Roberto Rizzo
Roberto Rizzo
affiliation: Università di Trieste - Dip. di Scienze della Vita
research area(s): Chemical Biology
Course: Molecular Biomedicine
University/Istitution: Università di Trieste
23rd July 1971 Degree in Chemistry cum Laude at Facoltà di Scienze MFN dell'Università di Roma, Italy.

1971-1973 Fellowship of the Italian National Research Council at the Istituto di Chimica Fisica, Università di Roma, Italy.

1973-1975 Fellowship of the Italian Ministry for the Public Education at the Istituto di Chimica Fisica dell'Università di Roma, Italy.

1975-1981 Contract fellow at the Facoltà di Scienze MFN dell'Università di Roma, Italy.

1981-1985 Assistant professor at the Facoltà di Scienze dell'Università di Roma, Italy.

1977-1978 Lecturer of "Structural Chemistry" at the Facoltà di Scienze MFN dell'Università di Camerino, Italy.

1978-1985 Lecturer of "Physical Chemistry" at the Facoltà di Scienze dell'Università di Napoli, Italy.

1982(July-Dec.) Research Fellowship of the Italian National Research Council at the "Centre des Recherches sur le Macro¬molecules Végétales", CNRS,at the University of Grenoble (France).

1985-1989 Associate Professor in Chemistry at the Facoltà di Scienze MFN, Università di Napoli, Italy.

1989-2000 Associate Professor in Chemistry at the Facoltà di Scienze MFN, Università di Trieste, Italy.

2001 - Full professor in Chemistry at the Facoltà di Scienze MFN, Università di Trieste, Italy.
The scientific interest of Prof. Roberto Rizzo has already been devoted to the structural characteristics and the phisico-chemical properties of biological macromolecules. In particular, in the last 15 years, Prof. Rizzo's activity has been focused on polysaccharides with emphasis to the study of their properties relevant for technological applications and to the investigation of the structure-function relationships. Starting from 2000, the research was focussed on structural properties of bacterial polysaccharides and in particular to exopolysaccharides produced by the Burkholderia cepacia Complex which produces serious lung infection in cystic fibrosis patients. The role of bacterial polysaccharides in maintaining infections is also investigated.
The study of these systems has been carried out by means of different experimental approaches aimed at the investigation of aqueous solutions both in dilute and concentrated regime.
The experimental methodologies used are hereafter listed:
- Isothermal calorimetry;
- Spectroscopies: NMR, UV-Vis, IR, CD, ORD, Fluorescence;
- Mass Spectrometry;
- X-ray diffraction;
- Chromatography, in particular Gel permeation;
- X-ray Absorption;
- X-ray Fluorescence.
In addition, molecular modelling procedures have been used to correlate the experimental findings with the conformational properties of the biopolymers investigated.
Since 1985 Prof. Rizzo is also involved in the utilisation of the Synchrotron Radiation for structural studies on Biopolymers.
Prof. Rizzo is co-author of more than 100 publications, the majority of which on international journals with peer review.
Due to its experience on algal polysaccharides, Prof. Rizzo has been the national responsible of the formation training of young researchers on the exploitation of algal biomass (Project of the Italian Ministry of University, Science and Technology). In addition, the Ministry has nominated Prof. Rizzo as Italian Delegate in the COST 49 (Marine Primary Biomass) committee of the 1995-2000 Cost Project.
The research activity is focussed on two main topics:
a) Elucidation of the structure-function relationships of bacterial exopolysaccharides produced by opportunistic species. In particular, polysaccharides produced by strains and clinical isolates of the Burkholderia cepacia complex are investigated. These bacteria are involved in serious lung infection sometimes developing into the "cepacia syndrome", a fatal necrotising pneumonia. Polysaccharides are considered important factors for the infection setup and maintenance. However, the exact mechanism of this function still needs to be fully understood.
b) Investigation of the macromolecular structure of bacterial biofilms. Biofilms produced by different bacteria are investigated in order to define the identity of the macromolecular components which contributes to the biofilm architecture. In particular, to role possibly played by polysaccharides is investigated and the relationships between the polysaccharidic species produced in plactonic conditions and in the benthonic ones are studied.
In addition, to the above research lines, recently a collaboration with private companies led to the investigation of the structure bacterial oligo- and polysaccharides derivatised for the conjugation with proteins for the production of new vaccines.
1) Y. Herasimenka, M. Benincasa, M. Mattiuzzo, P. Cescutti, R. Gennaro, R. RIZZO, (2005) Interaction of antimicrobial peptides with bacterial polysaccharides from lung pathogens. Peptides 26, 1127-1132.
2) E.C. Sampaio Noguera, J.R. Ruggiero, P. Sist, P. Cescutti, R. Urbani, R. RIZZO, (2005) Conformational features of Cepacian: the exopolysaccharide produced by clinical strains of B. cepacia. Carbohydr. Res. 340, 1025-1037.
3) A.Silipo, A. Molinaro, P. Cescutti, E. Bedini, R.RIZZO, M. Parrilli, R. Lanzetta, (2005). Complete structural characterization of the lipid A fraction of a clinical strain of B. cepacia genomovar I lipopolysaccharide. Glycobiology. 15, 1-10.
4) R. RIZZO, (2005) L"assegnazione dei premi Nobel 2004 per la Chimica"".e non solo. AIM Magazine 60 (1), 25-27.
5) P. Cescutti, S. Scussolin, Y. Herasimenka, G. Impallomeni, M.Bicego, R. RIZZO, (2006). First report of a lyase for cepacian, the polysaccharide produced by Burkholderia cepacia complex bacteria. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm. 339, 821-826.
6) Y.Herasimenka, P.Cescutti, G. Impallomeni, S.Campana, G. Taccetti, N. Ravenni, F. Zanetti, R. RIZZO, (2007). Exopolysaccharides produced by clinical strains belonging to the Burkholderia cepacia Complex. J. Cyst. Fibr. 6, 145-152.
7) Y. Herasimenka, P.CESCUTTI, G. Impallomeni, R. RIZZO, (2007). Exopolysaccharides produced by Inquilinus limosus: novel structures with usual components. Carbohydr Res. 342, 2404-2415.
8) Y. Herasimenka, P. Cescutti, C.E. Sampaio Noguera, J.R. Ruggiero, R. Urbani, G. Impallomeni, F. Zanetti, S. Campidelli, M. Prato, R. RIZZO, (2008) Macromolecular properties of cepacian in water and dimethylsuphoxide. Carbohydr. Res. 343, 81-89.
9) M. Foschiatti, P. Cescutti, A. Tossi, R. RIZZO (2009) Inhibition of cathelicidin activity by bacterial exopolysaccharides. Molecular Microbiology 72, 1137"1146.doi:10.1111/j.1365-2958.2009.06707.x
10) Ravenscroft N., Cescutti P., Hearshaw M.A., Ramsout R., RIZZO R., Timme E M. (2009). Structural analysis of fructans from Agave americana grown in South Africa for spirit production. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2009, 57, 3995"4003.DOI: 10.1021/jf8039389
11) Benincasa M., Mattiuzzo M., Herasimenka Y., Cescutti P., RIZZO R., Gennaro R. (2009) Activity of antimicrobial peptides in the presence of polysaccharides produced by pulmonary pathogens. J. Peptide Sci. 15, 595-600. DOI 10.1002/psc.1142
12) Foschiatti M., Hearshaw M., Cescutti P., Ravenscroft N., RIZZO R. (2009) Conformational studies of the capsular polysaccharide produced by Neisseria meningitidis group A. Carbohydr Res. 344, 940-3.DOI: 10.1016/j.carres.2009.02.027
13) Ieranò T., Silipo A., Cescutti P., Leone M.R., RIZZO R., Lanzetta R., Parrilli M., Molinaro A. (2009) Structural study and conformational behavior of the two different lipopolysaccharide O-antigens produced by the cystic fibrosis pathogen Burkholderia multivorans.. Chemistry - A European Journal, 15, 7156-7166.DOI: 10.1002/chem.200900647
14) Ieranò T., Cescutti P., Leone M.R., Luciani A., RIZZO R., Raia V., Lanzetta R., Parrilli M., Maiuri L., Silipo A., Molinaro A. (2010) The lipid A of Burkholderia multivorans C1576 smooth-type lipopolysaccharide and its pro-inflammatory activity in a cystic fibrosis airways model. Innate Immun. 16, 354-365. doi:10.1177/1753425909347400
15) Cescutti P., Foschiatti M., Furlanis L., Lagatolla C., Rizzo R. (2010) Isolation and characterisation of the biological repeating unit of cepacian, the exopolysaccharide produced by Burkholderia cepacia complex bacteria. Carbohydr Res. 345, 1455"1460.
16) Cescutti P, Cuzzi B, Liut G, Segonds C, Di Bonaventura G, Rizzo R. (2011) A novel highly charged exopolysaccharide produced by two strains of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia recovered from patients with cystic fibrosis. Carbohydr. Res. 346, 1916"1923.
17) Cescutti P, Impallomeni G, Garozzo D, Rizzo R. (2011) O-Acetyl location on cepacian, the principal exopolysaccharide of Burkholderia cepacia complex bacteria. Carbohydr. Res. In press.
Project Title:
Biofilms of pathogenic bacteria: chemical structure and macromolecular properties.
Details will be discussed with interested applicants