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ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0025-1104

Associate Professor at the SCVSA Department (Chemistry Unit) - University of Parma.

December 1998 – January 2002 University of Parma, Ph.D. in Chemistry.
Final dissertation and graduation: 31/01/2002.
October 1992 – July 1997 University of Parma. Degree in Chemistry.
Final dissertation and graduation: 14/07/1997. Final mark 110/110 cum laude.

Research periods spent abroad
-2000. Department of Chemistry of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.
Project: Tripodal ligands for asymmetric catalysis. Supervisor: Dr. Philip J. Bailey.
Recipient of a Short Term Mobility Grant (Italian National Research Council, C.N.R.)
-2003. Visiting Researcher at the Department of Chemistry of the Columbia University, New York, USA. Project: Development of novel boron-centerd tripodal ligands. Host: Prof. Gerard Parkin.
-2005. Visiting periods within the cooperation agreement framework between the Italian C.N.R and
the Spanish C.S.I.C. at the Departamento de Quimica Inorganica, Organica y Bioquimica, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Ciudad Real, Spain. Research group: Prof. Antonio Otero and Prof. Antonio Antinolo.

Scientific Collaborations since 2002.
1) Prof. Piero Sozzani, Department of Material Sciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy. Collaboration for the preparation and evaluation of absorption properties of porous coordination polymers.
2) Prof. Paola Deplano, Department of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, University of Cagliari, Italy. X-ray data collection and theoretical calculations (DFT) on organometallic systems.
3) Prof. Dolores Fregona. Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Padua, Padua, Italy. X-ray data collection on metal-based compounds with potential anticancer properties.
4) Prof. Carlo Santini. School of Science and Technology, Chemistry Division, University of Camerino, Camerino, Italy. Joint project for the evaluation of the anticancer properties of copper complexes.
5) Prof. Antonio Otero. Departamento de Quimica Inorganica, Organica y Bioquimica, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Ciudad Real, Spain. Design and preparation of N,S tripodal ligands as functional biomimetics of copper containing proteins; a Ph.D. student under my direct supervision was involved in the project.
6) Prof. Miguel Ruiz. Departamento de Quimica Organica e Inorganica. Universidad de Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain. X-ray data collection and theoretical calculations (DFT) on organometallic systems.
7) Prof. Vincent Pecoraro. Department of Chemistry. University of Michigan. Ann Arbor. USA. Design and X-ray characterization of metallacrown systems.
8) Prof. Tobin J. Marks. Department of Chemistry. Northwestern University. Evanston. USA. Synthesis and characterization of silver complexes as lubricant precursors.
9) Dr Marcello Gennari and Dr Carol Duboc. Département de Chimie Moléculaire, Univ. Grenoble Alpes. Grenoble. France. Characterization of hybrid materials for catalysis.

Academic responsibilities and activities
Member of the “Consorzio Interuniversitario di Ricerca in Chimica dei Metalli nei Sistemi Biologici”,
CIRCMSB (http://www.circmsb.uniba.it/index.html). 2009-2012. Representative of the University of Parma within the Executive Council of the CIRCMSB.
From the academic year 2001-2002 to the present, member of the Teaching board of the Department of Chemistry (from 1st January 2017 SCVSA Department) of the University of Parma. Teaching: Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory, Inorganic stereoisomerism, Molecular structure determination (X-ray).
I have supervised more than 20 students for the first and second level degrees in Chemistry and 3 PhD theses for the PhD course in Chemistry.

-2016. Galileo Project (Università Italo-Francese, G15-78). Principal Investigator. Preparation of metal-organic frameworks for electro-catalysis.
-2013-2017. EU FP7/2013-2017 Marie Curie IRSES. Member. Project title: Metallacrowns-based innovative materials and supramolecular devices. (https://sites.google.com/site/metallacrowns/).
-2007-2009. MIUR project PRIN. Local Unit coordinator. Project Title: Design and synthesis of copper complexes for developing bioinorganic target-specific drugs.
-2004-2006. MIUR project PRIN. Member. Project Title: Sviluppo di potenziali farmaci a base metallica e approfondimento dei meccanismi d'azione su specifiche linee tumorali.

More than 100 publication on peer reviewed journals. More than 40 presentation at National and international conferences. 5 invited seminars. 1 invited Gordon Conference (2012).

Scientific activities
The research interests are divided into three main fields of investigation:
1. Design and preparation of novel ligand systems that are suitable for the construction of coordination
polymers. Preparation of a new class of boron-centered tripodal ligands able to interact with a metal ion either with the N3 or S3 donor systems. This typology of ligands has attracted great interest among researchers involved in the field of supramolecular chemistry and coordination polymers, and are nowadays known as Janus Scorpionates, pointing to the ambivalent nature of their coordination capabilities (N3 or S3) [Inorg. Chem., 2001, 40, 5030-5035; Inorg. Chem. 2003, 42, 2109-2114, Inorg. Chem., 2007, 46, 3367-3377; Inorg. Chem., 2008, 47, 2223-2232]. A variety of specifically designed ligands were prepared with the purpose of producing supramolecular structures endowed with robustness and microporosity. The structural and functional features of these systems were investigated by means of single crystal X-ray diffraction and powder X-ray diffraction [Inorg. Chem., 2011, 50, 10786-10797]. Particular interest was dedicated to the elucidation of the supramolecular assembly in solution (1D, 2D, PGSE NMR spectroscopy) and how this was reflected into the solid state structural arrangement. The porosity of the systems was investigated by measuring absorption isotherms for different gases (nitrogen, hydrogen and carbon dioxide) showing that it is possible to direct the formation of porous materials by modulating the metal-counteranion interactions [J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 9142-9145, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 14883-14895, Chem. Eur. J., 2016, 22, 6482-6486].

2. Computational chemistry. Use of density functional theory (DFT) methods for the characterization of the electronic properties of transition metal complexes. Particular interest was dedicated to: a) the characterization of the magnetic state of mononuclear and polynuclear complexes (high spin – low spin states, ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic coupling) [Cryst. Growth Des. 2014, 14, 5938-5948; Dalton Trans. 2014, 43, 7006-7019], b) investigation of the luminescent properties of metal complexes by means of time-dependent DFT [Inorg. Chem. 2017, 56, 2017, 6763-6767; Inorg. Chem. 2016, 55, 2016, 5118-5126], c) investigation of weak interaction such as hydrogen and halogen bonds [ACS Sust. Chem. Engin. 2017, 5, 4359-4370].

3. Investigation of the anticancer potential of metal-based complexes. Preparation and evaluation of the biological properties of copper complexes [Curr. Med. Chem., 2009, 16, 1325-1348]. The underling idea was that the use of copper, which is an endogenous metal ion, may present reduced general toxicity toward normal cells being at the same time potentially active against tumor cell lines. A thorough chemical investigation of novel compounds, by means of spectrophotometric and X-ray techniques, was followed by in vitro cytotoxicity essays on various tumor cell lines [J. Med. Chem., 2007, 50, 1916-1924]. The mechanism of cell death induced by the copper complexes was investigated from morphological (confocal scanning light microscopy) and biomolecular (microarray, western blot, PCR analyses) approaches [J. Biol. Chem., 2009, 284, 24306-24319]. It is generally assumed that a citotoxic drug expresses its potential by inducing apoptotic cell death in cancer cells. We showed that when using ligand systems that are able to determine a critical accumulation of copper into the cell, a peculiar type of programmed cell death (PCD) was activated, which was not related to the conventional PCD activated by the vast majority of anticancer compounds, namely apoptosis [J. Med. Chem., 2012, 55, 10448-10459, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 6235-6242]. This may open new perspectives for the treatment of tumor phenotypes that are characterized by innate or acquired resistance to apoptotic cell death.

Completion accademic year: 2019/2020

Completion accademic year: 2018/2019

Completion accademic year: 2017/2018

Completion accademic year: 2016/2017

Completion accademic year: 2015/2016

Completion accademic year: 2014/2015


  • First cycle degree (DM 270) CHEMISTRY A.Y. 2019/2020
  • First cycle degree (DM 270) CHEMISTRY A.Y. 2018/2019
  • First cycle degree (DM 270) CHEMISTRY A.Y. 2017/2018
  • First cycle degree (DM 270) CHEMISTRY A.Y. 2016/2017
  • First cycle degree (DM 270) CHEMISTRY A.Y. 2015/2016
  • First cycle degree (DM 270) CHEMISTRY A.Y. 2014/2015

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