Velia Minicozzi

Assistant Professor in Applied Physics

I am assistant professor at the Physics Department of the University of Rome "Tor Vergata" since 2006. I am a Biophysicist and I am involved in computer simulations of biological macromolecules.

My research has been focused, for several years, on the study of the role played by metal ions in the development of amyloidosis, in particular prion and Alzheimer diseases. We have dealt with the problem (within the Biophysics group of this University) by using simultaneously and synergistically both an experimental and a theoretical-numerical approach, i.e. X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) and numerical simulations (classical and quantum).

The experimental part of the research activity was carried out at international facilities such as the ESRF synchrotron (Grenoble) and the computational one by using the computational time obtained on Italian and European supercomputers through international calls.

In recent years I have been dealing not only with intrinsically disordered proteins but also with the study of symmetries in trimeric proteins and the interaction between flavonoids and membrane proteins.

Since a.a. 2019/2020 I have been teaching "Computational Theories and Techniques for Biological Physics" (6 credits and compulsory for students of the Master's Degree in Physics with Physics of Biosystems) and I carry out the exercises for the General Physics 2 course (Degree course in Chemistry).

Previously, from 2004 to 2018 I taught "Biological Physics Laboratory" 6 credits (compulsory for students of the Master's Degree in Physics with Physics of Biosystems address).

Since my PhD I have been part of the Italian Society of Pure and Applied Biophysics (SIBPA). From 2008 to 2012 and from 2014 to 2018 I was elected member of the Scientific board of the Society. I participated to the organisation of several SIBPA national conferences and in January 2015 I organised the XIX International School of Biophysics entitled "Theoretical and Computational Approaches to Biophysics" held in Venice.

Since 2017 I have been part of the organisation of "Biophysics@Rome", a congress organised every two years together with a group of CNR researchers, Tech4Bio group.

Publications since 2007

  • V Minicozzi, A Di Venere, E Nicolai, A Giuliani, A M Caccuri, L Di Paola, G Mei “Non-symmetrical structural behavior of a symmetric protein: the case of homo-trimeric TRAF2 (tumor necrosis factor-receptor associated factor 2)” (2020) J Biomol Struct Biol: 1-11
  • D Benkerrou, V Minicozzi, A Gradogna, S Milenkovic, I Bodrenko, M Festa, L Lagostena, L Cornara, A D'amore, M Ceccarelli, A Filippini, A Carpaneto “A perspective on the modulation of plant and animal Two Pore Channels (TPCs) by the flavonoid naringenin” (2019) Biophysical Chemistry 254:106246
  • A Vitale & V Minicozzi “Monitoring Insulin Aggregated Structures in the Presence of Epigallocatechin-3-gallate and Melatonin by Molecular Dynamics Simulations” (2019) Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling 59(7): 3214-3221 doi: 10.1021/acs.jcim.9b00058
  • M Petrosino, A Pasquo, L Novak, A Toto, S Gianni, E Mantuano, L Veneziano, V Minicozzi, A Pastore, R Puglisi, E Capriotti, R Chiaraluce, V Consalvi “CHARACTERIZATION OF HUMAN FRATAXIN MISSENSE VARIANTS IN CANCER TISSUES” (2019) Human Mutation 40:1400-1413
  • E Capozzi, S Aureli, V Minicozzi, GC Rossi, F Stellato, S Morante “Designing effective anticancer-radiopeptide carriers: A Molecular Dynamics study of their interaction with tumor and healthy cell membranes” (2018) BBA – Biomenbranes 1860: 2348-2355
  • M Carbonaro, F. Ripanti, A. Filabozzi, V. Minicozzi, F. Stellato,E. Placidi, S. Morante, A. Di Venere, E. Nicolai, P. Postorino, A. Nucara “Human insulin fibrillogenesis in the presence of epigallocatechin gallate and melatonin: structural insights from a biophysical approach” (2018) International Journal of Biological Macromolecules 115:1157-1164
  • Villa, A. Cianchi, M. Coreno, S. Dabagov,A. Marcelli, V. Minicozzi, S. Morante, F. Stellato “Design study of a photon beamline for a soft X-ray FEL driven by high gradient acceleration at EuPRAXIA@SPARC_LAB” (2018) Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment 909:294-297
  • Ferrario, …, V. Minicozzi, …, et al. “EuPRAXIA@SPARC_LAB Design study towards a compact FEL facility at LNF” (2018) Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment 909:134-138
  • Stellato, Z. Fusco, R. Chiaraluce, V. Consalvi, S. Dinarelli, E. Placidi, M. Petrosino, G.C. Rossi, V. Minicozzi and S. Morante “The effect of b-sheet breaker peptides on metal associated Amyloid-b peptide aggregation process” (2017) Biophysical Chemistry 229:110-114
  • M Petrosino, L Lori, A Pasquo, C Lori, V Consalvi, V Minicozzi, S Morante, A Laghezza, A Giorgi, D Capelli, R Chiaraluce “Single Nucleotide Polymorphism of PPARγ, a Protein at the Crossroads of Physiological and Pathological Processes” (2017) Int J Mol Sci 18:36
  • E De Santis, V Minicozzi, S Morante, GC Rossi, F Stellato “The role of metals in protein conformational disorders - The case of prion protein and Aβ –peptide” (2016) Journal of Physics: Conference Series 689(1):012028
  • M Carbonaro, A di Venere, A Filabozzi, P Maselli, V Minicozzi,S Morante, E Nicolai, A Nucara, E Placidi, F Stellato “Role of dietary antioxidant (-)-epicatechin in the development of blactoglobulin fibrils” (2016) BBA - Proteins and Proteomics 1864, pp. 766-772 DOI information: 10.1016/j.bbapap.2016.03.017
  • E De Santis, V Minicozzi, O Proux, GC Rossi, KI Silva, MJ Lawless, F Stellato, S Saxena, S Morante “Cu(II)-Zn(II) cross modulation in amyloid-beta peptide binding: an X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy study” (2015) J Phys Chem B 119(52):15813-20. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.5b10264
  • A Ceccarelli, A Di Venere, E Nicolai, A De Luca, V Minicozzi, N Rosato, AM Caccuri and G Mei “TNFR-associated factor-2 (TRAF2): not only a trimer” (2015) Biochemistry 54(60):6153-61
  • G La Penna, V Minicozzi, S Morante, GC Rossi, F Stellato “A first-principle calculation of the XANES spectrum of Cu2+ in water” (2015) J Chem Phys 143: 124508
  • MG Di Carlo, V Minicozzi, V Foderà, V Militello, V Vetri, S Morante and M Leone “Thioflavin T templates Amyloid b(1-40) Conformation and Aggregation pathway” (2015) Biophysical Chemistry 206:1-11 10.1016/j.bpc.2015.06.006
  • F Stellato, V Minicozzi, GL Millhauser, M Pascucci, O Proux, GC Rossi, A Spevacek and S Morante “Copper-Zinc cross-modulation in prion protein binding” (2014) Eur Biophys J 43:631-642
  • V Minicozzi, R Chiaraluce, V Consalvi, C Giordano, C Narcisi, P Punzi, GC Rossi and S Morante “Computational and experimental studies on b-sheet breakers targeting Ab1-40 fibrils” J. Biol. Chem. (2014) 289:11242-11252
  • Ferrario et al. “IRIDE: Interdisciplinary research infrastructure based on dual electron linacs and lasers” (2014) NUCL INSTRUM METH A740:138-146 DOI: 10.1016/j.nima.2013.11.040 [1]
  • Alesini et al. “IRIDE White Book, An Interdisciplinary Research Infrastructure based on Dual Electron linacs&lasers” (2013)
  • A Maiorana, T Marino, V Minicozzi, S Morante, N Russo “A Micro-Enviromental Study of the Zn+2-Ab1-16 Structural Properties” (2013) Biophysical Chemistry, 182:86-93 DOI information: 10.1016/j.bpc.2013.07.002
  • R Sarangi, P Frank, M Benfatto, S Morante, V Minicozzi, B Hedman, and K Hodgson “The XAS Model of Solvation About Sulfur in Aqueous L-cysteine” (2012) JCP 137, 205103, DOI: 10.1063/1.4767350
  • P Giannozzi, K Jansen, G La Penna, V Minicozzi, S Morante, GC Rossi and F Stellato, “Zn induced structural aggregation patterns of b-amyloid peptides by first–principle simulations and XAS measurements” (2012) Metallomics, 4:156-165
  • F Stellato, A Spevacek, O Proux, V Minicozzi, GL Millhauser, S Morante “Zinc Modulates Copper Coordination Mode in Prion Protein Octa-repeat Subdomains” (2011) EBJ 40(11):1259 – 1270, DOI: 10.1007/s00249-011-0713-4
  • V Minicozzi, S Morante “Is Cu involved in prion oligopeptide stability? Experiments and numerical simulations.” (2010) Int. J. Quan. Chem. 110: 656-680 ISSN: 0020-7608
  • Besio, S Alleva, A Forlino, A Lupi, C Meneghini, V Minicozzi, A Profumo, F. Stellato, R. Tenni, S. Morante “Identifying the structure of the active sites of human recombinant prolidase” European Biophysics Journal (2010) 39: 935-945 ISSN: 0175-7571
  • F Guerrieri, V Minicozzi, S Morante, GC Rossi, S Furlan, G La Penna, “Modeling the interplay of glycine protonation and multiple histidine binding of copper in the Prion protein octarepeat sub-domains” (2009) J. Biol. Inorg. Chem. 14: 361 ISSN: 0949-8257
  • V Minicozzi, S Morante, GC Rossi, F Stellato, N Christian, K Jansen. “The role of metals in aggregation. Experiments and ab initio simulations” (2008) Int J Quan Chem 108: 1992 – 2015 ISSN: 0020-7608 (
  • Minicozzi, F.Stellato, M.Comai, M. Dalla Serra, C.Potrich, W.Meyer-Klaucke, S.Morante, “Identifying the Minimal Cu and Zn Binding Site Sequence in Amyloid Beta Peptides” (2008) J. Biol. Chem. 283: 10784-10792. ISSN: 0021-9258
  • Minicozzi, S.Morante, G.C.Rossi, F.Stellato, K.Jansen, “The role of metals in misfolding and aggregation processes: X-ray spectroscopy and numerical simulations” in “From Computational Biophysics to System Biology (CBSB07)”, Proceedings of the NIC Workshop 2007, 36: 223 (http://www.fz-juelich.de/nicseries/volume36)
  • Minicozzi, S. Morante, G. C. Rossi, F. Stellato, “The rôle of Metals in Amyloid Aggregation: A Test Case for ab initio Simulations” Comp. Mod. Sci. and Eng. 963, 92-97 (2007)
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Teaching in the Physics Department
ID Course Name Semester Length CFU
THEORY AND COMPUTATIONAL METHODS FOR BIOLOGICAL PHYSICS Second 14 Weeks 6