91241 - Nanomedicine

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Docente: Luca Prodi
  • Credits: 5
  • SSD: CHIM/03
  • Language: English
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Photochemistry and Molecular Materials (cod. 9074)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student has acquired the knowledge for the design of contrast agents for the most common imaging techniques and of possible drug delivery systems, with a critical approach to nanomedicine, the knowledge of kinetic and thermodynamic stability of colloidal systems and stimuli-responsive materials, as well as of the main photochemical techniques used to investigate them.

Course contents

Introduction to the world of nanotechnology and its applications to medicine. The most common nanostructures used in nanomedicine. Nanostructures vs molecular systems: the advantages offered by nanomedicine. Main issues related to the development of nanomedicine.

The main challenges of modern (nano)medicine, related to the fight against cardiovascular diseases, tumors, infectious diseases, neurodegenerative diseases and aging-related diseases.

Elements of medical nomenclature: the reticuloendothelial system, the blood-brain barrier, the angiogenesis and the effect of enhanced permeation and retention (EPR).

Cell internalization mechanisms.

Antiviral nanoparticles

Nanomedicine and diagnostics.

In vitro diagnostics: the search for biomarkers. Presentation of analytical platforms for in vitro diagnostics. The case of electrochemiluminescence. Phage technology. Molecular beacons and their applications. Elements for the design of a biosensor. Liquid biopsy and use of extracellular vesicles in nanomedicine.

In vivo diagnostics and the most common imaging techniques:

X-Ray Computed Tomography (X-Ray CT)

Single Photon Emission CT (SPECT)

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Ultrasound Imaging (US)

Optical Imaging (OI)

The main strategies based on nanotechnology for the design of new contrast agents. The new scenario offered by multimodal imaging.

The use of nanostructures as in vivo probes for chemical species of biological interest.

Nanomedicine and therapy. Nanomedicine and photodynamic and photothermal therapies.

The long term goal of nanomedicine: the design of theranostic agents.

Potentialities and problems related to the use of nanostructures for the drug delivery: state of the art and possible trends.

The colloidal stability of nanoparticles and the protein corona. The excretion of nanoparticles as an essential element for their in vivo application.

Synthesis and properties of the main types of Nanoparticles used in nanomedicine: silica particles, magnetic particles, gold nanoparticles, particles containing lanthanide ions.


Slides can be downloaded at:


In the slides I have also cited references to the most updated articles on the subject.

Teaching methods

In general, the teaching method used is the one of frontal lessons.
In addition to the theoretical lessons, critical discussions on scientific articles will be carried out in small groups. The teach-back experiences will also be carried out.

Assessment methods

The assessment takes place through the final exam only, which ensures the acquisition of the knowledge and skills expected by taking an oral test.

The first question involves the critical discussion of a scientific article (original research, not review) chosen, at least a week before, by the student. The next two or three questions are chosen by the teacher on all the topics presented in class. The final mark represents an average of the assessments of the individual questions.

Teaching tools

Projector connected to PC and whiteboard. The articles chosen for the group critical discussion are provided by the teacher on paper or electronically as chosen by the students
The projected slides can be downloaded from the page:

Office hours

See the website of Luca Prodi


Good health and well-being Quality education

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.