Stefano Salmaso

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

Current Position
Professor of CHIM/09

Phone: +39-049-827-1602
Fax:  +39-049-827-5366

  Short CV

Since 2017 Stefano Salmaso is professor of Technology of delivery and controlled release of drugs at the Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences of the University of Padova.

From 2014 to 2017 he served as associate professor at the Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences of the University of Padova.

He received his Ph.D. in “Pharmaceutical Sciences” in 2004 from the University of Padova. He completed his training in internationally awarded research groups at the School of Pharmacy of the University of Paris-Sud XI, at I.B.M.C Center of the University of Strasbourg, and at Centre for Innovative Biotechnologies of the University of Padova.

He held positions as assistant professor of Pharmaceutical Technology (CHIM/09) at the University of Padova (2004-2014) and as associate scientist at Northeastern University (Boston-USA, 2005 and 2008) where he developed "smart" nanocarriers for drug delivery to the tumor and the brain and innovative immunoliposomes for selective activation of immune system.

In 2016-2019 he was member of the international team of the ITN Marie Curie project "OCUTHER" supported by the EU; the project was aimed at developing novel treatments for ocular deseases.

In 2009 he was recipient of a three-years grant from the European Commission in the framework of the FP VII (NanoSCI ERAnet) for the development of responsive polymersomes for the delivery of siRNA to silence key proteins in the progression of cancer in collaboration with the University of Nottingham and Principe Felipe Research Center in Valencia.

Since 2023 he is President of the Controlled Release Society Italy Chapter.




Stefano Salmaso in Syllabus

  • Technology of delivery and controlled release of drugs: course for Chemistry and Pharmacetutical Technology Master degree, 6 ECTS (4 ECTS in class lecture, 2 ECTS practicals), 62 hours.
  • Formulation and delivery of biotechnological drugs: course for Pharmaceutical Bitechnologies Master degree, 6 ECTS, 48 hours.
  • TECNOLOGIA FARMACEUTICA: course for Chemistry and Pharmacetutical Technologies Master degree, 2 ECTS teaching lab, 30 hours.
  • Nanopharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals: physicochemical/pharmacokinetic correlations: this course is provided to the Doctoral School of Molecular Sciences, module for 3 ECTS.
  • "Smart" carriers for drug delivery: this course is provided to the Doctoral School of Molecular Sciences, module for 3 ECTS.

  Office hours

Friday 10-11


Are you interested to join a dynamic and international research environment?

We offer thesis position in a Research&Development team that will help you to build your expertise in  drug delivery.

If you are willing to start a project thesis in March 2024, this is the right time to contact Prof Salmaso and visit his research group of Drug Delivey by May 2023.

The thesis activities are focused on nanotechnology and delivery of drugs and biologics.

Availability for experimental master thesis for 2024 on the following projects:

  • Development of smart gold nanoparticles for anticancer drug delivery. Gold nanoparticles will be tested for external stimuli activation to leverage the anticancer activities of drugs
  • Development of liposomes for anticancer and antibacteria drug delivery. Lipidic vesicles will be prepared with functional coating agents to promote  encapsulation of anticancer drugs or antibacteria drug, and the access through biobarriers and the intracellular space.
  • Development of lipoplexes  for anticancer therapeutic nucleic acid delivery, and  for immunostimulation in cancer vaccination.  Lipidic vesicles will be prepared with functional coating agents to promote  nucleic acid loading, access across cell barriers and programmed intracellular release.
  • Delivery of therapeutic peptides by lipid nanoparticles. The focus of this thesis project is to generate novel biocompatible carriers formulated with a microfluidic approach. Functional components will  be included to enhance the encapsulation efficiency, promote stability and biobarrier crossing for oral absorption.


  Scientific Activities

Anticancer drugs and biopharmaceutics possess high therapeutic activity but may suffer from poor biopharmaceutical features and site-selectivity. Innovative  drug delivery systems provide opportunities to overcome these limitations.

We are developing colloidal systems by bottom-up combination of responsive materials, functional and targeting agents for the local delivery and controlled release of anticancer drugs and macromolecules (peptide, proteins, siRNA).

1)                 Development of metal nanovectors for cancer treatment. We are developing Gold Nanoparticles as multifunctional therapeutic agents. Gold nanoparticles (GNPs) have been coated with stimuli responsive polymers, targeting agents, and drug to yield enhanced site-selectivity and controlled drug release in the tumor site. Our Gold nanoparticles possess sono-sensitization features that in combination with the anticancer drugs they selectivelly deliver to the tumor provide an enhanced therapeutic activity.


    2) Micelles, liposomes, lipoplexes for bio-barrier crossing. Vesicular nano-systems assembled with responsive materials, targeting agents and cell penetration enhancers are developed for controlled release of anticancer drugs, proteins with therapeutic or immune-stimulating properties, siRNA, miRNA. Carriers with controlled interfacial properties stemming from 1. coating components and 2. assembling strategies, are under development. We aim to leverage the interfacing properties of these vesicles to achieve spatial and temporal control of the carrier access through bio-barriers, the intracellular fate, the pharmacokinetic profile and drug release. Dedicated microfluidic formulation procedures have been set up with the scale up production.

a) New liposomes for the delivery of medulloblastoma specific anticancer treatment are under investigations. These carriers have been stabilized and have been engineered for intranasal administration thus exploiting the nose-to-brain delivery pathway.

b) Lipoplexes have been developed using cationic functional lipids that promote oligonucleotide loading and intracellular delivery. These platforms are also very versatile and are suitable for the delivery of mRNA as vaccines for the cancer treatment by selective immune-stimulation. This project is now under development with the support of PNRR funds.

c) Liposomes are under development for the co-delivery of antibacterial drug with the aim to overcome the issue of antibiotic resistance in specific diseases including the cystic fibrosis.



    3) Formulation of proteins by physical assembly with amphiphilic polymers and encapsulation in lipid nanoparticles. With the aim to efficiently deliver therapeutic proteins and ameliorate their pharmacokinetic profiles, colloidal systems obtained by self-assembly of amphiphilic polymers with proteins/peptides  under development. The components of the resulting micelles are carefully selected or designed in order to enhance the loading, the stability of the biologics, and their absorption.

Lipid based nanoparticles for the oral delivery of therapeutic peptide are developed using microfluidics strategies and specific components are rationally combined to  enhance the biologic' loading, gastric protection, intestinal absorption.

These approaches offer the advantage of avoiding the chemical modification of the protein/peptide structure, which usually occur when polymers are conjugated to proteins, which offer several advantages.  


Other activities

  • Editorial Board member of Journal of Controlled Release, OpenNano (Elsevier), Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology (Bentham Science)
  • Member of the International Controlled Release Society, Italian Chemistry Society, ADRITELF.
  • Member of the  “International Affair Committee”, "Stirring commitee" and "Resourses commitee"of the Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences of the University of Padova. 
  • Member of the stirring commitee of the Doctoral School of Molecular Sciences of the University of Padova.
  • President of the Controlled Release Society Italy Chapter.

  Technical expertise

  • Chemical synthesis: bioconjugation of drugs, proteins, and functional components to polymers; peptide solid phase synthesis; ATRP and RAFT polymerization
  • Formulation of nanocarriers: preparation of self-assembling nanocarriers including micelles, vesicles, liposomes, particles using polymers and lipids, and drug loading.
  • Biophysics: physical characterization of drug nanocarriers; drug and colloidal carrier stability; microcalorimetric analysis of drug/protein/siRNA association with polymers and lipids; drug release profiling; protein/peptide structural and colloidal analysis upon fomrulation.
  • Biological studies: in vitro viability studies; cell uptake of nanocarrier (cytofluorimetry, confocal microscopy, TEM imaging).
  • In vivo studies: pharmacokinetic and biodistribution profiling of drugs and drug loaded carriers in rodents.

  Positions available

  • positions available


  • Al-Amin MD, Mastrotto F., Subrizi A., Sen M., Turunen T., Arango-Gonzalez B., Ueffing M., Malfanti A., Urtti A., Salmaso S., Caliceti P. (2023) Tailoring surface properties of liposomes for dexamethasone intraocular administration. J Control Release 354, 323-336
  • Salmaso S., Mastrotto F., Roverso M., Gandin V., De Martin S., Gabbia D., De Franco M., Vaccarin C., Verona M., Chilin A., Caliceti P., Bogialli S., Marzaro G. (2021) Tyrosine kinase inhibitor prodrug-loaded liposomes for controlled release at tumor microenvironment. J Control Release 340, 318-330
  • Infante P., Malfanti A., Quaglio D., Balducci S., De Martin S., Bufalieri F., Mastrotto F., Basili I., Garofalo M., Lospinoso Severini L., Mori M., Manni I., Moretti M., Nicoletti C., Piaggio G., Caliceti P., Botta B., Ghirga F., Salmaso S., and Di Marcotullio L. (2021) Glabrescione B delivery by self-assembling micelles efficiently inhibits tumor growth in preclinical models of Hedgehog-dependent medulloblastoma. Cancer Letters.499, 220-231
  • Brunato S., Mastrotto F., Bellato F., Bastiancich C., Travanut A., Garofalo M., Mantovani G., Alexander C., Preat V., Salmaso S., Caliceti P.  (2021) PEG-polyaminoacid based micelles for controlled release of doxorubicin: Rational design, safety and efficacy study. J Control Release 335, 21-37.
  • Al‐Amin MD, Bellato F., Mastrotto F., Garofalo M., Malfanti A., Salmaso S* and Caliceti P. (2020) Dexamethasone Loaded Liposomes by Thin‐Film Hydration and Microfluidic Procedures: Formulation Challenges. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 21: 1611
  • Mastrotto F., Bellato F., Andretto V., Malfanti A., Garofalo M., Salmaso S., Caliceti P. (2020) Physical PEGylation to prevent insulin fibrillation. J Pharm Sci 109: 900-910
  • Mastrotto F., Brazzale C., Bellato F., De Martin S., Grange G., Mahmoudzadeh M., Magarkar A., Bunker A., Salmaso S., Caliceti P. (2020) In vitro and in vivo behavior of liposomes decorated with PEGs with different chemical features. Mol Pharm 17: 472-487
  • Barattin, A. Mattarei, A. Balasso, C. Paradisi, L. Cantù, E. Del Favero, T. Viitala, F. Mastrotto, P. Caliceti, S. Salmaso (2018) pH-controlled liposomes for enhanced cell penetration in tumor environment. Appl. Mater. Interfaces 10: 17646–17661
  • C. Brazzale, F. Mastrotto, P. Moody, P.D. Watson, A. Balasso, A. Malfanti, G. Mantovani, P. Caliceti, C. Alexander, A. T. Jones, S. Salmaso (2017) Control of targeting ligand display by pH-responsive polymers on gold nanoparticles mediates selective entry into cancer cells. Nanoscale. 9: 11137-11147
  • Brazzale C., Canaparo R., Foglietta F., Racca L., Durando G., Fantozzi R., Caliceti P., Salmaso S., Serpe L. (2016) Enhanced selective sonosensitizing efficacy of ultrasound-based anticancer treatment by targeted gold nanoparticles. Nanomedicine (Lond.), 11: 3053-3070.
  • Vila-Caballer M., Codolo G., Munari F., Malfanti A., Fassan M., Rugge M., Balasso A., de Bernard M., Salmaso S. (2016) A pH-sensitive stearoyl-PEG-poly(methacryloyl sulfadimethoxine)-decorated liposome system for protein delivery: an application for bladder cancer treatment. J. Control Release, 238: 31-42
  • Gallon E., Matini T., Sasso L., Mantovani G., Armiñan de Benito A., Sanchis J., Caliceti P., Alexander C., Vicent M. Salmaso S. (2015) Triblock copolymer nanovesicles for pH-responsive targeted delivery and controlled release of siRNA to cancer cells. Biomacromolecules 16: 1924–1937.
  • Bersani S., Vila-Caballer M., Brazzale C., Barattin M., Salmaso S. (2014) pH-sensitive stearoyl-PEG-poly(methacryloyl sulfadimethoxine) decorated liposomes for the delivery of gemcitabine to cancer cells.   Eur J Pharm Biopharm 88: 670-82.


    1. Caliceti P, SalmasoS. Malfanti A. Pub. No.: WO/2018/130282. International Application No.: PCT/EP2017/050534. Star-like (Guanidyl)X- oligosaccharidic compounds and conjugates or complexes thereof. Applicants: University of Padua (Italy). Publication Date: 19.07.2018
  • International patent. Pappalardo J. S., Toniutti M., Salmaso S., Levchenko T., Torchilin V. Compounds and methods for targeted immune system delivery. Pub. No.: WO/2014/055941 A2. International Application No.: PCT/US2013/063567. Publication Date: 10-04-2014.
  • International patent.Caliceti P., Salmaso S., Bersani S. Corona-like (guanidyl)-oligosaccharidic derivatives as cell-penetrating enhancers for intracellular delivery of colloidal therapeutic systems. Publication. No.: WO 2012/097876 A1, International Application No.: PCT/EP2011/050813. Publication Date: 26-07-2012.
  • International patent. Torchilin, V., Musacchio, T., Salmaso, S. Ascorbate-linked nanosystems fro brain delivery. Publication. No.: WO 2010/111620 A1, International Application No.: PCT/US2010/028872. Publication date 30-9-2010.

  Research projects and Funds

  • Two years project granted by the "Italian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation " for the delvelopment of nanocarriers for antibactrial drug delivery to overcome resistance of microorganisms. Title: Pharmacological inhibition of colistin resistance in Gram-negative cystic fibrosis pathogens.
  • Three-year PRIN grant for the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) as Unit coordinator (tite: Targeting Hedgehog pathway: Virtual screening identification and sustainable synthesis of novel Smo and Gli inhibitors and their pharmacological drug delivery strategies for improved therapeutic effects in Tumors). (MIUR grant code: 20175XBSX4)
  • International team member of the European Horizon 2020 Innovative Training Networks (ITN) - Marie Skłodowska-Curie action (number: 722717) with the project “Ocuther” that aims at generating novel therapies for eye diseases.
  • European Commission granted project "INANONAK" in the framework of the NanoSci ERAnet Plus action; code number B51J09000200005; 2009-2012. Research Unit Coordinator. MAE/MOST granted project in the framework of Italy-Israel cooperation action: “MIRGYN - Targeting anticancer microRNAs to gynecological cancers overexpressing folate receptor”; code CUP C94G13000080005. Participant.
  • University of Padova granted project in the framework of the “Strategic Projects” action: “NAMECA - Nanochemistry and medicine for cancer: from diagnosis to treatment”. N. STPD11RYPT_002; CUP C98C13002740005.2013-2015. Participant.
  • University of Padova granted project in the framework of the “University Research Project” action: “Metal nanoparticles with multiple component decoration for improved site selective
  • delivery of anticancer drugs”. N. CPDA 121714; CUP C94H12000020005.2013-2015. Principal Investigator.
  • European Social Fund granted project “Organic/Inorganic multicomponent nanosystems for site-specific drug delivery. Code number 2105/101/3/1102/2010. 2011. Research Unit Coordinator.
  • Junior and senior post-doctoral fellowships granted by the University of Padova. 1. “pH responsive nanovesicles for improved site-selective delivery of anticancer drugs and proteins to the tumor: 2014-2016. 2. “Targeted modular nanovectors for anticancer drug delivery and locally controlled release”: 2016-2018. Principal Investigator.
  • Projects supported by national and international biopharmaceutical companies for the development of colloidal delivery systems for drugs and peptides/proteins delivery, and the study of delivery technologies effect on biopharmaceutical features of drugs.