Research areas and methodologies

The Research Unit of IngTissue and chemical engineering forIngegneria carries out research in the interdisciplinary field of science ingengineering, chemical-physical and life sciences.

Among the main lines of research there are: i) synthesis of biomaterials and nanomaterials (in particular, nano-bioceramics and nano-hydrogels) for the controlled release of active and/or therapeutic ingredients in different application scenarios; ii) development of in vitro models of organ pathophysiology through the use of additive manufacturing technologiesing (bioprinting) and organ-on-chip approaches; iii) process intensification methodologies through flow chemistry strategies, using microfluidics as an enabling technology; iv) fabrication and characterization of non-woven woven fibers using electrospinning techniques foringtissue engineering, for antimicrobial and sensing applications; (v) development of advanced photopolymerizable materials for high resolution (<3nm) 200D microfabrication with biocompatible and/or stimuli-responsive properties.

Collaborations with other Research Centers

  • CNR-IFN – Institute of Photonics and Nanotechnology (Rome pole) of the CNR with which, in 2013, a joint laboratory in nanotechnology for life sciences "nano4life" was established
  • CNR-NANOTEC Institute of Nanotechnology in Rome and Lecce
  • CNR-IFC Institute of Clinical Physiology, Pisa branch
  • Istituto Superiore di Sanita
  • IDI-IRCSS Dermopathic Institute of the Immaculate Conception
  • COT – Polyspecialist Clinical Institute, Messina
  • Regina Elena National Cancer Institute IRCCS, Virology Laboratory – Rome
  • National agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable economic development, ENEA "Casaccia"
  • University of Rome "Tor Vergata", Department of Chemical Sciences and Technologies
  • University of Palermo, Department of Ingengineering
  • University of Naples "Federico II", Department of Ingchemical engineering, materials and industrial production
  • University of Modena and Reggio Emilia - Department of Ing"Enzo Ferrari" engineering
  • Polytechnic of Turin, Department of IngMechanical and Aerospace engineering
  • Institut Curie, U 830 - Genetics and biology of cancers - Paris, France
  • Polytechnic of Milan – Department of Chemistry, Materials and ingchemical engineering "Giulio Natta"
  • Université du Luxembourg - Department of Physics and Materials Science
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany.

Patents

  • Crescenzi A, Trombetta M, Taffon C, Rainer A, Mozetic P, Costantini M, Santoro A (2016) Porous material for embedding cytological preparations, procedure for obtaining the same and its use, pat. No. 102016000111352
  • Chiono V, Mozetic P, Giannitelli P, Rainer A, Trombetta M, Boffitto M, Gioffredi E, Sartori S (2015), Method for the preparation of cellular constructs based on thermosensitive hydrogels, pat. No. 102015000020718
  • Centola M, Marsano A, Rainer A, Martin I, Vadala G, Trombetta M, Denaro V (2013), Bioactive material for cartilage regeneration and process for obtaining the same, pat. No. 102016000111352

LABORATORIES

Cell/organ-on-a-chip devices allow the physiology of entire organs to be recapitulated in a small size and with high control over culture parameters, and are emerging as a possible future alternative to the animal model for drug screen studiesing and toxicology. These devices are based on the 2D/3D culture (also in association with hydrogels in biomaterials) of cells confined within microfluidic channels, obtained by soft-lithographic replication in PDMS of a master fabricated by optical/electronic lithography.

The production of biphasic systems (foams and emulsions) within flow-focus geometriesing (FF) or T-junction (TJ) as templates for the fabrication of porous polymeric materials with morphologies controllable a priori, unlike conventional techniques, they allow the volume of the dispersed phase to be adjusted independently and with high accuracy (from which depends on the total porosity of the system) and the diameter of the bubbles/droplets (i.e. the size of the pores). Furthermore the use of FF geometries is also used for the synthesis of polymer nanocarriers via microfluidics based on droplet generation using a chip equipped with a pneumatic microactuator, this approach allows active tuning of the hydrodynamic flow focusing (HFF) geometry , thus modulating the diameter of the microdroplets produced.

The development of microfluidic systems for multi-material and/or multi-cellular 3D deposition associated with additive manufacturing processesing (bioprinting) is a further research area of ​​the RU. The use of microfluidic print heads, coupled to micropositioning systems, allows the fabrication of ingtissue engineering characterized by high spatial resolution capable of mimicking the histoarchitecture of natural biological tissues. Laminar flow conditions within the dispensing head allow the creation of core-shell or janus geometries, which further expand the potential applications of this technology.

The research line on the development of non-woven fibers deals with the development of new innovative nanomaterials through a "green chemistry" approach for the creation of systems with different functions such as:

  • antimicrobial and antiviral properties to be used for the manufacture of face filters (FFP) for respiratory protection.
  • sensory properties for the detection and capture of volatile pollutants such as for example volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

The realization of these systems is obtained both thanks to the realization of composite systems of polymeric fibers loaded with nanoparticles of various nature and functionality, both by direct functionalization of the polymers making up the non-woven fabrics by means of, and by the use of needle electrospinning systems coaxial for the manufacture of core/sheath structure fibers with functional and/or structural characteristics.