DICI-UNIPI laboratory for electrospinning materials for biomedical and other applications

Electrospinning is a simple technology which allows the production of submicrometric to properly nanometric (< 100 nm) fibers in the form of meshes and particles (the latter method is known as electrospray). Fibers or particles are generated by the application of strong electric field (usually at room temperature) on a polymer solution.
Electrospinning: The notable applications of electrospinning include tissue engineering, biosensors, drug delivery, enzyme immobilization, but also filtration, among others. The submicrometric fibers offer various advantages like high surface area-to-volume ratio, tunable porosity and composition to get desired properties and function. The success of this technique in tissue engineering relies on the fact that the fibrous meshes mimic the fibrous part of extracellular matrix (ECM) of biological tissues much more than conventional fiber techniques, thus promoting cell adhesion and function.

Electrospray: Simplicity, flexibility and high efficiency of producing particles at the nanoscale, make electrospray one of the most promising approaches in biomedical and pharmaceutical fields. Indeed, with respect to double emulsion process, no need of extraction and no loss of pharmaceutic molecules (super expensive and dangerous) is expected. This makes a difference to deliver sensitive therapeutic agents, such as protein-based drugs or anticancer therapies.
We use different polymers (piezoelectric polymers, polyhydroxyalkanoates, cellulose etc.) and nanocomposites for applications including tissue engineering, drug delivery and packaging.

Equipment
• Electrospinning (Linari Engineering s.r.l., Pisa, Italy): Syringe pump (NE-300, New Era Pump Systems, Inc., NY, USA); High voltage supply (S1600079 Linari High Voltage, +/ground); Cylindrical collector < 6000 rpm (diameter 8 cm) Linari Engineering s.r.l).
• Electrospinning RT Advanced  (Linari Engineering s.r.l, Pisa, Italy).

Research group

Prof. Andrea Lazzeri,
Dr. Ing. Serena Danti,
Dr. Caterina Cristallini,
Prof. Maria-Beatrice Coltelli,
Prof. Patrizia Cinelli,
Dr. Ing. Bahareh Azimi

External collaborations:

Prof. Markus J. Buehler, MIT, MA, USA
Prof. Lorenzo Moroni, Maastricht University, The Netherlands
Prof. Ipsita Roy, University of Sheffield, UK
Dr. Luana Persano, CNR Nanoscience, Italy
Dr. Sue Anne Chew, Texas University Rio Grande Valley, TX.


Funding:

MIT-UNIPI project 2017 (NANO-SPARKS)
ROBO-IMPLANT project, MIUR-MISE-Regione Toscana DGRT 758l2013
POLYBIOSKIN BBI-H2020 project (grant agreement N° 745839) www.polybioskin.eu
4NanoEARDRM EuroNanoMed III project (ERA_NET cofund) www.4nanoeardrm.com
ECOAT BBI-H2020 project (grant agreement N° 837863)
https://www.bbi-europe.eu/projects/ecoat

Main publications:

  • Azimi B, Milazzo M, Lazzeri A, Berrettini S, Uddin MJ, Qin Z, Buehler MJ, Danti S. Electrospinning piezoelectric fibers for biocompatible devices. Adv. Healthcare Mater. 2019, doi: 10.1002/adhm. 1901287.
  • Cristallini C, Danti S, Azimi B, Tempesti V, Ricci C, Ventrelli L, Cinelli P, Barbani N, Lazzeri A. Multifunctional coatings for robotic implanted device. Int. J. Molecular Sciences 2019, 20 (20), 5126.