PhD Position. Italy // Deadline: May 29, 2020 !!

Two 3-years Marie Curie PhD student positions are available in my group at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) within the European Network ENTRAIN VISION (Grant Agreement 861423) for the following training programs:

(i) Development of membrane-targeted azobenzene-based compounds for vision restoration (ESR13), including the development of new potent and persistent photoswitches, their validation in neurons and retinal explants and their application to in vivo animal models of retinal diseases;

(ii) Development and testing of organic nanoparticle-based light actuators for retinal applications (ESR14), including engineering of photosensitive polymeric nanoparticles for high-resolution and minimally invasive retinal prosthetic devices, demonstration of their safety and efficacy in neurons and retinal explants, surface functionalization and application to in vivo animal models of retinal diseases.

The studies will include the elucidation of the basic mechanisms of light-induced neuronal activation, and the electrophysiological analysis of the processing of visual information from the retina to the visual cortex. The successful candidates should have been trained in the field Neuroscience, Neurophysiology or similar subjects and have some previous experience in cellular electrophysiology, immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy and image analysis and in in-vivo recordings will be also appreciated. More details regarding the research projects can be obtained by the papers of the group reported below.

Please submit your application following the data below:

Essential References

  1. Ghezzi D, Antognazza MR, Dal Maschio M, Lanzarini E,Benfenati F*, Lanzani G*(2011) A hybrid bioorganic interface for neuronal photoactivation. Nature Communications 2: 166. [News & Views in Nature Photonics 5: 138, 2011]
  2. Ghezzi D, Antognazza MR, Maccarone R, Bellani S, Lanzarini E, Martino N, Mete M, Pertile G, Bisti S, Lanzani G &Benfenati F(2013) A polymer optoelectronic interface restores light sensitivity in blind rat retinas. Nature Photonics 7: 400-406.
  3. Maya-Vetencourt JF, Ghezzi D, Antognazza MR, Colombo E, Mete M, Feyen P, Desii A, Buschiazzo A, Di Paolo M, Di Marco S, Ticconi F, Emionite L, Shmal D, Marini C, Donelli I, Freddi G, Maccarone R, Bisti S, Sambuceti G, Pertile G, Lanzani G &Benfenati F(2017) A fully organic retinal prosthesis restores vision in a rat model of degenerative blindness. Nature Materials 16: 681-689.
  4. DiFrancesco ML, Lodola F, Colombo E, Maragliano L, Bramini M, Paternò GM, Baldelli P, Serra MD, Lunelli L, Marchioretto M, Grasselli G, Cimò S, Colella L, Fazzi D, Ortica F, Vurro V, Eleftheriou CG, Shmal D, Maya-Vetencourt JF, Bertarelli C, Lanzani G & Benfenati F(2020) Neuronal firing modulation by a membrane-targeted photoswitch. Nature Nanotechnology2020 Feb 3. doi:10.1038/s41565-019-0632-6.
  5. Maya-Vetencourt JF, Manfredi G, Mete M, Colombo E, Bramini M, Di Marco S, Shmal D, Mantero G, Dipalo M, Rocchi A, DiFrancesco ML, Papaleo ED, Russo A, Barsotti J, Eleftheriou C, Di Maria F, Piazza F, Cossu V, Emionite L, Ticconi F, Marini C, Sambuceti G, Pertile G, Lanzani G &Benfenati F(2020) Subretinally injected semiconducting polymer nanoparticles fully rescue vision in a rat model of retinal dystrophy. Nature Nanotechnology 2020, March 23, accepted for publication.