Francesca Mastrotto

Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, University of Padova
via F. Marzolo 5, 35131 Padova - Italy

Positionlecturer CHIM/09


Phone: +39-049-827-5708
Fax:  +39-049-827-5366

  Short Cv

Francesca Mastrotto recently joined the Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences at the University of Padova as junior lecturer.

She received a Master degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology in 2007 at the University of Padova and a PhD in Molecular Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences specialization, in 2011, at the same institution. During her PhD she participated in the Erasmus program spending 8 months at the School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham (UK, 2010). After 18 months as postdoctoral researcher in the drug delivery group at the Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, University of Padova (2011-2012), she moved to the UK where she broadened her expertise carrying on, as research fellow, multidisciplinary research activities in the School of Pharmacy and the School of Life Science (2012-2017), at the University of Nottingham.

Her research focus areas include the design and synthesis of polymeric materials for a range of pharmaceutical applications, which span from smart drug delivery systems to immunotherapy and new anti-biofilm agents. 


  Office hours

to be determined by email

  Availability for Thesis Projects

Thesis projects are available within the research area of the group. For further information please go to the section “Research Area” or arrange an appointment via email.


  Scientific Activities

In recent years, polymer-based materials have attracted increased attention in the pharmaceutical field for a range of different applications, enabling the research community to develop, among others, innovative nanomedicine, drug delivery systems and immunomodulators. Synthetic polymers offer some advantages in term of availability and properties. In fact, it is possible to synthesise multi-gram scale batches, and their physical, chemical and biological properties can be easily tuned in a broad spectrum to match the requirements of specific applications. My research interest is therefore focus on the generation of different types of polymers as tools to develop smart nanosystems able to selectively target cancer cells or bacteria. The projects deal both with the synthesis of the required materials, their physico-chemical characterisation, but also with the in vitro biological screening to assess their compatibility and efficacy.

In particular, in the last few years I have been working on:

  • engineering novel nanocarriers based on thermo- and pH-responsive polymers for either gold nanoparticles surface decoration or micelles and polymersomes assembly. These systems are thought to selectively target the tumour cell and release their cargo only at the site of the disease;
  • synthetic polysaccharides, also called glycopolymers, to modulate the immune system and to prevent or treat infections.

  Technical expertise

  • Organic chemistry: synthesis of ligands and small molecules. 
  • Bioconjugation techniques. 
  • Eukaryotic and prokaryotic cell cultures, murine bone marrow isolation, cell transfection and protein expression/purification, biological and immunological assays.
  • Pharmacokinetics studies.
  • Flow cytometry, Fluorescence and confocal microscopy, Transmission Electron Microscopy, Atomic Absorbance Spectroscopy, size and zeta-potential measurements, Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR).
  • Polymer synthesis: controlled radical polymerisations techniques (ATRP, RAFT).





Loczenski Rose, V., Mastrotto F., and Mantovani G. Phosphonium polymers for gene delivery. Polym. Chem., 2017, 8, 353. 

Mastrotto, F., Breen, A. F., Sicilia, G., Murdan, S., Johnstone, A.D., Marsh, G. E., Grainger-Boultby, C., Russell, N. A., Alexander, C., and G. Mantovani. One-pot RAFT and fast polymersomes assembly: a ‘beeline’ from monomers to drug-loaded nanovectors. Polym. Chem., 2016,7, 6714-6724. 

Matini, T., Francini, N., Battocchio, A., Spain, S. G., Mantovani, G., Vicent, M. J., Sanchis, J., Gallon, E., Mastrotto, F., Salmaso, S., Caliceti, P., & Alexander, C. Synthesis and characterization of variable conformation pH responsive block co-polymers for nucleic acid delivery and targeted cell entry. Polymer Chemistry (2014), 5: 1626-1636. 

Mastrotto, F., Salmaso, S., Alexander, C., Mantovani, G., Caliceti, P. Novel pH-responsive nanovectors for controlled release of ionisable drugs, J. Mat. Chem. B, (2013), 1(39): 5335-5346. 

Mastrotto, F., Salmaso, S., Lee, Y. L., Alexander, C., Caliceti, P., Mantovani, G. pH-responsive poly(4-hydroxybenzoyl methacrylates) – design and engineering of intelligent drug delivery nanovectors, Polym. Chem.  (2013), 4(16): 4375-4385. 

Mastrotto, F., Caliceti, P., Amendola, V., Bersani, S., Magnusson, J. P., Meneghetti, M., Mantovani, G., Alexander, C., & Salmaso, S. Polymer control of ligand display on gold nanoparticles for multimodal switchable cell targeting. Chem Commun (2011), 47(35): 9846-9848.