Vassalli Massimo

Vassalli Massimo Country: Italy
Laboratory webpage

Participation in Working Groups

  • WG1 - Biophysics of cell and tissue structure
  • WG3 - New methodologies to study mechanobiology of cells and tissues
  • WG4 - Mechanobiological principles of rare and common diseases

Research Interests

My research activity settles in the field of biophysics, using this word to intend that I like using physical (and engineering) approaches to study systems and face problems pertaining to life and environmental science. As a special focus, I'm curious about the role and effect of mechanical properties and forces to the physiology of living systems, down to single cells and molecules. Current projects and interests deal with the following questions:

- role of piezo1 mechanosensitive ion channel in aging and neurodegenerative disorders

- exploitation of ultrasounds as a tool for biomechanics and mechanobiology

Technologies offered to other EuroCellNet participants

In the lab we exploit biophysical tools to characterize single molecules and single cells. Peculiar instrumentation/expertise are:

- Force spectroscopy, either single molecule (AFM-based) or single cell (Using Piuma technology)

- Label-free quantitative phase microscopy, either interferometric (digital holography) or based on the Transport of Intensity equation

- Exploitation of ultrasounds in microfluidic chips for sample manipulation and high throughput assay design

Technologies sought from other EuroCellNet participants

Possibility to address gene regulation associated to changes in mechanosensitive ion channels expression and evaluate the involved downstream pathways


  1. T. Cacace, V. Bianco, M. Paturzo, P. Memmolo, M. Vassalli, M. Fraldi, G. Mensitieri, P. Ferraro; Retrieving acoustic energy densities and local pressure amplitudes in microfluidics by holographic time-lapse imaging; Lab on a Chip (2018), In press, DOI 10.1039/C8LC00149A
  2. L. Petecchia, F. Viti, F. Sbrana, M. Vassalli, P. Gavazzo; A biophysical approach to quantify skeletal stem cells trans-differentiation as a model for the study of osteoporosis; Biophysical Chemistry (2017) 229:84-92
  3. H. Tsushima, M. Emanuele, A. Polenghi, A. Esposito, M. Vassalli, A. Barberis, F. Difato, E. Chieregatti; HDAC6 and RhoA are novel players in Abeta-driven disruption of neuronal polarity; Nature Communications (2015) 6:7781
  4. L. Soattin, M. Fiore, P. Gavazzo, F. Viti, P. Facci, R. Raiteri, F. Difato, M. Pusch, M. Vassalli; The biophysics of piezo1 and piezo2 mechanosensitive channels; Biophys. Chem. (2016) 208:26-33
  5. A. Mescola, S. Vella, M. Scotto, P. Gavazzo, C. Canale, A. Diaspro, A. Pagano, M. Vassalli, Probing cytoskeleton organisation of neuroblastoma cells with single-cell force spectroscopy, J. Molecular Recognition 25, 270-277 (2012)


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