Roberto Rusconi has secured one of the three grants from the INF-ACT Foundation

Three researchers, two foundations, one common goal: to advance the most promising research projects in the field of emerging infectious diseases. With this mission in mind, the INF-ACT Foundation, established with funds from the PNRR (National Recovery and Resilience Plan), in collaboration with the prestigious Armenise-Harvard Foundation, has awarded, on a highly competitive basis, three grants of €150,000 each to three emerging scientists, commonly referred to as “mid-career scientists,” who have been active for more than 5 years but less than 12. Among them there is Roberto Rusconi – Associate Professor at Humanitas University and Head of the Laboratory of Applied Physics, Biophysics, and Microfluidics at Humanitas Research Hospital.

The three research projects were selected through the rigorous procedures of the Armenise-Harvard Foundation, chosen for their innovative approach to infectious disease research, aimed at better managing the emergence of potential new epidemics.

We are very pleased because we received applications from researchers engaged in various aspects that emerging infectious diseases require addressing, with innovative, cross-cutting, and multidisciplinary approaches. These funds represent further allocation of resources for research activities within the PNRR project managed by the INF-ACT Foundation in response to an internal call specifically dedicated to ‘mid-career’ researchers. The three grants awarded will enable these talented scientists to continue their studies and explore the potential of modern scientific research, where human health is interconnected with animal and environmental health, from a One Health perspective,” says Federico Forneris, president of the INF-ACT Foundation.

The project led by Roberto Rusconi focuses on biofilms, bacterial communities protected by an extracellular matrix produced by the bacteria themselves. Biofilms represent one of the main causes of resistant infections in hospitals and are particularly associated with the use of biomedical devices. By focusing on the specific structures that biofilms form within the body under flow conditions, such as in catheters or stents, the project aims to understand how these biofilms form and resist antibiotics, specifically investigating the role played by bacterial DNA released into the extracellular matrix. The ultimate goal is to discover new strategies to combat these resistant bacterial colonies by developing new infection control methods.

Grants for ‘mid-career’ researchers are important because they fill a gap in research funding, offering crucial support to those in an intermediate position between the more common opportunities for early-career researchers and senior-level recognitions,” says Roberto Rusconi. “This award recognizes the unique position of scientists at this delicate stage of their career path and allows three projects with high technological and multidisciplinary content to offer innovative solutions to the challenges posed by emerging and resistant infectious diseases.”


Humanitas is a highly specialized Hospital, Research and Teaching Center. Built around centers for the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, neurological and orthopedic disease – together with an Ophthalmic Center and a Fertility Center – Humanitas also operates a highly specialised Emergency Department.