Here we are, all together!

A little bit more about each of us

Valentina Cauda

Team Leader

Valentina Cauda is Full Professor at the Department of Applied Science and Technology (DISAT), Politecnico di Torino, co-founder of the Interdepartmetal laboratory PolitoBIOMed Lab and head of the TrojaNanoHorse lab (in brief TNHLab) located at DISAT.

Thanks to her ERC Starting Grant project (TrojaNanoHorse, GA 678151), started in March 2016, she now leads a multidisciplinary research group of 18 people, including chemists, biologists, physics, engineers and nanotechnologists. Her main research topic is about theranostic nanomaterials, from wet synthesis, chemical functionalization and physical-chemical characterization of metal oxide nanomaterials covered by lipidic bilayer from both artificial and natural origins, aimed for drug delivery, tumor cell targeting, bio-imaging. Metal oxide nanomaterials, like zinc oxide, mesoporous silica, titania and metal (gold, silver) nanostructures, as well as liposomes and cell-derived extracellular vesicles, are investigated.

Valentina Cauda graduated in Chemical Engineering in 2004 at Politecnico di Torino and then received her Ph.D. in Material Science and Technology in 2008. After a short period at the University of Madrid, she worked as a post-doc at the University of Munich, Germany on nanoparticles for drug delivery and tumor cell targeting. From 2010 to 2015 she worked as Senior Post Doc at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Torino, and then she moved, as Associate Professor, to Politecnico di Torino. For her research results she received in 2010 the prize for young researchers at the Chemistry Department of the University of Munich, in 2013 the Giovedì Scienza award, in 2015 the Zonta Prize for Chemistry, and in 2017 the USERN Prize for Biological Sciences. She has 120 scientific publications and a Hirsch Factor of 37 (updated on April 2021). She holds 6 international patents about the use of metal oxide nanoparticles in nanomedicine.

Prof. Cauda is principal investigator of several industrial, national and international projects raising more than 2 M€ funds in all. The most relevant are a recently granted FET OPEN RIA MIMIC-KeY (GA N. 964386), the ERC Proof-of-Concepts XtraUS (GA N. 957563) and AI-CUrES (GA N. 101081529), a Marie-Slodowska Curie Action MINT (GA N. 842964), where she acts as supervisor of an incoming Post-Doc from abroad, and the ERC Starting Grant Trojananohorse (GA N. 678151). 

Giulia mesiano

Senior Post Doc

Giulia Mesiano is now a Postdoc researcher at the TrojaNanoHorse lab. After graduating in Medical Biotechnology, she obtained a PhD in Biomedical Science and Human Oncology at Medical Oncology Laboratory in Candiolo Cancer Institute – IRCCS.

During PhD she was the winner of a two- year fellowship granted by AIRC for the project “Identification and killing of cancer stem cells in mesenchymal tumors by immunotherapy with CIK cells”.

She continued as Postdoc researcher at Experimental cell therapy laboratory, focalizing on integrated immunotherapy of refractory solid tumors (sarcoma, melanoma); Preclinical study to investigate the potential efficacy of T-cells as adoptive immunotherapy and their synergism with conventional drugs (chemo and molecular targeted therapy) and Interferons.

Silvia Appendino

Admin & Projects

Silvia Appendino received both her MS degree and her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the Politecnico di Torino in Italy, respectively in 2004 and 2009. She has always worked in the field of exoskeletons for neurorehabilitation, at the Politecnico di Torino until 2010 and in IIT from 2011 to 2015. She is author of several scientific papers and co-author of two patents related exoskeletons for rehabilitation. Since 2013, she has focused on funding requests, writing project proposals for H2020 and for regional and national competitions.

She has joined the TNH Lab at the very beginning, managing administrative issues, supplies, financials, social media and collaborating in project proposals. She is dissemination and data manager for the MIMIC-KeY FET-OPEN project.

Marco Carofiglio

PhD Student

Marco Carofiglio graduated in Physical Engineering at the Politecnico di Torino in 2017 and got his MSc degree in Nanotechnologies for ICTs in 2019 from the same university. During his Master thesis work, he focused on the development of ZnO-based piezoelectric smart scaffolds for the stimulation of biological tissues. He is currently attending a PhD course in Chemical Engineering at Politecnico di Torino where he is working on the synthesis and characterization of doped ZnO nanoparticles and substrates for biomedical applications. His research work also includes the use of oxides for catalytic water splitting .

Veronica Vighetto

PhD Student

Veronica Vighetto is part of TNH team as Chemical Engineering PhD student. Earlier on, she graduated in Physical Engineering, and obtained a Master degree in Nanotechnologies for ICTs at Politecnico di Torino.

Her Masters Thesis was developed in the Department of Nanomedicine at the Houston Methodist Research Institute (USA), with different biological environments as cancer cells, fecundated chicken eggs and mice.

Now, her PhD work is focused on the evaluation of in vitro test for cytotoxicity and internalization of different nanoconstructs, on both adhesion and suspension cells lines. She is also interested in understanding and investigating chemical-physical properties of nanoparticles and how these aspects can influence the interaction with biological systems, as living cancer cells, especially when the aim of this nanotool is related to therapeutic and diagnostic applications for cancer therapy.

Giada Rosso

PhD Student

Giada Rosso has a MS degree in Biomedical engineering, with specialization in Bionanotechniologies and started a PhD in Chemical Engineering. She started to work for the TNH lab during her Master’s thesis on the development of mesoporous silica nanoparticles for drug delivery, to specifically address Multiple Myeloma.

Marzia Conte

PhD Student

Marzia Conte achieved her Bachelor and Master Degree in Biomedical Engineering at Politecnico di Torino, and carried out a Master Thesis in the TrojaNanoHorse Lab of prof. Cauda, during which she took part to a project founded by the European Community under Grant Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions obtained by Dr. Sugata Barui, a former post-doc of the research group.

In the course of her thesis work she focused on studying and addressing pancreatic cancer and its tumour microenvironment through a multifunctional nanoconstruct based on doped Zinc Oxide nanoparticles, whose process and design she followed since the very beginning (chemical synthesis, characterizations, chemotherapeutic drugs uptake, lipid coating), especially in the TNH chemical lab.

Afterwards, she joined the lab as a PhD student in Chemical Engineering and spent the first six months of scholarship doing an extensive training in the cellular lab, in order to be capable of applying firsthand the results of her research by achieving full working autonomy. In the meantime, she further investigated and thoroughly studied pancreatic cancer and lipidic coatings, and developed a new formulation of lipids to cover zinc oxide nanoparticles, so as to provide them with biostability and biomimicry.

Her PhD project focuses on the application of these nanoconstructs on pancreatic cancer cells, eventually leading to a multimodal therapy which will include sonodynamics and is meant to overcome the limitations of conventional therapies, with the prospect of future in vivo application.

Niccolò Percivalle

PhD Student

Nicolò Maria Percivalle obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and his Master’s degree in Bionanotechnologies (Biomedical Engineering) at Politecnico di Torino.

He joined the TNH Lab in October 2020 during his Master thesis project, whose aim was the development of an innovative theranostic nanoconstruct for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

He has been working in the lab as a fellow, and has now started his PhD. His research focuses on sono/photo-degradation and ROS generation enhanced by doped and undoped ZnO nanoparticles.

MARIA Cristina ruffa


Maria Cristina Ruffa achieved her Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering with specialization in Biomechanical at Politecnico di Torino.

She started to work for the TNH Lab in September 2021 during her Master’s thesis carried out in collaboration with Department of Health Sciences, University of Florence, and with the Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, AOU Careggi. During her thesis work, she focused on optimizing continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) in the intensive care, particularly studying the components used in the treatments to ensure better clinical efficiency.

Now her work as a research fellow in the lab focuses on construction and validation of a system that allows monitoring of the “current effective delivered dose” on the patient in CRRT treatments.

Past Members

Alessandro Bentivogli


Part of TNH Lab: May 2022-September 2022

Luisa Racca

PhD Student & Junior Post Doc

Part of TNH Lab:
November 2016 – March 2022

Sugata Barui

MSCA Fellow & Post Doc

Part of TNH Lab: September 2019 – December 2021

Francesca Susa

PhD Student

Part of TNH Lab: November 2018 – November 2021

Michela Cumerlato


Part of TNH Lab: July 2020 – July 2021

Bianca Dumontel

PhD Student & Junior Post Doc

Part of TNH Lab: November 2017- May 2021

Andrea Ancona

PhD Student & Junior Post Doc

Part of TNH Lab: November 2016- October 2020

Marta Canta

PhD Student & Junior Post Doc

Part of TNH Lab: November 2016- May 2020

Marco Laurenti

Junior Post Doc

Part of TNH Lab: December 2018-December 2019

Nadia Garino


Part of TNH Lab: January 2017 – December 2019

Simona Villata


Part of TNH Lab: January 2019 – December 2019

Carmine Lops


Part of TNH Lab: February 2018 – August 2018

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