Professors and researchers of the Chemistry Section of the Department have for years engaged in various research projects on the synthesis and characterization of functional materials, nanomaterials, fine chemical products, pharmaceutical intermediates etc., with particular attention to the development of experimental methods and advanced computational models, and understanding of structure-property relationships.

Particularly significant are the activities relating to products and processes of relevance to energy and the environment, and in the various "molecular" aspects of the Health Sciences. Supported by a rich Services Centre of instrumental nature and consolidated national and international scientific collaborations, members of the Chemistry Section also deal with technology transfer and teaching in higher education (organisation of schools for PhD students and thematic seminars, editing of texts and continuous training).


The European Union will finance the Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network (MSCA-ETN) MAGICBULLET over the period 2015-2018 with approximately 3.75 M€. Within this project, seven academic research groups from Germany (Bielefeld, Cologne), Italy (Milano, Como), Hungary (Budapest), and Finland (Helsinki) and two pharmaceutical companies (Heidelberg Pharma, Germany and Exiris, Italy) will join forces to develop new chemistry-driven concepts for anti-tumour therapy. Anti-tumour drugs currently used are highly cytotoxic and therapy is often associated with severe side effects. Chemical compounds that specifically recognize molecular structures present in tumour cells would be advantageous to target the delivery of drugs to tumour cells. Conjugates of such a chemical “address label” with a drug might be a “magic bullet” according to the early vision of the Nobel laureate Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915, Nobel prize in Physiology 1908). The ETN will develop and validate an array of new peptide-drug conjugates combining either known tumour-specific peptides or newly discovered tumour-homing peptides with potent cytotoxic drugs. Peptide-drug conjugates permit high drug loading, easily penetrate tissue, and can be easily prepared in a homogenous form with straightforward and well-defined conjugation chemistry.

DiSAT 2015