2001                Award of Academic Merit, University of Miami, Graduate School

2001                Achievement in Research Award, University of Miami, School of Chemistry

2001                First Publication Award, University of Miami, School of Chemistry

2001                Best GPA Award, University of Miami, School of Chemistry

1989                Best Student Award (top 5 in all high school), Banca Provinciale di Bergamo, IT

1988, 1989      Selected for the Chemistry Olympiads, Italian Chemical Society


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Accetta e chiudi

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.