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Barbara Zambelli

Associate Professor

Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology

Academic discipline: CHIM/03 General and Inorganic Chemistry


Keywords: intrinsically disordered proteins metal-homeostasis urease nickel protein-protein interactions

My research activity concerns the field of bioinorganic chemistry, which deals with the role of transition metal ions in biological systems. In particular, my interests focus on the mechanisms of interaction between metal ions and proteins, their structure-function relationships and the metal-induced conformational changes responsible for specific cellular responses and protein-protein interactions. An important part of my research involves the study of essential Ni(II) metabolism in bacteria such as Sporosarcina pasteurii and H. pylori. I contributed to a significant bulk of knowledge concerning the regulation of metal ion delivery into Ni(II)-urease, at the level of the protein-protein network built by urease accessory proteins.Recently, I focused on the study of proteins involved in Ni(II)-driven carcinogenesis, responsible for increasing risk of lung and nasal cancer. I am also interested in the biophysics of protein folding, in intrinsically disordered proteins, and in the relationship between protein disorder and its physiological roles.

I routinely handle molecular biology and biochemical techniques aimed to obtain protein (or protein-complex) over-expression, isolation and purification. In addition, I have experience in spectroscopic, calorimetric and crystallization techniques (e.g. CD, NMR, static and dynamic light-scattering, ITC, DSC, fluorescence spectroscopy, protein crystallization, mass spectrometry), aimed to determine the structural and molecular details of the isolated macromolecules, and to relate them to their physiological role.

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