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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).