BNCT @ Pavia

Boron Neutron Capture Therapy - research in Italy

Silva Bortolussi

Research Interest

My research interests are in the field of nuclear physics applied to medicine and biology, in particular in Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT). I perform computational dosimetry by Monte Carlo calculations of neutron and gamma transport, and treatment planning simulations. I am interested in the development and employ of new models to express BNCT dose in photon-equivalent units. From the experimental point of view, I perform boron concentration measurements in biological samples by alpha spectrometry and neutron autoradiography especially finalized to assess the feasibility of BNCT for different kinds of tumours or with different boron carriers. Presently, I am working to the realization of a new BNCT facility for clinical trials based on the use of a proton accelerator. In particular, I collaborate in the design of suitable neutron beams on the basis of the dosimetric performances in relevant clinical scenarios. I manage international collaborations (especially in Latin America) and I am active in fund raising and technology transfer activities.


  • I am chair of the course “Simulations in bio-sanitary field”, for the MSc in Physics, University of Pavia ( link ).
  • I am chair of the course “Experimental Physics” for the BSc in Biotechnology, University of Pavia ( link ).

  • Materiale Didattico

    fisica sperimentale per biotecnologie


  • June 2015 Master Executive in Open Innovation and Knowledge Transfer (110/110 cum laude) MIP, Milan Polytechnic II level Master Thesis “A Successful External Funds Service”, Supervisor Dr M.Arena (Milan Polytechniv), Tutors Dr V.Vercesi (INFN, Unit of Pavia) and Dr B.Chiucconi (University of Macerata)
  • January 2008 Ph.D. in Physics University of Pavia, Italy Thesis “Boron Neutron Capture Therapy of Disseminated Tumours”, supervisor Prof S.Altieri (University of Pavia), Referee Dr R.Moss (JRC, Petten, The Netherlands)
  • May 2004 Master of Science in Physics (110/110 cum laude) University of Trieste, Italy Thesis “Una originale configurazione del campo neutronico per una migliore uniformità della dose nell’organo espiantato”, supervisor prof L.Bertocchi (University of Trieste) co-supervisors, Prof. T.Pinelli and Prof S.Altieri (University of Pavia)
  • July 1997 Secondary School degree (60/60) Liceo Scientifico E.Majorana, San Vito al Tagliamento, Pordenone, Italy

Awards, Grants and Honors

  • Fairchild Award for young researchers, at 11th International Congress of Neutron Capture Therapy (ICNCT), Japan, 2006
  • Award for young researchers in the field of tumours of young age “Giovanni Carcea”, Crotone, 2012
  • President of Organizing Committee of 8th YBNCT, September 2015, Pavia, Italy
  • Member of Organizing Committee of 13th ICNCT, November 2008, Florence, Italy
  • Member of Scientific Committee of 14th, 15th and 16th ICNCT (2010 Argentina, 2012 Japan and 2014 Finland, respectively).
  • Member of Scientific Committee of 7th Young researcher BNCT meeting, 2013, Granada, Spain.
  • Member of Executive Board of International Society for Neutron Capture Therapy (ISNCT)
  • Member of Executive Board of Italian Society of Research in Radiation (SIRR)
  • Councillor of ISNCT
  • Delegate for Pavia University at the Latin America Working Group – COIMBRA Group
  • 2011-2013 Principal Investigator of the project “La terapia per cattura neutronica una nuova prospettiva per il trattamento dell'osteosarcoma” funded in the call FIRB-Futuro in Ricerca 2008
  • 2013-2016 local responsible of the INFN experiments NeTTuNO and NeuTargs
  • 2013-2015 participant in INFN “progetto premiale” MUNES "Multidisciplinary Neutron Source"
  • 2012-2014 local responsible of the project “Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) in cutaneous recurrences of breast cancer the diagnostic and therapeutic utility of 18F-FBPA PET/CT” funded by Italian Ministry of Health in the scheme “ricerca finalizzata 2010”

Funded projects

  • 2014-2016 participant in Project PIP, CONICET, Argentina.
  • 2014-2016 participant in Project PICT "Terapia por Captura Neutrónica en Boro (BNCT) para un tratamiento novel de metástasis múltiples en pulmón estudio de BNCT ex-situ en oveja y estudio de BNCT in-situ en rata", CONICET, Argentina.
  • 2011-2012 participant in CARIPLO project "Characterization of boron carrying magnetic nanoparticles for MRI assisted BNCT (Boron Neutron Capture Therapy)"
  • 2011-2012 participant in INFN experiment MIMO-BRAGG
  • 2011-2013 participant in INFN experiment ARCO
  • 2009-2012 participant in INFN experiment Widest1
  • 2007-2008 participant in INFN experiment Widest
  • 2007-2008 participant in PRIN 2006 "Trattamento metastasi polmonari mediante cattura neutronica studi preliminari"
  • 2007-2008 participant in INFN experiment ELBA
  • 2005-2006 participant in PRIN 2004 "Misura di assorbimento del boro in tessuto polmonare di ratto affetto da tumore"
  • 2006-2010 participant in an International FIRB project 2004 "Studi proteomici e farmacocinetici in relazione alla terapia antitumorale BNCT
  • 2004-2006 participant in INFN experiment TAoRMINA3