Contenuti

Prize Students 2013/14

The Prize students for the academic year 2013/14 were announced during the General College Assembly of 6th October 2014  and included the students listed below. The College wishes to congratulate all eight students for their superb achievement.

Undergraduates

Name: Andrea Barone
Course: Physics, Year 1

Name: Benedetta Broggi
Course: Medicine, Year 3

Name: Piera Guerini
Course: Pharmacy, Year 5

Name: Riccardo Paroli
Course: Chemistry, Year 1

Name: Monica Passanante
Course: Medicine, year 3

Msc Students

Name: Francesca Lattere
Course: Neurobiology, Year 2

Name: Giuseppe Siciliano
Course: Electronic Engineering, Year 1

Name: Morena Miriello
Course: International Business and Entrepreneurship, Year 2

 

 

Reports 2017/18

College hosted a number of PhD students and medical trainees during the 2017/18 academic year and several of them are actively engaged in College life, including College Committees.   Brief accounts of their research or trainning are offered in this page.

Monah Abou Allez.  Computational Approach Towards Genomic Characterization of Human Long Non-coding RNAs
CNR Institute of Molecular Genetics (supervisor: Silvia Bione)

M PhD project is based at the Unit of Computational Biology of the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the National Research Council (CNR). Recent developments in deep sequencing approaches have greatly increased the resolution and facilitated the understanding of the transcriptome. The more recent understanding that the genome is pervasively transcribed stimulated the discovery of a new prevalent class of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), and consequently, there has been continuous discovery of a significantly large number of novel lncRNA gene loci in the genomes. HoIver, while these are relatively less abundant and conserved than other classes of functional RNAs, identifying and determining the function of individual lncRNAs, still remains a challenge. In my current research during the academic year of 2017/2018, I applied an integrative bioinformatics approach to systematically characterize the different properties that distinguish lncRNAs genes, as a class and as individuals, apart from protein coding genes. By utilizing different computational and statistical tools and examining lncRNAs genes annotated in GENCODE compendium for human genome annotations, I established a panorama of lncRNA genes general properties including gene and transcript structure, gene length, GC-content, genome coverage, combinatorial and spatial patterns of chromatin marks and states, cellular localization and levels of expression. I also elucidated the difference of these general properties between the different lncRNA biotypes annotated by GENCODE. Moreover, I determined a sex-specific expression pattern of lncRNA genes in comparison to protein-coding ones by performing transcriptome sequence analysis and differentialgene expression in blood tissues. In particular, I focused my analysis on lncRNA splicing features and alternative splicing events that showed unique peculiarities distinguishing them from protein coding genes. Our analysis suggested a considerable difference between splice site strength, introns length, introns GC-content and the enrichment of binding sites for regulatory RNA binding proteins between lncRNA and protein-coding transcripts.



Sultan S Alteeg. 
The Relationship between Organization Culture and Innovation in Saudi Nonprofit Organisations
Department of Economics and Business Studies (supervisor: Stefano De Nicolai)

In 2017/18 I carried out extensive survey and analysis of the literature underlying my research project. I presented my first chapter to the PhD degree committee of the Department and I will start the relevant data collection in January 2019. I have also been working in parallele on two manuscripts on Emotional Intelligence: Definitions, History and Models, and Projects Evaluation in the Third Sector: What, Why and How ? which I intend to submit for publication before the end of 2018 in one of the business management journals.



Valentina Astesana. [Pt(O,O'-acac)(γ-acac)(DMS)]: another platinum (II) compound to overcome Cisplatin resistance and toxicity

Department of Biology and Biotechnology (supervisors: M Biggiogera and MG Bottone)

Cisplatin is one of the most effective chemotherapeutic agents used in the treatment of many type of tumours including non-small cell lung cancer, ovarian, testicular, glioblastoma, neuroblastoma and others. Cisplatin is able to form bonds with the N7 atom on guanine and adenine bases and when this damage is not repaired, DNA replication and transcription were stopped, inducing death of the cells. Despite the clinical benefit provided by Cisplatin many patients undergo phenomena of resistance and toxicity (especially ototoxicity, nephrotoxicity and neurotoxicity). To overcome Cisplatin resistance and toxicity, some strategies include the use of alternative platinum compounds, such as [Pt(O,O'-acac)(γ-acac)(DMS)], synthetized by the team of Prof. Fanizzi (University of Salento, Lecce), considering its activity and mechanism of action respect to Cisplatin. For this purpose, we used human glioblastoma T98G cell line. Our results suggest that PtAcacDMS is able to induce apoptosis and necrosis with a concentration five-fold lower respect to Cisplatin (10µM respect to 40µM). Furthermore, ultrastructural analysis of TEM revealed an intense process of autophagy takes place in the cells, confirmed by the analysis of autophagic markers. Different cell death can be regulated by calcium and by oxidative stress. We find that PtAcacDMS induce an acute increases in [Ca2+]i respect to CDDP that was likely to be due to extracellular Ca2+ entry and enhanced both cytosolic and endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ concentration after 48h of treatment. Increase of oxidative stress, especially the expression of ROS, can also represents a mechanism of cell death of PtAcacDMS and can modulate the modifications of chromatin and thus gene expression.


 
R Cacciatore.  Plasma levels of soluble HLA-G, genomic polymorphism HLA-E and HLA- DRB1 as factors involved in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases in pregnancy
Immunogenetic Laboratory of the S. Matteo Hospital of Pavia (supervisors: Annamaria Pasi and Fausta Beneventi)

In 2017/18 I continued my research on the above project. Specifically, I determined the f HLA-DRB1 polymorphism in 96 pregnant women with pre-existing rheumatic diseases (undifferentiated connective tissue, fibromyalgia, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), systemic sclerosis, antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, Sjögren's syndrome, spondyloarthritis) and in 188 women who have gone through physiological pregnancies. All blood samples were received at the Immunematology Laboratory of the Immunohaematology and Transfusion Medicine Service, the registry of both the controls and each patient with the related cord blood samples was recorded and included in the Daisy management software. The latter represents an informatics archive that allows the laboratory to encode each subject in a univocal way through the use of a numerical code. As a first step, each sample was processed by centrifugation at 1500 rpm for 15 minutes, in this way we obtained plasma and buffy coat aliquots. DNA was extracted from each aliquot of buffy coat. DNA extraction, necessary for the determination of HLA-DRB1 polymorphism, was performed using an automatic extractor that uses magnetic particles that act as a solid phase around which the nucleic acid precipitates under suitable conditions. Plasma was used for the determination of plasma levels of soluble HLA-G. Therefore, going forward with the aims of the research itself and considering the crucial role of HLA-DR molecules in susceptibility to rheumatic diseases we proceeded to analyze controls and patients for the polymorphisms of the HLA-DRB1 gene. As a result, 188 controls and 96 patients were typed by PCR-SSO methods, applied to xMap Luminex technology, and PCR-SSP. From the analysis of the data it was observed that the frequency of the HLA-DRB1 * 03 allele, among the HLA alleles most frequently associated with SLE, was higher and statistically significant in patients compared to controls (11% vs 6.12% p = 0.04 , OR = 1.88), as well as the frequency of the allele DRB1 * 15 (8% vs 4% p = 0.077 OR 1.91) described in the literature as also associated with Sjögren's syndrome and multiple sclerosis. Intriguing and statistically significant, the HLA-DRB1 * 07 allele also showed a somewhat higher and statistically significant frequency in patients than controls (14.58% vs 9.04% p = 0.04, OR = 1.72). Among the HLA alleles known to be most associated with rheumatoid arthritis, the DRB1 * 04: 05 allele presents a higher frequency in patients than healthy controls (2.08% vs 1.06% p = 0.32, OR = 1.98), instead the frequency of HLA-DRB1 alleles (HLA-DRB1 * 01: 01, * 01: 02, * 04: 01, * 04: 04, * 04: 05, * 04: 08), which taken together represent the amino acid sequence defined " shared epitope "(SE), was slightly lower among patients compared to controls (9% vs 10%). The data obtained confirm substantially those obtained during the last year and we can see an increase in significance for the HLA-DRB1 * 03 allele. The high frequency of HLA-DRB1 * 03, but also of HLA-DRB1 * 07, both in linkage disequilibrium with the HLA-DQB1 * 02 allele, in sick pregnancies could suggest a silent celiac disease, therefore not manifesting but that could flash in the future in subjects at risk. The data could be useful to the clinician in order to suggest the execution of analyzes such as the research of anti-tranglutaminase antibodies or, in any way, to monitoring the patient. Furthermore, an increase in the significance of the DRB1 * 15 allele can be seen, which has also been associated with Sjögren's syndrome and multiple sclerosis. Since the data that can be obtained could represent a useful aid to the clinician to predict and monitor the evolution of undifferentiated connective tissue diseases and the onset of other immune  pathologies, it would be desirable to enroll and analyze a greater number of affected pregnant patients. from rheumatic diseases to give statistical weight to the study. It would also be interesting to proceed with the determination of the genomic polymorphism of HLA-G and HLA-E to establish, together with HLA-DRB1, their involvement in autoimmune diseases during pregnancy. It would be advisable to continue with the analysis of the plasma concentration of soluble HLA-G as an indicator of progression or improvement of autoimmune pathology.



Luca De Martinis.
Diseases of the endocrine system
Istituti Clinico Scientifici Maugeri (supervisor: L Chiovato)

As a 4th year student of the specialty course in Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases I sat the final year 3 examination in December 2017 with top marks presenting a clinical case report of a patient with  Sheehan syndrome and reviewing the latest guidelines on hypopituitarism published in 2016 in the European Journal of Endocrinology. Starting from September 2017, I have carried out clinical activities at the Diabetes clinic of the Maugeri Foundation of Pavia, dealing in particular with new therapeutics for type 2 diabetes mellitus. From January '18 to April '18 I was directly involved in the management of the MAC Endocrinological of our Unit, with particular attention to the execution of endocrine dynamic tests. During this year I also participated in several major national conferences including the annual meeting of the Italian Society of Endocrinology and the Italian Diabetes Society. Finally, I actively contributed to the drafting of several scientific papers in the field of endocrinology and internal medicine that were published in international journals.

Disabling portosystemic encephalopathy in a non-cirrhotic patient: Successful endovascular treatment of a giant inferior mesenteric-caval shunt via the left internal iliac vein.
de Martinis L, Groppelli G, Corti R, Moramarco LP, Quaretti P, De Cata P, Rotondi M, Chiovato L. World J Gastroenterol. 2017 Dec 21;23(47):8426-8431. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v23.i47.8426.

A male patient with acromegaly and breast cancer: treating acromegaly to control tumor progression. Leporati P, Fonte R, de Martinis L, Zambelli A, Magri F, Pavesi L, Rotondi M, Chiovato L. BMC Cancer. 2015 May 12;15:397. doi: 10.1186/s12885-015-1400-0.

The effect of Greek herbal tea consumption on thyroid cancer: a case-control study. Riza E, Linos A, Petralias A, de Martinis L, Duntas L, Linos D. Eur J Public Health. 2015 Dec;25(6):1001-5. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckv063. Epub 2015 Apr 4.

Exposure to perfluorinated compounds: in vitro study on thyroid cells. Coperchini F, Pignatti P, Lacerenza S, Negri S, Sideri R, Testoni C, de Martinis L, Cottica D, Magri F, Imbriani M, Rotondi M, Chiovato L. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2015 Feb;22(3):2287-94. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-3480-9. Epub 2014 Sep 4.

Serum negative autoimmune thyroiditis displays a milder clinical picture compared with classic Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Rotondi M, de Martinis L, Coperchini F, Pignatti P, Pirali B, Ghilotti S, Fonte R, Magri F, Chiovato L. Eur J Endocrinol. 2014 Jul;171(1):31-6. doi: 10.1530/EJE-14-0147. Epub 2014 Apr 17.

Type I and type II interferons inhibit both basal and tumor necrosis factor-α-induced CXCL8 secretion in primary cultures of human thyrocytes. Rotondi M, Coperchini F, Sideri R, Groppelli G, de Martinis L, Villani L, Pignatti P, Magri F, Chiovato L. J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2013 Sep;33(9):508-13. doi: 10.1089/jir.2012.0080. Epub 2013 May 15.



Carla Gualtieri. miRNA and DNA repair in plants
Department of Biology and Biotechnology (supervisor: )


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small endogenous non-coding RNAs involved in the regulation of gene expression by complementary binding to mRNA targets, leading to the translational inhibition and/or mRNA degradation. Given their key roles in the regulation of gene expression, these molecules are implicated in all essential physiological processes, including plant growth/development and in stress conditions. Oxidative injury, originating from both cellular metabolism and adverse environmental conditions, causes genotoxic stress and impairs crop productivity. To maintain genome integrity, multiple DNA repair pathways are activated in the context of the highly conserved DNA damage response (DDR). Currently, very little is known about the involvement of miRNAs in this complex network of responses to genome damage in plant as well as in mammals. Medicago truncatula, a model legume, has recently emerged as a relevant system to study DNA damage repair in plants. This background provides a good starting point to investigate the involvement of miRNA in the regulation of DDR gene expression.



Jing Luo.
A High-speed High-resolution Pipeline Analog-to-Digital Converter(ADC) Design
Department of Computer and Industrial Engineering (supervisor: Franco Maloberti)


I am a visiting PhD student of Integrated Microsystem (IMS) research Laboratory in the Department of Electrical Computer and Biomedical Engineering at University of Pavia. During this academic year, I have actively engaged in the project aimed at developing a High-speed High-resolution Pipeline Analog-to-Digital Converter(ADC). I have surveyed the technical literature on pipeline ADC and then established a calculation model of ADC architecture through coding in MATLAB and a behavioural model in Cadence AMS environment. Thereafter, I have been designing transistor-level circuits to replace the ideal devices in our behavioural model. After several attempts, I have designed a high-gain and high-speed operational amplifier and  designed the comparators with threshold offset and switches.



Alberto Martinasso.  Evaluation and treatment of anaemias
ImmunoTransfusional Service, San Matteo Hospital, Pavia (supervisor: Cesare Perotti)

I am a 4th yer specialty student in Clinical Biochemistry and Clinical Pathology and I carry out my training in the therapeutical apheresis unit at the ImmunoTransfusional Service of the San Matteo Hospital. I work on: blood collection from healthy donors, stem cell collection from healthy (related and un-related) donor and non-healthy donors and from blood cord, post-transplant rejection (AGVHD, CGVHD, BOS/CLAD, …), diseases who needs plasma-exchange (TTP, hepatic failure, DIC, polyneuropathy antibodies-related, …) or eritro-exchange (falcemic crisis), blood transfusion, flow cytometry in the hematologic field (to analyze the composition of bone marrow, of stem cell collections before the transplant, …). Since February 2017, I have been in charge of the new outpatient service for the evaluation and treatment of the anemia, as suggested by the Italian Patient Blood Management Plan, in patients who undergo on surgery then in all patient, in collaboration with the Emergency Department and with the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics.



Anderson Melchior Hernandez.
Stochastic analysis of evolution equations
Department of Mathematics Mathematics (supervisor: Marco Veneroni)

My PhD project involves the development of mathermatical technicques that aim to quantify the velocity of convergence of some stochastic evolution partial differential equations or their specify large deviations property. I attended a variety of courses in including Bayesian statical theory (A Lijoi), Quantum Markov processes (R Carbone), Variational methods for semi linear elliptic equations (S Secchi), Variational formulations of boundary value problems (G Gilardi), Non linear dispersive equations: theory and applications (D Noja), etc. I have also sat examinations on the following courses: Quantum Markov processes, Variational formulations of boundary value problems and Dirichlet forms, Markov semigroups and gradient flow.



Farshad Piri.  Next-generation 5G communication systems

Department of Industrial and Information Engineering (supervisor: Francesco Svelto)

Since 1980s the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) has kept growing, providing an increasing amount of end-user oriented applications and benefits. During the past years, both mobile and fixed data traffic has grown exponentially due to the impressive growth of the smartphones, tablets, laptops and etc. The demand for the wireless connectivity will be even larger in the future. As an example, the 4G network enabled a hugely improved multimedia experience as broadband wireless networks started to takeover wired connections. Following this trend next generation networks will require to share an enormous amount of data in a real-time response to wireless users stressing the network capacity. Precise generation of quadrature signals over a wide frequency range is a key function in next-generation 5G communication systems. My research focuses on the design and construction of a wideband quadrature generator based on a single-stage Polyphase Filter (PPF). A phase detector senses the phase error from quadrature signals generated by a single-stage PPF and a feedback circuit continuously tunes the filter center frequency to the input signal frequency by varying the polyphase resistance of a nMOS device in triode. Transformer-based resonant circuits at the input and output of the PPF ensure wide bandwidth and low loss. Prototypes have been realized in a 55nm CMOS technology. Tailored to next-generation 5G systems for cross-network interoperability requirements, the measured quadrature generator shows an IRR>40dB over a bandwidth from 28GHz to 44GHz.  Power consumption is 36mW for the PPF and buffers, and 3mW only for the calibration loop. One key aspect of the proposed solution is its robustness over PVT, one of the weak aspects of alternatives proposed in the literature. This solution compares favorably with state-of-the-art, and shows the largest fractional bandwidth (44%) among the quadrature generators at frequencies greater than 20GHz. The prototype demonstrates state-of-the-art performances over a large fractional bandwidth.



Corrado Regalbuto. Endocrine Diseases.
Department of Internal Medicine and Therapy (supervisor: )

This year I've started the residency in Pediatrics. I've published two articles : " Gynecomastia after euthyroidism restoration in a patient with type 1 diabetes and Graves' disease", a  case report that describes gynecomastia in a male patient with type 1 diabetes and Graves’ disease after thyroid function restoration had been achieved and  "Smoke exposure and cardio-metabolic profile in youth with type 1 diabetes", that evaluates the relationship between smoking and metabolic parameters in patients affected by type 1 diabetes. I've trained for a period of four months in the Allergology and Immunology pediatric department and for a period of four months in the Oncohematology department.

Calcaterra V, Clerici E, Ceolin V, Regalbuto C, Larizza D. Gynecomastia after euthyroidism restoration in a patient with type 1 diabetes and Graves' disease. Clin Case Rep. 2018 Jun 14;6(8):1481-1484. doi: 10.1002/ccr3.1565. eCollection 2018 Aug.

Calcaterra V, Winickoff JP, Klersy C, Schiano LM1, Bazzano R, Montalbano C, Musella V, Regalbuto C, Larizza D, Cena H. Smoke exposure and cardio-metabolic profile in youth with type 1 diabetes. Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2018 Jul 6;10:53. doi: 10.1186/s13098-018-0355-0. eCollection 2018.



Abhijeet Taralkar.  Analog-to-Digital converters (ADCs) in automobile applications.
Department of Industrial and Information Engineering (supervisor: )

Analog-to-Digital converters (ADCs) in automobile applications often require very high absolute accuracy and linearity, and very low offset and noise with low power consumption. ΣΔ (Sigma-Delta) modulation is a relatively simple means of performing data conversion but since ΔΣ modulators oversample the data, the input bandwidth is limited by both the oversampling ratio (OSR) and the maximum sampling frequency. The automobile specifications are not easily satisfied with conventional ADCs, since these do not provide accurate gain control and low offset, and require complex and power-hungry digital filters for high-accuracy performance. In contrast to the conventional ΣΔ ADCs, which converts a waveform operating continuously, incremental data converters (IDC) convert individual input samples. It operates for a predetermined number of clock periods and is then reset. The properties of IDCs are well matched to the requirements of automobile. They provide very precise conversion with accurate gain, high linearity and low offset, and the conversion time can be relatively short. My project involves the design and testing, initial through simulation studies, of IDC converters for automobile application and in 2017/18 academic year I have achieved progress in both these areas.

Reports 2016/17

A number of PhD students and medical trainees lived and worked in College during the academic year 2016/17 and made progress toward their PhD degree or their specialty diploma.  The text below contains brief reports of their work during the year.

Alberto Martinasso, Medical Trainee in Patologia Clinica e Biochimica Clinica (supervisor:  )

I have been in the Microbiology Laboratory of the San Matteo Hospital  till January and I have worked on clinical samples.  Clinical samples can be collected from almost every part of the human body, but the majority of them are from blood, urine, cerebrospinal fluid, fecal material, oropharingeal mucosae, vaginal and cervical mucosae and from skin. Some of them need preparations, while others no. And at the end they can be sown on plates or distribuited on slides and analyzed. So we can find out what kind of microorganism is causing the infectious disease that troubling the physician and we can also analyze the sensitivity to the chemiotherapy. Actually I am working  at the ImmunoTransfusional Service of the San Matteo Hospital.  Here I work on: blood collection from healthy donors, stem cell collection from healthy and non-healthy donors and from blood cord, post-transplant rejection (AGVHD, CGVHD, BOS/CLAD), diseases who needs plasma-exchange (TTP, hepatic failure, DIC) or eritro-exchange (falcemic crisis), blood transfusion.

Comparison of two automated mononuclear cell collection systems in patients undergoing extracorporeal photopheresis: a prospective crossover equivalence study. Del Fante C, Scudeller L, Martinasso A, Viarengo G, Perotti C. Transfusion. 2016 Jun 1 [Epub ahed of print]  PMID: 27250563



Farshad Piri, PhD student in Electronics, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (supervisor: )

5th generation of wireless networks. The latest wireless and cellular technology which nowadays are used is 4th generation of networking which is limited in data rate speed which cause us to use lower quality of video or audio streaming or low bandwidth which cause us to have lower internet connection speed in our wireless devices like cell phones, in order to increase the speed and bandwidth and also improve so many other features like capability of network coverage and large intercommunication with other networks the 5th generation of wireless and cellular networks are developing at the moment. The key thing that let us to implement this 5G system is advanced Microelectronic fabrication which let us to design integrated circuits in 1milimeter and transistors in 10 Nano meter scale. Thanks to University of Pavia which is one of the leaderships in this field in Europe and world we are working on the circuits and chips and fabrication of the ICs for 5G networks.  There is a view of my first IC which is developed in AIC lab of university of Pavia under supervision of Prof. Francesco Svelto.



Maria C Renna, postgraduate research fellow in Haematology (supervisor: M Cazzola)

From the beginning of January I started a research grant titled “ An integrated platform for molecular studies and clinical trials in chronic myeloproliferative neoplasm” at the Hematology Department of the IRCSS Policlinico San Matteo of Pavia (Prof. Mario Cazzola). Here my work consist in the study of the molecular basis of the myelodysplastic and myeloproliferative disorders for the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. The studies are conducted in collaboration with the Oxford Molecular Haematology Unit ( Prof. Jacqueline Boulwood) , the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm and  the Heinrich-Heine University in Duesseldorf. In particular now we’re studying the Jak2 gene mutations which plays a major role in the pathogenetic mechanism of these disorders. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) classification of tumors of hematopoietic and lymphoid tissues, myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasms are clonal myeloid neoplasms that have some clinical, laboratory, morphologic findings that support a diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndrome, and other findings that are more consistent with myeloproliferative neoplasms. These disorders include chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, atypical chronic myeloid leukemia (BCR-ABL1 negative), juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia, and myelodysplastic/ myeloproliferative neoplasms, unclassifiable.  In 2005 by studying loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of chromosomes 9p our research group found that most patients with MPN carry the JAK2 (V617F) mutation. This somatic gain-of-function mutation provides a proliferative advantage leading to clonal proliferation of hematopoietic cells. Our research actually focus on myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasms of adulthood, and in particular on chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. We are current studying  familial MPN and by using high resolution SNP microarrays we are analyzing the genomic aberration that underlie leukemic transformation. Finally we are participating in clinical trials on the use of JAK2 inhibitors for treatment of patients with MPN. Recent studies have partly clarified the molecular basis of MPN, laying the groundwork for the development of molecular diagnostic and prognostic tools. We hope to make advances in the understanding of the molecular basis of these dirorders to translate it into novel therapeutic approaches.


 

Carmelo Sgarlata, Medical Trainee in Clinical Medicine (supervisor:  )

This year has been for me  very constructive in terms of professional and personal growth. My professional activity  took place mainly at an Internal Medicine Department at the Hospital IRCSS Policlinico S. Matteo in Pavia.   I really believe that these experiences have significantly contributed to expand and consolidate my professional skills. In addition, many positive experiences have enriched this year. For example, in February, I followed the American Heart Association  Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support Couse (ACLS-Provider) and obtained the relevant certification (ACLS-Provider)  with passing the final exam and obtaining the relevant certification. In April I attended the Musculoskeletal Ultrasound course held by the Professor Giuseppe Monetti (University of Bologna, April 2016) at the Muskoloskeletal Ultrasound School of Bologna and through which I had the opportunity to deepen my knowledge of this very important US technique. From the scientific point of view I have taken great satisfaction from having participated as a speaker at the Regional FADOI Congress of Lombardy 2012  (Milan)  organized by FADOI Lombardy (Federation of Associations of Hospital Doctors on Internal Medicine ) giving a talk entitled " La nuova frontiera del controllo dell’ipercolesterolemia” discussing innovative treatment for hypercholesterolemia management. I also held an oral communication at the National FADOI Congress 2016 (in Rome, May 2016) giving a talk entitled “Lung ultrasound: clinical utility in uncooperative patients with psychomotor agitation and suspected pneumonia” in which I discussed the result of a study I conducted on the use of lung ultrasound in patient with acute dyspnea  in Internal Medicine, an innovative technique.  I also performed research on other topics such as Alzheimer Disease (innovative treatment by pulsed electromagnetic asymmetrical stimulation), pain management in the elderly and Diabetes with the following pubblications:

C. Sgarlata, F. Guerriero, M. Rollone, M. Carbone, L. Magnani.  Lung ultrasound: clinical utility in uncooperative patients with psychomotor agitation and suspected pneumonia.. Italian Journal of Medicine 2016; 10(s2), 107.

C. Sgarlata, F. Guerriero, L. Magnani, M. Carbone, M. Rollone. Proton pump inhibitors and low magnesium levels: a brief analysis. Italian Journal Of Medicine  2015; 9(s2), 100-101.

C. Sgarlata , F. Guerriero , M. Carbone , L. Magnani , M. Rollone . Medications poisoning: toxicity by cardiovascular drugs. A case report. Italian Journal of Medicine 2016; 10(s2), 107.

F. Guerriero, C. Sgarlata , N. Maurizi , M. Francis , M. Rollone , M. Carbone , M. Rondanelli, S. Perna , G. Ricevuti.  Pain management in dementia: so far, not so good. Journal of Gerontology and Geriatrics  2016;64:31-39.

Guerriero F, Roberto A, Greco MT, Sgarlata C, Rollone M, Corli O . Long-term efficacy and safety of oxycodone-naloxone prolonged release in geriatric patients with moderate-to-severe chronic noncancer pain: a 52-week open-label extension phase study. Drug Design, Development and Therapy 2016:10 1515–1523

L. Magnani, C. Sgarlata, F. Guerriero, M. Carbone, M. Rollone. .Deceptions and pitfalls in cancer: when the severity of the clinical picture makes diagnosis difficult. A case report. Italian Journal of Medicine 2016; 10(s2), 69.

M. Carbone, C. Sgarlata, M. Rollone, F. Guerriero, L. Magnani.. Evaluation of the prevalence of cognitive impairment in a population of patients admitted to an internal medicine department by the administration of the Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire (SPMSQ). Italian Journal of Medicine 2016; 10(s2), 20.

F. Guerriero , C. Sgarlata , L. Magnani , M. Carbone , M. Rollone.. Deceptions and pitfalls in dementia: a singular case of anorexia in the elderly. Italian Journal of Medicine 2016; 10(s2), 60.
M. Rollone , C. Sgarlata, F. Guerriero, M. Carbone , L. Magnani. .Sarcopenic obesity: an emerging disease. A screening is possibile in clinical practice? Italian Journal of Medicine 2016; 10(s2), 99-100.

M. Carbone, F. Guerriero, C. Sgarlata, M. Rollone, C. Alfano, V. Nieswandt, L. Magnani.  Dolore da mastite carcinomatosa: uno studio prospettico multicentrico randomizzato sulla terapia analgesica transdermica basata sul meccanismo patogenetico. Italian Journal of Medicine 2016; 10(s2), 20.

M. Rollone, F. Guerriero, L. Magnani, M. Carbone, C. Sgarlata. Prognostic scores for predicting sepsis mortality in the elderly: a review of the literature. Italian Journal Of Medicine  2015; 9(s2).

G. Beltramello, C. Sgarlata, F. Guerriero, A. Marangoni, M. Ferrari, M. Rollone, L. Magnani. Implementation of a YALE insulin infusion modified protocol in an Internal Medicine ward through the use of a digital application. Italian Journal Of Medicine  2015; 9(s2).

F. Guerriero, C. Sgarlata, M. Carbone, L. Magnani, M. Rollone. A case of iatrogenic anorexia: the importance of a holistic assessment in the elderly.  Italian Journal Of Medicine  2015; 9(s2).

F.Guerriero, C. Sgarlata, L. Magnani, M. Carbone, M. Rollone. Prescribing wisely and safely in the elderly.  Italian Journal Of Medicine  2015; 9(s2).

Guerriero F, Botarelli E, Mele G, Polo L, Zoncu D, Renati P,Sgarlata C, Rollone M, Ricevuti G, Maurizi N, Francis M, Rondanelli M, Perna S, Guido D, Mannu P. An innovative intervention for the treatment of cognitive impairment-Emisymmetric bilateral stimulation improves cognitive functions in Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment: an open-label study.  Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 2015:11 2391–2404.

Guerriero F, Maurizi N, Francis M, Sgarlata C, Ricevuti G, Rondanelli M, Perna S, Rollone M. Is oxycodone/naloxone effective and safe in managing chronic pain of a fragile elderly patient with multiple skin ulcers of the lower limbs? A case report. Clinical Interventions in Aging 2015:10 1283–1287.



Silvia Tinelli, PhD student in Civil Engineering and Architecture (supervisor:  )

Monitoring and Smart Detection Systems in Water Distribution Systems. The ageing infrastructure of water systems together with the increasing demand is adding pressure to the water networks and many problems crop in terms of water leakage, water contamination and inability to detect water quality. Therefore, the purpose of the current research is the investigation of the early detection and the monitoring of water distribution systems. More in details, my research activity can be divided in two subtopics: the first one concerns the possibility of contamination events, either intentional or accidental, since water distribution systems are easily accessible for intruders and most of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear agents are soluble in water; the second one seeks to identify a method for the detection of any anomalies in the same distribution networks through the use of a stochastic approach. Consequently, my research aimed firstly to verify the evolution of the contaminants distribution in water networks and then, it analyzed the variables which affect the monitoring stations. For this purpose Pavia's water distribution system has been initially studied, and consequently modeled. The current research has also tried to detect and predict water anomalies in water networks, starting from consumption data: it has compared different methodologies based on flow time series data collected from Automated Meter Readings (AMRs) and it has stochastically trained the highest reliability technique to build a forecasting model. Therefore, the research output is the a Sigmoid curve, which predicts the probability of leak occurrence according to three principal ranges of leaks severity: green area means minor leaks, yellow color identifies moderate leaks, while red zone underlines severe risk of leakages. The collaboration with New York University, which took place for the all first year of the PhD, has brought important benefits to the research: firstly, as well as a Supervisor belonging to the University of Pavia (Prof. Eng Carlo Ciaponi), the present work has also a Co-advisor from Pavia University (Assistant Professor Eng. Enrico Creaco) for the first topic, and another one (Prof. Eng. Ilan Juran), afferent to the New York University. The second mentioned Co-advisor allowed me to attend the aforesaid American university for a period of several months, where I could use laboratories, follow specific courses and participate at international seminaries, regarding emerging challenges of eco-sustainable economic and societal urban development. The same co-advisor also let me attend the University of Lille for a short period to gain access to the laboratory, and its consequent activities. In addition, Lille University allowed me to be a part of 'Sunrise Project' (http://www.forum-sunrise.com/en/home-2), whose purpose is the creation of a Government–Industry-University partnership for turning the urban Lille University’s environment into a semi-scale pilot demonstration platform of SUN development and deployment for Resilient Infrastructure & Sustainable Ecosystems. I am personally giving my contribution to this huge project by using Lille laboratories in order to test water sensors and to develop practical experiments on water bio-contaminations. The present research has been approved for the 'XXXV Convegno Nazionale di Idraulica e Costruzioni Idrauliche' where it will be presented. As a consequence of my experiences I attended several international seminaries such as 'NYC Infrastructure Resiliency Plan and Assets Management Challenges', held by Eric C. Macfarlane, P.E., Deputy Commissioner-Infrastructure Division; 'The evolving utility of the future', held by Gerald Dawes, Director of Con Edison Energy; 'Sustainable Mobility Challenges and ITS', held by Raman K Patel, Ph.D., P.E.; 'Program Management of New York’s Mega Projects', held by Michael Horodniceanu, Ph.D., P.E, President of MTA Capital Construction; 'Technology Roadmap Smart Grids', held by John Johnson, CEO of Calm Energy Inc. Particular attention is given to 'Water Eco-Security 2015', which was an Experience Sharing Workshop, co-organized by Unesco, W-Smart, Amwa, Siaap on Eco-Security Challenges & Metropolitan Adaptation Strategies, including smart water network solutions and involving local governments, water and wastewater utilities, innovation industry and consumers. From the beginning of the current academic year I am assisting my Advisor, Prof. Carlo Ciaponi, in his 'Complementi di Costruzioni Idrauliche Urbane' Course and his students with their Master Thesis related to water quality issue with specific interest into multi-species approach.



Muhammad Yasir, PhD student in Electronics, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (supervisor: Maurizio Bozzi)

I started my PhD continuing my research work that I performed after and during my masters degree thesis. During my masters thesis at the Politecnico di Torino, I worked on the wideband frequency characterization of Carbon Nanotubes Composites. The research activity of my Phd degree is a broader version of the same. Since my PhD research activity covers a lot of other nanomaterials, therefore along with my research on Carbon Nanotubes, I continued to study other materials like graphene and its flakes. I had already sent a paper for a conference proceeding to the Mediterranean Microwave Symposium that was to be held at Lecce Italy in the end of november. So I went there to present my work and successfully published it. After joining the PhD degree at pavia I realized that there was a need of doing a specialized course on scientific writing. Since I was very ambitious about writing scientific papers and presenting at conferences, I did the course on Language, problems and methods of communications of the Scientific Research of the doctoral school. After studying the basics of graphene and its flakes, I realized that it was a very interesting material and has many potential uses in the microwave world. I started to look at some of the previous works done on the same by the microwaves lab and found that they already made a wideband attenuator based on graphene flakes. That was one of the first attempts in making such attenuators. I tried to explore more on the functionality of the attenuator but I first wanted to verify and repeat what has been done in the past. Furthermore since I had worked on carbon nanotubes at the politecnico, I was very curious about the behavior of carbon nanotubes on the application of voltage bias and to check whether they were tunable. I started to learn making printed circuits by the help of the LPKF micromilling machine and to get familiarize with the equipment that was to be used later in the year. I made many samples of a simple microstrip line with a gap for the deposition of carbon nanotubes and graphene flakes. After the fabrications of the microstrips, I took them for depositions at the INFN labs in Frascati Rome. On measuring the scattering parameters under an applied bias voltage, I found out that the flakes exhibit good tunability and that carbon nanotubes were dormant to any applied bias voltage. That was the point when I decided to concentrate more on graphene nano flakes. I dedicated myself fully to the study of the behavior of the flakes and tried to find potential microwave applications for the same. I saw an improved version of the tunable attenuator that was studied during a masters thesis at the microwave lab. I re-simulated that version of the tunable attenuator and after minor modifications found out that it could give higher tunability values. This kind of tunable attenuator was based on a microstrip line with two grounded vias at its either side midway through it. The graphene flakes were to be placed between the grounded vias and the microstrip itself. Upon application of a voltage bias between the microtrip line and the grounded vias (on the microstrip through commercial biastees and on the vias through the ground) the graphene flakes would change their resistance. This would cause a change in the scattering parameters. With an application of a 5.5-6V applied bias the graphene would bear almost negligible resistance and the transmitting signal would pass through it into the via and the ground. This would result in a high attenuation of the transmitting signal. Without any bias voltage applied the signal would pass with negligible attenuation since the graphene flakes had a very high resistance. This resulted in a very high range of attenuation of almost 15 dB instead of the 7-8dB formerly demonstrated. This was a great success and a publication on this is underway in Microwave and wireless propagation letters. After seeing the successful functionality of the tunable attenuator, I tried to find other potential applications for the flakes. I further expanded my scope to the antennas world and tried to exploit the tunability property of graphene in making tunable antennas. I tried to look at some of the past research works performed in antennas and found that the concept can be easily applied to patch antennas. I also tried to first make an equivalent circuit model of the part of the tunable circuit. This has the benefit of being used in phase shifters, which is what I want to make in the future for making a complete modulator made of graphene flakes. For this antenna I took the help of my former thesis supervisor at the Politecnico di Torino, Prof. Patrizia Savi, who had worked on a similar project. The proposed antenna was based on a patch antenna with a grounded stub at the radiating edge. The stub was separated from the patch antenna by the help of the graphene flakes. Increasing the bias voltage of the flakes would increase the current flow to the stub from the antenna. This would make the antenna radiate at a lower frequency than the design frequency. In such a way the antenna was made frequency tunable and one could make it radiate at a desired frequency based on a relevant bias voltage. After simulations and verification of the functionality a prototype was made and the graphene flakes were deposited. The simulated results were consistent with the measured results and a paper is underway in the Antennas and Wireless propagation letters. There are seemingly endless possibilities for the use of graphene and my future work will be based on making matched load circuits and phase shifters based on graphene. This will be followed by a complete modulator, which will be a real breakthrough in the microwave world in general and high frequency circuitry in particular. The research performed was supported by Stefano Bellucci of the INFN labs in Frascati Rome. Part of the work done on antennas was with the support of Prof. Patrizia Savi of the Dept. of Electronics and Telecommunications of the Politecnico di Torino.

1. M. Yasir, S. Bistarelli, A. Cataldo, M. Bozzi, L. Perregrini and S. Bellucci, "Enhanced Tunable Microstrip Attenuator based on Few Layer Graphene Flakes." IEEE
Microwave and Wireless Component Letters. (submitted, under review) International Conferences

2. M. Yasir, P. Savi, M. Giorcelli and A. Tagliaferro, "Comparative analysis of MWCNTs nanocomposites at microwave frequency," 2015 IEEE Mediterranean Microwave Symposium (MMS 2015), Lecce, Italy, Nov 30 – 2 Dec, 2015.

3. M. Yasir, S. Bistarelli, A. Cataldo, M. Bozzi, L. Perregrini and S. Bellucci, "Innovative Tunable Microstrip Attenuators based on Few Layer Graphene Flakes." IEEE Mediterranean Microwave Symposium, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Nov 13-16, 2016 (submitted, under revie

 

Reports 2015/16

In 2015/16 the College continued to attract seveal PhD students and medical trainees in line with its mission to develop graduate studies in College and in the University..  Brief reports of thei work of some of these students follow below. The College with acknowledges the major contribution that several of these students have made throughout the year to the cultural life and teaching of Volta.

 

Emanuele Bonanno, Ph.D. student in Structural Geology (supervisor: )

In the academic year 2015/2016, the research has been focused on studying the evolution of reverse fault systems in presence of thin weak levels that work as mechanical anisotropies. To this end, we first used scaled physical models capable to simulate the growth of faults. This method uses analogue material – wet kaolin in this case – suitable to simulate the deformation of the earth crust and some associated parameters as the fault propagation rate, interaction between different faults, and folding processes. We applied thin weak levels at the undeformed kaolin by cutting it with an electrified probe, than we run the experiments to observe how the system evolve, i.e. how many faults it forms, what is the propagation rate of the main fault, how fault and discontinuity interacts, and how the related fold evolve. We run experiments with different setting, i.e. different master fault dip, and different number of weak levels (none, one or two) in order to extract the differences and to establish a general trend of variability. A paper related to these physical models is in writing. In the period May, June and July 2016 I moved to the University of Massachusetts to learn the geomechanical numerical models Fric2d and GROW. These two numerical programs are used in structural geology and active tectonics to better understand how the variation of the physical parameters of rocks and faults such as friction, cohesion, stiffness and different geometries can lead to a different work of the system. In our case, we wanted to study the evolution of reverse blind faults in presence of mechanical discontinuity placed above the growing fault – in a similar way to the physical models – but this time varying the friction along the discontinuity and the angle of incidence between the fault and discontinuity. The analysis related to the numerical models is still continuing.

Bonanno E., Bonini L., Basili R., Toscani G. & Seno S., 2016. How horizontal, frictional discontinuities affect fault-propagation folding. Tectonics. (in preparation).



Rosalia Cacciatore, trainee in Patologia Clinica e Biochimica Clinica (supervisor: Fausta Benvenuti)

Dal 01/07/2015 ho continuato l’arruolamento di pazienti gravide affette da malattie reumatiche (sindrome di Sjogren, connettivite indifferenziata, LES, fibromialgia, artrite, spondiloartrite anchilosante) e gravidanze fisiologiche, inoltre sono stati portati avanti gli arruolamenti iniziati precedentemente. Sono state arruolate 40 pazienti e 46 controlli, di questi, 42 hanno partorito. Tutte le pazienti arruolate sono state sottoposte alla compilazione di un questionario di screening per le malattie reumatiche, ad ecografie ostetriche seriate (20 e 34 wks) per la valutazione della flussimetria delle arterie uterine, visite specialistiche reumatologiche e, come previsto dal protocollo, prelievi per il dosaggio dell’HLA-G solubile, per la valutazione del polimorfismo HLA-G di 14 bp e il polimorfismo HLA-DRB1. Tutti i campioni sono pervenuti presso il laboratorio di Immunogenetica (situato all’interno del Servizio di Immunoematologia e Medicina Trasfusionale), sono stati accettati e l’anagrafica di ogni gestante e relativi cordoni è stata inserita nel software gestionale Daisy, un archivio informatico che permette di codificare in modo univoco, mediante un codice, ogni soggetto. Ogni campione è stato processato mediante centrifugazione a 1500 rpm per 15 minuti, in modo da ottenere aliquote di plasma e buffy coat dal quale è stato estratto il DNA. L’estrazione del DNA è stata eseguita utilizzando un estrattore automatico che utilizza particelle magnetiche che agiscono come una fase solida attorno a cui precipita l’acido nucleico in opportune condizioni. Sono state create, pertanto, una genoteca e una plasmoteca che contengono tutto il materiale utile per la tipizzazione del polimorfismo 14bp ins/del dell’esone 8 del gene HLA-G, il polimorfismo del gene HLA- DRB1 e per il dosaggio della proteina solubile HLA-G. Presso il laboratorio di Immunogenetica, abbiamo iniziato a tipizzare il polimorfismo HLA-G 14 bp ins/del nella regione 3′UTR  dell’esone 8 mediante reazione a catena della polimerasi (PCR) con primer specifici ed effettuato l’analisi della reazione mediante elettroforesi sul gel d’agarosio. L’analisi è stata effettuata su tutte le pazienti,  e relativi  cordoni  arruolati  a  partire dal  01/07/2015,  oltre alle  pazienti,  e relativi  cordoni, arruolati precedentemente. Dai dati è emerso che le frequenze genotipiche osservate nelle gravide malate (ins/del 56.6%, del/del 26.4%, ins/ins 17%) sono diverse dai controlli (ins/del 39.2%, del/del 39.2%, ins/ins 21.6%), si nota un aumento della percentuale dei genotipi eterozigoti (ins/del) nelle gravide malate rispetto ai controlli, tale condizione risulta significativa con p=0,047. Per quanto riguarda l’analisi del polimorfismo ins/del sul gene HLA-G dei bambini nate da signore malate le frequenze genotipiche osservate (ins/del 48%, del/del 36%, ins/ins 16%) risultano significativamente diverse (p=n.s) dai controlli (ins/del 25%, del/del 40%, ins/ins 35%). Contemporaneamente è stato portato avanti l’arruolamento di pazienti gravide affette da patologie tiroidee autoimmuni, campione costituito da 43 gestanti e da 15 relativi cordoni, su questi campioni sarà effettuata l'analisi del HLA-Gs. Le patologie reumatiche in gravidanza sono strettamente associate alle patologie autoimmuni tiroidee. La presenza di autoanticorpi tiroidei potrebbe aumentare il rischio di un outcome avverso in gravidanza, già presente nella patologia reumatica autoimmune. L’autoimmunità reumatica e tiroidea   dovrebbe  essere  individuata   precocemente   per   prevenire  potenziali  complicanze  ostetriche potenziali. Questi  studi  hanno  permesso  la  realizzazione  di  una  genoteca  e  plasmoteca  la  cui  organizzazione  e manutenzione richiedono un impegno e una vigilanza costante, esse rappresentano un patrimonio di alto valore scientifico per future ricerche nel campo delle malattie autoimmuni reumatologiche in gravidanza. Durante il prossimo anno di Ricerca Corrente proseguiremo con gli arruolamenti, completeremo l’analisi della proteina HLA-G solubile (HLA-Gs), valuteremo la variazione della concentrazione di HLA-G solubile nei differenti trimestri di gravidanza. In seguito proseguiremo con le tipizzazioni del polimorfismo HLA- DRB1.



Andrea Capucciati, PhD student in Chemistry (supervisor: )

During the academic year 2015-2016, I have focused my research on synthesis and structural characterization of new soluble synthetic melanin with fibrillar protein. Neuromelanins (NMs) are dark pigments that accumulate during aging in various brain areas particularly concentrated in dopaminergic neurons of substantia nigra and in noradrenergic neurons of locus coeruleus, which selectively degenerate in Parkinson’s Disease. NMs are characterized by three types of organic moieties covalently linked to each other (melanin, protein, and lipid), and are able to bind iron(III) and other metals.  X-ray powder analysis of NMs showed the presence of a motif possibly due to fibrillar aggregates with typical cross-β structure. This observation suggests that the initial step of NM formation relies on the presence of fibrillar protein seeds. In order to understand if this motif is due to the presence of fibrillar protein in NM core, we have synthesized NM models containing a fibrillated protein. The melanic portion of the conjugates contains either eumelanic (EufLG) or mixed eumelanic/pheomelanic composition (PheofLG), the latter simulating natural NMs. In addition, the conjugates contain dosable amounts of iron(III), mostly bound to the melanin component and associated in multinuclear clusters, as it occurs in NMs.  The melanin-fibrils conjugates have been characterized with different techniques (NMR, LC-MS, CD,ICP-MS, EPR) and it has been shown that upon melanization, conjugates maintain the amyloid cross-β protein core as the only structurally organized element, similarly to human NMs.Furthermore, the synthetic models are able to activate microglia cells in vitro through up-regulation of the typical pro-inflammatory genes, similarly to human NM. These results suggest that melanin-protein conjugates can be used to study NM-induced neuroinflammation and to conceive new in vitro and in vivo models of Parkinson’s Disease.



Luca De Martinis, Medical Trainee in Endocrinology (supervisor: L Chiovato)

I’m a young medical doctor and i’m going to spend my seventh year in Collegio Volta, which saw me growing formerly as a student and subsequently as a worker. Almost two years ago i had the chance to win a place and start working and studying in the school of speciality in Endocrinology and Metabolism of Pavia University. Our school is very well known for the expertise in treatment of thyroid diseases, but the organigram of professionals cover also the Internal Medicine field with particular regard to Diabetology. Eventually, and luckily, i had the possibility to make my passion my everyday job. In these two years i spent most of time in our Internal Medicine Unit, building a general but essential knowledge of a wide spectrum of diseases and their treatment. But i also had the opportunity to reasearch and study, and finally publish some articles, mainly about thyroid autoimmunity and its mechanism. I’m quite satisfied about my medical training in Pavia, but i do not exclude to work and study abroad some day. I certainly reccomend to a young student to spend his university years in a college here in Pavia, better if in this college; and to a young medical doctor to consider the amazing expanding world of Endocrinology for his successful career.

A male patient with acromegaly and breast cancer: treating acromegaly to control tumor progression.
Leporati P, Fonte R, de Martinis L, Zambelli A, Magri F, Pavesi L, Rotondi M, Chiovato L.
BMC Cancer. 2015 May 12;15:397. doi: 10.1186/s12885-015-1400-0.

The effect of Greek herbal tea consumption on thyroid cancer: a case-control study.
Riza E, Linos A, Petralias A, de Martinis L, Duntas L, Linos D.
Eur J Public Health. 2015 Dec;25(6):1001-5. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckv063. Epub 2015 Apr 4.

Exposure to perfluorinated compounds: in vitro study on thyroid cells.
Coperchini F, Pignatti P, Lacerenza S, Negri S, Sideri R, Testoni C, de Martinis L, Cottica D, Magri F, Imbriani M, Rotondi M, Chiovato L.
Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2015 Feb;22(3):2287-94. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-3480-9. Epub 2014 Sep 4.

Serum negative autoimmune thyroiditis displays a milder clinical picture compared with classic Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
Rotondi M, de Martinis L, Coperchini F, Pignatti P, Pirali B, Ghilotti S, Fonte R, Magri F, Chiovato L.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2014 Jul;171(1):31-6. doi: 10.1530/EJE-14-0147. Epub 2014 Apr 17.

Type I and type II interferons inhibit both basal and tumor necrosis factor-α-induced CXCL8 secretion in primary cultures of human thyrocytes.
Rotondi M, Coperchini F, Sideri R, Groppelli G, de Martinis L, Villani L, Pignatti P, Magri F, Chiovato L.
J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2013 Sep;33(9):508-13. doi: 10.1089/jir.2012.0080. Epub 2013 May 15.



Michele Invernici PhD student in Chemistry (supervisor: )

During the academic year 2015-2016, I have focused my research on studying macrocyclic complexes. In particular I studied bis-macrocycle complexes consist of two simil-cyclam subunit linked by an ortho xylene bridge, using copper or Nickel as metallic centers. These complexes have the capacity to act as a receptor for small anions, such as Chloride and Bromide. Bis-macrocycle complexes compared to mono-macrocycle complexes have the advantage to coordinate some anions inside the cavity. The bridge coordination of the anions between the two metallic centers permit to have higher binding constants and higher selectivity.  In order to study the interaction between our complexes and anions, I carried out UV-Vis titration, ITC titration, DPV titration and EPR titration. I calculated the binding constants by UV-Vis titration and ITC titration. With ITC titrations I was even able to determinate all the thermodynamic parameters of each interaction between the complexes and the anions. EPR technique showed me that using specific anions, a spin-spin coupling take place between the two metallic centers inside the bis-macrocycle.

M Boiocchi et al. Anion Binding by Dimetallic Nickel(II) and Nickel(III) Complexes of a Face-to-Face Bicyclam: Looking for a Bimacrocyclic Effect  Inorg. Chem., 2016, 55 (6), pp 2946–2959  (2016) doi: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.5b02826



Liu Kaixu, PhD student in Electronics, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (supervisor: )

Multi-platform system of Indoor Navigation. The indoor navigation system is divided by four modules and the overall framework that contains four functional modules and related techniques. Four functional modules are Indoor Mapping, Indoor Positioning, Path Planning, and En-route Assistant respectively. The layered Indoor Mapping includes Indoor Map, Magnetic Field fingerprints, POI integration and attachments. The indoor map layer (bottom layer) describes the structured space and the POI of each floor. It could create the indoor map by either converting files (converting OSM to SVG) or gathering CAD files. Converting OSM/CAD to SVG is our approach of creating indoor map. Magnetic field layer collects magnetic field fingerprints that are embedded into the indoor map. Above magnetic field layer, POI layer labels and identifies individual points by an appropriate tag. This layer displays an intuitive landmark information to users. At the top layer, attachments provide descriptions by text, pictures, which link to one or multiple POIs to interact with users directly. For positioning, alternative positioning techniques are needed because GPS signals weak or useless for indoor. Indoor positioning module may be supported by various indoor positioning technologies. For instance, Radio frequency identification (RFID) communicates data by radio. WLAN transmits signals for positioning. Bluetooth transfers data and locates users. All above technologies rely on infrastructure. We have based our solution on geomagnetic field positioning that matches collected fingerprints unique to a building, which achieves a high precise positioning without external devices. It includes geomagnetic detection, direction detection and movement detection. Based on geomagnetic field sensor, internal sensor will measure the geomagnetic data and estimate user’s position while user is moving. The results of sensor positioning will be transmitted to the navigation system, and they are used for updating navigation prompts and maps. Wayfinding is necessary to reach the destination, which includes route planning and path navigation. Route planning calculates an optimal route for pedestrian indoor navigation system, according to information on POI and route. Path navigation process follows the user’s track, based on results of route planning. Such function in turn requires a map on which to display the course from start to destination and an algorithm to plot the course to such destination (path planning). Indoor Path Planning module may be based on various techniques as ACO (Ant Colony Optimization), AC (Ant Colony), A* algorithm, etc. In our solution, we use an optimized ant colony algorithm because it avoids the obstacles (walls). The segments and turning points of the path are the foundation/ resources for subsequent En-route Assistant module. En-route Assistant module provides the services in various devices, handed system, wearable system, etc. can be used for an enhanced navigation. Augmented Reality (AR), as a distinctive feature for an effective indoor navigation, represents a real indoor scene and overlays navigation directions on the scenery of the real world. User does not need to know the route and where he/she is, because the system forwards directional prompts, such as go straight, turn left or right. Such direction is based on a north-oriented relative space system, which calculates the angle between the sensor direction and the north.

1. Linlin You, Gianmario Motta, Kaixu Liu, Tianyi Ma: A Pilot Crowdsourced City Governance System: CITY FEED. CSE 2014: 1514-1519

2. Kaixu Liu, Gianmario Motta, Linlin You, Tianyi Ma: A Threefold Similarity Analysis of Crowdsourcing Feeds. ICSS 2015: 93-98

3. Gianmario Motta, Kaixu Liu: Software Engineering Education: the Lab-Internship Alternative. 11th China – Europe International Symposium on Software Industry Orientated Education. CEISEE 2015.

4. Gianmario Motta, Daniele Sacco, Tianyi Ma, Linlin You, Kaixu Liu: Personal Mobility Service System in Urban Areas: The IRMA Project. SOSE 2015: 88-97

5. Gianmario Motta, Tianyi Ma, Kaixu Liu: Software / Services Engineering education in a China-Europe collaboration program. 11th China – Europe International Symposium on Software Industry Orientated Education. CEISEE 2015.

6. Linlin You, Gianmario Motta, Kaixu Liu, Tianyi Ma: CITY FEED: A Pilot System of Citizen-sourcing for City Issue Management. ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology (TIST) 7.4 (2016): 53.

7. Kaixu Liu, Gianmario Motta, Tianyi Ma, Tao Guo: Multi-floor Indoor Navigation with Geomagnetic Field Positioning and Ant Colony Optimization Algorithm. DOI: 10.1109/SOSE.2016.18, 2016 IEEE Symposium on Service-Oriented System Engineering (SOSE)

8. Kaixu Liu, Gianmario Motta,Tianyi Ma: XYZ Indoor Navigation Through Augmented Reality: a research in progress. SCC 2016.

9. Tianyi Ma, Gianmario Motta, Kaixu Liu: MOBANA: a Distributed Stream-based Information System for Public Transit. SCC 2016.

10. Kaixu Liu, Gianmario Motta, Tianyi Ma, Ke Fan: A threefold similarity analysis of crowdsourcing feeds. International Journal of Information Technology and Management (IJITM) 2016



Lopez (PhD student in Earth Sciences (supervisor:  )

Microwave-Induced Pyrolysis for Production of Sustainable Biodiesel from Waste Sludges. Biogas will constitute a significant fraction of future power supply, since it is expected to contribute a large share of the EU renewable energy targets. Biogas, once produced, can be combusted in traditional boilers to provide heat, or to generate electricity. It can be used for the production of chemical compounds, or fed into a pipeline. This review paper will briefly analyze the current most promising emerging biogas technologies in the perspective of their potential uses, environmental benefits, and public acceptance; draw a picture of current conditions on the adoption of a biogas road map in the several EU Member States; analyze incentive and support policy implementation status and gaps; discuss non-technological barriers; and summarize proposed solutions to widen this energy’s use.European Framework for the Diffusion of Biogas Uses: Emerging Technologies, Acceptance, Incentive Strategies, and Institutional-Regulatory Support. Disposal of sewage sludge is becoming one of the most important issues in wastewater treatment: the 2005 EU sludge production was estimated at 9.5 million tons dry weight, up 54 % in 10 years. Sludge disposal costs may constitute 30–50 % of the total operation cost of WWTPs. Sewage sludge still contains resources that may be put to use, like nutrients and energy, that can be recovered through a variety of approaches. By applying microwave heating to achieve pyrolysis to the sludge under treatment, the more desirable production oil and gas fractions is increased and the residual solid fraction decreases.  Microwave-assisted pyrolysis of urban waste sludge was applied for the production of oil and (Syn)gas, that were afterwards characterized and compared to mainstream alternative fuels (biodiesels). An energetic estimate of the process is performed and described. A key factor in deciding the positivity of the energetic balance (and therefore the economic validity of the process) is the correct “tuning” between microwave source and treated sample.

Review European Framework for the Diffusion of Biogas Uses: Emerging Technologies, Acceptance, Incentive Strategies, and Institutional-Regulatory Support Andrea G. Capodaglio *, Arianna Callegari and Maria Virginia Lopez Civil Engineering and Architecture Department (DICAr), University of Pavia, 27100 Pavia, Italy;


Reports 2014/15

Examinations 2017/18

Starting from this academic year College will publish data for all students admitted to Volta by EDiSU who enrolled in a University course. This approach will make the College data fully compatible with the model that College adopted for the University-wide study completed and presented in July 2017. Accordingly the stats include drop out data, a key feature of the anlaysis carried out by Volta on the impact of College education on academic careers.  The number of credits secured by 10th August 2018 by all 128 undergraduates who studied in College for the academic year 2017/18 or parts of it is shown in the Fig Examination Results (Credits) 2017. The Fig shows data for individual students and the average per year.

When analysed vis a vis the requirements set by EDiSU for confirmation of College placements the number of students who secured EDiSU requirements was 20/28 for year 1 students, 32/35 for year 2, 18/21 for year 3, 25/28 for year 4, 5/6 for year 5 and 9/10 for year 6. The overall percentage of compliance with EDiSU rules is 85% and does not take into account students who are below the credit threshold as a result of the fact that they have been studying abroad as Erasmus students but have not had their credits converted and uploaded and students who have gained credits from traineeships to be uploaded in September. The average marks secured by each student is shown in the Fig Examination Results (Marks) 2017. For students enrolled in year 2 or higher years the figure shown represents the average across all course years and not just for 2017/17.  57 students out of 128 undergraduates (44.5%) have marks of  27 out of 30 or higher.

Examinations 2016/17

Collegio Volta reports a further increase in the percentage of students securing the number of credits required by EDiSU for confirmation of College placements above the results of previous years. The College also presented in a public meeting held at Collegio Ghislieri on the 7th of July 2017, the results of a University wide study on the impact of the Colleges of the University of Pavia on academic careers. The results of the study are wide-ranging and demonstrate that students living and working in Colleges experience a lower rate of drop out at the end of their first year of study and secure, on average, a higher number of credits througout the year compared to students living outside College.  The study also established the average, actual duration of undergraduate and MSc courses at Pavia and showed that only the group of Colleges known as 'Collegi di merito' (Borromeo, Ghislieri, Nuovo and S Caterina) were able to ensure that their students graduates in the expected time window or close enough.

Examinations 2015/16

The College is pleased to report a further increase of the percentage of students who have secured the number of credits required by the Volta governing body (EDiSU) for confirmation of their College placement abve the improvements already achieved in 2013/14 over the 2012/13 benchmark.  The College further decided to undertake a general study, in collaboration with the University office for Statistics, on the impact of the College on the academic careers of undegraduate and MSc students enrolled at the University of Pavia. It is envisaged that the results of such study will be available in the summer of 2016.

Examinations 2014-15

The examination results of College undergraduate and MSc students has continued to improve in the academic year 2014/15 over the the previous two years (2012/13 and 2013/14). A summary of the data is shown in the Fig Examination Results 2014/15. The College had introduced small group, informal teaching (supervisions) on a pilot basis in the academic year 2013/14 and in 2014/15 teaching has extended to four Courses (Calculus, Physics, General Chemistry and Biochimestry for the Science).

As the admission procedure has not changed (students are admitted by EDiSU not on academic merit but on financial grounds), the improved performance of College students clearlys reflect both a commitment by students to perform well and the growing impact of College teaching in several key subjects that often cause problems and delays. The College is determined, therefore in further expanding internal teaching and championing the value of College-base teaching in other EDiSU Colleges.

Ageing and Disease

A one-day colloquium promoted by Collegio A Volta, the University of Pavia and King's College London will take place on the 10th of May in Aula U Foscolo (65, Strada Nuova) and will address recent advances in research on Ageing and Disease

The changes in housing, the increase in food production, progress in the treatment of infectious diseases and general public health measures have not only led to a major increase in the human population but have also more than double human lifespan in the last two hundred years. The link between ageing and disease is a complex and this Colloquium will focus on selected major areas of research.  College students are warmly invited to attend this important lecture. 

Topics of the colloqium include the biological basis of age-associated memory changes, the mechanisms leading to Parkinson's disease, age-associated amyloidosis, age-related changes in skeletal muscles and the cardiovascular system and the potential impact of nutrigenomics in counteracting age-related cardiovascular pathologies.  The poster of the colloquium can be downloaded here. All College students are warmly invited to attend, especially students as the issue of ageing populations and the link between ageing and disease touches on the life of most of us and constitutes a major challenge for society in both medical and financial terms.

Image: scanning electron micrograph a Purkinje neuron. Courtesy of D McCarthy.

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