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 drug delivery and controlled release 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 novel responsive nanocarriers for drug delivery to the tumor and the brain and innovative immunoliposomes for selective activation of immune system.

In 2016 he became member of the international team of the ITN Marie Curie project "OCUTHER" supported by the EU; the project is aimed at developing novel treatments for the therapy of 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.

He has co-founded the “Nanopharmanet”, the Italian Network of scientists operating in the Pharmaceutical Nanomedicine and Nanotechnology fields. 



Stefano Salmaso in Syllabus

  • Technology of targeting and controlled release of drugs: course for Chemistry and pharmacetutical Technologies Master degree, 6 ECTS (4 ECTS in classroom 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 practicals, 30 hours.
  • Nanopharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals: physicochemical/pharmacokinetic correlations: thsi course is provided to the Doctoral School of Molecular Sciences, module for 3 ECTS.

  Office hours

Friday 10-11

  Availability for Thesis Projects

The group activities are focused on the delivery of drugs and biopharmaceutics. Availability for experimental master thesis for 2020 on the following projects:

  • Development of responsive gold nanoparticles for anticancer drug delivery. Novel gold nanoparticles will be designed and assembled by combining  anticancer drugs and targeting agents on their surface. Furthermore, gold nanoparticles will be tested for external stimuli activation to leverage the anticancer activities of drugs
  • Study of novel synthetic polymers for the delivery of biopharmaceutics. This project is aimed at preparing and studying amphiphilic polymers and poly-ionic materials that can be used to formulate and deliver biologically active proteins and oligonucleotides. Bioconjugation and biological characterization are the main activities within this project.
  • Development of liposomes for anticancer drug delivery. Lipidic vesicles will be prepared with functional coating agents to promote drug loading and encapsulation of oligonucleotides and selective biodistribution of drugs in the cancer, and access to the intracellular space. Special emphasis will be dedicated to generate and characterize novel amphiphilic polymers for liposome coating, targeting units and/or cell penetration enhancers.
  • Development of polymer based self-assembling  systems for the delivery of anticancer drugs, immunostimulatory agents and as adjuvants for cancer vaccination through alternative routes of administration (local, nasal, intravescical, cutaneous, etc).
  • Delivery of drugs and therapeutic peptides by lipid particles. The focus of this thesis project is to generate novel biocompatible carriers using an innovative microfluidic approach to assemble them. Functional components will also be included to enhance the encapsulation efficiency.

Thesis projects usually start in January. Students are invited to contact the professor in due time to plan the activity and visit the research laboratory of Drig Delivey.


  Scientific Activities

Anticancer drugs and biologics possess high pharmacological activity but may suffer from poor biopharmaceutical features and site-selectivity. Innovative nanotechnological 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 (Au-NPs) have been coated with stimuli responsive polymers, targeting agents, and drug to yield enhanced site-selectivity and controlled drug release in the tumor site. The Gold nanoparticles we develop are designed to exploit the sinergistic effect of anticancer drugs  and sono-sensitization upon remote activation.



2)        Environmental responsive micelles, liposomes, polymeric vesicles. Vesicular nanosystems 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. Carriers with controlled interfacial properties stemming from 1. design of components and 2. assembling strategies, are under development. We aim to leverage the interfacing properties of the resulting vesicles to achieve spatial and temporal control of the carrier interaction with cells/tissues, the intracellular fate, the pharmacokinetic profile and drug release. Anticancer drugs were effeciently delivered to different tumors by local or parenteral administration. New platforms for medulloblastoma treatment are under investigations.

Lipoplexes are also under development using cationic functional lipids that promote oligonucleotide loading and intracellular delivery; these platforms are also suitable as vaccines.



3)                 Formulation of proteins by physical assembly with amphiphilic polymers and encapsulation in nanoparticles. With the aim to efficiently deliver proteins with biological activity and ameliorate their pharmacokinetic profiles, colloidal systems obtained by physically assembling amphiphilic polymers with proteins/peptides or by loading in lipidic particles are under development. This approach allows enhancing the stability of the biologics and avoiding the chemical manipulation of the protein structure.

Lipid based particles have been formulated for the encapsulation of therapeutic peptides using innovative microfluidic technologies.


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, Nanopharmanet.
  • Member of the  “International Affair Committee” of the Dep. of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences of the University of Padova. 

  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

A PhD position will be soon available for Master laureates with background in polymer-based drug carriers, nanotechnology for drug delivery, biophysical characterization of drug nanocarriers, bioconjugation techniques. The position will be supported by the Ministry of University and Research for 3 years. The project is very challenging and will be focused on the delivery of conventional and novel anticancer agents and biotherapeutics using multifunctional systems assembled by (but not only) microfluidic approaches.

  • positions available

    A PhD position will be soon available for Master laureates with background in polymer-based drug carriers, nanotechnology for drug delivery, biophysical characterization of drug nanocarriers,


  • M. 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.
  • Mastrotto, F., Caliceti, P., Amendola, V., Bersani, S., Magnusson, J.P., Meneghetti, M., Mantovani, G., Alexander, C. and Salmaso, S. (2011) Polymer control of ligand display on gold nanoparticles for multimodal switchable cell targeting. Chem. Commun. 47: 9846-89848.
  • Salmaso, S., Pappalardo, J. S., Sawant, R. R., Musacchio, T., Rockwell, K., Caliceti, P. and Torchilin V. P. (2009) Targeting Glioma Cells in Vitro with Ascorbate-Conjugated Pharmaceutical Nanocarriers. Bioconjugate Chem. 20: 2348-2355.
  • Salmaso, S., Caliceti, P., Amendola, V., Meneghetti, M., Magnusson, J.P., Pasparakisc G. and Alexander C. (2009) Cell up-take control of gold nanoparticles functionalized with a thermoresponsive polymer. J. Mater. Chem. 19: 1608–1615.



    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

  • 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).
  • 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.