Bio-inspired Materials

We take nature as a source of endless inspiration for the development of novel classes of materials and processes, combining chemistry, materials science, and engineering tools. A strong emphasis is given on the latest advances in the design and production of artificial materials that closely mimic physicochemical, mechanical and biological singularities of natural systems, including extreme phenomena (e.g. super-wettability, strong adhesion or remarkable toughness), self-healing capability, dynamic/stimuli-responsive behavior, supramolecular and multi-scale organization or highly-specific biochemical interactions.

Our research focuses on the design and fabrication of advanced biomimetic systems that can be properly tailored to bring new and innovative solutions for functional and bioactive devices for addressing highly specific biomedical and biological applications.

Cell and Tissue Engineering

Tissue engineering addresses the scarcity of tissues/organs available for repair and transplantation, by adopting multidisciplinary strategies permitting the ex-vivo creation of implantable hybrid constructs through the integration of biomaterials, therapeutic cells and physicochemical signals. Our group is developing cell-laden hydrogels, free-standing membranes, microparticles and closed microenvironments as building blocks to develop constructs able to actively direct stem cells fate towards the production of viable artificial tissue substitutes with therapeutic potential.

The use of biomaterials and special culturing conditions permits the spatiotemporal control of biochemical and mechanical stimuli to stimulate cell expansion, differentiation and phenotype maintenance and production of extra-cellular matrix. Cells and tissue engineering tactics are also used to develop in vitro 3D models for studying disease/disorders mechanisms and therapeutics.

Nano/Micro platforms for biomedicine

Our group focuses on the use of an interplay and cutting-edge nano- and micro-technologies for addressing a multitude of biomedical applications, including those in diagnostics and therapy. Our research includes the synthesis of nano/microparticles and microcapsules for controlled drug delivery, targeting diseases and tissue regeneration. We are also exploring the use of layer-by-layer assembly to develop nanostructured scaffolds able to expose cells to customized artificial signaling microenvironments.

Combinations of distinct technologies are used to produce hierarchical 3D-devices with geometrical control from the nano- to the macro-scale. Surfaces patterned with nano/micro- topographic features and with wettability/chemical-contrasting micro-regions are being produced on a variety of materials; such platforms could be employed: (i) to control cell behavior and drug release profiles; (ii) or to be used as platforms to the high-throughput probing of the individual performance of arrays of combinations of biomaterials and cells, for regenerative medicine or drug screening applications.