ESR7: Marco Silvano

Host: B3 Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnológica, IBET / Supervisor: Prof. Paula Alves

Individual Project

Improving production of influenza VLP-based vaccines in insect cells using single cell analysis


Marco will improve the production of Influenza VLPs in insect cells using single cell-RNA sequencing. The idea is to capture the molecular signatures of insect cell factories during Influenza VLPs production and apply the knowledge therein extracted to assist in baculovirus and/or insect cell genetic engineering to improve production yields. Marco will then use this newly developed expression system and implement a continuous Influenza VLPs biomanufacturing scheme. The idea is to design a platform capable of manufacturing high quantities of vaccines in short time-frames, a key feature in case of pandemics or vaccine composition update.

Scientific Background

Marco got his Bachelor and Master of Science degree at Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milan. He spent his master of thesis working on the development of the manufacturing process for the preparation of γ-retroviral vector at MolMed S.p.A, in Milan. Here, he experienced in Process Development area and cancer immunotherapy field. After the completion of his studies he moved to Oxford Genetics in Oxford, working on the production of Adeno-associated viral vector, focusing on both upstream and downstream area.


  • DOI: Virgolini N. (ESR8), Hagan R. (ESR6), Correia R., Silvano M. (ESR7), et al. (2022), Transcriptome analysis of Sf9 insect cells during production of recombinant AAV. Biotech. Journ. 2200466. November 19, 2022.
  • DOI: Silvano M. (ESR7), Correia, R., Virgolini, N., et al. (2022), Gene expression analysis of adapted insect cells during influenza VLP production using RNA-sequencing. Viruses 2022, 14(10), 2238.
  • DOI: Virgolini N. (ESR8), Silvano M. (ESR7), Hagan R. (ESR6), et al. (2022), Impact of dual baculovirus infection on the Sf9 insect cell transcriptome during AAV production using single-cell RNA-seq. Authorea. December 16, 2022.
  • One further publications is being prepared for submission to a peer-reviewed journal in 2023.


  • Oral presentation: 12th ITQB NOVA PhD, Lisbon, Portugal, 20.04.22.
    Gene expression profiling of high-producer VLPs insect cells via RNA-sequencing
  • Poster presentation: 11th ITQB NOVA PhD students meeting, Virtual, 18.02.21.
    Assessing the molecular signatures of insect cells during Influenza VLPs production using single cell analysis.
  • Poster presentation: European Society for Animal Cell Culture Technology (ESACT), Lisbon, Portugal, 26. – 29.06.22.
    Gene expression profiling of high-producer insect cells during Influenza VLPs expression via RNA-sequencing.
  • Poster presentation: ESACT Frontiers, Vienna, Austria, 26.10.22.
    Single cell transcriptomics to assess insect cell population heterogenity during influenza VLP production.
  • Youtube: Silvano M. (ESR7) presenting his poster: “Gene expression profiling of high producer insect cells during Influenza Virus-Like Particles (VLPs) expression via RNA-sequencing”