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Mauro Gemmi

Technologist - Principal Investigator - Center Coordinator
Center Director

Research Line

Electron Crystallography




Center for Nanotechnology Innovation@NESTPiazza S. Silvestro 12
+39 050 509032
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Mauro Gemmi is  a physicist with a wide expertise in trasmission electron microscopy. He is a pioneer in the use of precession electron diffraction for solving crystal structures,  and he is internationally know as one of maximum expert in electron crystallography.

15/06/1995 Degree in Physics (Italian Laurea) at University of Bologna Italy Grade obtained: 110 / 110 cum laude
20/03/2000 PhD in Physics (Physics Department University of Bologna). Thesis on “Crystal structure analysis by electron diffraction: strategies and application”. Supervisors: Prof. Giulio Pozzi & Prof. Gianluca Calestani.

January 2001 - December 2001 He joined as Post Doc the Structural Chemistry Department University of Stockholm, Sweden, where he developed new electron crystallography methods under the supervision of Prof. Sven Hovmöller and Prof. Xiaodong Zou.
January 2001 - August 2010. He has been responsible for the TEM lab of the Earth Science Department of Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy. There he has been working on solid solution properties of minerals under non ambient conditions (HT, HP) and he developed new methods for solving structures with electron diffraction data.
April-July 2008 He has been Invited Scientist at CNRS-Institut Néel, Grenoble, France, developing methods for solving structure using the new precession electron diffraction technique.
From September 2010  to August 2014 he had a Post Doc Senior contract at the Center for Nanotechnology Innovation@NEST, Pisa, Italy, as TEM specialist responsible for the TEM Lab activity.
From September 2014 He is Technologist in charged of the TEM lab at the Center for Nanotechnology Innovation, Pisa, Italy.

From August 2015 He is the Coordinantor of the Center for Nanotechnology Innovation, Pisa, Italy.

Since August 2015 he is Chair of the SIG4 on Electron Crystallography of the European Crystallography Association

He is member of the Italian Crystallography Association  (AIC), the European Crystallography Association (ECA) and the Mineralogical Society of America (MSA).  

Reserach interest

New electron diffraction methods for solving crystal structures.

Crystal structure determination in high pressure experiments.

Solving the crystal structure of organic crystal and proteins with automatic low dose electron diffraction tomography methods

PDF in electron diffraction

Nanotextureing analysis with electron diffraction data

New bio-Tem methods.






Electron Crystallography

The term electron crystallography joins all the crystallographic studies carried out using electrons as a probe either in diffraction or in imaging. I am leading the TEM lab at CNI@NEST where we have configured the ZEISS Libra 120 transmission electron microscope as an electron diffraction station for electron crystallography studies. We have the objective to be able to characterize in our electron crystallography facility any kind of crystalline material going from minerals to proteins passing through inorganic artificial compounds, drugs and organic nanocrystals. The technique we are developing is based on precession assisted electron diffraction tomography combined with fast automatic data collection procedures and a direct electron detector, in order to grasp structural crystallographic information in ‘extreme’ crystallographic problems such as ordered nanodomains, nanocrystalline proteins, multiphase high pressure synthesis.

11 5

 3D reconstruction of the reciprocal space of high pressure silicate by means of electron diffraction tomography.

Correlative Micro-CT and  TEM imaging.

I am leading a project based on developing  a new correlation method between X-Ray tomography (Micro-CT, in collaboration with SYRMEP beamline at Elettra - Sincrotrone Trieste) and transmission electron microscopy. The aim of the project is to obtain a global 3D view of a whole organ or tissue with the intrinsic resolution of few microns characteristic of Micro-CT, in which it possible to identify specific regions of interest for TEM ultrastructure characterization. The sample can then be cut with the ultramicrotome just across the identified region of interest for obtaining a this section suitable for TEM imaging.


                                    Figura2 originale       2 1

(Left) 3D micro computed x-ray tomography of a portion of mouse sciatic nerve, affected by Krabbe disease, in which it is possible to identify an immune infiltrating cell. (Right) TEM bright field image of a mouse sciatic nerve’s myelinated axon.



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I numeri di IIT

L’Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) è una fondazione di diritto privato - cfr. determinazione Corte dei Conti 23/2015 “IIT è una fondazione da inquadrare fra gli organismi di diritto pubblico con la scelta di un modello di organizzazione di diritto privato per rispondere all’esigenza di assicurare procedure più snelle nella selezione non solo nell’ambito nazionale dei collaboratori, scienziati e ricercatori ”.

IIT è sotto la vigilanza del Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca e del Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze ed è stato istituito con la Legge 326/2003. La Fondazione ha l'obiettivo di promuovere l'eccellenza nella ricerca di base e in quella applicata e di favorire lo sviluppo del sistema economico nazionale. La costruzione dei laboratori iniziata nel 2006 si è conclusa nel 2009.

Lo staff complessivo di IIT conta circa 1440 persone. L’area scientifica è rappresentata da circa l’85% del personale. Il 45% dei ricercatori proviene dall’estero: di questi, il 29% è costituito da stranieri provenienti da oltre 50 Paesi e il 16% da italiani rientrati. Oggi il personale scientifico è composto da circa 60 principal investigators, circa 110 ricercatori e tecnologi di staff, circa 350 post doc, circa 500 studenti di dottorato e borsisti, circa 130 tecnici. Oltre 330 posti su 1400 creati su fondi esterni. Età media 34 anni. 41% donne / 59 % uomini.

Nel 2015 IIT ha ricevuto finanziamenti pubblici per circa 96 milioni di euro (80% del budget), conseguendo fondi esterni per 22 milioni di euro (20% budget) provenienti da 18 progetti europei17 finanziamenti da istituzioni nazionali e internazionali, circa 60 progetti industriali

La produzione di IIT ad oggi vanta circa 6990 pubblicazioni, oltre 130 finanziamenti Europei e 11 ERC, più di 350 domande di brevetto attive, oltre 12 start up costituite e altrettante in fase di lancio. Dal 2009 l’attività scientifica è stata ulteriormente rafforzata con la creazione di dieci centri di ricerca nel territorio nazionale (a Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) e internazionale (MIT ed Harvard negli USA) che, unitamente al Laboratorio Centrale di Genova, sviluppano i programmi di ricerca del piano scientifico 2015-2017.

IIT: the numbers

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is a public research institute that adopts the organizational model of a private law foundation. IIT is overseen by Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca and Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze (the Italian Ministries of Education, Economy and Finance).  The Institute was set up according to Italian law 326/2003 with the objective of promoting excellence in basic and applied research andfostering Italy’s economic development. Construction of the Laboratories started in 2006 and finished in 2009.

IIT has an overall staff of about 1,440 people. The scientific staff covers about 85% of the total. Out of 45% of researchers coming from abroad 29% are foreigners coming from more than 50 countries and 16% are returned Italians. The scientific staff currently consists of approximately 60 Principal Investigators110 researchers and technologists350 post-docs and 500 PhD students and grant holders and 130 technicians. External funding has allowed the creation of more than 330 positions . The average age is 34 and the gender balance proportion  is 41% female against 59% male.

In 2015 IIT received 96 million euros in public funding (accounting for 80% of its budget) and obtained 22 million euros in external funding (accounting for 20% of its budget). External funding comes from 18 European Projects, other 17 national and international competitive projects and approximately 60 industrial projects.

So far IIT accounts for: about 6990 publications, more than 130 European grants and 11 ERC grants, more than 350 patents or patent applications12 up start-ups and as many  which are about to be launched. The Institute’s scientific activity has been further strengthened since 2009 with the establishment of 11 research nodes throughout Italy (Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) and abroad (MIT and Harvard University, USA), which, along with the Genoa-based Central Lab, implement the research programs included in the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan.