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L'Espresso - Scienze & Tecnologia

L'Espresso - June, 2014

Scienze & Tecnologia - Nuove energie. Guarda come digerisce il microbo

by Michela Perrone

"Si chiamano Microbial Fuel Cell (Mfc)...."


Seminar - May 28th 2014

Bacterial evolution into mitochondria

by Mauro Degli Esposti, Senior Scientist, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), Genova, Italy; Honorary Lecturer, The University of Manchester, UK.

At 11:00 a.m. Ground floor, meeting room - CSHR (IIT), Corso Trento 21, 10129 Torino

Mitochondria are the energy-producing organelles of our cells. Their bacterial ancestors merged with microoganisms of a different lineage to form eukaryotic cells – the basis of the endosymbiotic theory of cellular evolution. That mitochondrial organelles have originated from bacteria is now widely accepted, but it remains unclear from which bacteria they actually evolved. Here we present new molecular and phylogenetic evidence indicating that methylotrophic alpha-bacteria - i.e. those metabolising methanol or other mono-carbon energy sources - could be the closest living relatives to the ancestors of mitochondria. Transitional features of their evolution are recognised in key energy-producing proteins that are present in methyotrophic bacteria. Our work thus opens new perspectives to understand how bacteria have moulded eukaryotic cells and could in principle be re-evolved into mitochondria [1]. This understanding may pave the way to develop synthetic mitochondria for the treatment of human diseases associated with their dysfunction, such as parkinsonism.

[1] Mauro Degli Esposti, Bessem Chouaia, Francesco Comandatore, Elena Crotti, Davide Sassera, Patricia Marie-Jeanne Lievens, Daniele Daffonchio, Claudio Bandi. Evolution of Mitochondria Reconstructed from the Energy Metabolism of Living Bacteria. Plos One, Vol. 9 No. 5, May 2014.

Latest research:

Mauro Degli Esposti is a senior researcher at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia and a Honorary Lecturer at the University of Manchester, teaching Molecular Toxicology. He is author of more than 100 papers in international peer-review journals which mainly focus on cell biology, bioinformatics, biochemistry, cancer biology, nanotoxicology and bacteria evolution. Moreover, Dr. Degli Esposti is a president of Via-academy network.



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Seminar - 27 February 2014

Imaging of calcium signals in neurons: understanding the molecular basis and the functional relevance of oscillatory patterns

by Prof. Davide Lovisolo, Interdepartmental Centre Neuroscience Institute of Torino - Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology of University of Torino

At 11:00 a.m. Ground floor, meeting room - CSHR (IIT), Corso Trento 21, 10129 Torino


Seminar - 24th January 2014

Elettromagnetismo classico e fotoni

by Prof. Daniele Funaro, Università di Modena

At 2:30 p.m. Ground floor, meeting room - CSHR (IIT), Corso Trento 21, 10129 Torino


I fotoni sono entità elementari che svolgono il duplice ruolo di particella e di radiazione elettromagnetica.

Secondo l'ormai accettata consuetudine, essi appartengono al mondo della Meccanica Quantistica, in quanto non trovano fondamento nella cosiddetta Fisica Classica. Quest'ultima è caratterizzata da equazioni alle derivate parziali atte a descrivere i fenomeni fisici sulla base di una relazione causa-effetto. Le ben note equazioni dell'elettromagnetismo ne sono un esempio. Tuttavia, esse non ammettono soluzioni di tipo solitonico (ad esempio funzioni a supporto compatto che traslano alla velocità della luce senza esibire diffusione), non permettendo quindi la trattazione dei fotoni. Prendendo atto di queste considerazioni, da oltre un secolo, la Fisica vive in un’ambigua descrizione della natura dove le teorie classiche e quantistiche convivono senza fondersi.

Con una revisione dell'impostazione classica, che nulla toglie a tutte le proprietà già acquisite, ho sviluppato un sistema di equazioni alle derivate parziali che è in grado di includere i fotoni come vere e proprie emissioni di tipo elettromagnetico. Una descrizione deterministica dei fotoni riapre vecchie questioni (assopite ma latenti) che sono state acceso argomento di discussione soprattutto presso gli scienziati della prima metà del '900. La nuova impostazione consente una revisione radicale dei presupposti che regolano il funzionamento delle strutture atomiche.


Prof. Daniele Funaro

Daniele Funaro was born in 1958. He studied in Pisa (SNS) and Pavia, where he got the Degree in Mathematics in 1981. Successively, he has been student of the Institute of High Mathematics in Rome (INDAM). His research career started with a position at the University of Pavia. Later, he became Associate Professor and taught Analysis at the Science Faculty of the University of Pavia, from 1992 to 1995. Since 1995 he is Full Professor of Numerical Analysis at the Science Faculty of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. In Modena, he has been Director of the Computer Center from 1997 to 2000, and the Chairman of the Department of Mathematics from 2000 to 2007. His research has been mainly focused on numerical techniques for the approximation of partial differential equations, with a special attention to high-order methods. On this subject, he published two monographs with Springer-Verlag (LNP m8, 1992, and LNCSE n.1, 1997). He has written more than 40 papers, the most of them single-authored and published in good journals. Recently, his interest has shifted on physical modeling of electromagnetic phenomena and the results are collected in a book published by World Scientific (Singapore, 2008).He attended many international conferences, also as invited speaker. He delivered talks, seminars and summer courses in many universities and research institutes in Italy and abroad. He has been visiting professor in several universities in the US (such as, for instance, Brown University and UCLA) and research centers (ICASE at NASA Langley). He is member of the editorial board of some journals. He has been coordinator of research projects both for the Italian Minister of Research and the Italian National Research Council. He has been member of various scientific committees.


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