Institute of biomedical technologies (ITB)


The Institute is unique at national level in having a high level of expertise in the comprehensive application of omics methodologies (proteomics, genomics and bioinformatics) to study genetic, epigenomic and environmentally-induced human diseases. Advanced proteomics technologies are used for complex protein systems analysis in cells, tissues and biological fluids. State of the art next generation sequencing is applied to study DNA and RNA in human diseases and in pathogens. Bioinformatics deals with the investigation of algorithms for genomic and transcriptomic analyses, high performance computational technologies for drug design and Systems Biology and for developing new models dedicated to the study of cell cycle. A major objective of the Institute is to advance novel technologies to identify mechanisms of disease and establish novel therapeutic strategies for clinical applications. In oncology in order to understand the mechanisms of conversion of normal stem cells into cancer stem cells, the genes and pathways that control self-renewal of stem cells are investigated using human stem cells, cancer stem cells, induced pluripotent cells and mesenchymal stem cells, and their use in regenerative medicine. In neurodegenerative diseases the pathogenic mechanisms and epidemiology of Alzheimer, Parkinson and Multiple Sclerosis are investigated; moreover the mechanisms of brain aging involved in pathogenesis of these diseases are also studied. The Institute is also engaged in bioethics and research integrity, with special focus on neuroethics and medical ethics.

The Institute of Biomedical Technologies I.T.B. with its headquarters at the Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Biomedical Technologies L.I.T.A., Via F.lli Cervi, 93, Segrate Milan was created May 17th 2002. The Institute of Biomedical Technologies (ITB) is characterised by a multidisciplinary approach to issues of medical interest. Expertise and areas of interest include comparative genomics, molecular oncology and cancer stem cell research, immunology, genetic diseases, brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases, neuropharmacology. High-throughput technologies applied include proteomics, metabolomics, genome sequencing, and bioinformatic data analysis.
Basic studies of gene regulation in cell division and stem cell development include comparative genomic analysis of mechanisms of alternative splicing and elements regulating cell cycle (Section of Bari) and identification of the role of developmental regulatory genes in hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cell differentiation (Unit of Pisa).
In the area of inflammatory and degenerative diseases, the ITB research groups are active in molecular/functional studies on Alzheimer's disease (Section of Padova), brain ageing and Parkinson disease (Unit of Neurochemistry), and chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases (Unit of Pisa). Major results include the capacity of complexes of metals with amyloid proteins of inducing Alzheimer's-associated markers; the dual neuroprotective and inflammatory role of neuromelanins in physiological (brain ageing) vs. pathological conditions (neurodegeneration in Parkinson); the creation of in vitro models of physiological inflammatory response to indentify autoimmunity-associated alterations and changes induced by metal nanoparticles.
Disease-targeted studies with a substantial application of high-throughput technologies and genetic analysis are carried out in the oncological field (Unit of Molecular Oncology, Unit of Proteomics and Metabolomics), in the area of pathogenic bacteria and drug resistance (Unit of Genomic Analysis). Defining the molecular and genetic mechanisms of pathological derangements is the target of these investigations.
The high-level contribution not only of high-throughput technologies but also of integrated bioinformatic and molecular modelling analysis (Section of Bari, Unit of BioICT) allows data integration and optimisation of information retrieval.
Future perspectives for ITB will encompass a special effort to enhance integration. Indeed, the multiple approaches and wide geographical distribution of the ITB research groups ensure an exceptionally rich collection of different expertise and scientific knowledge but require a strong coordination for optimising integration. This will increase ITB competitiveness when worldwide funding for research is decreasing, competition is stronger, and "excellence" and "frontier research" are the keywords to success.