Skip to content Exit mobile menu

Dr Elisabetta Canetta

Course Lead - Applied Physics BSc and Master by Research: Sport, Health and Applied Science

Dr Elisabetta Canetta

About Research

Tel: 020 8240 4095


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 Faculty of Sport, Applied Health and Performance Science where she is a Senior Lecturer in Physics, Programme Director of the BSc (Hons) Applied Physics course and the Course Lead of the Master by Research (MRes) Sport, Health and Applied Science.


Areas of research supervision

  • Science education
  • Philosophical theology
  • Christian Theology
  • Science and religion
  • Biomechanics
  • Statistical science
  • Public health epidemiology
  • Cognitive behaviour/human consciousness

Research profile


Elisabetta’s areas of expertise are experimental nanobiophysics, rehabilitation bioengineering, metaphysics of mathematics, philosophical natural theology, physics and theology.

Elisabetta is a nanobiophysicist who studies the mechanical and biochemical properties of human living cells and tissues for healthcare applications. She also investigates the use of bioengineering devices (e.g. orthoses) for the rehabilitation of stroke and other brain injury patients.

In addition to her scientific interests, Elisabetta’s research encompasses the transcendence of mathematics and physics and their synergic relationship with theology. Her main research interests are in philosophical natural theology; in particular, she is investigating how physical and mathematical theories can be used to further explore theological doctrines and vice versa.


Elisabetta has published over 30 papers in peer-reviewed journals and has over 20 verified reviews ( She has an h-index of 18.

  • A. Alraies, E. Canetta, R.J. Waddington, R. Moseley, A.J. Sloan, Discrimination of Dental Pulp Stem Cell Regenerative Heterogeneity by Single-Cell Raman Spectroscopy, Tissue Engineering Part C: Methods, 25 (8) (2019), 489 - 499
  • E Canetta, Can there be a Catholic approach to the teaching of Physics to students in Catholic universities? Some ideas for teachers and students to discuss, International Studies in Catholic Education 11 (2) (2019), 178-189
  • E. Canetta, Physics and Faith synergy: How to engage audiences of different ages, backgrounds and beliefs, in Science and Religion in Education (Springer) (2019), Chapter 20; Eds: Berry Billingsley, Keith Chappel and Michael Reiss; ISBN 978-3-030-17233-6
  • A. Nayyar, G. Walker, E. Canetta, F. Wardrop and A.K. Adya, Influence of cell surface and nanomechanical properties on the flocculation ability of industrial Saccharomyces Cerevisiae strains, Journal of Food Research 6 (5) (2017), pages 1 – 10
  • R.A. Campbell, E. Canetta, K. Thompson, I. Tucker and F. Fernandez-Alonso, Neutrons greet Faraday, Neutron News 28(3) (2017), 7 – 9
  • E. Canetta, G. Hunt, M. Matsuda, The convergence of food irradiation, nanomaterials and polymer packaging: Innovation, possibilities and benefits, Nano Biomedicine 8 (2016), 1-14
  • M. Tarres, E. Canetta, E. Paul, J. Forbes, K. Azzouni, C. Vinas, F. Teixidor and A. J. Harwood, Biological interaction of living cells with COSAN-based synthetic vesicles, Scientific Reports 5 (2015), 7804
  • E Canetta, Understanding the relations between Transcendence and Mathematics: ideas for teaching students in Catholic universities and colleges, International Studies in Catholic Education (2021), In Preparation
  •  E. Canetta, Current and future advancements of Raman spectroscopy techniques in cancer nanomedicine, International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2021), In Preparation
  • E. Canetta, Catholic Education and the Study of Science, Religions (2022), In Preparation
  • 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.

Media enquiries

For media enquiries, please contact our Press Office Team by emailing