The involvement of free radicals in diverse fields, spanning from physics, materials, biology and medicine, indicates the flexibility and specificity of these important chemical intermediates. In bio- and nano-technology, free radical-based processes can be connected to innovative research dealing with the fate of drug nano-carriers as well as the efficacy of photo-induced processes, either for biological and biotechnological applications. The group has a long-standing expertise in free radical chemical mechanisms and kinetics, useful also for biomaterial applications, in the design of biomimetic models with connection with biological processes, in analytical and synthetic methodologies for the complete follow-up of the molecular reactivity and products.

Research activity

Lipidomics of radical stress – Our research aims at providing a complete scenario of free radical lipid transformations, envisaging membranes as an important compartment for adaptation and metabolic recovery, through rapid reorganization and turnover. Part of this research has an important and straightforward application to biomarker discovery and to innovation for health and nutra-companies. The research group supports also the R&D activity of the spin-off company LipiNutraMed, recently founded and located at the Lefkippos incubator. The following research aspects are developed: (i) Chemical basis and reactivity of free radicals with biological membranes; (ii) Lipid remodeling in vitro and in vivo under stress; (iii) Trans fatty acids and the role of biologically relevant small radicals in the cis—trans isomerization; (v) Endogenous protection of the cis lipid geometry: the role of enzymatic and molecular defenses; (vi) Molecular libraries for recognition of trans lipids.

Models of DNA damage and consequences – The group is an important world expert in DNA transformations by free radical processes. This area is of enormous importance, for either health and biomarker development and for bio-nanotechnological applications. Tandem or clustered lesions and DNA/DNA or DNA/protein cross-links are correlated to various health conditions or drug treatments, being the repair machinery of the cell able to repair them. Moreover, processes as charge transfer in specific DNA sequences can be developed as applications to novel nanotechnologies. Our research is organised into the following areas: (i) Free-radical mechanistic studies of DNA oxidation based on biomimetic models and DNA damage/repair processes; (ii) Biomarker discovery and development of nucleic acid modifications, in view of providing a complete screening of DNA damages, for example for drug development (iii) Reactivity of hydroxyl radicals towards oligonucleotides in guanine-rich regions (telomeres, CpG island, introns, G-quadruplex) for biomedical processes and biotech applications.

Liposomes and nanocarriers – Liposomes are the most acquainted model for cell membranes and also became the best carrier system for drugs, increasing resistance and bioavailability. Liposomes as nanocarriers are used in therapy for cancer and pain disorders, often associated with inflammation and free radical production in the body. The in-depth study of liposome behavior under free radical stress is necessary to individuate new formulations to strengthen physical and chemical properties of lipid nanoparticles and envisage the crucial characteristics of the future generation of drug nanocarriers. The project group is specialized in the following studies: (i) 
Radical reactions in large unilamellar vesicles (LUVET) made of natural or synthetic phospholipids in different biomimetic conditions; (ii) Diffusibility of free radical species in vesicles suspension and related processes involved in the parallel damage of DNA, protein and lipids, simulating antitumoral drug delivery; (iii) Synergic formulations for drug activity and best cell membrane interaction.

Associated Spin-off Companies

The research activities gave the birth to companies bringing innovation to market in Italy (LipiNutraGen).

LipiNutraGen

Running Grants

COST Action CM1201 Biomimetic Radical Chemistry

COST Action CM1201, Biomimetic Radical Chemistry Period: 06.12.2012 – 05.12.2016

Horizon 2020-MSCA-ITN Click Chemistry for future gene therapies to benefit citizens, researches and industry

Horizon 2020-MSCA-ITN, Click Chemistry for future gene therapies to benefit citizens, researches and industry Period: 01.01.2015 – 31.12.2018


Research Collaborator

Dr. Chatgilialoglu Chryssostomos

List of Publications: 201620152014

Recent Reviews

  • Radicals and dormant species in biology and polymer chemistry, Chatgilialoglu et al. ChemPlusChem 2016, 81, 11-29.
  • Lipid Geometrical Isomerism: From Chemistry to Biology and Diagnostics, Chatgilialoglu et al. Chem. Rev. 2014, 114, 255-284.

Recent Books

Membrane Lipidomics for Personalized Health

Membrane Lipidomics for Personalized Health

Carla Ferreri, Chryssostomos Chatgilialoglu, Publisher: Wiley, July 2015


Encyclopedia of Radicals in Chemistry, Biology and Materials

Encyclopedia of Radicals in Chemistry, Biology and Materials

Chryssostomos Chatgilialoglu (Editor), Armido Studer (Editor) (4 volumes, 73 Chapters) Publisher: Wiley, 2012.


fr-book3 Radiation-Induced and Oxidative DNA Damages

Monari, A., Dumont, E., Chatgilialoglu, C., eds. (2015). Publisher: Frontiers Media, October 2015

EDITORIAL ARTICLE