PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology

Academic Year 2021-2022
Subject area Biological, Geological and Agricultural Sciences
Cycle 37
Coordinator Prof. Vincenzo Scarlato
Language English, Italian
Duration 3 years
Positions 10 positions. More information in the PhD Programme Table
Application deadline May 21, 2021 at 12:00 PM (Expired)
Enrolment period From Jul 16, 2021 to Jul 26, 2021
Doctoral programme start date Nov 01, 2021
Operating centre
Main Department
Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology - FaBiT
Mobility abroad
3 months
Research topics
  • Cancer genome instability (Prof. Capranico)
  • Molecular biotechnology of phages for the development of theranostic vector platforms (Prof. Danielli)
  • Computational and functional genomics (Prof. FerrË)
  • Computational transcriptomics of human gene networks (Dr. Giorgi)
  • Genetic factors of autism syndromes (Prof. Maestrini, Prof. Bacchelli)
  • Molecular basis of neurodegenerative diseases (Prof. Monti)
  • Gene expression regulation in cancer (Prof. Perini)
  • Molecular characterization of solid tumors (Dr. De Biase)
  • Mitochondria disfunctions in neurodegenerative diseases and mitochondria gene mutations in cancer (Prof. Porcelli, Prof. Ghelli) Molecular and genetic basis of bacterial pathogenesis (Prof. Scarlato)
  • Molecular mechanisms of redox signalling and energy metabolism regulations in plants (Prof. Trost, Prof. Sparla) Phylogenetic and functional characterization of human and environmental microbial communities: study of the interactions between microorganisms and their habitat (Prof. Vitali)
  • Structures, functions and interactions of metallo-proteins (Dr. Zambelli)
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 University/Institution Role email
Bacchelli Elena Università di Bologna Member
Capranico Giovanni Università di Bologna Member
Scarlato Vincenzo Università di Bologna Member
Sparla Francesca Università di Bologna Member
Danielli Alberto Università di Bologna Substitute
Maestrini Elena Università di Bologna Substitute
Monti Barbara Università di Bologna Substitute
Porcelli Anna Maria Università di Bologna Substitute
Learning outcomes
The aim of the PhD programme is to train a highly skilled professional capable to conduct scientific investigations, analyzing and interpreting experimental results, formulating and testing scientific hypotheses, communicating the achieved results, and organizing and planning both basic and applied research issues driving modern Biology.
The programme 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:
- Scientific artwork for publication and presentations (12 hours). Organizer: Prof. Alberto Danielli.
- Basic course in Science of Laboratory Animals (12 hours) Organizer: Prof. Barbara Monti.
- 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.
- The Peer Review Process and 10 Tips for Scholarly Publishing (6 ore) .
- Organizer: Prof. Maria Laura Bolognesi.
- English for science (20 Hours). Organizer: CILTA, UniBO.
- Winter School in Bioinformatics. Organizer: prof. Pier Luigi Martelli.

Specific courses for the PhD program:
- Annual PhD Workshop 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.
- Bio-crystallography (16 hours). Organizer: dr. Luca Mazzei.
Course on a specific topic of the PhD thesis (20 hours): Each supervisor will held a course on the subject of the research thesis.
Seminars organised by the FABIT Department (30 hours/year taught by teachers/experts in the field). Organisers: Prof. Anna Maria Porcelli and Prof. 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 programme 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 programme at the international level is very good, with more than 11% (4 of 37) of the candidates enrolled in the last four cycles, 2 of which being recipient of Marie Curie fellowships.
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
Name Surname University/Institution Qualification
Elena Bacchelli Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Giovanni Capranico Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Alessia Ciarrocchi Arcispedale S. Maria Nuova-Reggio Emilia Primo Ricercatore
Dario De Biase Università di Bologna Ricercatore a tempo determinato
Fabrizio Ferrè Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Anna Maria Ghelli Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Federico Manuel Giorgi Università di Bologna Ricercatore a tempo determinato
Elena Maestrini Università di Bologna Professore Associato Confermato
Barbara Monti Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Giovanni Perini Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Anna Maria Porcelli Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Davide Roncarati Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Vincenzo Scarlato Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Francesca Sparla Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Paolo Bernardo Trost Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Beatrice Vitali Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Barbara Zambelli Università di Bologna Ricercatore Confermato


Final Ranking list