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Dr Roberto Angelini

Dr Roberto Angelini

Lecturer, Biomedical Sciences
Available For Postgraduate Supervision

About

Dr Angelini’s main scientific interest is the relationship between lipid chemical structures and their biological function. He routinely employs mass spectrometry to carry out lipidomics studies as applied to biomedical research. He is confident that by studying lipid biological function we can increase our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of several diseases.  

Dr Angelini received his Master’s Degree and Ph.D. at the University of Bari in the laboratory of Angela Corcelli where he was trained on deciphering the lipid composition of biomembranes of archaeal, bacterial and eukaryotic cells, exposed to different environmental modifications including osmotic stress, oxygen availability, and exposure to pharmacologically active compounds. At the Corcelli Lab, he developed analytical tools based on lipid profiling for biomedical research and clinical applications. Later, he sharpened his knowledge and technical skills in mass spectrometry in the laboratories of Valerian Kagan at Pittsburgh University and of Daniele Piomelli at the University of California, Irvine. 

He returned to Europe with an MSCA-COFUND Fellowship to work in the Griffiths-Wang laboratory at Swansea University where he developed mass spectrometry applications to image sterols in the brain. Here he also took his first faculty position at the Swansea University Medical School in the Institute of Life Science as Lecturer (Enhanced Research). 

 

  

 

Areas Of Expertise

  • Lipidomics
  • Lipid Biochemistry
  • Analytical Biochemistry
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Neuroscience
  • Mitochondria

Career Highlights

Teaching Interests

Lipid Biochemistry 

Membrane Biology 

Neurochemistry 

I strongly believe research and teaching are equally important: unveiling the multifaceted roles of lipids in health and disease will require an interdisciplinary approach that new generations will need to be trained for. Lipids are characterized by an extensive structural diversity that mirrors the diversity of their biological functions. Elucidating the key roles of lipids in cellular processes is the next frontier in biology research. To this end, biochemists, cell biologists, physicists and information technologists will have to work together. My ultimate goal is to provide a relevant contribution in this direction by supporting students in their educational paths. 

Research

Dr Angelini research focuses on characterizing the chemical diversity of lipids and their biochemical pathways to increase our understanding of their behaviour in biological systems. In applying his studies to biomedicine he employs mass spectrometry to rule out the contribution of lipid molecules to pathological mechanisms. 

Dr Angelini is currently interested in neurolipidomics, i.e. the study of the function of brain lipids. Half of our brain in dry weight is made of lipids with nerve cells continuously adjusting their lipid composition to serve cellular processes. For instance, modification of brain lipids may support synaptic vesiculation helping nerve cells to communicate. Some lipid molecules may even leave the membrane and work as second messengers within and across cells. Others can control function and traffic of proteins, including ion channels and receptors, or mediate cell recognition. Finally myelin, the membrane that covers and protects nerve fibres is made almost entirely of lipids. 

Dr Angelini’s research focuses on developing analytical methods to study lipid biosynthesis and degradation in the healthy and diseased central nervous system. Classical and imaging mass spectrometry are employed to profile lipids in brain tissue sections, biopsies, and neural cell cultures. 

In collaboration with others, these measurements are aligned with analysis of expression and function of lipid-related proteins. Characterisation of changes in the healthy and diseased brain is employed to delineate the contribution of lipid function to pathophysiological mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration. Also in collaboration with other labs, therapeutic potential of lipids is explored in vitro and in vivo. Research efforts aim at identyfing suitable targets and compounds to interfere with various aspects of lipid biosynthesis. The overarching goal is understanding lipid physiological function in the healthy brain and reprograming it to repair brain damage in neurodegenerative diseases.