PhD students

These are the final Early Stage Researchers (ESR) recruited in the CuraBone project to pursue their PhD.

Gabriele Nasello


Gabriele took his bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Università degli Studi di Palermo within the three regular academic years with the final grade of 110/100 cum laude, at the end of which he was selected for an advanced educational project to spend two months in the United States at Dr. William R. Wagner's laboratory in the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine (University of Pittsburgh). After that, Gabriele decided to enroll the master’s degree programme in Biomedical Engineering - Biomechanics and Biomaterials at Politecnico di Milano, where he achived the final grade of 110/110 cum laude and he was awarded with the scholarship "Cavaliere del Lavoro Pietro Catelli, Fondatore del ARTSANA Group" for having one of the two highest weighted average grade between candidates from all master degrees in engineering at Politecnico di Milano. At the end of his master studies, Gabriele was awarded again to spend six months at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine (University of Pittsburgh). He is currently working on his PhD in the CuraBone project on how scaffold mechanics affect tissue regenerations, and how computational models could predict the cellular response to mechanical stimuli.

PhD Project

The objective is the development and experimental validation of a novel numerical tool that provides insights on the biological response of the host tissue when scaffolds for bone tissue engineering are implanted, both in terms of osseointegration and bone ingrowth. Experimental methodologies are based on the use of simplified bone tissue models in microfluidic devices and the culture of bone cells in 3D printed titanium scaffolds with further mechanical stimulation with the use of a bioreactor. Computational analysis will mainly rely on models that correlate bone regeneration to the mechanical stimulus acting on the scaffold, and it will be validated by the experimental tests. The final use of the computational model is to guide the personalized designs of permanent scaffolds for the treatment of large bone defects.

Maria received her bachelor’s and master degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Leibniz Universität Hannover in Germany. During her studies she wrote her project thesis about prediction of ground reaction forces in the AnyBody Group of John Rasmussen in Aalborg, Denmark, using the human simulation software AnyBody. For her master studies she developed a finite-element-model of the femur, simulating gait with and without implants. Maria is currently working on his PhD in the CuraBone project on how to develop a bioresorbable bone plate for cranio-maxillofacial applications.

PhD Project

The objective is the development and experimental validation of a bioresorbable bone plate used for cranio-maxillofacial (CMF) surgery. Multiple possible materials such as polycaprolactone (PCL) and Magnesium will be investigated. Mechanical testing data of the reference Titanium implants will be used to validate a finite element model that can predict mechanical strength. Additionally, a material degradation model will be developed and validated to predict mechanical strength over time. Lastly, a physiological model including bone healing simulation will be developed to simulate the post-op situation. With these models, the performance of a bioresorbable implant can be simulated during the healing process. The developed models will be used to adapt the current implant design to ensure equivalent mechanical strength and functional performance to Titanium implants.

Maria Hilvert

Simone Russo

Simone Russo received his bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Università di Pisa (Pisa, Italy) in 2014 and his master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Politecnico di Milano (Milan, Italy) in 2017. Currently (since February 2018), he is a PhD student in Bioengineering at Universidad de Zaragoza (Zaragoza, Spain). During recent years, he has conducted extensive research and development on regenerative medicine. Simone worked as Trainee (from November 2012 to February 2014) in Prof. Arti Ahluwalia’s group at Centro Interdipartimentale “E. Piaggio” (Pisa, Italy) where he designed and prototyped a new holder for membrane bioreactors to implement a TEER (Trans-Epithelial Electrical Resistance) sensor for becoming a valid substitution of the animal experimentation to create living model. In September 2016 (till October 2017) he moved to London to work as Visiting Research Assistant in Prof. Paolo De Coppi’s group at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (London, United Kingdom). Here, his main activities were decellularizing tissues/organs and projecting/testing new bioreactors for Tissue Engineering applications, focusing on re-vascularization process of organs: small intestine, stomach, liver, spleen and lungs.

In November 2017 (till January 2018) Simone came back to Milan, pursuing his activities in Dr. Matteo Moretti’s group at the Cell and Tissue Engineering Lab (IRCCS Galeazzi Orthopedic Institute, Milan, Italy): his main research field was tissue engineering of cartilage to develop a new predictive model for rehabilitation through a customized bioreactor, collaborating with Dr. Fabio Galbusera’s group for biomechanical simulation modelling. His PhD project is part of CuraBone project: he is working on tissue engineering and biomechanics of bone: characterization of biodegradable scaffolds, 3D printing, cell culture, computational modelling. The main goal is developing a combined in-vitro/in-silico model of bone regeneration on biodegradable scaffolds.

PhD Project

The aim is developing a combined in-vitro/in-silico model of scaffolds’ degradation in response of the biological feedbacks of the host tissue when the scaffolds for bone tissue engineering are implanted. Dynamic conditions may help tissue regeneration; thus, this study will be conducted considering perfusion and load applied on the constructs. Polymeric scaffolds are 3D printed. Thanks to in-vitro experiment, it may be possible to validate the in-silico model as a predictive model of degradation. The final goal is to obtain some guidelines and tools to study further degradable scaffolds.



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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 722535.

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