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Gianpiero Garau

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia

GIANPIERO GARAU, PhD. Brief Curriculum vitae.

ACADEMIC BACKGROUND: After studies in Protein Chemistry at the Science Park of Århus (DK), Dr Garau obtained the PhD in Chemical Sciences (2003, Structural Chemistry); previously, Degree in Pharm Chemistry and Technology at the University of Trieste (Italy).
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Postdoc (2003-2006) at the Jean-Pierre Ebel Structural Biology Institute (IBS) of the Scientific Campus of Grenoble (France), which includes the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), the Institut Laue-Langevin for neutron science (ILL), and the European Molecular Biology Lab (EMBL). Postdoc (2007) at the San Raffaele Biomedical Science Park of Milan (Italy). Assistant Specialist (2008-2009) at the Dept of Pharmacology, University of California - Irvine (USA). Team leader (2010-2015) of the group of Structural Biophysics at the Dept of Drug Discovery and Development of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), Genoa (Italy). Since 2016, he is leader of the BIOSTRUCTUREs LAB at the Center IIT@NEST of the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa.

Dr Garau is author and co-author of more than fifty publications in high-quality journals, including JACS, PNAS, Nature Neuroscience and Structure (Cell), a book chapter (X-ray Structures and Mechanisms of Metallo-Beta-Lactamases), and received several research highlights with international collaborators. His work has been presented in many international congresses as oral communications and abstracts. Main Bragging Rights include 6 years of activity (2016-2021) as Expert Evaluator of Marie Curie European Research Actions, 2 Marie Curie EU fellow grants, and 1 Marie Curie EU grant and 1 Canon Research Foundation EU grant as project supervisor.

Patents: IT 102023000012672

The research in my lab is at the interface of chemistry and biology to investigate the molecular basis of diseases and discover novel therapeutic/technological approaches (e.g., ligands, biodrugs, nanodiscs, targeted nanovectors, lipid-nanoparticles for nucleic acid delivery, engineered viral cages and antibodies). Primary RESEARCH TOOLS include approaches of structural biophysics, biotechnology and computation. Among these, we apply mainly protein design & engineering, directed protein evolution, lipid-based encapsulation, bioassays, x-ray diffraction & electron crystallography, single particle cryo-electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, HPLC/FPLC, capillary electrophoresis, surface plasmon resonance, nuclear magnetic resonance, microcalorimetry, supported by advanced in silico methods (HPC Franklin).


His research lines are strongly driven by specific technological needs:

MEMBRANE PROTEIN TARGETS, from the structure of membrane protein targets and ligand discovery and design to biomolecular medicine.

nanoBIOTECHNOLOGY, with applications that range from design and generation of bioactive 3D (nano-)biomaterials (e.g., nanodiscs, targeted nanobiovectors, lipid-nanoparticles for delivery) to biodrugs. 

BOOSTING FOOD WELL-BEING, the application of this sensing-based technology allows food industry to:
(1) create analytical-predictive tools for the decision-making process on the well-being basis
(2) select among similar products, those that provide greater desire, pleasure and well-being.

Top Publications
Hoelzgen F., Zalk R., Alcalay R., Cohen-Schwartz S., Garau G., Shahar A., Mazor O., Frank G.A.
Neutralization of the anthrax toxin by antibody-mediated stapling of its membrane-penetrating loop
Acta Crystallographica Section D: Structural Biology, vol. 77, pp. 1197-1205
Lanza A., Margheritis E., Mugnaioli E., Cappello V., Garau G., Gemmi M.
Nanobeam precession-Assisted 3D electron diffraction reveals a new polymorph of hen egg-white lysozyme
IUCrJ, vol. 6, pp. 178-188
Magotti P., Bauer I., Igarashi M., Babagoli M., Marotta R., Piomelli D., Garau G.
Structure of human n-acylphosphatidylethanolamine-hydrolyzing phospholipase D: Regulation of fatty acid ethanolamide biosynthesis by bile acids
Structure, vol. 23, (no. 3), pp. 598-604
Bertolacci L., Romeo E., Veronesi M., Magotti P., Albani C., Dionisi M., Lambruschini C., Scarpelli R., Cavalli A., De Vivo M., Piomelli D., Garau G.
A binding site for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in fatty acid amide hydrolase
Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 135, (no. 1), pp. 22-25
Fu J., Bottegoni G., Sasso O., Bertorelli R., Rocchia W., Masetti M., Guijarro A., Lodola A., Armirotti A., Garau G., Bandiera T., Reggiani A., Mor M., Cavalli A., Piomelli D.
A catalytically silent FAAH-1 variant drives anandamide transport in neurons
Nature Neuroscience, vol. 15, (no. 1), pp. 64-69