Dr Stefania Piantavigna 

Postdoctoral Research Fellow 
Stefania Piantavigna


Role at ANSTO
Stefania Piantavigna joined the Bragg Institute in September 2015 as a joint postdoctoral research fellow at ANSTO, Monash University and the University of Queensland. Her project, under the supervision of Dr Stephen Holt, Dr Lizhong Le and Dr Frank Sainsbury, consists mainly in the characterisation and optimization of nanoemeulsions. This project involves mainly the use of neutron reflectometry, x-ray reflectometry, ellipsometry and quartz crystal microbalance. 
Functionalised nanoemeulsions constitute a promising alternative for therapeutic, cosmetic purposes. Recently a model of tailorable nanoemulsion (TNE) has been developed by University of Queensland. The interface of this TNE consists of two biosurfactants: a peptide and a protein, which is linked to functional elements (for instance antibodies), for cell targeting purposes. Therefore, understanding the interfacial properties of this complex system is crucial in the optimization of these nanoemulsions.  
Stefania completed her PhD in Chemistry at Monash University, Melbourne in 2015.
During her PhD she investigated the action of various antimicrobial, and cell penetrating peptides on supported lipid membranes. This was done by using quartz crystal microbalance and scanning electrochemical microscopy as techniques. The information obtained would be useful in the development of novel drugs against the antimicrobial resistance. 
Stefania did her undergraduate studies in Biological Science at the University of Studies Milan, Italy. During her undergraduate thesis she investigated the ion selectivity of a determined ion channel protein in artificial membranes. 

Selected publications

Czihal, P., D. Knappe, S. Fritsche, M. Zahn, N. Berthold, S. Piantavigna, U. Müller, et al. "Api88 Is a Novel Antibacterial Designer Peptide to Treat Systemic Infections with Multidrug-Resistant Gram-Negative Pathogens." ACS Chemical Biology 7, no. 7 (2012): 1281-91.


Gross, A., H. Alborzinia, S. Piantavigna, L. L. Martin, S. Wölfl, and N. Metzler-Nolte. "Vesicular Disruption of Lysosomal Targeting Organometallic Polyarginine Bioconjugates." Metallomics 7, no. 2 (2015): 371-84.


Knappe, D., S. Piantavigna, A. Hansen, A. Mechler, A. Binas, O. Nolte, L. L. Martin, and R. Hoffmann. "Oncocin (Vdkppylprprpprriynr-Nh2): A Novel Antibacterial Peptide Optimized against Gram-Negative Human Pathogens." Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 53, no. 14 (2010): 5240-47.


McCubbin, G. A., S. Praporski, S. Piantavigna, D. Knappe, R. Hoffmann, J. H. Bowie, F. Separovic, and L. L. Martin. "Qcm-D Fingerprinting of Membrane-Active Peptides." European Biophysics Journal 40, no. 4 (2011): 437-46.


Mechler, A., S. Praporski, S. Piantavigna, S. M. Heaton, K. N. Hall, M. I. Aguilar, and L. L. Martin. "Structure and Homogeneity of Pseudo-Physiological Phospholipid Bilayers and Their Deposition Characteristics on Carboxylic Acid Terminated Self-Assembled Monolayers." Biomaterials 30, no. 4 (2009): 682-89.


Piantavigna, S., M. E. Abdelhamid, C. Zhao, X. Qu, G. A. McCubbin, B. Graham, L. Spiccia, A. P. O'Mullane, and L. L. Martin. "Mechanistic Details of the Membrane Perforation and Passive Translocation of Tat Peptides." ChemPlusChem 80, no. 1 (2015): 83-90.


Piantavigna, S., P. Czihal, A. Mechler, M. Richter, R. Hoffmann, and L. L. Martin. "Cell Penetrating Apidaecin Peptide Interactions with Biomimetic Phospholipid Membranes." International Journal of Peptide Research and Therapeutics 15, no. 2 (2009): 139-46.


Piantavigna, S., G. A. McCubbin, S. Boehnke, B. Graham, L. Spiccia, and L. L. Martin. "A Mechanistic Investigation of Cell-Penetrating Tat Peptides with Supported Lipid Membranes." Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes 1808, no. 7 (2011): 1811-17.


Stewart, S. E., C. H. Bird, R. F. Tabor, M. E. D'Angelo, S. Piantavigna, J. C. Whisstock, J. A. Trapani, L. L. Martin, and P. H. Bird. "Analysis of Perforin Assembly by Quartz Crystal Microbalance Reveals a Role for Cholesterol and Calcium-Independent Membrane Binding." Journal of Biological Chemistry 290, no. 52 (2015): 31101-12.


Stewart, S. E., M. E. D'Angelo, S. Piantavigna, R. F. Tabor, L. L. Martin, and P. I. Bird. "Assembly of Streptolysin O Pores Assessed by Quartz Crystal Microbalance and Atomic Force Microscopy Provides Evidence for the Formation of Anchored but Incomplete Oligomers." Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes, no. Part A (2015): 115-26.