Monica Marini

Postdoctoral Fellows

Research Interests

Monica Marini research interest is focused on the single imaging and characterization of nucleic acids, proteins and protein/nucleic acids interactions at single molecule level. To reach this goal, conventional bio –molecular, -chemical and -physical tools will be combined with microfabrication, EM high resolution imaging and spectroscopy.

Single molecule imaging of double strand lambda DNA
 The structure of the DNA double helix was accomplished in 1953, combining the analysis performed by Watson and Crick and the X-Ray diffraction images of DNA fibers made by Franklin and Wilkins in 1951. To date, the need to deepen the physical understanding of the DNA structure as well as its modifications and interactions drives the need of simplified sample treatment to the directly image single molecules. To achieve this goal, we combined high-resolution TEM imaging (HRTEM), superhydrophobic holed surfaces and fine tuned preparative steps to get in depth functional and structural information at the single base pair level. Direct imaging of a single molecule can become a method for facing new biological problems, where the knowledge at single molecule level is required because the average information contained in X-ray diffraction from crystals or fibers, is not sufficient for the detailed structure determination and when crystal cannot be obtained from biological molecules or is not sufficient for understanding multiple protein configurations.

Localization of single strand DNA and Rad51 repair protein by means of SERS technique on superhydrophobic devices.
In this work, single strand DNA and DNA incubated with Rad51 protein (nucleoproteins) have been suspended on superhydrophobic surfaces. These fibers were investigated with techniques such as electron microscopy and Raman spectroscopy to illustrate the variations in the Raman spectra. The use of Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy revealed that the method developed serves to investigate directly the nucleoprotein formation and the Rad51 protein distribution. The data were further confirmed by direct imaging with Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopy. This combined approach represents a methodological improvement for the understanding of the interactions occurring between proteins and DNA and, more in general, biological molecules; in the meantime the present preparation is a first attempt that can be refined and extended specifically to protein structural studies, using DNA as a scaffold for protein direct imaging and manipulation.

Selected Publications

Monica Marini, Andrea Falqui, Manola Moretti, Tania Limongi, Marco Allione, Alessandro Genovese, Sergei Lopatin, Luca Tirinato, Gobind Das, Bruno Torre, Andrea Giugni, Francesco Gentile, Patrizio Candeloro, Enzo Di Fabrizio (2015) The structure of DNA by direct imaging. Science Advances 1, e1500734

Andrea Falqui, Monica Marini, Marco Francardi, Enzo Di Fabrizio (2015) From single molecule to suspended DNA nanowires. Materials Today 18 (4), 238-239, 2015.

Luca Piantanida, Denys Naumenko, Emanuela Torelli, Monica Marini, Dennis M. Bauer, Ljiliana Fruk, Giuseppe Firrao, Marco Lazzarino (2015) Plasmon resonance tuning using DNA origami actuation. Chemical Communications 23 (51): 4789-4792.

Emanuela Torelli, Monica Marini, Sabrina Palmano, Luca Piantanida, Cesare Polano, Alice Scarpellini, Marco Lazzarino, Giuseppe Firrao  (2014) A DNA Origami nanorobot controlled by nucleic acids hybridization. Small 10 (14): 2918-2926.

Monica Marini, Luca Piantanida, Rita Musetti, Alpan Bek, Mingdong Dong, Flemming Besenbacher, Marco Lazzarino, Giuseppe Firrao (2011) A revertible, autonomous, self-assembled DNA-Origami nanoactuator. Nano letters 11 (12): 5449-5454.


2009 – 2012: Ph.D. in Nanotechnology, Università degli Studi di Trieste (Physical Science Division) and Universita` degli Studi di Udine (Agrarian Technologies Division), Italy.

2005/2006 – 2007/2008: M.Sc. Agrarian Biotechnologies. Universita` degli Studi di Udine, Italy

2001/2002 – 2004/2005: B.Sc. Agrarian Technologies. Universita` degli Studi di Udine, Italy