Diaspro Alberto, Prof.
Università degli Studi di Genova and Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT)
Full Professor and Research Director
Department of Physics, University of Genoa, Via Dodecaneso 33, 16146 Genova.
Nanoscopy, Center for Human Technologies, IIT, Via E. Melen 83 - Edificio B
16152 Genoa Italy
Daytime telephone number: +39 3335895780
Email address : firstname.lastname@example.org
ORCID Identifier: 0000-0002-4916-5928
Date of birth 07/04/1959 | Nationality Italian
Education/Early activities (selected).
(1978-1983) Doctoral “Laurea” degree in Electronic Engineering, Dpt. of Biophysics and Electronic Engineering, University of Genoa, Italy.
(1984) Electronic Engineering professional activity abilitation.
(1983-1987) Automated Systems Research and Development consultant - Orsi Automazione, IT.
(1985-1987) Postdoctoral and Contract Professor, Institute of Biophysics, School of Medicine, University of Genoa, IT,
(1987-1988) Scientific Consultant on 3D Microwave scattering of metallic objects, Aeritalia SaiPa, Turin, IT,
AD Citation (short)
AD provided original and innovative contributions to the development and application of optical microscopy in the linear, non-linear and super-resolution regimes and the critical impact on cellular and molecular biophysics.
AD at a glance.
Alberto Diaspro is Full Professor of Applied Physics at Department of Physics of Genoa University (UNIGE), Research Director in Nanoscopy at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), Affiliate researcher at the Institute of Biophysics (IBF) of the National Research Council (CNR), Full Academic of the Ligurian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. On 2014 Toshiuki Masai, President Nikon Instruments, Japan, designed AD as Director of the Nikon Imaging Center at IIT. He was Deputy and Department Director at IIT (2009-2019), President of OWLS, EBSA and ICO Appointed Vice President. AD specific research experience is related to the design, realization and utilization of optical and biophysical instrumentation applied to molecular oncology (chromatin, endocytosis and adhesion mechanisms), neuroscience (brain mapping and neuronal network signalling) and smart materials (intelligent drug delivery and nanocomposite materials). AD designed and realised the 1st italian CIDS spectrometer (1987), the 1st italian multiphoton microscope (1999) and a hybrid artificial “nanobiorobot” (2000-2005). He directed the design and realisation of the 1st Italian nanoscopy architecture at IIT (2008). Among the international developments, AD introduced key methods in optical and correlative microscopy, namely: Circular Intensity Differential scattering (CIDS) label-free to study chromatin-DNA organization coupled with super resolution, individual molecule localization at single molecule level coupled with selective plane illumination microscopy (IML-SPIM) to study thick objects like cancer aggregates, single wavelength two-photon stimulated emission depletion microscopy (SW-2PE-STED), two-photon activation and switching of engineering green fluorescent proteins and correlative nanoscopy (AFM-STED). AD is co-founder of the start-up “Genoa Instruments,” the first Italian company devoted to developing super resolved optical microscopes based on the coupling of image scanning microscopy and single photon detection arrays. AD published more than 450 scientific papers, 18000 citations, H=63 (source Google Scholar). Among his 6 books: Diaspro, A. (Ed.) (2001) Confocal and Two-Photon Microscopy, Wiley. He is Editor in Chief of Microscopy Research and Technique. AD is SPIE fellow, IEEE and OSA senior member.
AD received the Emily M.Gray Award for mentoring in Biophysics in 2014 and the Award for Scientific Communication by the Italian Physical Society in 2019. Since 2016, AD is President of the Scientific Council of “Festival of Science” - www.festivalscienza.eu. AD designed and organized the scientific exhibition "Beyond Science" and “Pop Microscopy”, that was also used as testimonial for the 500 years of Leonardo at the Italian Embassy in USA, Washington DC. He recently published a popular book in italian, “Quello che gli occhi non vedono” with Hoepli (2020), translated and published by Springer (2022) as "Expedition into the Nanoworld). Most of the dissemination activities can be found at at https://peerj.com/Diaspro/. Since 2021, AD has been nominated President of the Italian Society of Pure and Applied Biophysics (SIBPA). AD received the Gregorio Weber Award on 2022 for excellence in studies, theory and application of fluorescence.
Positions, Scientific appointments, and Honors (selected).
Academic and Research Experience.
(2018- present) Full Professor of Applied Physics at the Department of Physics of the University of Genova; (2018-present) Academic Fellow of the Ligurian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Class of Sciences; (2019-present) Genoa Instruments start-up co-founder; (2014-present) Scientific Director Nikon Imaging Center at IIT; (2009 – present) Research Director of the Dpt. of Nanophysics at the IIT, PI, Deputy Director at IIT; (2007-2012) Research Director on Microscopy and Nanoscopy of Biomolecules, IFOM-FIRC Cancer Research Institute, Milan, IT; (1989-2000) Short research activities at Drexel University (Philadelphia), Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Spain), Czech Academy of Sciences (Prague), LFD, Dpt.Physics, University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign).
Awards, Honors and Activities (selected)
(2022) Gregorio Weber Award for Excellence in Fluorescence studies; (2022) EOS (European Optical Society) Fellow (2021-present) President of the Italian Society of Pure and Applied Biophysics - SIBPA; (2019) SIF (Italian Physical Society) Scientific Communication Award; (2016) OSA-Optica (Optical Society of America) Senior Member; (2016-present) President of the Scientific Council of "Festival of Science", Italy; (2014) Biophysical Society Emily M. Gray Award in recognition of significant contribution to education in Biophysics; (2014) SPIE (International Society for Optics and Photonics) Fellow; (2011-2012) "Life in Science" Testimonial of Genoa Municipality; (2011) President of OWLS (Optics Within Life Sciences); (2009) President of EBSA (European Biophysical Societies’ Association), (1994) IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Senior Member; Editor in Chief of Microscopy Research and Technique (Wiley). H=63 (Google Scholar) > 450 scientific publications, >250 invited talks. Dissemination activities: "Beyond Science" and “Pop Microscopy” exhibitions”, and book “Expedition into the Nanoworld” (Springer 2022).
Invited scientific lectures (selected over >250 including dissemination)
1. Keynote Weber Lecture Prize, Weber Symposium on Fluorescence, (2023) Punta de Este, Uruguay, “The multimodal microscope and the Plato’s allegory of the cave. Increasing knowledge by coupling fluorescence and label-free mechanisms of contrast.”
2. Keynote opening lecture, Fluorescence Neuro-Imaging and Photonics (FNIP) celebrating 800 years of University of Padova – Padua, Italy – September 29th 2022 - “Multimodal optical microscopy, from fluorescence to label-free.”
3. Keynote Plenary "Relazione generale" - 106°° Congress, Italian Physical Society (2020), Milan, " Nano-scale optical microscopy of the biological machine",Virtual due to COVID-19.
4. Seminar at Columbia University – Invited by Nobel Laureate Prof. Martin Chalfie, New York, USA. February 5th 2020. A "light diversity microscope" for a multi-messenger approach to study biological sample.
5. Advanced Imaging Methods (AIM) 2020 –University of California, Berkeley, USA. January 30th 2020. Multi-messenger optical microscopy coupling fluorescence and label-free imaging.
6. Keynote Plenary SPIE BiOS Hot Topics (2017) “The Extra Microscope”, San Francisco, USA.
7. Keynote Plenary FOM Focus on Microscopy (2015) “The route from super-resolution to the Nobel prize 2014” Goettingen, Germany.
8. XXX CONGRESO ANNUAL - SAN-ISN Course “State-of-the-art methods in Neuroscience Research” – Mar Del Palta, Argentina – 27-29 September 2015. “Nanoscopy 2.0. Converging and correlative technologies”.
9 Keynote lecture. V International Seminar on Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies – la Havana, Cuba – September 14th-18th 2015 – “New routes for Nanoscopy”
10. Keynote, Functional Optical Imaging – IBIOS. (2011) ‘Life science research requires the third dimension with high spatial and temporal resolution’, University of Nottingham, Ningbo Campus, China.
Invited scientific dissemination lectures (recent selected over >250 including pure scientific)
1. Science is Cool! Christmas Lecture Università di Pavia – Pavia, Italy – Dec 19th 2022 – “Ho visto cose!”
2. Lectio Magistralis, University Milan Bicocca – Milan, Italy – Dec 5th 2022 – “Ho visto cose! La bellezza e il piacere della ricerca nell’era del metaverso”.
3. Istituto Lombardo Accademia di Scienze e Lettere, “La Grande Bellezza dell'immagine scientifica” – Palazzo di Brera, Milan, Italy – May 24th 2022 – “Ho visto cose! L'esplorazione del vivente tra DNA e proteine”
4. Festa di Scienza e di Filosofia 2022 – (organizzatore Pierluigi Mingarelli) Foligno, Italy – April 24th 2022 – “Come una molla carica. Assorbire conoscenza, rilasciare Scienza”
5. Festival della Scienza – Cagliari, Italy – November 9th 2021. “Bellezza chiama passione, passione chiama ricerca”
6. Festival della Comunicazione 2021 – (organizzatore Danco Singer), Camogli – September 11th 2021 – “Mayday! Mayday! Futuro chiama Conoscenza”.
7. Loving Books - Dialoghi di e sui libri – Biblioteca universitaria of Genoa. March 26th 2021. Dialogue with Francesca Vecchioni and Nicla Vassallo “Pregiudizi inconsapevoli”.
8. Festival dell’Aquedotto – Teatro dell’Ortica, Genoa, Italy – September 3rd 2020. “Una Famiglia per la Scienza. Aspettatevi l’inatteso! Homo Galacticus tra scienza e fantascienza”
9. TEDX Milan 2019 – (organizzatori Dr. Catherine e François de Brabant), Teatro Dal Verme Milan, Italy. Sept 29th 2019. “Uragano nanotecnologico”
10. Piccolo Teatro di Milano, “Nanotecnologie per il vivente” duetto con l’attrice Lucia Marinsalta in “Natura magistra scientiae L’evoluzione diventa tecnologia!”, Chiostro Nina Vinchi, Milano, May 17th 2016.
Chair /Director of Scientific meetings (selected over 40)
2020 School of physics “ENRICO FERMI”- Course 210: Multimodal and nanoscale optical microscopy, Varenna, IT - moved to 2022 due to COVID-19 emergency. 2019 School on Nanoscale Optical Microscopy, IVSLA , Venice, IT; 2016 43rd Course, School of Biophysics “Antonio Borsellino” - Ettore Majorana Center, Erice, IT; 2015 LSFM (Light Sheet Fluorescence Microscopy), Conference, Genoa, IT; 2013 MAF13 (Methods and Applications of Fluorescence) Conference, Genoa IT; 2012 OWLS2012 (Optics Within Life Sciences) Conference, Genoa IT. 2009 EBSA (European Biophysical Societies’ Association) Conference, Genoa IT; 2003 FOM Focus on Microscopy, Genoa, IT.
Organisation of > 20 advanced practical workshops on Advanced Optical Microscopy since 2000.
Organisation of 5 Nikon Imaging Center Schools on advanced Microscopy, since 2014.
International board SPIE Photonics West, Multiphoton Microscopy, since 2000.
Appointments Institutional, Commissions of Trust, Societies and Journals (selected)
Since 2015 ERC PE3 StG panel member. CZI (Chan Zuckerberg Initiative) expert evaluator. Head of Peers for the evaluation of the Department of Nanobiotechnology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna - BOKU. Evaluator, among other agencies, for the Swiss National Science Foundation Agora project, “The Nature of Artificial Intelligence”. Evaluation Panel National Science Centre, Poland, panel ST3. Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Cluster of Excellence “Nanoscale Microscopy and Molecular Physiology of the Brain (CNMPB)”, Goettingen, Germany. Member International Advisory Committee Nano5 - International Seminar on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology - Center for Advanced Studies (CEAC) – CUBA. I sat in several committees for project evaluation or professor selections. I participated in the evaluation panels for research programs Reviewer for research institutions in Italy, Europe, USA, China. Editor in Chief of the Wiley Journal "Microscopy Research and Technique". Editorial board member and Reviewer for specialized journals (Nature group, Wiley, Elsevier, Springer, Frontiers, OSA, SPIE). Member of the International Relations Committee of the Biophysical Society. Mentor of Biophysics@Genoa Biophysical Society Student Chapter.
Supervision PhD students and postdoctoral fellows (selected over >40)
Agnieszka Pierzynska-Mach (2017-18 PostDoc) Project Lead. EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, IIT; Luca Lanzano' (2013-20 PostDoc), Prof. Appl.Phys, Univ. of Catania; Giuseppe Vicidomini (2008, 2011-3 PostDoc, 2013-19 Res.), Tenured PI, IIT, Genova - ERC starting grant; Benjamin Harke (2011-3 PostDoc, 2013-16 Res.), Manager and Founder Abberior Instr., DE; Takahiro Deguchi, (2016-20 PostDoc) Res. EMBL, Heidelberg; Paolo Bianchini (2008, 2009-14 PostDoc, 2014-8 Res.) Res. Tech., IIT.; Marti Duocastella (2017 PostDoc), Lect. Serra Hunter, Dpt.Appl.Phys., Univ. de Barcelona. Francesca Cella Zanacchi (2009, 2010-9 PostDoc) Res., Dpt. of Physics, Univ. of Pisa; Emiliano Ronzitti (2010) Res., Wavefront Engineering Group, Univ.Paris Descartes; Kseniya Korobchevskaya (2013) Scientist, Kennedy Inst. of Rheumatol., Univ. of Oxford; Silvia Galiani (2014) Scientist, MRC, Weatherall Inst. of Mol. Med., Univ. of Oxford; Jenu Varghese Chacko (2014) Res. Lab. Opt.Comput. Instr., Madison, WI, USA; Ivan Coto Hernandez (2015) Res., Harvard Medical School; Lorenzo Scipioni (2018) PostDoc, Univ. of California, Irvine, USA; Melody Di Bona (2019) PostDoc, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York; Giulia Zanini (2019) PostDoc, Dpt. Bioeng., Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore; Elena Cerutti, PhD. Researcher, Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Genova (2022).
RESEARCH FUNDS (selected)
2022 – PNRR IR SEELIFE Eurobioimaging– Research Unit at Department of Physics, University of Genoa – 2.200 KEuro circa; 2022 – PNRR MNESYS Neuroscience project UNIGE; 2022- PNRR NQSTI National Quantum Science and Technology Institute project - IIT; 2015- 2021 EUROBIOIMAGING - EU FP7 EUROPEAN UNION – IT - 250kE – Advanced Light Microscopy ; 2018-2021; 2019- 2021 Qchromdek- H2020-MSCA-IF-2018 – 170 kE Supervisor - Study of specific dynamics in chromatin organization; PRIN 2017- MIUR – IT- 160 kE - “Integration of cutting-edge spectroscopic and imaging techniques for the structural analysis of living-cell machineries from the atomic to the cellular level ”, 36 mesi, settore di ricerca europeo PE4, prot. 20177XJCHX_003; 2013 – 2016 PRIN 2010-201 MIUR – IT 140 kE - “L’equilibrio tra eccitazione ed inibizione nel sistema nervoso centrale: trasmissione sinaptica, plasticità e sinaptopatie” per la realizzazione di un “Sistema ibrido di microscopia ottica a super risoluzione”, 36 mesi, prot. 2010JFYFY2_002; 2012 – 2015 LANIR (Label free Nanoscopy using InfraRed) - FP7 EU NMP – IT 490 kE; 2007 – 2012 Microscopia e Nanoscopia per inseguimento dinamico di biomolecole in 3D in sistemi cellulari IFOM-FIRC – IT 350 kE.
Contributions to Science
AD provided significant and fundamental contributions to the development of experimental methods and architectures in optical microscopy aimed at understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying cellular functions and related malfunctions. In the full spirit of the biophysical approach, he has been able to decisively combine physics and biology to study the delicate relationship between structure and function at the cellular and molecular levels. He introduced in an original way the use of polarized light scattering as a label-free method, demonstrating theoretically and experimentally its application to the study of biopolymers. He was an innovator from three-dimensional optical microscopy to super-resolution. He was a pioneer in single-molecule localization microscopy for photoactivation and two-photon photo-commutation of fluorescent proteins. He was the first to develop super-resolved single-molecule localization microscopy on thick samples, i.e., on aggregates of tumor cells. He has demonstrated the possibility of using a single wavelength to excite and "deplete" with stimulated emission two-photon excitation states in the field of super-resolution and has created the first atomic force correlative optical nanoscopy system. There is no advanced sector of optical microscopy that has not seen an original contribution from Alberto Diaspro, the undisputed world leader in this field. His original ideas have contributed to the training of researchers by virtue of a preparation forged with a generous and uncompromising leadership at the same time. Alberto Diaspro has been able to bring optical microscopy to its highest levels with enthusiasm, passion and a vision that is always projected to the future in a unique way on the international scene for the originality and breadth of the methods. Alberto Diaspro provided concrete innovative and fundamental contribution to scientific research and its dissemination.
Main scientific interests are related to the design, realization and utilization of fluorescence and label-free multimodal advanced optical microscopes to study chromatin organization and neuronal trafficking from the micro- to the nanoscale.
Here is reported a selection of significant contributions in optical microscopy demonstrating the internationally recognized impact of the original and pioneering research of AD. AD was also able to train young researchers that today have excellent positions worldwide bringing high the flag of the Italian school of microscopy established at DiasproLab. AD is co-founder of the star-up Genoa Instruments (2019) high-performance instruments to ensure cutting-edge research technology and short development cycles (https://www.genoainstruments.com)
Industrial property rights (selected over> 15)
1. Random access stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy. Priority IT 0001416928 issued on 20.07.2015; EP 2976670; US 9810966, JP 6511433.
2. Stimulated Emission-Depletion (STED) Microscopy Based on Time Gating of Excitation Beam and Synchronous Detection of Fluorescence Emission. Priority IT 0001419819 issued on 11.12.2015; US 9772285, JP 6454344, EP3033610.
3. LIQUITOPY: registered trademark on 19/01/2018. EP 017149451.
4. Method of Stimulated Emission Depletion Microscopy Having High Spatial Resolution.– Priority IT 102017000118432 issued on 22.01.2020; Intl. patent appl. PCT n. WO 2019/077556. (US, EP)
5. Time-Resolved Imaging Method with High Spatial Resolution. Priority IT 102018000001891 issued on 20.03.2020; Intl. patent appl. PCT n. PCT/IB2019/050595. (US, JP, CN, EP)
Selected publications (over >450, public databases GOOGLE, SCOPUS, PUBMED, ISI, LOOP)
1. Ashraf M.W., Diaspro A. (2022) On the structural organization of macromolecules using chiral sensitive differential scattering of circularly polarized light, Optics Communications,
2. Le Gratiet A., Lanzano L., Bendandi A., Marongiu R., Bianchini P., Sheppard C.J.R., Diaspro A. (2021) Phasor approach of Mueller matrix optical scanning microscopy for biological tissue imaging. Biophysical Journal. 120:1-14.
3. Castello M., Tortarolo G., Buttafava M., Deguchi T., Villa F., Koho S., Pesce L., Oneto M., Pelicci S., Lanzano L., Bianchini P., Sheppard C., Diaspro A., Tosi A., Vicidomini G. (2019) A robust and versatile platform for image scanning microscopy enabling super-resolution FLIM. Nature Methods16 (2): 175-178.
4. Sarmento M.J., Oneto M., Pelicci S., Pesce L., Scipioni L., Faretta M., Furia L., Dellini G.I., Pelicci P.G. Bianchini P., Diaspro A., Lanzanò L. (2018) Exploiting the tunability of stimulated emission depletion microscopy for super-resolution imaging of nuclear structures. Nature Communications. 9: 3415.
5.Duocastella M., Sancataldo G., Saggau P., Ramoino P., Bianchini P., Diaspro A. (2017) Fast inertia-free volumetric light-sheet microscope. ACS Photonics. 4(7): 1797-1804.
6. Lanzanò L., I. Coto Hernández, M. Castello, E. Gratton, A. Diaspro, and G. Vicidomini (2015) “Encoding and decoding spatio-temporal information for super-resolution microscopy,” Nature Communications, vol. 6, no. 1, p. 1347,
7. Bianchini P., Harke B., Galiani S., Vicidomini G., Diaspro A. (2012) Single wavelength 2PE-STED super-resolution imaging. PNAS 109 (17): 6390 - 6393.
8.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. Nat. Methods. 8 (12): 1047 – 1049.
9. Palamidessi A., Frittoli E., Garré M., Faretta M., Mione M., Testa I., Diaspro A., Lanzetti L., Scita G., Di Fiore PP. (2008). Endocytic trafficking of rac is required for the spatial restriction of signaling in cell migration. Cell. 134(1): 135–147.
10. 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, Biophysical Journal, 89 (2): 1346-1352.
Review papers (selected )
1. Diaspro A., Bianchini P. (2020) Optical nanoscopy. Riv. Nuovo Cim. 43(8):1-71
2. Vicidomini G., Bianchini P., Diaspro A.(2018) STED superresolved microscopy. Nat. Methods15:173–182.
3. Hell S. W., Sahl S. J., Bates M., Zhuang X., Heintzmann R., Booth M. J., Bewersdorf J., Shtengel G., Hess H., Tinnefeld P., Honigmann A., Jakobs S., Testa I., Cognet L., Lounis B., Ewers H., Davis S. J., Eggeling C., Klenerman D., Willig K. I., Vicidomini G., Castello M., Diaspro A., Cordes T. (2015) The 2015 super-resolution microscopy roadmap. J. Phys. D 48 (44): 443001.
4. Deschout H., Zanacchi F.C., Mlodzianoski M., Diaspro A., Bewersdorf J., Hess S.T.,Braeckmans K. (2014) Precisely and accurately localizing single emitters in fluorescence microscopy. Nat. Methods. 11:253-266.
5. Diaspro, A.; Chirico, G. & Collini, M. (2005) Two-photon fluorescence excitation and related techniques in biological microscopy. Quarterly Review Biophysics. 38(2): 97-166.
Full publication list: