Nanomedicine_Lab (CHIM/09)

Attività di ricerca

The research activity of the Nanomedicine_Lab is mainly involved in preparation and characterization of innovative drug delivery systems with application in therapeutic, diagnostic and theranostic fields, by different administration routes.

The lab activity is mainly focused on the application of different preparation techniques of liposomes, niosomes, nanobubbles and nanoemulsions and their physical-chemical characterization. Investigating the fundamental aspects of drug-amphiphilic molecule interactions is of paramount importance for the optimal design of amphiphile-based nanocarriers.

In the last years, our research centred on brain delivery, with particular attention to develop nanocarriers able to trespass the Blood Brain Barrier, e.g. amphiphile-coated nanobubbles, or tailored to reach the brain by alternative route, such as nose-to-brain administration (N2B). These strategies provide promising alternatives that are able to ameliorate the treatment of brain disease.

Furthermore, particular attention in formulating nanocarriers and nanovectors is given to natural compounds such as essential oils and to stimuli-responsive molecules (e.g pH-sensitive peptides).

Innovative nanocarriers, with high targeting efficiency and useful for more efficient administration routes, are evaluated as valuable strategies to enhance the biological activity of the drugs against intracellular mycobacteria and to develop new agents to treat bacterial infections in general.

Collaborazioni nazionali e internazionali

National and International collaboration


Sapienza University, Rome:

  • Prof C. Longhi, Dept. of Public Health and Infectious Disease
  • Prof Alfredo Rossi, Dept. of Internal and Specialized Medicine
  • Prof Andrea Bettucci, Dept. Basic and Applied Sciences for Engineering
  • Prof Isabella Screpanti, Saula Checquolo, Dept. Molecular Medicine and Department of Medico-Surgical Sciences and Biotechnology

Tor Vergata University, Rome:

  • Prof Maurizio Fraziano, Prof Robert Giovanni Nisticò, Dept. Biology

University of Milan:

  • Prof Elena Del Favero, Laura Cantù, Dept. Medical Biotechnology and Translational Medicine

Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA):

  • Dr Diego Dri, Clinical Trials Office

Istituto dei Sistemi Complessi (ISC)-CNR:

  • Dr Simona Sennato

Istituto Superiore di Sanità:

  • Dr Gianfranco Mattia, Dr Rossella Puglisi, Dr Alessandra Carè, Center for Gender-specific Medicine
  • Dr Monica Bartolomei, National Centre for the Control and evaluation of Medicines, Chemical Drugs Unit
  • Dr Maria Grazia Ammendolia, National Center of Innovative Technologies in Public Health

University Catania:

  • Prof Rosario Pignatello, Dept. Drug Sciences

University Pavia:

  • Prof Giuseppina Sandri, Dept. Drug Sciences



University of Granada, Spain:

  • Prof. Cesar Viseras, Dept. Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology

Durham University, UK:

  • Prof M. Moghimi, School Medicine, Pharmacy and Health

European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC), Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, Nanobiosciences Unit Ispra, VA, Italy

The University of Edinburgh, UK:

  • Dr Carmen Moran Medical Physics in Centre for Cardiovascular Science

King's College London, UK:

  • Dr Julie Tzu-Wen Wang Department of Pharmaceutical Technology

University of Coimbra, Portugal:

  • Prof Eliana Souto, Dept. Pharmaceutical Technology

The main instrumentations available in the Nanomedicine_Lab consist of Zetasizer Nano ZS90 (measurement of the size, electrophoretic mobility of proteins, zeta potential of colloids and nanoparticles), Microfluidic device, Spectrofluorometer, UV-Visible Spectrophotometer, Differential Scanning Calorimetry and Spray-drying.

In addition, in collaboration with other research groups are available: an Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) with the Research Center on Nanotechnology Applied to Engineering of Sapienza University (CNIS); Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) analyses, in collaboration with Dr. M.G. Ammendolia, Centro Nazionale Tecnologie Innovative in Sanità Pubblica, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome (Italy); and acoustic measurements by using Pulse-echo technique, in collaboration with Prof. A. Bettucci, Department of Basic and Applied Sciences for Engineering, Sapienza University, Rome (Italy).

Settori ERC
  • LS7_1 - Medical engineering and technology
  • LS7_3 - Pharmacology, pharmacogenomics, drug discovery and design, drug therapy
  • LS7_6 - Gene therapy, cell therapy, regenerative medicine
  • PE5_8 - Intelligent materials – self assembled materials


  • Almond oil O/W nanoemulsions for ocular drug delivery: formulation, physico-chemical characterization and preliminary in vitro/in vivo studies, Sapienza University of Rome (Ateneo).
  • Attività antimicrobica di gentamicina veicolata da nanoemulsioni verso ceppi di Escherichia coli uropatogeni, Sapienza University of Rome (Ateneo).


  • Valutazione dell’efficacia clinica delle nanoemusioni di olio di sandalo caricate con minoxidil e finasteride nel trattamento dell’alopecia androgenetica, Sapienza University of Rome (Ateneo).
  • Nanobubbles: formulation, characterization and evaluation of their activity in diagnosis and in BBB crossing, Sapienza University of Rome (Professori Visitatori per attività di Ricerca).


  • Brain delivery of natural active compound: the NanoBubble approach, Sapienza University of Rome (Ateneo).


  • Antitubercular drug-loaded multi-liposomes vectors as innovative combinatorial therapy for pulmonary tuberculosis
    Phospholipid Research lnstitute, Heidelberg, DE, in collaboration with Prof. F. Bordi (Physic Dept., Sapienza University of Rome)
  •  Investigation of the ability of gas-filled nano-bubbles to deliver hydrophobic and hydrophilic com-pounds to the brain by disruption of the blood brain barrier (BBB) using focused ultrasoundThundar Grant, in collaboration with Dr. Carmel Moran, UK
  •  Delivery of natural bioactive substances with antimicrobial and antitumoral activity by newly formulated nanoemulsions
    Sapienza University of Rome (Ateneo)
  • Novel MmpL3 inhibitors-loaded niosomes to treat tuberculosis via lung delivery
    Interdisciplinary project subjected to external reviewers
    Sapienza University of Rome (Ateneo)
  • Competition RC/EFSA/SCER/2016/01: "Nanotechnology in agri/food/feed products
    EFSA (European Food Safety Agency)


  • Study of a method to characterize the interaction between different polyelectrolites and the biologic mud by zeta potential analyses.
    Research project commissioned by ACEA
  • Coated liposomes and niosomes to enhance pentamidine activity against colorectal cancer
    Sapienza University of Rome (Ateneo)
  • Antimicrobial and antitumoral in vitro activity of natural bioactive compounds delivered by nanoemulsions
    Sapienza University of Rome (Ateneo)


  • A novel pharmacological approach to treat Parkinson's disease: a pre-clinical study on Pentasomes (pentamidine-niosome systems)
    Interdisciplinary project subjected to external reviewers
    Sapienza University of Rome (Ateneo)
  • “Attività antinfiammatoria e antibatterica della lattoferrina somministrata per aerosol nelle infezioni delle vie aeree di modelli murini non FC e FC”
    Fondazione Fibrosi Cistica (FFC#12/2015)

Publications (2019-2021)

Sciolla, F., Truzzolillo, D., Chauveau, E., Trabalzini, S., Di Marzio, L., Carafa, M., Marianecci, C., Sarra, A., Bordi, F., Sennato, S.
Influence of drug/lipid interaction on the entrapment efficiency of isoniazid in liposomes for antitubercular therapy: a multi-faced investigation.
(2021) Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 208, 112054. DOI: 10.1016/j.colsurfb.2021.112054.

Rinaldi, F., Hanieh, P.N., Sennato, S., De Santis, F., Forte, J., Fraziano, M., Casciardi, S., Marianecci, C., Bordi, F., Carafa, M.
Rifampicin–liposomes for mycobacterium abscessus infection treatment: Intracellular uptake and antibacterial activity evaluation.
(2021) Pharmaceutics, 13 (7), 1070. DOI: 10.3390/pharmaceutics13071070.

Hanieh, P.N., Forte, J., Di Meo, C., Ammendolia, M.G., Del Favero, E., Cantù, L., Rinaldi, F., Marianecci, C., Carafa, M.
Hyaluronic acid derivative effect on niosomal coating and interaction with cellular mimetic membranes.
(2021) Molecules, 26 (11), 3434. DOI: 10.3390/molecules26113434.

Rinaldi, F., Maurizi, L., Forte, J., Marazzato, M., Hanieh, P.N., Conte, A.L., Ammendolia, M.G., Marianecci, C., Carafa, M., Longhi, C.
Resveratrol-loaded nanoemulsions: In vitro activity on human t24 bladder cancer cells.
(2021) Nanomaterials, 11 (6), 1569. DOI: 10.3390/nano11061569.

Dri, D.A., Marianecci, C., Carafa, M., Gaucci, E., Gramaglia, D.
Surfactants, nanomedicines and nanocarriers: A critical evaluation on clinical trials.
(2021) Pharmaceutics, 13 (3), 381. DOI: 10.3390/pharmaceutics13030381.

Rinaldi, F., Maurizi, L., Conte, A.L., Marazzato, M., Maccelli, A., Crestoni, M.E., Hanieh, P.N., Forte, J., Conte, M.P., Zagaglia, C., Longhi, C., Marianecci, C., Ammendolia, M.G., Carafa, M.
Nanoemulsions of Satureja montana essential oil: Antimicrobial and antibiofilm activity against avian Escherichia coli strains.
(2021) Pharmaceutics, 13 (2), 1–22. DOI: 10.3390/pharmaceutics13020134.

Giuli, M.V., Hanieh, P.N., Giuliani, E., Rinaldi, F., Marianecci, C., Screpanti, I., Checquolo, S., Carafa, M.
Current trends in ATRA delivery for cancer therapy.
(2020) Pharmaceutics, 12 (8), 1–33. DOI: 10.3390/pharmaceutics12080707.

Rinaldi, F., Oliva, A., Sabatino, M., Imbriano, A., Hanieh, P.N., Garzoli, S., Mastroianni, C.M., De Angelis, M., Miele, M.C., Arnaut, M., Di Timoteo, F., Marianecci, C., Ragno, R., Carafa, M.
Antimicrobial essential oil formulation: Chitosan coated nanoemulsions for nose to brain delivery.
(2020) Pharmaceutics, 12 (7), 1–18. DOI: 10.3390/pharmaceutics12070678.

D'Avanzo, N., Celia, C., Barone, A., Carafa, M., Di Marzio, L., Santos, H.A., Fresta, M.
Immunogenicity of Polyethylene Glycol Based Nanomedicines: Mechanisms, Clinical Implications and Systematic Approach.
(2020) Advanced Therapeutics, 3 (3), 1900170. DOI: 10.1002/adtp.201900170.

Seguella, L., Rinaldi, F., Marianecci, C., Capuano, R., Pesce, M., Annunziata, G., Casano, F., Bassotti, G., Sidoni, A., Milone, M., Aprea, G., de Palma, G.D., Carafa, M., Pesce, M., Esposito, G., Sarnelli, G.
Pentamidine niosomes thwart S100B effects in human colon carcinoma biopsies favouring wtp53 rescue.
(2020) Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 24 (5), 3053-3063. DOI: 10.1111/jcmm.14943.

Rinaldi, F., Hanieh, P.N., Imbriano, A., Passeri, D., Del Favero, E., Rossi, M., Marianecci, C., De Panfilis, S., Carafa, M.
Different instrumental approaches to understand the chitosan coated niosomes/mucin interaction
(2020) Journal of Drug Delivery Science and Technology, 55, 101339. DOI: 10.1016/j.jddst.2019.101339.

Maccelli, A., Vitanza, L., Imbriano, A., Fraschetti, C., Filippi, A., Goldoni, P., Maurizi, L., Ammendolia, M.G., Crestoni, M.E., Fornarini, S., Menghini, L., Carafa, M., Marianecci, C., Longhi, C., Rinaldi, F.
Satureja montana l. Essential oils: Chemical profiles/phytochemical screening, antimicrobial activity and o/w nanoemulsion formulations.
(2020) Pharmaceutics, 12 (1), 7. DOI: 10.3390/pharmaceutics12010007.

Rinaldi, F., Del Favero, E., Moeller, J., Hanieh, P.N., Passeri, D., Rossi, M., Angeloni, L., Venditti, I., Marianecci, C., Carafa, M., Fratoddi, I.
Hydrophilic silver nanoparticles loaded into niosomes: Physical–chemical characterization in view of biological applications.
(2019) Nanomaterials, 9 (8), 1177. DOI: 10.3390/nano9081177.

Marianecci, C., Carafa, M.
Smart nanovesicles for drug targeting and delivery.
(2019) Pharmaceutics, 11 (4), 147. DOI: 10.3390/pharmaceutics11040147.

Marzoli, F., Marianecci, C., Rinaldi, F., Passeri, D., Rossi, M., Minosi, P., Carafa, M., Pieretti, S.
Long-lasting, antinociceptive effects of pH-sensitive niosomes loaded with ibuprofen in acute and chronic models of pain.
(2019) Pharmaceutics, 11 (2), 62. DOI: 10.3390/pharmaceutics11020062.

Rinaldi, F., Seguella, L., Gigli, S., Hanieh, P.N., Del Favero, E., Cantù, L., Pesce, M., Sarnelli, G., Marianecci, C., Esposito, G., Carafa, M.
inPentasomes: An innovative nose-to-brain pentamidine delivery blunts MPTP parkinsonism in mice.
(2019) Journal of Controlled Release, 294, 17-26. DOI: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2018.12.007.

Publications (2015-2018):

1. Viviana De Caro, Anna Lisa Scaturro, Flavia Maria Sutera, Giuseppe Avellone, Gabriella Schiera, Evelina Ferrantelli, Maria Carafa, Valerio Rizzo, Fabio Carletti, Pierangelo Sardo, Libero Italo Giannola N-Valproyl-L-Phenylalanine as New Potential Antiepileptic Drug: Synthesis, Characterization and In Vitro Studies on Stability, Toxicity and Anticonvulsant Efficacy Medicinal Chemistry 2015;11(1):30-40.

2. D. Passeri, F. Rinaldi, C. Ingallina, M. Carafa, M. Rossi, M. L. Terranova, and C. Marianecci Biomedical Applications of Nanodiamonds: An Overview J. Nanosci. Nanotechnol. 15, 972-988 (2015)

3. T. Coviello, A.M. Trotta, C. Marianecci, M. Carafa*, L. Di Marzio, F. Rinaldi, C. Di Meo, F. Alhaique, P. Matricardi Gel-embedded niosomes: preparation, characterization and release studies of a new system for topical drug delivery Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 125, 291–299 (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2015)

4. Luisa Di Marzio, Marcello Locatelli, Felisa Cilurzo, Donato Cosco, Emanuela Gentile, Daniela Scalise, Maria Carafa, Cinzia Anna Ventura, Mathias Fleury, Christelle Tisserand, Massimo Fresta, Christian Celia, Donatella Paolino Physicochemical Evaluation of Long Term Stability of Prostacyclin Released from Biomedical Device through Turbiscan Lab® Expert Medicinal Chemistry 2015; 11(4), 391 – 399

5. Donato Cosco, Donatella Paolino, Jessica Maiuolo, Luisa Di Marzio, Maria Carafa, Cinzia A. Ventura, Massimo Fresta Ultradeformable liposomes as multidrug carrier of resveratrol and 5-fluorouracil for their topical delivery International Journal of Pharmaceutics, Volume 489, Issues 1–2, 1-10 (2015)

6. C. Dong, S. Corsetti, D. Passeri, M. Rossi, M. Carafa, F. Pantanella, F. Rinaldi, C. Ingallina, A. Sorbo and C. Marianecci Visualization and quantification of magnetic nanoparticles into vesicular systems by combined atomic and magnetic force microscopy
AIP Conf. Proc. 1667, 020011 (2015)

7. I. Venditti, T. F. Hassanein, I. Fratoddi, L. Fontana, C. Battocchio, F. Rinaldi, M. Carafa, C. Marianecci, M. Diociaiuti, E. Agostinelli, C. Cametti, M.V. Russo Bioconjugation of Gold-Polymer Core-Shell Nanoparticles with Bovine Serum Amino Oxidase for Biomedical Applications
Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 134 (2015) 314–321

8. Federica Rinaldi , Patrizia N. Hanieh , Carlotta Marianecci, Maria Carafa
DLS Characterization of Non-Ionic Surfactant Vesicles for Potential Nose to Brain Application Nanoscience and Nanometrology 2015; 1(1): 8-14

9. Rosita Primavera, Martina Di Francesco, Antonella De Cola, Vincenzo De Laurenzi, Donatella Paolino, Matteo Ciancaioni, Maria Carafa, Christian Celia, Carmine Di Ilio, Antonio Di Stefano, Massimo Fresta, Marcello Locatelli, Luisa Di Marzio HPLC-FLD and spectrofluorometer apparatus: how to best detect fluorescent probe-loaded niosomes in biological samples
Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, Volume 135 (1) 2015, Pages 575-580

10. Carlotta Marianecci, Federica Rinaldi, Patrizia N. Hanieh, Donatella Paolino, Luisa Di Marzio and Maria Carafa Nose to brain delivery: new trends in amphiphile-based “soft” nanocarriers Curr Pharm Des. 2015;21:5225-5232

11. Felisa Cilurzo, Maria Chiara Cristiano, Luisa Di Marzio, Donato Cosco, Maria Carafa, Cinzia Anna Ventura, Massimo Fresta and Donatella Paolino Influence of the Supramolecular Micro-Assembly of Multiple Emulsions on their Biopharmaceutical Features and In vivo Therapeutic Response
Current Drug Targets 2015;16(14), 1612-1622.

12. Carlotta Marianecci; Stefania Petralito; Federica Rinaldi; Patrizia N Hanieh; Maria Carafa
Some recent advances on liposomal and niosomal vesicular carriers Journal of Drug Delivery Science and Technology 32 256-269 (2016)

13. Carlotta Marianecci, Luisa Di Marzio, Elena Del Favero, Laura Cantù, Paola Brocca, Valeria Rondelli, Federica Rinaldi, Luciana Dini, Antonio Serra, Paolo Decuzzi, Christian Celia, Donatella Paolino, Massimo Fresta and Maria Carafa Niosomes as Drug Nanovectors: Multiscale pH-Dependent Structural Response Langmuir, 2016;32(5):1241-9.

14. C. Ingallina, F. Rinaldi, A. Bogni, J. Ponti, D. Passeri, M. Reggente, M. Rossi, A. Kinsner- Ovaskainen, D. Mehn, F. Rossi, B. Botta, M. Carafa, C. Marianecci Niosomal approach to brain delivery: Development, characterization and in vitro toxicological studies International Journal of Pharmaceutics 511(2), 969-982 (2016)

15. Mohan C. Pereira, Monica Pianella, Da Wei, Anna Moshnikova, Carlotta Marianecci, Maria Carafa, Oleg A. Andreev & Yana K. Reshetnyak pHsensitive pHLIP® coated niosomes
Molecular Membrane Biology, 33:3-5, 51-63 (2016) doi: 10.1080/09687688.2017.1342969.

16. Federica Rinaldi, Elena Del Favero, Valeria Rondelli, Stefano Pieretti, Alessia Bogni, Jessica Ponti, François Rossi, Luisa Di Marzio, Donatella Paolino, Carlotta Marianecci, Maria Carafa
pH-sensitive niosomes: effects on cytotoxicity and on inflammation and pain in murine models Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry IENZ 2017 VOL. 32, NO. 1, 538–546

17. Carlotta Marianecci, Federica Rinaldi, Patrizia Nadia Hanieh, Luisa Di Marzio, Donatella Paolino, Maria Carafa Drug delivery in overcoming the blood–brain barrier: role of nasal mucosal grafting
Drug Design, Development and Therapy 2017:11 325–335

18. Rinaldi, Federica; Hanieh, Patrizia Nadia; Longhi, Catia; Carradori, Simone; Secci, Daniela; Zengin, Gokhan; Ammendolia, Maria Grazia; Mattia, Elena; Del Favero, Elena; Marianecci, Carlotta; Carafa, Maria NEEM OIL NANOEMULSIONS: CHARACTERIZATION AND ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITY
Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry (IENZ) 2017 32(1):1265-1273

19. Scazzocchio, F., Mondì, L., Ammendolia, M.G., Rinaldi, F., (...), Fraschetti, C., Longhi, C. Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) Essential Oil: Effect on Multidrug Resistant Uropathogenic Escherichia coli Natural Product Communications 2017 12(4), pp. 623-626

20. Rinaldi F, Hanieh PN, Chan LKN, Angeloni L, Passeri D, Rossi M, Wang JT, Imbriano A, Carafa M, Marianecci C. Chitosan Glutamate-Coated Niosomes: A Proposal for Nose-to-Brain Delivery.
Pharmaceutics. 2018 Mar 22;10(2). pii: E38. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics10020038

21. Rosita Primavera, Palumbo Paola, Christian Celia, Felisa Cilurzo, Benedetta Cinque, Elisabetta Carata, Maria Carafa, Donatella Paolino, Maria Grazia Cifone, Luisa Di Marzio
An insight of in vitro transport of PEGylated non-ionic surfactant vesicles (NSVs) across the intestinal polarized enterocyte monolayers European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics Volume 127, 2018, 432-442

© Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza" - Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma