David Porciani, PhD


Dr. Porciani's academic training and research experience have provided him an excellent background in multiple disciplines including chemical biology, molecular biophysics, nanomedicine, and cancer biology. He has a long-standing scientific interest in engineering nucleic acid ligands (aptamers) to improve precision of tumor cell targeting and targeted cancer therapies. Aptamers are RNA and DNA oligonucleotides whose tertiary structures confer binding activity and specificity similar to the ones shown by antibodies. Over the past years, Dr. Porciani has used aptamers that bind tumor cell-surface markers as tools for targeted delivery of payloads (such as RNA therapeutics or nanoparticles loaded with anticancer drugs). His current research aims to improve recognition of cancer cells and targeted therapy in a subset of lung adenocarcinoma with EGFR activating mutations.

Academic Information

Assistant Research Professor


1201 E. Rollins St.
415 Bond Life Sciences Center
Columbia, MO 65201
United States

P. 573-884-1316

Research Interests

  • Aptamers
  • Tumor targeting
  • EGFR targeted therapy
  • Lung cancer
  • Targeted drug delivery
  • Nanomedicine

Education & Training


2016 PhD, Molecular Biophysics, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy
2010 MS, Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technology, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

Awards & Honors

  • 2022 Winner of the Director's Award for Best Technically Challenging Image at the Annual Light Microscopy Contest of the Life Sciences Center (Univ. of Missouri).
  • 2020 Back Cover Image on Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 42/2020 for “Aptamers with Tunable Affinity Enable Single-Molecule Tracking and Localization of Membrane Receptors on Living Cancer Cells”
  • 2019 Travel Grant Award (€300) issued by EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory) to attend the Super-Resolution Microscopy course at EMBL Heidelberg, 8-13 July 2019
  • 2018 1st Place Poster presentation award in the Basic Research category at the Health Sciences Research Day at School of Medicine – University of Missouri
  • Top 10 papers of the month’ by Oligonucleotide Therapeutic Society for “Modular cell-internalizing aptamer nanostructure enables targeted delivery of large functional RNAs in cancer cell lines” by D. Porciani et al.
  • Travel Grant Award ($200) issued by MUPA (MU Postdoc Association) to attend the Aptamers in Boulder meeting (Colorado, USA), August 3–4, 2018.
  • Winner of People Choice’s Award at the Annual Light Microscopy Contest of the Bond Life Sciences Center (Univ. of Missouri).
  • 2017 Travel Grant Award ($1000) issued by Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society (OTS) to attend 13th Annual Meeting of the OTS in Bordeaux
  • 2010-2014 PhD fellowship (four year) sponsored by Italian Institute of Technology at Center for Nanotechnology Innovation (IIT@CNI)