Research Team

Leonardo Sacconi - Group Leader (INO-CNR)
Leonardo Sacconi received the Master degree in Physics in 2001 at the University of Florence. He, then, moved to Trento, where he obtained the PhD in Physics. Visiting scientist at the Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA, in the group of Watt W. Webb. There he developed an imaging method to optically record neuronal action potentials using non-linear microscopy. From 2005 to 2011 he started new research lines on functional imaging of neuronal networks at European Laboraotry for Non-linear Spectrscopy (LENS) in the group of Francesco S. Pavone. In this period, he developed a system called Random Access Multi-Photon (RAMP) microscope that was capable to record action potentials from multiple neurons simultaneously. The RAMP microscope was also exploited to investigate the action potential propagation in cardiac cells. This represents the beginning of his independent activities in the field of cardiovascular research. He is now a Senior Researcher at the National Institute of Optics in Florence and group leader of the Cardiac Imaging at LENS where we are developing innovative imaging methodologies to increase the understanding of cardiac physiology. In 2020 he also joined the Institute for Experimental Cardiovascular Medicine of University Freiburg, Germany..

Valentina Biasci - Research Fellow (UNIFI)
Valentina Biasci received the Mater degree in Pharmacy in 2017 at the University of Florence. In 2017 she started her current PhD in Physiology at the University of Florence; title of the research project: "Optical control of cardiac arrhythmias". In this project she is exploiting advantages of optogenetic in order to deeper understand the mechanisms of sustained arrhythmia formation and maintenance and, more generally, to study cardiac physiology in intact hearts. In 2019 she was a visiting PhD student at the McGill University, Montreal, QC, CA. in the Dr. Gil Bub's group. There she studied how re-entrant waves are generated in cardiac monolayers using dynamic illumination patterns for optogenetic waves control.

Gerrit Adam Marchal - Research Fellow (INO-CNR)
Gerard Marchal received the Master degree in Cardiovascular Research in 2015 at the VU University Amsterdam. That same year, he started as a PhD student at the Academic Medical Centre of the University of Amsterdam. In his dissertation he investigated various aspects of the cardiac sodium channel Nav1.5, demonstrating its impact on embryonic cardiac development and structural defects and its role in atrial fibrillation. In addition, he focussed on the modulation of targeted Nav1.5 trafficking to specific domains of cardiomyocytes. In 2021 he started his current position as a research fellow at the European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy (LENS) in Florence.

Francesco Giardini- Research Fellow (UNIFI)
Francesco Giardini received a Bachelor Degree in Computer Engineering in 2015 and a Master Degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2018, both at the University of Florence. In his master thesis, he developed an analysis software to reconstruct the 3D cytoarchitecture of heart tissue. Then, he started a PhD course in the Cardiac Imaging Group at the European Laboratory for Non-linear Spectroscopy (LENS) in Florence. There, he is working on 3D analysis and modeling tools based on high-resolution whole heart reconstructions to investigate on the cardiac electrical function.

Camilla Olianti - PhD Student (UNISI - Pegaso)
Camilla Olianti received the Bachelor Degree in Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology in 2017 at the University of Florence and the Master Degree in Medical, Molecular and Cellular Biotechnology in 2019 at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan. In her master thesis, she developed a successful approach to obtain a high-resolution 3D reconstruction of the vascular network, cellular organization and collagen deposition of murine hearts, suitable to study several cardiac pathologies. In 2019 she started her current PhD in Molecular Medicine at the Cardiac Imaging Group at the European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy (LENS) in Florence; title of the research project: Registration and optical manipulation of the cardiac electrical activity at intra- and inter-cellular level.

Giulia Arecchi - PhD Student (UNIFI)
Giulia Arecchi obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology in 2018 at the University of Florence, where she continued her studies, obtaining a Master's Degree in Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology in 2021. Her thesis, entitled: Reconstruction analysis of cardiac fibrosis in a mouse model of arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy, focuses on a new methodological framework that allows imaging of whole mouse hearts with micrometric resolution. In 2021, she began her current PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the Cardiac Imaging Group at the European Laboratory for Non-linear Spectroscopy (LENS). .


Collaborators from LENS
- Francesco S. Pavone - Full Professor

External Collaborators
- Cecilia Ferrantini and Corrado Poggesi, University of Florence, Italy.
- Raffaele Coppini, Laura Sartiani and Elisabetta Cerbai, University of Florence, Italy.
- Leonardo Bocchi, University of Florence, Italy.
- Leslie M. Loew, University of Connecticut Health Center, US.
- Gil Bub, McGill University, Canada.
- Martin Bishop, King's College London, UK.
- Sayedeh Hussaini and Stefan Luther, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Germany.
- Eva Rog-Zielinska, Callum Zgierski-Johnston and Peter Kohl, University of Freiburg, Germany.
- Marina Campione, Tania Zaglia and Marco Mongillo, University of Padova, Italy.

Past Members

- Claudia Crocini, Ph.D
- Samantha Cannazzaro, PhD
- Marina Scardigli, PhD
- Erica Lazzari, PhD