The NeuroPhage Project

Engineered brain-permeable M13 phages as nanocarriers for the delivery of photovoltaic nanoparticles: targeting and activation of D1-dopaminoceptive neurons in the Striatum.


With more than 10 million people affected worldwide, Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases with major psychological, social, and economic impacts.

Our strategy

Photovoltaic polymer nanoparticles (NPs) are able to efficiently stimulate denervated neurons on demand. As an alternative to invasive DBS or optogenetics, NeuroPhage aims at delivering these polymeric NPs using engineered brain-permeable M13 phages as nanocarriers for specific targeting and activation of D1-dopaminoceptive neurons in the striatum.

Parkinson’s Disease

PD is characterized by the progressive degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway that physiologically facilitates the initiation of voluntary movements. This results in the imbalance of striatal outputs and impairment of the striatal D1-dopaminoceptive “direct pathway”, leading to akinesia.

The Innovation

For a lunar module-like affinity, the NeuroPhage innovation, distinct from existing NP-based technologies, uses biological biocompatible and harmless vectors to bring active organic NPs in close proximity of selected target neurons, for an effective, cell-specific, minimally invasive strategy to drive specific basal ganglia activation and rescue PD symptoms.

This project will pave the way for a very flexible platform based on novel hybrid bio-nano interfaces applicable in vivo to rescue neural functions that are lost in neurodegenerative diseases.

Learn more about the Project with our News articles

Keep updated on news and events related to the NeuroPhage project.

  • New Recruitments Announcement
    IRCCS hired a new postdoc for NeuroPhage. Silvia Vercellino starting in January 2022, will be working on blood-brain barrier crossing and brain targeting. HZDR hired a new research associate for the project. Johanna Trommer, starting on February 2022, will be…
  • European Researcher Night
    JPND NeuroPhage project presented by Alberto Danielli to high school students in the context of the European Researchers’ Night 2021 (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions) held in Bologna.
  • Neurophage Kick-off Meeting
    The Neurophage Kick-off meeting has been held on 15th June 2021.