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The Institute of Food Sciences (ISA) research activities are organized in three main science programs:  A) Food; B) Health; and C) Omics.

A) Food
This program is aimed at:

  1. the study of food quality and biodiversity;
  2. the study and promotion of local food products and the analysis of the food-farm supply chain;
  3. the development of innovative methods, technologies and biotechnologies to improve quality and safety of food (food processing, shelf life, smart and sustainable active packaging);
  4. the evaluation of the biological effects of food and microorganisms of food on health;
  5. the development of novel products and functional ingredients (e.g. fortified food and novel food).

B) Health
The goal of this program is to study the relationship between nutrition, health and diseases. The main areas of research are the following:

  1. Epidemiology and population genetics (nutritional and genetic/epigenetic determinants of obesity and related diseases).
  2. Nutrition and metabolism (metabolic effects of traditional Mediterranean diet).
  3. Chemo-preventive mechanisms of phytochemicals.
  4. Nutraceuticals and functional foods: pre-clinical and clinical approaches.
  5. Immune-morphology.

The program involves research groups interested to chronic-degenerative diseases (cancer, cardiovascular); metabolic diseases (obesity, diabetes), food intolerance.

C) Omics
This program cuts across the research interests of CNR-ISA groups and offers an advanced analytical platform for national and international collaborations with academic institutions, research institutes and industries.
The scientists participating to this program have consolidated expertise in omics sciences, including:

  1. Analytical methodologies based on mass spectrometry for proteomics and metabolomics, for the structural characterization of proteins, peptides, antioxidants, lipids, volatile molecules and other classes of biomolecules.
  2. Informatics, bioinformatics, computational biology, data analysis and management, molecular modelling and docking.
  3. Development of advanced optical biochips for specific detection of traces of compounds of interest for food safety, homeland security and health.
  4. Protein Purification and Characterization.
  5. Optical Biosensors.
  6. Fluorescence spectroscopy (steady.state and time resolved) including phosphorescence spectroscopy and FCS.
  7. Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR).

Research activity is focused on topics strategically relevant in food and life science, such as the complex relationship between food composition and human health, the transformation and metabolic fate of food, the characterization of components with beneficial or adverse biological activities, food authenticity, homeland security & environmental issues.