Dr Marco Emanuele Favretto

Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences

Originally from Italy, I left “il Bel Paese” in search of new challenges and adventures. I completed my MSc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology at the University of Trieste, Italy, and moved to the University of Kent to obtain my PhD in Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology. My research focuses on the development of naturally occurring drug delivery systems, and the design of drug delivery polymers and (poly)peptides that implement functionalities "inspired by nature".


When I finished my master thesis in Trieste, I realized that chemistry was not exactly the right choice for me, as I wanted to see how molecules are applied to biological systems. I began my slow transition by undertaking a PhD in Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology, and I started to appreciate the fact that really interesting things are happening at the interface between chemistry and biology. It is where you obtain a fundamental understanding of the working of molecules that you have just synthesized, but you are also quite close to a very specific application. A few months after my graduation, I joined Prof Brock’s group at the Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, as a postdoctoral researcher in biochemistry. I had the chance to be involved in several projects revolving around biochemistry and cell biology, for which a deep understanding of pharmaceutical chemistry was required. I finally completed my transition from a chemist who thinks like a biologist to a biologist who thinks like a chemist.

I joined the University of Chester in May 2015 as a Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences. Even though I am a research-focused person, I love to teach and I love students. I really think that giving everyone, especially the new generations, the possibility to be part of the world of science and to understand it, is absolutely necessary.


I have a broad background in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in biochemistry, pharmaceutical technology, and pharmacology. I am currently involved in teaching biochemistry- and pharmacology-related subjects on the BSc Programme in Biomedical Science.


My research falls into two main themes: nanoparticulate drug delivery systems and cell-penetrating peptides.


I developed my interest for nanoparticles and nanoparticulate delivery systems during my PhD. At the time, I aimed at preparing nanoscale lipid vesicles (liposomes) designed to cross the blood-brain barrier and deliver chemotherapeutic agents to the brain. While liposomes are still my favourite vehicle, I also employ alternative strategies; I make intensive use of biodegradable polymeric nanospheres, as well as hybrid protein/polymer nanoparticles, erythrocyte-derived microvesicles, and artificial viruses to encapsulate and deliver molecules of pharmaceutical relevance.

Dr Marco Emanuele Favretto Dr Marco Emanuele Favretto


Cell-penetrating peptides 

Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are short peptides that can induce efficient uptake of the conjugated cargo; due to their chemical nature, rapid degradation and clearance, such peptides are highly attractive vehicles in biomedicine.  My research focuses on understanding the structure-activity relationship of CPPs to improve their physicochemical and biological properties. Moreover, I use cationic CPPs as a scaffold for (targeted) nucleic acid delivery in gene therapy. I investigate the possibility of using CPPs as adjuvants in cancer and inflammation therapy.

Dr Marco Emanuele Favretto                Dr Marco Emanuele Favretto


Published work

Jekhmane S, de Haas R, Paulino da Silva Filho O, van Asbeck AH, Favretto ME, Hernandez Garcia A, Brock R, de Vries R. Virus-Like Particles of mRNA with Artificial Minimal Coat Proteins: Particle Formation, Stability, and Transfection Efficiency. Nucleic Acid Ther. 2017. doi: 10.1089/nat.2016.0660

Favretto ME, Krieg A, Schubert S, Schubert U, Brock R. Multifunctional poly(methacrylate) polyplexe libraries:  A platform for gene delivery inspired by nature. J Control Release. 2015; 209:1-11

Favretto ME, Brock R. Stereoselective uptake of cell-penetrating peptides is conserved in antisense oligonucleotide polyplexes. Small. 2014;11(12):1414-17.

Al-Shehri A, Favretto ME, , Ioannou P., Romero IA, Couraud PO, Weksler BB, Parker TL, Kallinteri P. Permeability of PEGylated arsonoliposomes through in vitro Blood Brain Barrier-medulloblastoma co-culture models for brain tumor therapy. Pharm Res. 2014;32(3):1072-83.

Hernandez Garcia A, Kraft D, Janssen A, Bomans P, Sommerdijk N, Thies-Weesie D, Favretto ME, Brock R, de Wolf F,  Werten M, van der Schoot P, Cohen Stuart M, de Vries R. Design and self-assembly of simple coat proteins for artificial viruses. Nature nanotechnology. 2014; 9:698–702.

Favretto ME, Wallbrecher R, Schmidt S, van de Putte R, Brock R. Glycosaminoglycans in the cellular uptake of drug delivery vectors - Bystanders or active players? J Control Release. 2014;180:81-90.

Favretto ME, Cluitmans JCA, Bosman GJCGM, Brock R. Human erythrocytes as drug carriers: Loading efficiency and side effects of hypotonic dialysis, chlorpromazine treatment and fusion with liposomes. J Control Release. 2013;170:343-51.

Wahab A, Favretto ME, Onyeagor ND, Khan GM, Douroumis D, Casely-Hayford MA, et al. Development of poly(glycerol adipate) nanoparticles loaded with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. J Microencapsul. 2012;29:497-504.

Bouropoulos N, Katsamenis OL, Cox PA, Norman S, Kallinteri P, Favretto ME, et al. Probing the Perturbation of Lecithin Bilayers by Unmodified C-60 Fullerenes Using Experimental Methods and Computational Simulations. J Phys Chem C. 2012;116:3867-74.

Thomas MJK, Slipper I, Walunj A, Jain A, Favretto ME, Kallinteri P, et al. Inclusion of poorly soluble drugs in highly ordered mesoporous silica nanoparticles. Int J Pharmaceut. 2010;387:272-7.

Bhujval P, Rajaram S, Favretto ME, Douroumis D. Size-tunable conjugated CdS quantum dots with high photoluminescence yield. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2010;62:1296-7.

Bakandritsos A, Zboril R, Bouropoulos N, Kallinteri P, Favretto ME, Parker TL, et al. The preparation of magnetically guided lipid based nanoemulsions using self-emulsifying technology. Nanotechnology. 2010;21.

Favretto ME, Marouf S, Ioannou P, Antimisiaris SG, Parker TL, Kallinteri P. Arsonoliposomes for the Potential Treatment of Medulloblastoma. Pharm Res-Dord. 2009;26:2237-46.