PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology

Academic Year 2017-2018
Subject area Biological, Geological and Agricultural Sciences
Coordinator Prof. Giovanni Capranico
Language English, Italian
Duration 3 years
Positions and scholarships 7 positions with scholarship
Application deadline May 29, 2017 at 01:00 PM (Expired)
Final ranking list Final ranking list available on Studenti Online
Enrollment period From Oct 02, 2017 to Oct 11, 2017
Doctoral programme start date Nov 01, 2017
Main Department
Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology - FaBiT
Mobility abroad
Yes (3 months)
Curricula and Research topics
  • Genomic mapping of non-B DNA structures: mechanisms of gene expression regulation and genome instability (Top1) (Prof. Capranico)
  •  Structure and function of proteins involved in metal metabolism (Prof. Ciurli)
  • Expression, regulation and functional analysis of bacterial virulence factors, and genetic strategies for the development of novel vaccines (Prof. Delany)
  • Study of the molecular basis of neurodegenerative diseases (Prof. Monti)
  • Molecular mechanisms of energy transduction in membrane protein complexes (Prof. Francia)
  • The Drosophila as a model system for the study of gene function in development and cancer (Prof. Gargiulo)
  • Genetic factors in the pathogenesis of autism (Prof. Maestrini)
  • Regulation of gene expression in tumors (Prof. Perini)
  • Cancer modelling in Drosophila (Prof. Pession)
  • Molecular bases of mitochondria-related neurodegenerative diseases and of tumors associated with mutations of the mitochondrial genome (Prof. Rugolo)
  • Molecular and genetic basis of bacterial pathogenicity (Prof. Scarlato)
  • Molecular mechanisms of redox signaling and regulation of energy metabolism in plants (Prof. Trost and Prof. Sparla)
  • Role of conformational dynamics and protein-solvent interaction in the photocatalytic activity of photosynthetic reaction centers (Prof. Venturoli)
  • Molecular aspects of microbial bioremediation (Prof. Zannoni)
  • Nanobiotechnological methodologies in the study of the structural basis of neurodegenerative proteopaties and DNA-based nanofabrication (Prof. Zuccheri)
  • Computational and funtional genomics (Prof. Ferrè)
Job opportunities and potential areas of employment
The PhD will be able to:
- carry out research and development in public and private research institutions, and in biotech incubators
- coordinate activities in various fields of cell biology and biochemistry
- promote and develop scientific and technological innovation in the field of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, biomaterials and vaccines, as well as in the field of science communication
- carry out activities in laboratories of molecular diagnostic services and technical advice
- carry out activities in laboratories involved in the development of cellular or animal models for strategy and research
- fulfill the role of manager in public/private scientific institutions in the biomedical field (fund raising and intellectual property)
- launch biological/biotechnology spin-off
- teach in schools, once completed additional specific training
Admission Board

Giovanni Capranico Università di Bologna Dip. Farmacia e Biotecnologie Docente di I fascia
Francesco  Francia Università di Bologna Dip. Farmacia e Biotecnologie Docente di II fascia
Annalisa Pession Università di Bologna Dip. Farmacia e Biotecnologie Docente di II fascia
Elena Maestrini Università di Bologna Dip. Farmacia e Biotecnologie Docente di II fascia
Vincenzo Scarlato Università di Bologna Dip. Farmacia e Biotecnologie Docente di I fascia
Paolo Bernardo Trost Università di Bologna Dip. Farmacia e Biotecnologie Docente di I fascia
Learning outcomes
The aim of the PhD program is to train a highly skilled professional capable to conduct scientific investigations, analyzing and interpreting experimental results, formulating and testing scientific hypotheses, communicating the results achieved, and in organizing and planning both basic and applied research issues driving modern Biology. The program consists of both lecture courses and research activities, and aims to provide students with more in-depth general knowledge of Cell and Molecular Biology. At the same time, it provides training in experimental research in a specific topic. The flexibility of the program allows the adaptation to the specific interests of each candidate, with training focusing in one of the many areas of modern biology.
Activities to be carried out by Doctoral candidates
Topics common to all the PhDs programs of the Department:
- Handling of Radioisotopes in Biology (12 hours). Lecturer: Prof. A. Danielli
- Basic course in Science of Laboratory Animals (12 hours) Organizer: Dr. Valentina Vasina
- English for academic purposes (20 Hours). Organizer: Dott.ssa Monica Turci
- Introduction to research funded by the European Union and Enhancement Protection of Intellectual Property (6 Hours). Organizer: ARIC - Dott. Simone Maccaferri e Dott.ssa Maria Grazia Fumo.
Specific courses for the PhD program:
- No. 2 annual workshops on the topics of Research in Molecular and Cellular Biology (16 hours). Organizer: Prof. V. Scarlato
- Calorimetry and light- scattering: Theory and applications for the characterization of proteins in solution (14 hours). Lecturer: Dr. B. Zambelli
- Course on a specific topic of the PhD thesis (20 hours): Each supervisor will held a course on the subject of the research thesis
- Bioinformatics in the genomic era (6 hours). Lecturer: Prof. Fabrizio Ferrè
- Practical Bioinformatic course (6 hours). Lecturer: dr. Jessica Marinello.
Seminars organised by the FABIT Department (30 hours/year taught by teachers/experts in the field). Organisers: Prof. Anna Maria Porcelli and Giovanni Capranico.
Interdisciplinary seminars organised by the Institute for Advanced Study of the University of Bologna (20 hours/year held by teachers/experts in the field ).
Tutoring activities in the teaching laboratory courses Degree and / or Master's Degree related to the research topics addressed (maximum 60 hours/year).
Research training activities compliant with the Doctoral programme's learning outcomes
The training program includes activities common to all students, as well as individual and specific activities, aimed both at the acquisition of skills in planning, implementation, and critical interpretation of the obtained experiments, and at executing a specific research project decided in agreement with the faculty members of the PhD program. Candidates develop and consolidate their knowledge acquired through cycles of seminars, specific theoretical courses, participation in conferences, discussion of experimental results both within the research group (Journal clubs and date clubs) and within the Faculty with the participation of supervisors and all candidates.
Internationalization features
Each candidate will spend a period of time in a research institution abroad. The attractiveness of the PhD program at the international level is very good, with approximately 15% (6 of 41) of the candidates enrolled in the last four cycles, 4 of which being recipient of Marie Curie fellowships and 1 of Ciência sem fronteiras fellowship. We expect a new PhD student recipient of a Marie Curie fellowship in the 33° cycle.
Expected research results and products
The PhD candidate must be an author of publications in scientific international journals with impact factor and/or of publications in international journals without impact factor and/or of chapters in books and/or of reports in the form of oral or poster presentation at international/national conferences and/or international/national patents.
Doctoral programme Academic Board
Surname Name University/Institution Qualification
BACCHELLI ELENA Università di Bologna Ricercatore
CAPRANICO GIOVANNI Università di Bologna Professore ordinario
CIARROCCHI ALESSIA Arcispedale S. Maria Nuova-IRCCS Ricercatore Ente
CIURLI STEFANO LUCIANO Università di Bologna Professore ordinario
FERRE' FABRIZIO Università di Bologna Professore associato
FRANCIA FRANCESCO Università di Bologna Professore associato
MAESTRINI ELENA Università di Bologna Professore associato
MONTI BARBARA Università di Bologna Professore associato
PERINI GIOVANNI Università di Bologna Professore ordinario
PESSION ANNALISA Università di Bologna Professore associato
PORCELLI ANNA MARIA Università di Bologna Professore associato
SCARLATO VINCENZO Università di Bologna Professore ordinario
SPARLA FRANCESCA Università di Bologna Professore associato
TROST PAOLO BERNARDO Università di Bologna Professore ordinario
VENTUROLI GIOVANNI Università di Bologna Professore associato
ZANNONI DAVIDE Università di Bologna Professore ordinario
ZUCCHERI GIAMPAOLO Università di Bologna Ricercatore