PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology

Academic Year 2018-2019
Subject area Biological, Geological and Agricultural Sciences
Cycle 34
Coordinator Prof. Giovanni Capranico
Language English, Italian
Duration 3 years
Positions 10 positions with scholarship
Application deadline May 14, 2018 at 01:00 PM (Expired)
Final ranking list Final ranking list available on Studenti Online
Enrollment period From Jul 13, 2018 to Jul 23, 2018
Doctoral programme start date Nov 01, 2018
Operating centre
Main Department
Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology - FaBiT
Mobility abroad
Yes (3 months)
Curricula and Research topics

−      Cancer genome instability (Prof. Capranico)

−      Structures and functions of metallo-proteins (Prof. Ciurli)

−      Computational and functional genomics (Prof. Ferrè)

−      Molecular mechanisms of energy transfer in membrane protein complexes (Prof. Francia)

−      Drosophila as a model system to study gene functions during development and cancer formation (Prof. Gargiulo)

−      Genetic factors of autism syndromes (Prof. Maestrini, Dr.ssa Bacchelli)

−      Molecular basis of neurodegenerative diseases (Prof. Monti)

−      Gene expression regulation in cancer (Prof. Perini)

−      Cancer modeling in Drosophila (Prof. Pession)

−      Mitochondria disfunctions in neurodegenerative diseases and mitochondria gene mutations in cancer  (Prof. Rugolo, Prof. Porcelli)

−      Molecular and genetic basis of bacterial pathogenesis  (Prof. Scarlato)

−      Molecular mechanisms of redox signalling and energy metabolism regulations in plants (Prof. Trost, Prof. Sparla)

−      Role of conformational dynamics and protein-water interactions in the activity of photosinthetic reaction sites (Prof. Venturoli)

−      Molecular basis of microbial bioremediation (Prof. Zannoni)

−      Nanobiotechnology technologies for biosensor development and self-assembling DNA nano-structures (Prof. Zuccheri)

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

Surname Name Institution Role e-mail
Bacchelli Elena Università   di Bologna member
Capranico Giovanni Università   di Bologna member
Porcelli Anna Maria Università   di Bologna member
Maestrini Elena Università   di Bologna substitute
Perini Giovanni Università   di Bologna substitute
Scarlato Vincenzo Università   di Bologna substitute
Ciarocchi Alessia Azienda   USL di Reggio Emilia member
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: Prof. Monica Turci
- Introduction to research funded by the European Union and Enhancement Protection of Intellectual Property (6 Hours). Organizer: ARIC - Dr. Simone Maccaferri and Dr 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 more than 10% (4 of 39) of the candidates enrolled in the last four cycles, 2 of which being recipient of Marie Curie fellowships and 1 of Ciência sem fronteiras fellowship.
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


BACCHELLI ELENA Università di Bologna Ricercatore confermato
CAPRANICO GIOVANNI Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
CAPRIOTTI EMIDIO Università di Bologna Ricercatore a tempo determinato
CIARROCCHI ALESSIA Arcispedale S. Maria   Nuova-Reggio Emilia Ricercatore Ente
CIURLI STEFANO LUCIANO Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
DANIELLI ALBERTO Università di Bologna Professore Associato
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
RUGOLO MICHELA 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 confermato