Sheref Samir Mansy

Via Sommarive, 9 - 38123 Povo
tel. 0461 283438 | 0461 285304
sheref.mansy[at]unitn [dot] it
  1. Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Harvard Medical School, Department of Genetics, and Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Molecular Biology and the Center for Computational and Integrative Biology, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, May 2004 – August 2007, Advisor: Professor Jack W. Szostak
  2. Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Ohio State University, Department of Chemistry, Columbus, Ohio, USA, September 2003 – April 2004, Advisor: Professor James A. Cowan
  3. Ph.D., Biochemistry, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA, September 1997 – August 2003, Thesis: Structure and Function of Iron-Sulfur Cluster Biosynthesis Proteins and the Influence of Oxygen Ligation, Advisor: Professor James A. Cowan
  4. B.S., Microbiology, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA, September 1993 – June 1997
Carriera accademica ed attività didattica


  1. University of Trento, Associate Professor of Biochemistry: October 2014 - present; Assistant Professor of Biochemistry: July 2009 - September 2014; Visiting Professor: April 2009 - July 2009, Trento, Italy
  2. Assistant Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of Denver, Colorado, USA, September 2007 - March 2009


  1. Macromolecular Biochemistry (Cellular and Molecular Biotechnology MS program), University of Trento, 2013-present.
  2. Synthetic Biology (PhD course in Biomolecular Sciences), University of Trento, 2011-present.
  3. Biochemistry 2 (Biomolecular Science and Technology BS program), University of Trento, 2010-present.
  4. iGEM Trento instructor, University of Trento, 2012-present.
  5. iGEM Regional Jamboree Europe Judge, Amsterdam, Netherlands, October 6-7, 2012.
  6. Analyzing the Societal Dimensions of Synthetic Biology, International Summer School, EA European Academy of Technology and Innovation Assessment, 18 September 2014, Berlin, Germany.
  7. Evry'14 Thematic Research School on Advances in Systems & Synthetic Biology: Modelling complex biological systems in the context of genomics, Evry, France, March 27, 2014.
  8. Origins of life lecture at Scuola Normale, Pisa, Italy, May 10, 2013.
  9. XXIX Annual Bioengineering School, Synthetic Biology, Minimal Genomes and Minimal Cells, Brixen/Bressanone, Italy, September 16, 2010.
  10. Membranes and Metabolism, undergraduate course (CHEM 3812), University of Denver, 2008-2009.
  11. General chemistry, undergraduate course (CHEM 1010), University of Denver, 2009.
  12. General chemistry laboratory, undergraduate course (CHEM 1240), University of Denver, 2009.
  13. Chemistry seminar, graduate course (CHEM 4900), University of Denver, 2009.
  14. Nucleic acids, undergraduate course (CHEM 3813), University of Denver, 2008.
Interessi di ricerca

synthetic biology

origins of life

cell-like systems

Attività di ricerca

book chapters

  1. Dario Cecchi & Sheref S. Mansy (2016) Xenobiotic Life. in Synthetic Biology. Springer International Publishing. Eds. Anton Glieder, Christian P. Kubicek, Diethard Mattanovich, Birgit Wiltschi, Michael Sauer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-22708-5_10
  2. Sheref S. Mansy & Sascha Pohflepp (2014) Living Machines. in Synthetic Aesthetics: Investigating Synthetic Biology's Designs on Nature. MIT Press. Eds. Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Jane Calvert, Pablo Schyfter, Alistair Elfick & Drew Endy
  3. Cristina Del Bianco & Sheref S. Mansy (2012) Heterotrophic Model Protocells. in Genesis – In the Beginning: Precursors of Life, Chemical Models and Early Biological Evolution. Ed. Joseph Seckbach. Springer.
  4. Cristina Del Bianco & Sheref S. Mansy (2010) Minimal Genomes and Minimal Cells. in Biologia sintetica. Ed. Gruppo Nazionale di Bioingegneria. Patron Editore.


  1. Martini L, Meyer AJ, Ellefson JW, Milligan JN, Forlin M, Ellington AD, Mansy SS (2015) In vitro selection for small molecule triggered strand displacement and riboswitch activity. ACS Synth Biol 4, 1144–1150. DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.5b00054
  2. Lentini R, Santero SP, Chizzolini F, Cecchi D, Fontana J, Marchioretto M, Del Bianco C, Terrell JL, Spencer AC, Martini L, Forlin M, Assfalg M, Dalla Serra M, Bentley WE, Mansy SS (2014). Integrating artificial with natural cells to translate chemical messages that direct E. coli behaviour. Nat Commun 5, 4012. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5012
  3. Digiacomo F, Girelli G, Bruno A, Marchioretti C, Pedrotti M, Perli T, Tonon E, Valentini V, Avi D, Ferrentino G, Dorigato A, Jousson O, Mansy SS, Del Bianco C (2014) Ethylene-producing bacteria that ripen fruit. ACS Synth Biol 3, 935-938. DOI: 10.1021/sb5000077.
  4. Del Bianco C, Torino D, Mansy SS (2014) Vesicle preparation and stability: an undergraduate laboratory. J Chem Educ 91, 1228–1231. DOI: 10.1021/ed400105q.
  5. Torre P, Keating CD, Mansy SS (2014) Multiphase water-in-oil emulsion droplets for cell-free transcription-translation. Langmuir 30, 5695-5699. DOI: 10.1021/la404146g
  6. Chizzolini F, Forlin M, Cecchi F, Mansy SS (2014) Gene position more strongly influences cell-free protein expression from operons than T7 transcriptional promoter strength. ACS Synth Biol 3, 363-371. DOI: 10.1021/sb4000977
  7. Martini L, Mansy SS (2014) Measuring riboswitch activity in vitro and in artificial cells with purified transcription-translation machinery. Methods Mol Biol 1111, 153-164.
  8. Spencer AC, Torre P, Mansy SS (2013) The encapsulation of cell-free transcription and translation machinery in vesicles for the construction of cellular mimics. J Vis Exp 80, e51304, doi:10.3791/51304.
  9. Lentini R, Forlin M, Martini L, Del Bianco C, Spencer AC, Torino D, Mansy SS (2013) Fluorescent proteins and in vitro genetic organization for cell-free synthetic biology. ACS Synth Biol 2, 482–489.
  10. Torino D, Martini L, Mansy SS (2013) Piecing together cell-like systems. Curr Org Chem 17, 1751-1757.
  11. Forlin M, Lentini R, Mansy SS (2012) Cellular Imitations. Curr Opin Chem Biol 16, 586-592.
  12. Del Bianco C, Mansy SS (2012) Nonreplicating protocells. Acc Chem Res 45, 2125-30.
  13. Martini L and Mansy SS (2011) Cell-like Systems with Riboswitch Controlled Gene Expression. Chem Commun 47, 10734-10736.
  14. Wu S, Bellei M, Mansy SS, Battistuzzi G, Sola M, Cowan JA (2011) Redox Chemistry of the Schizosaccharomyces pombe Ferredoxin Electron-Transfer Domain and Influence of Cys to Ser Substitutions. J Inorg Biochem 105, 806-811.
  15. Torino D, Del Bianco C, Ross LA, Ong JL, Mansy SS (2011) Intravesicle Isothermal DNA Replication. BMC Res Notes 4, 128.
  16. Mansy SS (2011) Experimental Model Protocells Support a Heterotrophic Origin of Life. Orig Life Evol Biosph 42, 394-397.
  17. Bellei M, Battistuzzi G, Wu S, Mansy SS, Cowan JA, Sola M (2010) Control of Reduction Thermodynamics in [2Fe-2S] Ferredoxins. Entropy-Enthalpy Compensation and the Influence of Surface Mutations. J Inorg Biochem. 104, 691-696.
  18. Mansy SS & Szostak JW (2009) Reconstructing the Emergence of Cellular Life through the Synthesis of Model Protocells. Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol 74, 47-54.
  19. Bruckner R, Mansy SS, Ricardo A, Mahadevan L, Szostak JW (2009) Flip-Flop-Induced Relaxation of Bending Energy: Implications for Membrane Remodeling. Biophys J 97, 3113-3122.
  20. Mansy SS (2009) Model Protocells from Single-Chain Lipids. Int J Mol Sci 10, 835-843.
  21. Mansy SS & Szostak JW (2008) Thermostability of Model Protocell Membranes. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105, 13351-13355.
  22. Mansy SS, Schrum JP, Krishnamurthy M, Tobe S, Treco DA, Szostak JW (2008) Template-directed Synthesis of a Genetic Polymer in a Model Protocell. Nature 454, 122-125.
  23. Mansy SS, Zhang J, Kuemmerle R, Nilsson M, Chou JJ, Szostak JW, Chaput JC (2007) Structure and Evolutionary Analysis of a Non-Biological ATP-Binding Protein. J Mol Biol 371, 501-513.
  24. Hanczyc MM, Mansy SS, Szostak JW (2007) Mineral surface directed membrane assembly. Orig Life Evol Biosph 37, 67-82.
  25. Wu SP, Mansy SS, Cowan JA (2005) Iron-Sulfur Cluster Biosynthesis. Molecular Chaperone DnaK Promotes IscU-Bound [2Fe-2S] Cluster Stability and Inhibits Cluster Transfer Activity. Biochemistry 44, 4284-4293.
  26. Mansy SS and Cowan JA (2004) Iron-Sulfur Cluster Biosynthesis. Toward an Understanding of Cellular Machinery and Molecular Mechanism. Acc Chem Res 37, 719-725.
  27. Mansy SS, Wu S, Cowan JA (2004) Iron-Sulfur Cluster Biosynthesis. Biochemical Characterization of the Conformational Dynamics of Thermotoga maritima IscU and the Relevance for Cellular Cluster Assembly. J Biol Chem 279, 10469-10475.
  28. Venturoli G, Mamedov M, Mansy SS, Musiani F, Strocchi M, Francia F, Semenov AY, Cowan JA, Ciurli S (2004) Electron transfer from HiPIP to the Photo-Oxidized Tetraheme Cytochrome Subunit of Allochromatium vinosum Reaction Center. New insights from Site-Directed Mutagenesis and Computational Studies. Biochemistry 43, 437-445.
  29. Bertini I, Cowan JA, Del Bianco C, Luchinat C, Mansy SS (2003) Thermotoga maritima IscU. Structural Characterization and Dynamics of a New Class of Metallochaperone. J Mol Biol 331, 907-924.
  30. Mansy SS, Wu G, Surerus KK, Cowan JA (2002) Iron-Sulfur Cluster Biosynthesis: Thermotoga maritima IscU is a Structured Iron-Sulfur Cluster Assembly Protein. J Biol Chem 277, 21397-21404.
  31. Wu G, Mansy SS, Hemann C, Hille R, Surerus KK, Cowan JA (2002) Iron-Sulfur Cluster Biosynthesis: Characterization of Schizosaccaromyces pombe Isa1 J Biol Inorg Chem 7, 526-532.
  32. Wu G, Mansy SS, Wu S, Surerus KK, Foster MW, Cowan JA (2002) Characterization of an Iron-sulfur Cluster Assembly Protein (ISU1) from Schizosaccaromyces pombe. Biochemistry 41, 5024-5032.
  33. Mansy SS, Xiong Y, Hemann C, Hille R, Sundaralingam M, Cowan JA (2002) Crystal Structure and Stability Studies of C77S HiPIP: A Serine Ligated [4Fe-4S] Cluster. Biochemistry 41, 1195-1201.
  34. Foster MW, Mansy SS, Hwang J, Penner-Hahn JE, Surerus KK, Cowan JA (2000) A Mutant Human IscU Protein Contains a Stable [2Fe-2S]2+ Center of Possible Functional Significance. J Am Chem Soc 122, 6805-6806.
  35. Gong W, Hao B, Mansy SS, Gonzalez G, Gilles-Gonzalez MA, Chan MK (1998) Structure of a Biological Oxygen Sensor: A New Mechanism for Heme-Driven Signal Transduction. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 95, 15177-15182.
  36. Mansy SS, Olson JS, Gonzalez G, Gilles-Gonzalez MA (1998) Imidazole is a Sensitive Probe of Steric Hindrance in the Distal Pockets of Oxygen-Binding Heme Proteins. Biochemistry 37, 12452-12457.
Appartenenza a società e comitati scientifici

American Chemical Society (ACS)

International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life (ISSOL)

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)

Premi e riconoscimenti
  1. Simons Foundation, 2013-2018
  2. Armenise - Harvard Foundation Career Development Award, 2009-2014
  3. TED Fellow, 2012
  4. Synthetic Aesthetics, University of Edinburgh & Stanford University, 2010
  5. N.I.H. Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, 2005-2007
  6. N.I.H. Chemistry-Biology Interface Training Grant, 1999-2001
  7. Presidential Fellowship, Ohio State University, 2003
  8. American Heart Association Fellowship, 1997
Convegni e conferenze

invited seminars (last 5 years)

  1. New England BioLabs, Ipswich, Massachusetts, 22 July 2015.
  2. Weill Cornell Medical College, Institute for Computational Biomedicine, New York, New York, January 23, 2015.
  3. BIO-FICTION, October 24, 2014, Vienna, Austria.
  4. 15th Annual Armenise-Harvard Foundation Symposium, "Mechanisms to Molecules," June 23, 2014, Lake Garda, Italy.
  5. Worldviews and Values in Synthetic Biology, June 7, 2014, Paris, France.
  6. Festival Infinitamente, March 16, 2014, Verona, Italy.
  7. Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology, University of Bologna, June 12, 2013.
  8. Plenary at the Italian Biophysical and Molecular Biology Society meeting, "Revisiting the Central Dogma: Emerging New Concepts in Replication, Transcription, and Translation," Pavia, Italy, June 7, 2013.
  9. ISI Foundation, Turin, Italy, June 4, 2013.
  10. LiMMS WORKSHOP, Beyond the Frontiers of Nanoscience and Biosystems, CNRS Campus Gérard Mégie, Paris, France, May 16, 2013.
  11. TEDxUniTN, April 20, 2013, Trento, Italy.
  12. Plenary at the National Academy of Science, Letters, and Art of Modena (Accademia Nazionale di Scienze, Lettere e Arti di Modena), Modena, Italy, January 28, 2013.
  13. TEDGlobal, Radical Openness, Edinburgh, Scotland, June 25, 2012.
  14. Dulbecco Telethon Institute (DTI) Retreat, Eastern Mediterranean, May 29, 2012.
  15. Self-organization, emergence and nonlinearity in physical, natural and social systems, Galway, Ireland October 22, 2011.
  16. Keynote Speaker at the 4th European Conference on Chemistry for Life Sciences (4ECCLS), Scientific Session: Synthetic Biology: from Molecules to Synthetic Cells, Budapest, Hungary, 2 September 2011.
  17. Becoming Transnatural, Amsterdam, March 12, 2011.
  18. Form follows evolution, function, or fashion? MIT, Boston, November 5, 2010.
  19. Synthetic Aesthetics Salon, Future natures in a culture of synthetic biology, Amsterdam, October 28, 2010.
  20. CMSB 2010, The 8th Conference on Computational Methods in Systems Biology, October 1, 2010, Trento, Italy.
  21. Cerebral Aging and Dementia Congress, Catania, Italy, March 27, 2010.
  22. Center for Process Analytical Chemistry (CPAC) Workshop, Rome, Italy, March 23, 2010.
  23. Plenary lecture at the Challenges in Top-Down, Bottom-Up and Computational Approaches in Synthetic Biology, March 18, 2010, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom.
Altre attività
  1. Reviewer for the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), 2014-2016.
  2. Advisor to EUSynBioS, 2014-present.
  3. Reviewer for ERASynBio, 2014.
  4. Co-organizer of 3S Biology Summer School, University of Trento, September 8-11, 2014.
  5. Biomolecular Sciences PhD Examination Committee Member, University of Trento, June 18, 2014.
  6. Biomolecular Sciences PhD school executive committee member, University of Trento, 2013 - present.
  7. Scientific committee member, Advances in systems and synthetic biology research school, Évry, France, 2014 - present.
  8. Biomolecular Sciences PhD admissions committee member, University of Trento, 2012 & 2013.
  9. Co-chair with Ulrich F. Müller (University of California, San Diego) and Veronica Vaida (University of Colorado, Boulder), American Chemical Society Symposium, Division of Physical Chemistry, Geochemistry to biochemistry and the origin of life, 243rd ACS National Meeting & Exposition, San Diego, California, USA, 25-29 March 2012.
  10. Reviewer for BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, UK), 2010 & 2013.
  11. Participant, Alternative Chemistries of Life NSF/NASA workshop, Washington, DC, April 1-4, 2012.
  12. Reviewer for NASA (Astrobiology Institute), 2008, 2012, and 2014.
  13. Expert Panel member, ‘Engineering Life,’ Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), commissioned by the German Ministry of Research and Education, 21 June 2011.
  14. Reviewer for the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP), 2011
  15. European Science Foundation Pool of Reviewers, 2010.
  16. Reviewer for the European Science Foundation, 2009.
  17. Ad hoc reviewer for Nature Chemistry, Nature Communications, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Journal of the American Chemical Society, and others.