Viviana Maffeis1,2, Danielle Barnes3, Eoin Scanlan3 and Silvia Giordani1*
1 Nano Carbon Materials Lab, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), Via Morego 30, 16163 Genova, Italy
2 Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry, University of Genova, Via Dodecaneso 31, 16146 Genova, Italy
3 School of Chemistry and Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College, Pearse St, Dublin 2, Ireland
Carbon nano-onions, also called onion-like carbon, are nanoscopic carbon particles, with a nearly spherical shape made of multiple enclosed fullerene-like carbon shells. The unique combination of high electrical conductivity, large external surface area, and nanoscopic size (below 10 nm), alongside the possibility for large-scale synthesis and chemical modification, has made this material very attractive for applications, ranging from lubrication and catalysis to electrochemical energy storage (EES), water treatment and biomedical imaging [1,2]. Our findings on CNOs modified with different functional groups reveal a low cytotoxicity as well as a low inflammatory potential and an efficient cellular uptake in human cells, which render them promising for biomedical applications . In the presented work, we describe the synthesis and the modification of carbon nano-onions with biologically active substrates such as glycopeptides, through an efficient cysteine-maleimide coupling reaction which offers a fascinating platform technology for developing targeted nanotherapeutics. In particular, a fluorescently labelled glycopeptide with affinity for lectins overexpressed on cancer cells has been developed as a probe for imaging and targeting.
 Frasconi M, Maffeis V, Bartelmess J, Echegoyen L, Giordani S (2015) Highly surface functionalized carbon nano-onions for bright light bioimaging. Appl Method Fluo 3:044005
 Giordani S, Bartelmess J, Frasconi M, Biondi I, Cheung S, Grossi M, Wu D, Echegoyen L, O’Shea D F (2014) NIR fluorescence labelled carbon nano-onions: synthesis, analysis and cellular imaging. J Mater Chem B 2:7459–7463
 Yang M, Flavin K, Kopf I, Radics G, Hearnden C H A, McManus G J, Moran B, Villalta-Cerdas A, Echegoyen L A, Giordani S, Lavelle E C (2013) Functionalization of Carbon Nanoparticles Modulates Inflammatory Cell Recruitment and NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation. small 9:4194–4206
Viviana Maffeis graduated from the University of Pavia, Italy in 2014 with a bachelor degree in Pharmacy. During her undergraduate studies, she worked on an Erasmus project at University College London, UK. She is currently undertaking her PhD at the Nano Carbon Materials lab at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, in Genoa, Italy, under the supervision of Prof. Silvia Giordani. Her research project involves the synthesis of novel technology platforms based on carbon nano-onions for molecular imaging, photodynamic therapy and targeted nanotherapeutics.
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