Curriculum Vitae

  • 2019 - present:    Full Professor for Pharmaceutical Technology / Galenics,
    Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • 2015 - 2019:     Associate Professor for Phospholipids in Drug Development,
    Institute of Pharmacy, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany
  • 2012 - 2015:     Group Leader, Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2009 - 2011:     Post-doctoral Researcher, Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2006 - 2008:     Post-doctoral Fellow, Chemistry Department, University of Florence, Italy
  • 2004:     Visiting PhD Student, Biomedicine and Biochemical Department, Biomedicum, University of Helsinki, Finland.
  • 2002 - 2005:     Ph.D. in Chemical Sciences, Chemistry Department, University of Rome “La Sapienza", Italy
  • 2002:     Laurea (M.Sc.) in Chemical Sciences. Summa cum Laude Chemistry Department, University of Rome "La Sapienza", Italy
  • 1996-2002:     Undergraduate studies in Chemical Sciences (Biological Chemistry), Chemistry Department, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Italy


  • 2019:    Guest editor for special issues on the journals Pharmaceutics and Molecules (MDPI)
  • Since 2019:    Guest member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Phospholipid Research
  • Since 2017:     Guest member of the APV Focus Group “Drug Delivery” 
  • Since 2016:     Associate Editor of the journal Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports (Elsevier)
  • 2016 - 2019:     Faculty member of the Committee for Equal Opportunity, University of Jena, Germany
  • 2012 - 2014:    Deputy Project Leader of the project “Oral biomarkers for early diagnosis of fibrotic inflammatory bowel disease”, funded by the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zürich, Switzerland
  • 2012:    Member of the Scientific Committee of the international conference: “Nanomedicine: from molecules to diagnosis and therapy”, Rome, Italy


Over the years Prof. Luciani focused her research on the design and characterization of liposomes as drug delivery system (protein, nucleic acids, drugs). Taking advantage of diverse biocompatible scaffolds such as peptides, polymers and phospholipids she also developed contrast agents for real-time fluorescence imaging of lymphatic and vascular system in inflammation and cancer and for reactive-oxygen species.
Prof. Luciani's research is characterized by a multidisciplinary approach aimed at developing lipid-based tools for diagnostic molecular imaging and for targeted therapy of fibrotic diseases. Another research focus is understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the oral administration of lipid-based formulations and the effect of oxidative stress on phospholipids as nutraceuticals.
More recently Prof. Luciani started to explore the field of site-specific sustained release and her research groups actively works on the development of novel manufacturing processes for lipid-based depots as an alternative to current technologies for hydrophilic drugs and biomacromolecules.

Oral phospholipids and liver fibrosis: a molecular perspective

Chronic liver diseases cover a spectrum of pathologies headed by a process that involves a progressive destruction and regeneration of liver functional parts leading to fibrosis and then cirrhosis. Oral dosage forms can help to increase patient compliance significantly improving the course of such chronic disorders and lipid-based oral medications have been shown to be suitable candidates. The aim of this project is to develop and characterize novel oral lipid-based formulations for chronic liver pathologies by means of validated and optimized in vitro models. In order to select the most efficient excipients for novel phospholipid-based antifibrotic therapies, the role of single lipids is investigated by the screening of lipid components and thorough quantitative and qualitative analyses of their effect are performed at a molecular and cellular level.

Exploring novel non-invasive targeted diagnostic possibilities for liver fibrosis

The possibility of an early diagnosis to detect the evolution of liver disease to liver fibrosis remains a Holy Grail in hepatology. The lack of accurate, reproducible, and easily applicable methods for the assessment of hepatic fibrosis has been the major limitation for both the clinical management and research in liver diseases. Liver biopsy remains the gold standard to reach the certainty of diagnosis. The nature of the procedure, however, creates a quest for a less invasive diagnostic modality through which the evolution of the disease and the effectiveness of the anti-fibrotic therapies could be followed. The identification of biomarkers specific for enzymes responsible for the early alterations of liver microstructure, combined with a non-invasive optical imaging modality, could guide the clinicians towards a timely therapeutic strategy. The biomarkers, indeed, could be also used as a tool to achieve a highly specific treatment in the fibrosis-affected areas in the liver. Liposomes represent an optimal platform to combine diagnostic accuracy and therapeutic efficiency. In this research project emphasis is placed on the development and physicochemical characterization as well as on the use of in vitro cell culture to test targeted liposomes designed to improve management strategies of this chronic fibro-proliferative disease.

Lipid-based therapeutics for liver fibrosis and their impact on extracellular vesicles

Liver fibrosis is the wound-healing response to chronic hepatic insults, often leading to the loss of organ function. It is characterized by the excessive deposition of scar tissue, a process driven by activated hepatic stellate cells (HSC). The broader aim of our research is to assess the impact of lipid-based therapeutics on extracellular vesicles isolated from hepatic cell lines, used as an in vitro model for the progression of liver fibrosis.
This project is financially supported by the Phospholipid Research Center.

Development of a phospholipid-based depot technology for sustained drug release

The topic of this project is the development of a novel phospholipid-based depot formulation for sustained release of drugs. The main principle of the depot building is the aggregation of liposomes encapsulating a model drug. Besides the screening of appropriate formulations and the physico-chemical characterisation of the aggregates, the emphasis is the investigation of different encapsulation methods and following release studies. Another focus is the development of a novel manufacturing process and application system for this depot formulation compared to existing market products.
This project is financially supported by the Phospholipid Research Center.

For more information:

Rahnfeld L, Thamm J, Steiniger F, van Hoogevest P, Luciani P. Study on the in situ aggregation of liposomes with negatively charged phospholipids for use as injectable depot formulation. Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces (2018) 168:10-17.

  • Phospholipid Research Center
  • CRS Local Chapter Germany
  • Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Pharmazeutische Verfahrenstechnik (APV)
  • Deutscher Hochschulverband (DHV)
  • Swiss Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Controlled Release Society

PhD Students

Associated Group Members


PhD Student and Postdoc Positions

We welcome applications from excellent and enthusiastic students, PhD students and postdocs to join the Luciani Group! We offer brand new labs fully equipped, a motivated group of young scientists, a pleasant working atmosphere, research topics in pharmaceutical technology and drug delivery at the crossroad with Chemistry, Biology and Medicine. 

Applications should be sent by e-mail to Prof. Paola Luciani, and should include a letter describing the research interests and motivation, a resumé, a copy of their study certificates, the names and contact information (address, email address, and phone number) of at least two reference persons, and relevant publications. 

Current Vacancies 

The Luciani Group is currently looking for: 

  • 1 PhD student, position available from February 1st, 2020. 

The successful candidates should have a strong interest in drug formulation and delivery, specifically in biophysical characterization techniques, in analytical biosciences, and in cell culture models. The candidates will work as teaching assistants to supervise undergraduate students in the laboratories of Galenical Pharmacy, therefore a degree in Pharmacy will be preferred, as well as a fluent command of German. 

The candidates are expected to be highly motivated and proactive, able to work in a team, and have good communication skills (working language is English). 

News & Social Media

Moving to Bern

Since April 1st, 2019, Prof. Paola Luciani officially is Full Professor for Pharmaceutical Technology at the DCB.