The proposed PhD Program aims at building in the University of Verona a vast area of advanced teaching and research, focused on the nanosciences and on the application of the most advanced morphological and analytical technologies to biomedicine and forensic science. The present proposal seems particularly relevant for the University of Verona where the presence of areas of excellence in biochemistry, genetics, biotechnology and clinical medicine, for historical reasons, is not yet fully supported by an equally strong scientific presence in the chemical and physical disciplines and in the related technologies.
The present proposal of a new PhD Program in Nanosciences and New Morphological, Analytical and Forensic Technologies coagulates human and technological resources already established in this University of leading groups in Physical and Chemical Research, with the most advanced technological expressions of the morphology/morphometry and of the biomedical and forensic sciences. In this context, a particularly important role is played by the nanosciences, whose area of ??application in the biomedical field and in the forensic sciences looks innovative and highly promising, being the subject of greatest attention at international level, as well as objective of strategic research projects of the Veneto Region.
The integration of these scientific areas shows advantages in terms of the development of joint research projects with a view to translational science, by combining the most advanced chemical and physical technology with the needs of the modern applications of biomedical and forensic research. Also on the teaching side, the aforementioned integration of basic disciplines and applied science enables the development of innovative training courses of great value, especially for this University, not only in view of an academic employment, but also consistent with the needs of advanced technology of the industrial sectors.
The growing demand in today's society of multidisciplinary expertise and advanced scientific and technological knowledge, not separated from effective and sound skills in the application fields, including regulatory procedures and ethical and bioethical issues, also justifies the activation of this project. Eventually, it should be pointed out that nanoscience and nanotechnology represent strategic objectives of the applied research funded by Regione Veneto. On the basis of already existing contacts a fruitful collaboration with these research centers can be envisioned.
The attention and the impact, also at international level, that such a proposal could have outside of the University of Verona can be evaluated positively bearing in mind that a doctoral course afferent to this proposal (PhD in Forensic Medicine and Science) has already a high degree of internationalization among the students (as well as among the teachers), with major attraction from to the United States of America. Furthermore, a specific editorial recently appeared in “Nature” (V. Gewing, Forensics: the call of the crime lab. Nature 473, 409-411, 2011) has complained about the lack of academic training at PhD level in the forensic sciences, in front of a large number of degrees of MS and a big demand of highly qualified forensic researchers in the U.S.A. (see Annex 0).
The robustness of the proposal is also supported by the excellence of the technology platform that the proponents may put together, resulting both from equipment of the Departments participants and from instrumentation referring to the “Centro Grandi Attrezzature” of the University of Verona.
This proposal of a new PhD program provides a strong common core of teaching and training on subjects of general interest, paralleled by 3 specialized branches (1. Morphological and Clinical Nanomedicine; 2. Forensic Sciences and Technologies; 3. Nanomaterials and Chemical Physical and Analytical Technologies), highly integrated with each other both in terms of teaching and experimental research.
The type of formation offered is based on “training through research”, obtained through educational activities on subjects of general interest, combined with practical training and tutorials on topics specific for the 3 branches mentioned above. Also, on the research side, the PhD Program will foster the development of projects in cooperation between the branches, in order to promote specialization, while maintaining a high interaction and integration, thus ensuring a solid core of knowledge and practical skills.
The overall objective of the PhD Program is, therefore, the acquisition of advanced knowledge and technological skills with a specific mindset, that allows students to proceed independently with a translational approach in fields of research on the verge of the chemical-physical and the applied biomedical/forensic disciplines. In addition, the students will be able to communicate the results of their research in the scientific context, as well as to spend the learning and research achievements in the public and private professional fields.
Morphological and Clinical Nanomedicine
- Nanotechnology for multimodal imaging
- Conventional and advanced in vivo imaging techniques for biomedical, experimental, clinical and forensic investigations
- Advanced microscopy for biomedical and nanobiotechnology applications
- Imaging techniques for the study of anthropometry and body composition
Technologies and nanotechnology in forensic sciences
- Nanotechnologies and molecularly imprinted polymers applied to Forensic Toxicology
- Development of optical technologies (Fluorescence and Raman spectroscopy) and their applications to Forensic Science
- New techniques of mass spectrometry applied to chemical-toxicological, forensic and genetic analysis
- New electrophoretic and electrokinetic technologies in Forensic Science
- New biomarkers of substance abuse
- Imaging in Forensic Medicine and Science
Nanomaterials and Chemical-Physical and Analytical Technology
- Design and development of nanostructured materials and new contrast media for multimodal imaging
- Study of thin films for biomedical applications and energy conversion
- Preparation of molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPS) in form of nanoparticles and nanosurfaces for analytical applications
- Physico-chemical and characterization of functional materials
- Investigations on the structure and vibrational properties of functional materials
- Study of surface phenomena in the application of nanostructures to modern technologies of molecular separations
- Cellular nanoengineering