The Dr. Di Pino won the prestigious European ERC-Start tendering Grant

28 October 2015 – A young researcher from theUniversità Campus Bio-Medico di Roma It is among the top young scientists of Europe. Dr. Giovanni Di Pino, of the Neurology, Neurophysiology and Neurobiology and Biomedical Robotics and Biomicrosystems Research Units, has in fact won the prestigious ERC-Start calling Grant, one of the most competitive at European level, financed byEuropean Research Council. His project, titled RESHAPE (REstoring the Self with embodiable HAnd ProsthEs), convinced the more than thirty top scientists - including some Nobels - who in Brussels evaluated the almost 3 applications sent. "The announcement ERC Starting Grant - explains the Rector, Andrea Onetti Muda - only 3,8% of all Italian proposals win, and 10% of those presented at European level. The few researchers who manage to achieve this result are considered among the top young scientists of Europe".

A result that is the culmination of a decidedly particular academic and personal history. A project which, as the Rector observes, "is fully representative of our interdisciplinary and patient-centered identity". Dr. Di Pino explains: “My ERC project mixes Neuroscience, IngBiomedical and Clinical Neurological engineering together with the conception of scientific design that starts from the patient's true needs: all things I learned on Campus, the University I joined at the age of 17. I grew up with Campus; between falls and rises here I graduated, doctorate and specialized". But let's go in order.

Born in '79, Giovanni He is one of the first graduates in Medicine and Surgery in theUniversità Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, University where he joined the Neuroscience laboratory. Then, after his academic qualification, the serious accident that forced him to remain "out of commission" for a whole year. Until the day when some professors of theUCBM "They came looking for me at home. In that period - the young man recalls - I continued to study, discovering that neural interfaces could be a possibility for my problem. So I said to myself: why not do a PhD in Ingbiomedical engineering on this very topic?" Topics which, listening to the researcher, do not seem to have the complexity that first led him to "lock himself up" for four years in the laboratory of prof. Eugenio Guglielmelli, then to undertake the specialization course in Neurology, "because I needed the other arm, the clinical one, to work on these issues".

RESHAPE, the project funded by the European Research Council, combines these two knowledge, with a very clear objective: allow amputees to have a hand that feels like their own. A prosthesis (from the Greek, artifact, something external) which is therefore in reality an endothesis (something that is part of the body), thus allowing the amputee to no longer feel such.

An idea that is certainly part of the more broad research path of the University, for years engaged in the field of prostheses especially through the PPR2 and LifeHand projects. One goal, that of Dr. Di Pino, who however surpasses any step taken so far in this field, since he shifts the point of observation. "The problem - explains the young researcher - is that today's prostheses are the result of the evolution of industrial robotics. In my opinion, on the contrary, it is important to ask ourselves whether the amputee has the possibility of considering them as an integral part of his own body, and the answer is no: prostheses today remain a foreign body. It's a bit like making a car that goes at the speed of sound, but it's useless. My desire then is to conceive a prosthesis with which the subject does not have to play the piano, but feel complete during a gala evening. And this is only possible starting from human sensations and brain processes".

Dr. Di Pino, as per the announcement, now has five years to achieve this goal together with his staff. A research group that will also closely interact with theing. Domenico Formica, researcher of the Biomedical Robotics and Biomicrosystems Unit of theUCBM. Even a project by him was judged positively by theEuropean Research Council, but unfortunately it was not financed due to the exhaustion of the available funds.