Milano Francesco

Working experiences

From April 1998 to November 2001 he attended the School of Doctorate in Chemical Sciences, in the frame of the curriculum: “Properties and structure of organized systems”, during which continues the studies on RCs in biomimetic environments by using techniques such as Dynamic Light Scattering and NMR. During the doctoral school, from April 2000 to June 2001 he is guest at the laboratory of Prof. Wolfgang Lubitz, Max-Volmer-Institut, University of Berlin, where applies EPR techniques for the study of semiquinones in RC mutants with Zn2+ replacing the native Fe2+ and atomic absorption spectroscopy for quantification of trace metals. In November 2000 he is guest in the laboratory of Prof. Richard Cogdell, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, where he learns some techniques of membrane proteins crystallization.
From 21 December 2001, he has a permanent position as researcher at Institute for Physical Chemistry Processes, National Research Council (IPCF-CNR).
From 2001 to 2009 he is host in various periods in the laboratories of Prof. Peter Marot, Department of Biophysics, University of Szeged, in the frame of two bilateral projects between Italy and Hungary for the study of electron-proton coupled reactions in photosynthetic enzymes. During these periods, he uses stationary and time-resolved fluorescence techniques and Delayed Luminescence.
In June 2006 he is host in the laboratory of Prof. Antony R. Crofts, Department of Chemistry, University of Urbana (Illinois, USA) where he learns new protocols for the purification of membrane proteins, particularly the bacterial cytochrome bc1 with mutated histidine tag.
In April 2015 he is host for two weeks in the laboratories of prof. Ioanna Zergioti at the National Technical University of Athens, in the framekork of the Cost Action Phototech. In this period, he developed the technique for the deposition of actiuve photosynthetic reaction centers on screen printed electrodes for biosensing applications.
In October 2015 he is host for one week in the laboratiories of prof. Guglielmo Lanzani at the Center for Nano Science and Technology (CNST) of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT). In this period, he developed a method for fusing reaction centers containing liposomes with the plasmatic membrane of eukaryotic cells.

Teaching activities

Tutor of undergraduates and PhD students.
Teacher of Physical Chemistry (CHIM/02 – 6 credits) for the degree “Scienze e Tecnologie per l’Ambiente” at Lecce University A. Y. 2008-2009
Member of the organizing committee of national conferences.

Research activities

1) chemical-physical characterization of purified photosynthetic proteins. The studies can be grouped in a list of topics as follows. Electron transfer reactions of reaction centres (RC) from the purple bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides in different chemical surroundings (detergent, artificial bilayer, native membrane, artificial vesicle forming polymers). Quinone binding reactions at the specific site of the RC. Thermal stability of RC and bc1 complex related to different lipidic environments surrounding the proteins. Characterization of the redox processes taking place during RC photocycle involving the photo-generated species, and characterization of the transmembrane proton gradient that is established in artificial membranes with low proton permeability. Synthesis of bio-hybrid complexes with enhanced photochemical activity, by covalent binding of ad-hoc designed organic fluorophores to specific residues of the RC. Use of RC as photoactive material in biosensing, energy conversion and photonics coupled with different substrates such as graphene nanoplatlets and hydrogen bonded organic conductors. Interaction of RC with quantum dots composed of CdSe@ZnS in biomimetic environment.
2) study of the response of photosynthetic bacteria to abiotic stress by exposure to heavy metal ions through evaluation of growth parameters and determination of the dose-response; chemical analysis for detecting inhibition of pigment biosynthesis; biochemical analysis of enzymatic reactions involved in the detoxification of certain ions; potentiometric and FTIR-ATR analysis of protonable functional groups present on the cell surface.


Background of standard chemical and biochemical laboratory manipulations; bacterial cell growth; protein purification; bioconjugation techniques; liposomes preparation and characterization; optical, infrared and fluorescence steady state and time resolved spectroscopy; circular dichroism spectroscopy; electrochemical techniques; Octave programming; molecular visualization programs.

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