Loretta L. del Mercato
Nanotechnology Institute - National Research Council (NANOTEC -Cnr)
Loretta L. del Mercato graduated in 2004 in Biotechnology at University “Federico II” of Naples (IT) and obtained her PhD in 2007 in “Innovative Materials and Technologies” at Institute of Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies (ISUFI), University of Salento, Lecce (IT). From 2008 to 2010, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Phillips University of Marburg (DE), in the group of Prof. W. J. Parak. In May 2010, she moved as Junior Researcher to the Nanoscience Institute of CNR in Lecce (IT), hosted by the group of Prof. R. Rinaldi. In 2015, she joined the Institute of Nanotechnology of CNR, founded and directed by Prof. G. Gigli, as Principal Investigator. In 2017, she received a 5-years ERC-starting grant “INTERCELLMED” aiming at creating novel 3D cell culture systems to study cell-cell interaction heterogeneity in vitro pancreatic tumor models. In 2019, she was granted a 5-years My FIRST AIRC grant to apply lactate and oxygen particles-based optical sensors for quantifying metabolic changes in mediated drug resistance of metastatic melanoma. Since 2018 she is senior researcher at the National Research Council (CNR) and Coordinator of the «3DCellSensing» group at Institute of Nanotechnology of CNR in Lecce.
The «3D Cell Sensing» research group works on the synthesis of multifunctional systems for biosensing and therapy, with an emphasis on personalized treatment strategies for pancreatic cancer. Research is focused on synthesis of sensing particles for measuring, with high spatial and temporal resolution, the intracellular and extracellular concentration of key biological analytes, such as oxygen, pH and lactate; development of 3D in vivo-like culture systems that capture the microenvironmental context of a tumor. Sensing particles and in vitro 3D culturing systems are coupled with real-time quantitative microscopy and computational cell-based modelling analyses to study cancer and stroma interactions, to quantify the drug efficacy on in vitro patients-derived 3D models with simple and easy readouts.
HOBBIES / EXTRAS
One of my big hobbies has always been volleyball and climbing. I love trekking with my husband and our two children every chance we get, and it’s also a great activity to share with friends. At the weekend I love cooking, it relaxes me a lot!