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Professor Pietro Cicuta

Professor Pietro Cicuta


Head of Biological and Soft Systems

Corpus Christi, Fellow

Chair of IOP Biological Physics group

Room 901 Rutherford Building
Cavendish Laboratory
JJ Thomson Avenue

Cambridge CB3 0HE
Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 337462


Pietro obtained a Laurea in Physics, in Milan (1999) before joining the Cavendish Lab for his PhD (2003). He initially worked on interface science, and then became interested in lipid membranes in his post-doc, at the Nanoscience Center, before returning to the Cavendish with an Oppenheimer Research Fellowship (2004-2007).  He began working with biological cells and optical trapping. In 2006 he was appointed University Lecturer in Physics, and also joined the Fellowship at Corpus Christi College.  Research-wise, a group has grown based on imaging and microfluidic devices, addressing a range of questions in biological and soft matter physics. In 2013 he was promoted to Reader, in 2016 Professor.

Research Interests

Pietro's current research interests revolve around three main areas of funding: regulation of gene expression in bacteria; understanding synchronisation of motile cilia in biological tissues; controlling the self assembly of lipid based systems, aiming for new functionality. We also have a wider range of related research projects, carried out in collaboration with leading partners, mostly from Life Sciences. These include host/pathogen interactions and imaging (both malaria and bacteria); single cell physiology of unicellular organisms (at the moment, algae); cell motility.  We have quite broad interest and expertise in soft matter and biological physics questions.


  • Experimental condensed matter physics
  • Statistical Physics
  • biophysics
  • Biological Physics
  • Soft Condensed Matter
  • healthcare

Key Publications

M. Chioccioli*, L. Feriani*, J. Kotar, P.E. Bratcher, P. Cicuta
Phenotyping ciliary dynamics and coordination in response to CFTR-modulators and Thymosin-alpha1 in Cystic Fibrosis respiratory epithelial cells
Nature Communications 10, 1763 (2019)


M. Chioccioli, L. Feriani, Q. Nguyen, J. Kotar, S. D. Dell, V. Mennella, I. Amirav and P. Cicuta
Quantitative high speed video profiling discriminates between variants of primary ciliary dyskinesia
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine in press (2019)


Ryan A. Brady, Nicholas J. Brooks, Vito Foderà, Pietro Cicuta and Lorenzo Di Michele
Amphiphilic-DNA Platform for the Design of Crystalline Frameworks with Programmable Structure and Functionality
JACS 140, 45, 15384-15392 (2018)


Armando Maestro, Nicolas Bruot, Jurij Kotar, Nariya Uchida, Ramin Golestanian and Pietro Cicuta
Control of synchronization in models of hydrodynamically coupled motile cilia
Communications Physics 1, 28 (2018)


Leyla Y. Bustamante, Gareth T. Powell, Yen-Chun Lin, Michael D. Macklin, Nadia Cross, Alison Kemp, Paula Cawkill, Theo Sanderson, Cecile Crosnier, Nicole Muller-Sienerth, Ogobara K. Doumbo, Boubacar Traore, Peter D. Crompton, Pietro Cicuta, Tuan M. Tran, Gavin J. Wright, and Julian C. Rayner
Synergistic malaria vaccine combinations identified by systematic antigen screening
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 1702944114 (2017)


Emma L. Talbot, Lucia Parolini, Jurij Kotar, Lorenzo Di Michele and Pietro Cicuta
Thermal driven domain and cargo transport in lipid membranes
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 114 846-851 (2017)


Complete list of publications