University of Rome Tor Vergata
Recent publications
This paper investigates, in a centralized manner, the motion planning problem for a team of unicycle-like mobile robots in a known environment. In particular, a multi-agent collision-free patrolling and formation control algorithm is presented, which combines outcomes of: (i) stability analysis of hybrid systems, (ii) algebraic geometry, and (iii) classical potential functions. The objective is achieved by designing a Lyapunov-based hybrid strategy that autonomously selects the navigation parameters. Tools borrowed from algebraic geometry are adopted to construct Lyapunov functions that guarantee the convergence to the desired formation and path, while classical potential functions are exploited to avoid collisions among agents and the fixed obstacles within the environment. The proposed navigation algorithm is tested in simulation and then validated by using the robots of a remote accessible robotic testbed.
Permutative automorphisms of the Cuntz algebra On are in bijection with a class of permutations of nk elements, that are called stable, and are further partitioned by rank. In this work we mainly focus on stable cycles in the quadratic case (i.e., k=2). More precisely, in such a quadratic case we provide a characterization of the stable cycles of rank one (so proving Conjecture 12.1 in [3]), exhibit a closed formula for the number of stable r-cycles of rank one (valid for all n and r), and characterize and enumerate the stable 3-cycles of any given rank. We also show that the set of stable permutations is equipped with a natural involution that preserves the cycle-type and the rank, and that there is a map that associates to two stable permutations of nk and mk elements, respectively, a stable permutation of (nm)k elements.
The management process and safety evaluation of existing buildings, which have often overcome their service life, can be properly supported by non-invasive structural monitoring techniques, among which multi-temporal Differential Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (MT-DInSAR) techniques can be included. The paper follows previous works of some of the authors on this topic, giving an insight on the proper use, processing and interpretation of satellite radar interferometry data for the structural analysis, through an application to the “Vittorino da Feltre” school building located in the city centre of Rome (Italy), within the framework of a retrofitting project. After performing a correct positioning of the reflecting targets on the 3D geometry of the structure under investigation, displacement time series, mean deformation velocity values and continuous maps of the vertical and East-West velocity components are presented, by exploiting the COSMO-SkyMed SAR data collected during the 2011–2019 time interval. Finally, a comparison of the obtained results with the on-site detected cracking pattern can be useful to better understand the ongoing phenomena, for a proper damage assessment.
There has been increasing interest in using nanosized fillers in cement-based construction materials to upgrade mechanical properties, durability, and multi-functionality. In this context, graphene oxide (GO) is proved to be an effective candidate, and its interaction with cement can lead to remarkable enhancement in its macro-properties. To guarantee reproducibility and to maximize environmental and health safety, a GO water suspension (GONan, Nanesa, Italy) was selected from the market-available products. A complete morphological, microstructural and chemical characterization was performed by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), Raman Spectroscopy, Infra-Red Spectroscopy (FTIR-ATR), X-ray Diffraction (XRD), and Thermogravimetric Analysis. The aggregation test of GONan in saturated Ca(OH)2 water solution was also performed, and results were obtained by UV-VIS spectroscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). Different dosages (0.01%, 0.1%, and 0.2% by weight of cement) of GONan were added to a commercial M5 mortar. Fresh properties were determined by rheology measurements and flowability and workability tests. Samples were hardened in water at room temperature (RT) for 7, 14, and 28 days. The compressive and bending strength of all samples were evaluated following the standards. The microstructural features of nanocomposites hardened at 28 days were investigated by SEM. Results clearly evidenced that the extra-low GONan dosage (0.01%) was the most promising formulation. Despite the worsening of fresh properties (i.e., increase of plastic viscosity and decrease of flowability and workability by 150%, 50%, and 100%, respectively, compared to the control sample), the mechanical properties of such an extra-low dosage nanocomposite at 14 days showed a notable increase of 20% and 40% for bending and compressive strength, respectively.
We study the impact of fake news on votes for populist parties in the Italian elections of 2018. Our empirical strategy exploits the historical variation in Italian-speaking and German-speaking voters in the Italian region of Trentino Alto-Adige/Südtirol as an exogenous source of assignment to fake news exposure. Using municipal data, we compare the effect of exposure to fake news on the vote for populist parties in the 2013 and 2018 elections. To do so, we introduce a novel indicator of populism using text mining on the Facebook posts of Italian parties before the elections. Our findings support the view that exposure to fake news favours populist parties regardless of prior support for populist parties, but also that fake news alone cannot explain most of the growth in populism.
Recurring food safety and food fraud incidents have negatively impacted the food industry's credibility and consumer confidence. As a result, food safety management and food fraud risk have garnered significant attention. Food business operators are aware of the need to respond to consumer concerns regarding product quality and safety and shape consumer attitudes regarding food. In parallel, businesses with local, regional, or global food supply chains (FSCs) are continually evaluating the use of advanced technologies to improve supply chain efficiency and flexibility and reduce risk. In this regard, scholars have examined food safety issues and proposed blockchain technology. Blockchain is a foundational innovation that has the potential to radically transform FSCs and support the efficient management and operations of food industry stakeholders. In this chapter, we aim to expand the academic understanding of the full potential of the technology and the impediments to its adoption in the food industry by providing a comprehensive review and understanding of the literature's most prominent topics. As the chapter's primary sources of information, two blockchain use cases were selected, summarised, and analysed to highlight the practical relevance of adopting the technology in the FSC. The chapter's findings indicate that blockchain can improve FSC traceability, transparency and trust, collaboration and trade, and contributes to food safety management. However, the technology's benefits cannot be realised until technical, organisational, and regulatory issues are resolved.
In this case report, we describe a rare case of inter-atrial septal lipomatosis occasionally found in a PET-CT scan performed in an 81-year-old patient with a history of periprosthetic endocarditis post aortic prosthesis implantation. The patient reappeared in 2022 in the emergency department complaining of symptomatology of worsening asthenia, fever, and elevated inflammatory indices. He was hospitalized in Cardiology department on suspect of recurrence of endocarditis and underwent PET-CT examination that showed an increased metabolic finding at the interatrial septum. On possible suspicion of recurrence of infective endocarditis or cardiac tumor pathology, further diagnostic investigation by cardio-RM examination was requested. However, after radiologic consultation, the previous performed FDG-PET/TC examinations were re-evaluated and a misdiagnosed uptake at this level was revealed, which was assumed to be due to the endocarditis condition because of widespread uptake throughout the perivalvular area.
Membrane-active small molecules (MASMs) are small organic molecules designed to reproduce the fundamental physicochemical properties of natural antimicrobial peptides: their cationic charge and amphiphilic character. This class of compounds has a promising broad range of antimicrobial activity and, at the same time, solves some major limitations of the peptides, such as their high production costs and low in vivo stability. Most cationic antimicrobial peptides act by accumulating on the surface of bacterial membranes and causing the formation of defects when a threshold is reached. Due to the drastically different structures of the two classes of molecules, it is not obvious that small-molecule antimicrobials act in the same way as natural peptides, and very few data are available on this aspect. Here we combined spectroscopic studies and molecular dynamics simulations to characterize the mechanism of action of two different MASMs. Our results show that, notwithstanding their simple structure, these molecules act just like antimicrobial peptides. They bind to the membrane surface, below the head-groups, and insert their apolar moieties in the core of the bilayer. Like many natural peptides, they cause the formation of defects when they reach a high coverage of the membrane surface. In addition, they cause membrane aggregation, and this property could contribute to their antimicrobial activity.
Mini-EUSO (Multiwavelength Imaging New Instrument for the Extreme Universe Space Observatory) is a telescope observing the Earth from the International Space Station since 2019. The instrument employs a Fresnel-lens optical system and a focal surface composed of 36 Multi-Anode Photomultiplier tubes, 64 channels each, for a total of 2304 channels with single photon counting sensitivity. Mini-EUSO also contains two ancillary cameras to complement measurements in the near infrared and visible ranges. The scientific objectives of the mission range from the search for Extensive Air Showers (EAS) generated by Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays (UHECRs) with energies above 1021eV, the search for nuclearites and Strange Quark Matter (SQM), up to the study of atmospheric phenomena such as Transient Luminous Events (TLEs), meteors and meteoroids. Mini-EUSO can map the night-time Earth in the near UV range (predominantly between 290–430 nm) with a spatial resolution of about 6.3 km (full field of view equal to 44°) and a maximum temporal resolution of 2.5μs, observing our planet through a nadir-facing UV-transparent window in the Russian Zvezda module. The detector saves triggered transient phenomena with a sampling rate of 2.5μs and 320μs, as well as continuous acquisition at 40.96 ms scale. In this paper we discuss the detector response and the flat-fielding and calibration procedures. Using the 40.96 ms data, we present ≃6.3 km resolution night-time Earth maps in the UV band, and report on various emissions of anthropogenic and natural origin. We measure ionospheric airglow emissions of dark moonless nights over the sea and ground, studying the effect of clouds, moonlight, and artificial (towns, boats) lights. In addition to paving the way forward for the study of long-term variations of light of natural and artificial origin, we also estimate the observation live-time of future UHECR detectors.
Lipopolysaccharide binding protein (LBP) knockout mice models are protected against the deleterious effects of major acute inflammation but its possible physiological role has been less well studied. We aimed to evaluate the impact of liver LBP downregulation (using nanoparticles containing siRNA- Lbp) on liver steatosis, inflammation and fibrosis during a standard chow diet (STD), and in pathological non-obesogenic conditions, under a methionine and choline deficient diet (MCD, 5 weeks). Under STD, liver Lbp gene knockdown led to a significant increase in gene expression markers of liver inflammation (Itgax, Tlr4, Ccr2, Ccl2 and Tnf), liver injury (Krt18 and Crp), fibrosis (Col4a1, Col1a2 and Tgfb1), endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress (Atf6, Hspa5 and Eif2ak3) and protein carbonyl levels. As expected, the MCD increased hepatocyte vacuolation, liver inflammation and fibrosis markers, also increasing liver Lbp mRNA. In this model, liver Lbp gene knockdown resulted in a pronounced worsening of the markers of liver inflammation (also including CD68 and MPO activity), fibrosis, ER stress and protein carbonyl levels, all indicative of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) progression. At cellular level, Lbp gene knockdown also increased expression of the proinflammatory mediators (Il6, Ccl2), and markers of fibrosis (Col1a1, Tgfb1) and protein carbonyl levels. In agreement with these findings, liver LBP mRNA in humans positively correlated with markers of liver damage (circulating hsCRP, ALT activity, liver CRP and KRT18 gene expression), and with a network of genes involved in liver inflammation, innate and adaptive immune system, endoplasmic reticulum stress and neutrophil degranulation (all with q-value<0.05). In conclusion, current findings suggest that a significant downregulation in liver LBP levels promotes liver oxidative stress and inflammation, aggravating NASH progression, in physiological and pathological non-obesogenic conditions.
Optical-based near-real time deforestation alert systems in the Brazilian Amazon are ineffective in the rainy season. This study identify clear-cut deforested areas through Neural Network (NN) algorithm based on C-band, VV- and VH-polarized, Sentinel-1 images. Statistical parameters of backscatter coefficients (mean, standard deviation, and the difference between maximum and minimum values – MMD) were computed from 30 Sentinel-1 images, from 2019, used as input parameters of the NN classifier. The samples were manually selected, including forested and deforested areas. After deforestation, mean backscatter signals decreased on the average of 2 dB for VV and 2.3 dB for VH from May to September–October. A Multi-Layer Perceptron (MLP) network was used for detecting near-real time forest disturbances larger than 2 ha. Case studies were performed for both polarizations considered the following input sets to the MLP: mean; mean and standard deviation; mean and MMD; and mean, standard deviation, and MMD. For the 2019 dataset, the latter showed the best performance of the NN algorithm with accuracy and F1 score of 99%. Automatic extraction using 2018 Sentinel-1 images reached accuracy and F1 score of 89% with the MapBiomas reference data and accuracy of 81% and F1 score of 79% with the PRODES reference data.
Objective To explore the microbial etiology of urethritis in Vietnamese men and the association with patients’ characteristics, especially their sexual behaviors. Methods This study was conducted on 349 men who presented with symptomatic urethritis and evidence of STIs (determined by multiplex PCR tests) at the Department of Andrology and Sexual Medicine—Hanoi Medical University Hospital. All information regarding medical history, sexual activities, and symptoms of urethritis was documented. Results C. trachomatis and N. gonorrhoea remained the two most common causative pathogens, followed by an unexpectedly high prevalence of Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma species. Coinfection was significant with a rate of 40.7%. Men who had sex with female sex workers (FSWs) were more likely to be positive with N. gonorrhoea but less likely to be positive with C. trachomatis and M. genitalium than those having sex with only one romantic partner. Conclusions Our findings suggested the important role of other microorganisms, especially M. genitalium, in the etiology of urethritis in men besides the previously well-known causes of STIs. Since the coinfection rate is quite high, targeted treatment with clear microbial evidence should be considered rather than empiric antimicrobial therapy.
Background Previous literature reports that low male partner support is a barrier to women’s adherence and retention in HIV care programs. Objective This qualitative study explored the relationships between partners to understand what is meant by male partner support in adherence of HIV-positive women in four healthcare facilities in Southern Malawi. Methods We conducted 8 semi-structured focus group discussions (FGDs) with 73 participants (40 men and 33 women) and 10 in-depth interviews (IDIs) between August 2018 to December 2019. Participants were HIV-positive patients, healthcare workers (HCWs), expert patients (EPs), and couples attending the clinic. All data were digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using a gender-responsive grounded theory approach. Results This study confirms previous literature, which suggests male partner support is expressed by providing access to transport to the clinic and accompaniment to appointments. However, we found that men can also control access to resources and decision-making. Support is more complex than previous literature reported and, in some cases, gender norms significantly limit women’s capacity to engage in care independently of male support since women need male partner permission to access the resources to attend clinics. Conclusions This paper suggests that restrictive male-partner gender norms limit women’s power to engage in care. Most importantly, the gender analysis reveals that what previous literature describes as male partner support can sometimes hide male partner control in permitting access to resources to attend health facilities. For this reason, policies enhancing male support should consider the gender power relationship between partners to avoid reinforcing gender inequality.
Electroosmosis is a fascinating effect where liquid motion is induced by an applied electric field. Counter ions accumulate in the vicinity of charged surfaces, triggering a coupling between liquid mass transport and external electric field. In nanofluidic technologies, where surfaces play an exacerbated role, electroosmosis is thus of primary importance. Its consequences on transport properties in biological and synthetic nanopores are subtle and intricate. Thorough understanding is therefore challenging yet crucial to fully assess the mechanisms at play. Here, we review recent progress on computational techniques for the analysis of electroosmosis and discuss technological applications, in particular for nanopore sensing devices.
Nature has been always a great source of possible lead compounds to develop new drugs against several diseases. Here we report the identification of a natural compound, membranoid G, derived from the Antarctic sponge Dendrilla antarctica displaying an in vitro inhibitory activity against human DNA topoisomerase 1B. The experiments indicate that membranoid G, when pre-incubated with the enzyme, strongly and irreversibly inhibits the relaxation of supercoiled DNA. This compound completely inhibits the cleavage step of the enzyme catalytic mechanism by preventing protein binding to the DNA. Membranoid G displays also a cytotoxic effect on tumour cell lines, suggesting its use as a possible lead compound to develop new anticancer drugs. © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Background: The aim of the study is to determine that Glycopirrolate is safe and effective in decreasing drooling in children with medical complexity under 3 years of age. Medical treatment is based on anticholinergic drugs as transdermal scopolamine, benzotropine and GLY. GLY (Glycopyrronium bromide) is a synthetic quaternary ammonium anticholinergic agent with poor blood-brain barrier penetration and consequently has limited central effects. Actually, the oral GLY formulation was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat drooling in children aged 3-16 years. Five studies reported on GLY use for the treatment of drooling in children with cerebral palsy and other conditions with neurological impairment; four are prospective studies while one a retrospective review. Methods: this is a case report of eighteen children (sex ratio 11/8, median age 17 months, range 2-36 months) under three years of age, followed by a multidisciplinary team at the Bambino Gesù Children Hospital. The median follow-up was of 31.5 months (range 1-69 months). Response to treatment was assessed according to the Drooling Impact Scale administered at time 0 and after 1 month. All patients have an important neurological impairment: nine patients have a cerebral palsy (Gross Motor Function Classification System class V) and nine a genetic/malformative syndrome. Twelve patients have a tracheostomy and two need mechanical ventilation. Gastrostomy is present in 16 out of 18 patients. All patients received Glycopirrolate. The median starting daily dose was 0.065 mg/kg/die (range 0.02-0.21 mg/kg/die) three times a day. The drooling impact scale was administered at time O and after 1 month. Results: Four out 18 patients stopped treatment for adverse event, lack of efficacy or parental decision. The mean Drooling Impact Scale at time 0 was 89 (range 81-100) and after 1 month 61(range 43-78); the difference was statistically significant (P < 0.001). The overall response to treatment was 94%. Conclusions: This is the first study to determine the safety and effectiveness of Glycopyrrolate in decreasing drooling in a specific subset of patients. No major side effects were observed. Further comparative studies are needed to confirm our results.
Repurposing of drugs for new therapeutic use has received considerable attention for its potential to limit time and cost of drug development. Here we present a new strategy to identify chemicals that are likely to promote a desired phenotype. We used data from the Connectivity Map (CMap) to produce a ranked list of drugs according to their potential to activate transcription factors that mediate myeloid differentiation of leukemic progenitor cells. To validate our strategy, we tested the in vitro differentiation potential of candidate compounds using the HL-60 human cell line as a myeloid differentiation model. Ten out of 22 compounds, which were ranked high in the inferred list, were confirmed to promote significant differentiation of HL-60. These compounds may be considered candidate for differentiation therapy. The method that we have developed is versatile and it can be adapted to different drug repurposing projects.
The accurate simulation of additional interactions at the ATLAS experiment for the analysis of proton–proton collisions delivered by the Large Hadron Collider presents a significant challenge to the computing resources. During the LHC Run 2 (2015–2018), there were up to 70 inelastic interactions per bunch crossing, which need to be accounted for in Monte Carlo (MC) production. In this document, a new method to account for these additional interactions in the simulation chain is described. Instead of sampling the inelastic interactions and adding their energy deposits to a hard-scatter interaction one-by-one, the inelastic interactions are presampled, independent of the hard scatter, and stored as combined events. Consequently, for each hard-scatter interaction, only one such presampled event needs to be added as part of the simulation chain. For the Run 2 simulation chain, with an average of 35 interactions per bunch crossing, this new method provides a substantial reduction in MC production CPU needs of around 20%, while reproducing the properties of the reconstructed quantities relevant for physics analyses with good accuracy.
Background Emergency Departments play a pivotal role in detecting cases of child abuse. Despite the efforts made in the past decades on the need for a screening method for the early detection of abuse victims, a unique instrument shared by the international scientific community has not been made. These instruments should be able to help recognizing whether it is necessary to further investigate the child’s condition. The aim of the study is to illustrate the screening indicators in use since 2010 in the Emergency Department of the Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital to early recognise the victims of abuse and the modifying process of the screening tool undertaken over the years. Methods We retrospectively analyzed the process that led to the editing of the indicators of child abuse in use nowadays at the Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital. We codified three clinical pathways to apply in case of suspected abuse. Furthermore, we investigated the medical records of screening-positive accesses in the Paediatric Emergency Department of the Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital from January 2008 to October 2020. Results An estimation of positive screening, regarding the type of abuse suspected, and the number of accessed in ED was made, resulting in a cohort of 956 patients. In 2010 we created a list of 14 items grouped in three clusters: anamnestic declarations or incongruences, carelessness/neglect and evident lesions at physical examination. Positivity to one of the items allows the actuation of the investigating protocol named as clinical pathway.In 2013, after three years of experience, the criteria were edited to increase specificity. The application of screening led to a median number of 82 suspected cases/year from 2013 to 2020. Conclusion A screening tool is essential and productive for the early recognition of victims of abuse. An in-deep analysis of suspected cases through a standardized method, such as the clinical pathway, allowed reaching the diagnosis in a more accurate and precise manner.
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6,149 members
Lorenzo Stella
  • Dipartimento di Scinze e Tecnologie Chimiche
Antonella Camaioni
  • Department of Biomedicine and Prevention
Leonardo Palombi
  • Department of Biomedicine and Prevention
Ezio Vasselli
  • Dipartimento di Matematica
Via Cracovia 50, 00133, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Head of institution
Prof. Orazio Schillaci