Francesco Difato graduated in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Genoa in 2002. He was awarded with the 2002 GIC-Italian Citometry Group Prize (Annual award for the best graduation thesis in bio-engeneering) for his thesis on “Quantitative volumetric recostruction of bioimages by confocal microscopy”. From 2002 to 2006 he worked in the laboratory of confocal microscopy at Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in Prague, developing applications of fluorescence techniques (FRAP, FRET). From 2004 to 2006 he also worked as responsible of confocal microscopy laboratory, at Charles University in Prague, offering consultations and training. In 2004 he began his Ph.D studies at Charles University in Prague to apply life imaging to study dynamics and cytoplasmatic trafficking of Polyomavirus in living cells. From 2006 to 2008 he worked at SISSA, in Trieste, where he setup a custom made photonic force microscope to study the force exerted by growth cone during neuron differentiation and cytoskeleton role during axonal growth. In 2008 he received his Ph.D with a thesis entitled: “Optical microscopy to study the role of the cytoskeleton in cell locomotion and virus trafficking”.
Currently, he has a post-doc position at Italian Institute of Technology (IIT). His research aims to combine optical tweezers and laser dissector system integrated with MEA recordings and fluorescence Calcium imaging. The optical surgery workstation will be exploited on differentiating neurons at single cell and network level, to study the physiological response of single neurons and neural networks during optical manipulation.