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Dr Elisabetta Canetta

Programme Director

About Research

Elisabetta graduated from the Department of Physics of the Universita’ di Bologna, Bologna (Italy) with an MPhys in Theoretical Nuclear Physics. In 2000, she moved to the Universite’ Joseph Fourier, Grenoble (France) and obtained a PhD in Experimental Biophysics in 2004 with a thesis entitled “Micromanipulation of living cells by using an AFM spectrometer: Application to cancer”.

In 2004, Elisabetta joined the University of Abertay Dundee as a Post Doctoral Research Assistant (PDRA) where she focused her research on the investigation of the microrheological, biomechanical, and structural properties of yeasts, proteins, viruses and living mammalian cells by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Small Angle Neutron Scattering (SANS) and Neutron Reflectivity (NR). In 2007, Elisabetta joined the Department of Physics of the University of Surrey as a Post Doctoral Research Fellow (PDRF) where she worked within the framework of two FP6 Projects on the investigation of the physical, mechanical, and structural properties of nanocomposite polymers by AFM, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Profiling, Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), Macro-mechanical analysis (MMA), and X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS). 

In 2009, Elisabetta joined the Optical Trapping Group at the School of Physics and Astronomy of the University of St Andrews as a PDRF where she worked on the further development of modulated Raman spectroscopy (MRS) techniques for fast and reliable discrimination of normal and cancer cells. 

In 2011 Elisabetta moved to the School of Biosciences of Cardiff University as a Lecturer in Biophotonics and in 2013 she joined the School of Sport, Health, and Applied Science of St Mary’s University as Lecturer in Physics on the BSc Applied Physics undergraduate course.



Elisabetta is a biophysicists and nanobiotechnologist with a keen interest on the nanostructure, nanomechanics and biochemistry of biomaterials. Elisabetta’s main expertise is in Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Raman microspectroscopy and her main research interests lie in the development of 

(1) novel techniques and protocols for the investigation of the passive and active nanorheological (i.e. viscosity, elasticity, and adhesion) properties of biomaterials in both static and dynamic regimes to gain a deeper insight of the visco-elastic modulus and the stress-strain relation of biomaterials;

(2) novel methodologies to understand and manipulate the physical behaviour of biomaterials in conditions which are as close as possible to real environments.   

Elisabetta is also interested in the implementation and further development of advanced nanorheology data analysis.

Recently, Elisabetta has started a collaboration with Prof Geoffrey Hunt, director of the Centre for Bioethics and Emerging Technologies (CBET) at St Mary’s University to investigate the scientific, philosophical, and ethical impacts of nanotechnology on society.


  • E. Canetta, A. Riches, E. Borger, S. Herrington, K. Dholakia, A. K. Adya, Discrimination of bladder cancer cells from normal urothelial cells with high specificity and sensitivity: Combined application of AFM and modulated Raman spectroscopy, Acta Biomaterialia 10(2014), 2043 - 2055
  • M. Tarrés, E. Canetta, C. Viñas, F. Teixidor, A. J. Harwood, Imaging in Living Cells by use of nB-H Raman Spectroscopy: Monitoring COSAN Up-take, Chemical Communications 50(2014), 3370 - 3372 
  • A. Lopez, Y. Reyes, E. Degrandi-Contraires, E. Canetta, C. Creton, J.M. Asua, Waterborne hybrid polymer particles: tuning of the adhesive performance by controlling the hybrid microstructure, European Polymer Journal 49 (2013), 1541-1552.
  • A. Lopez, Y. Reyes, E. Degrandi-Contraires, E. Canetta, C. Creton, J.L. Keddie, J.M. Asua, Simultaneous Free-Radical and Addition Miniemulsion Polymerization: Effect of the Chain Transfer Agent on the Microstructure of Polyurethane-Acrylic Pressure-Sensitive Adhesives, Macromolecular Materials and Engineering 298 (1) (2013), 53-66.
  • E. Canetta, M. Mazilu, A. de Luca, A. Carruthers, K. Dholakia, S. Neilson, H. Sargeant, T. Briscoe, C.S. Herrington, A. Riches, Modulated Raman Spectroscopy for enhanced identification of bladder tumour cells in urine samples, Journal of Biomedical Optics 16 (3) (2011), 037002 (7 pages). 
  • R. Kiss, H. Bock, S. Pells, E. Canetta, A.K. Adya, A.J. Moore, P. De Sousa, N.A. Willoughby, Elasticity of human embryonic stem cells as determined by atomic force microscopy, Journal of Biomechanical Engineering 133 (2011), 101009 (9 pages).   
  • A. Lopez, E. Degrandi-Contrairesi, E. Canetta, J.L. Keddie, C. Creton, J.M. Asua, Simultaneous Free Radical and Addition Miniemulsion Polymerization: Effect of the Diol on the Microstructure of Polyurethane-Acrylic Pressure Sensitive Adhesives, Polymer 52 (2011), 3021-3030. 
  • E. Canetta and A.K. Adya, Atomic force microscopic investigation of commercial pressure sensitive adhesives for forensic analysis, Forensic Science International 210 (2011), 16-25. DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2011.01.029. 
  • A. Lopez, E. Degrandi-Contrairesi, E. Canetta, C. Creton,  J.L. Keddie, J.M. Asua, Waterborne polyurethane-acrylic hybrid nanoparticles by miniemulsion polymerization: Applications in pressure-sensitive adhesives, Langmuir 27 (2011), 3878-3888. 
  • A. Riches, C.S. Herrington, K. Dholakia, E. Canetta, A. Carruthers, M. Mazilu, A. de Luca, C. Goodman, G. Kata, N. Ghulam, K. Nourdin, Raman spectroscopy and cancer cells, European Pharmaceutical Review 4 (2010), 22-25.
  • C. Arnold, Y. Holl, P. Marie, E. Canetta, P. Ekanayake, C. de las Hera Alarcon, P.J. McDonald, J.L. Keddie, T. Weerakkody, L. Chazeau, J. Faucheau, C. Gauthier, V. Gundabala, M. Patel, A.F. Roth, H.N. Yow, J. Adamas, D. Johannsmann, A. Koenig, A. Turshatov, K. von der Ehe, A. Larsson, Mapping the route from wet to dry, European Coating Journal 11 (2009), 28-32.
  • E. Canetta, J. Marchal, A.M. König, C. Lei, C. Creton, K. Ouzineb, and J.L. Keddie, A Comparison of Tackified, Miniemulsion Core-Shell Acrylic Latex Films with Corresponding Particle-Blend Films:  Structure-Property Relationships, Langmuir 25 (18) (2009), 11021-11031. 
  • E. Canetta, K. Montiel, and A.K. Adya, Morphological changes in textile fibres exposed to environmental stresses: Atomic force microscopic examination, Forensic Science International 191 (1) (2009), 6-14. 
  • T. Wang, E. Canetta, T.G. Weerakkody, and J.L. Keddie, pH-dependence of the properties of waterborne pressure-sensitive adhesives containing acrylic acid, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 1 (2009), 631-639. 
  • E. Canetta, G.M. Walker, and A.K. Adya, Nanoscopic morphological changes in yeast cell surfaces caused by oxidative stress: An atomic force microscopic study, Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology 19 (6) (2009), 547-555. 
  • M.J. Krysmann, S. Funari, E. Canetta, and I.W. Hamley, The Effect of PEG Crystallization on the Morphology of PEG-peptide Block Copolymers Containing Amyloid b Peptide Fragments, Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics 209, (2008), 883-889. 
  • E. Canetta, S.H. Kim, N.O. Kalinina, J. Shaw, A.K. Adya, T. Gillespie, J.W.S. Brown, and M. Taliansky, A plant virus movement protein forms ring-like complexes with the major nucleolar protein, fibrillarin, in vitro, Journal of Molecular Biology 376 (2008), 932-937. 
  • A.K. Adya, E. Canetta, and G.M. Walker, Atomic force microscopic study of the influence of physical stresses on Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombeFEMS Yeast Research 6 (1) (2006) 120–128. 
  • E. Canetta, A.K. Adya, and G.M. Walker, Atomic force microscopic study of the effects of ethanol on yeast cell surface morphology, FEMS Microbiology Letters 255 (2) (2006) 308-315.  
  • E. Canetta, G. M. Walker, and A. K. Adya, Correlating yeast cell stress physiology to changes in the cell surface morphology: atomic force microscopic studies, The Scientific World Journal 6 (2006) 777-780. 
  • E. Canetta, A. Duperray, A. Leyrat, and C. Verdier, Measuring cell viscoelastic properties using a force-spectrometer: Influence of protein cytoplasm interactions, Biorheology 42 (5) (2005) 321-333.  
  • E. Canetta and A.K. Adya, Atomic force microscopy: applications to nanobiotechnology, Journal of Indian Chemical Society 82 (2005) 1147-1172. 
  • E. Canetta and G. Maino, Molecular dynamics analysis of the structure of dendrimers, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 213 (2004) 71-74.  
  • E. Canetta, A. Leyrat, and C. Verdier, A physical model for studying adhesion between a living cell and a spherical functionalised substrate, Mathematical and Computer Modelling 37 (2003) 1121-1129. 
  • F. Mallamace, E. Canetta, D. Lombardo, A. Mazzaglia, A. Romeo, L. Monsù Scolaro, and G. Maino, Scaling properties in the internal structure of dendrimer systems, Physica A 304 (2002) 235-243.  
  • E. Canetta and G. Maino, Regular and chaotic motions in nuclear dynamics, Physics Letters B 483 (2000) 55-59.  
  • E. Canetta and G. Maino, On the different forms of the IBM-2 Hamiltonian, International Journal of Modern Physics E 8 (1999) 321-335.
  • E. Canetta, U. Lucia, and G. Maino, Delbrück and nuclear effects in photon scattering: recent developments, X-Ray Spectrometry 28(1999) 357-371.