Title: Nanobiointeractions:Nanoparticle induced modulation of immune system

Roberta Cagliani

University of Genova, Italy


Dr. Cagliani Roberta studied Pharmaceutical chemistry and technology at the Federico II University in Naples, and graduated in 2014 with 100/100 cum laude. She then joined the research group of Prof. Paolo Antonio Netti at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Naples. A second experience was obtained in the research group of Prof. Giulia Russo at the Department of Pharmacy, Federico II University of Naples. Then She started her PhD fellowship in 2016 at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Genova.


Engineered nanomaterials are inspiring the interest of life scientists for potential applications to biomedicine. A wide variety of inorganic and organic materials can be used to produce nanostructures with different shapes, physical and chemical features. Among these structures, engineered nanoparticles demonstrated great potential for diagnostic and translational medicine. Their core and surface design are driven by possible applications and it implies a profound study of target cell responses following nanoparticle contact and interaction. The investigation of nano-bio interaction is a crucial topic in nanomedicine, as nanotechnologies that are thought to be deliberately administered to human subjects will be in direct contact with immune cells.
Silica particles can be produced in a very precise manner in the nano-metric scale. Size, shape, and surface properties, such as charge or hydrophobicity, can be finely tuned to increase their biocompatibility. Many features of SiO2 nanoparticles allow them to be used as a model for drug delivery particles. Furthermore, fluorescent dyes or quantum dots can be entrapped or linked to these particles offering useful nano-tools for imaging purposes.
To reduce particle aggregation and increase their availability for target cells, NP-coating polymers can also be an advantage. Among the several biocompatible polymers, poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) has a wide variety of applications, which often involve its capacity to limit protein adsorption. PEG, immobilized to surfaces, greatly retards protein adsorption and shows anti folding activity. PEGylation of drugs and nanocarriers leads to an increase of their circulation half-lives by decreasing their susceptibility to phagocytosis. 
To endow NPs with such “stealth” properties, modification of their surfaces with PEG has become a popular method to reduce nonspecific interactions with serum proteins and reduced cellular uptake.
Pegylated silica NPs were preferred as prototype NP, due to the past and current expertise in Nanobiointeractions and Nanodiagnostics Lab with synthesis and functionalization.
The monocyte/macrophage phagocyte lineage play a key role in the immune defense against foreign bodies, including NPs. They are able to trigger fast protective responses through the release of cytokines and phagocytosis, representing a suitable model to investigate the effects of engineered nano-materials.

Audience take away:

• The audience will take advantages form this poster collecting informations on nanoparticle synthesis and functionalization with biological proteins aimed at biomedical applications.
• The audience can observe the poster’s informations and compare them with their own work. The presented methods could be extended to other materials and biochemical moieties. The nanoparticle functionalization can improve the selective cell targeting. Nanoparticle induced cell function modulation could be of great advantage for further research and innovation.