From 8-9 May, 2019 the First Grand Minded Meeting was held at the IIT Central Research Lab in Genova. For more information download the agenda below.
From 13-14 November, 2019 the Second Grand Minded Meeting was held at the IIT Central Research Lab in Genova. For more information download the agenda below.
Grand Minded Meetings
On 23, 24 and 26 November, 2020 the Third Grand Minded Meeting was held online on Microsoft Teams. For more information download the agenda below.
In this talk, we will present simulations of deterministic latera displacement (DLD) devices obtained by a mesoscopic hydrodynamics method with an efficient two-dimensional representtion and a high fidelity three-dimensional model. Possibilities to sort red blood cells (RBCs) based on their intrinsic properties, including cell rigidity and viscosity contrast between the cytoplasm and the suspended medium, will be demonstrated. These results are validated by experiments with rigid particles, and compare well to the DLD experiments with RBCs. Sorting of blood cells by targeting single-cell properties should be possible by fine-tuning post shape, device geometry, and flow rate in DLD devices.
Von Willebrand factor (VWF) and blood platelets play a key role in blood clotting by forming VWF-platelet aggregates. Such aggregates form at high shear rates and dissolve reversibly at low shear rates, which leads to an interesting behavior of these aggregates in microvessels. In blood flow, red blood cells (RBCs) migrate to the center of a vessel and facilitate margination (or migration) of both VWF molecules and platelets toward vessel walls. Using mesoscale hydrodynamic simulations, we investigate the formation and dynamics of VWF-platelet aggregates in blood flow. We show that shear activation of VWF and the interactions between VWF and platelets are the main determinants of this process. Thus, a significant change in the VWF shear activation or VWF-platelet interactions may lead to no aggregate formation or to the formation of irreversible aggregates.
I was 15, when I moved to the city of Kolkata, India and I would like to start this article by talking about the “City”. It is one of the most densely populated cities in the world and it is known as “The City of Joy”, “The City of Mother Teresa”, “The City of Tagore” and a “not easy city”. I lived there for 12 years and it is in the overcrowded streets that I learnt about endurance and good will under the most unlikely circumstances. As I grew up, in high school I developed a natural liking for the little laboratory works involved in Chemistry classes. I liked the colors in flame test, simple titration experiments and when the time came for me to decide what I would like to choose as my career I simply went for Chemistry. I did my Masters and PhD. from the University of Kolkata and I moved away from textbooks to research journals. Slowly, it was the culture of the laboratory and the scientific questions that genuinely instigated my curiosity and sense of adventure.
I am a Biomedical Engineer by background but the idea of doing the classic “engineer job” has never intrigued me that much. For this reason, when the time to choose my master thesis came, I decided to jump into the world of biomaterials for medical use, and that was just the beginning of the journey. At that time, I didn’t know that would have loved research so much.
When I first entered a Chemistry lab, I was not able to do even the very simplest thing. I was used to study electronics, mechanics, and robotics but I didn’t know how to pipette 1 ml. However, day by day I acquired more confidence and I felt in love with what I was doing, so I decided that research was my way.
As a young researcher who completed a Ph.D. in the field of Biomedical nanotechnology from India, I started to explore the advanced research training options world-wide. With my research interest in the field of nanomedicine, I had three years of post-doc experience in the Nanotechnology innovation center of Kansas State (NICKS), Kansas State University, USA. For further career advancement, I came to about the vibrant opportunity of MINDED Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions Fellowship with Prof.Decuzzi Laboratory of Precision Nanomedicine. With this opportunity, I would love to acquire European research experience, so I decided to relocate to IIT Genova, Italy.
I’m a scientist because of the greatest classes of a Professor, his enthusiasm, youth, confidence, and mainly because he believed in women.
In the last 15 years, I have been living and working between Portugal, the US, and Italy. Throughout these years I survived to the Ike hurricane, missed my family and friends, followed dreams, worked in 3 different research areas, and changed between the hard and collaborative work at the bench site in laboratories to the lonely work of thinking and writing at a desk.
I grew up in the suburbs of a small Southern city, Spartanburg (urban pop. ~260,000), in South Carolina (USA). Besides the two years my family lived in Germany when I was 7 years old, I spent my whole life in the southeastern United States. I did my bachelors and Ph.D. in the Department of Bioengineering at Clemson University (Go Tigers!), one hour from where I grew up. At the time of my graduation I had spent 8½ years at the same university and it was time to see something new.
Having completed my PhD in the UK in early 2018, I was eager for new challenges and new scientific opportunities. The prospect of conducting research in a world-class institute in sunny Italy proved to be too attractive to pass up, and I made use of my EU citizen freedom of movement rights, to relocate to Genova in March 2018. When I arrived in Genova there was an epic snowstorm with the steep road to IIT being unpassable, I had to slip and slide my way up the hill to my first day of work. Nevertheless, I was excited to start my first post-PhD position here in IIT, in such a vibrant atmosphere.
I came to Genoa about a year ago, after completing my PhD in Singapore. I remember googling the weather statistics and thinking to myself, it cannot be that bad, I can handle it. Little did I know that I’d be talking about the weather all the time. In the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to explore Italy. It is the perfect place to appreciate the closeness of art and science. Understanding the travel of influences across the silk-route has given me a new visual how similar yet how different Indians and Italians are.
In the first half of 2018 I was deep in the process of writing up my PhD thesis at Liverpool John Moores University and planning my next steps. I had decided I wanted to face a new challenge in a new institution, having studied for my bachelors and masters degrees all in the same lab as my PhD, but I hadn’t given much thought to the prospect of leaving the United Kingdom in search of that next challenge.
I am a biologist and a chemist. And that’s why I found myself travelling for 7 years abroad. I use computers to run my experiments. This is great because computers are inexpensive as compared to lab material, and predictions can help to lighten the experimental workload and improve our understanding of existing data. On the fun side, you can look at molecules wiggling and jiggling around. In my case, these molecules are in our body.
In this talk, he describes cutting-edge technologies for engineering functional tissues and organs, including the heart, brain, spinal cord and retina. I will focus on the design of new biomaterials, mimicking the natural microenvironment, or releasing biofactors to promote stem cell recruitment and tissue protection. In addition, I will discuss the development of patient-specific materials and 3D-printing of personalized vascularized tissues and organs. Finally, I will show a new direction in tissue engineering, where, micro and nanoelectronics are integrated within engineered tissues to form cyborg tissues.
The focus of this talk is on how social behavior abnormalities are common feature of several neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders, among them is Williams syndrome (WS), which exhibits hypersociability and neurocognitive abnormalities. WS is caused by a microdeletion of 25 genes, among them is the general transcription factor GTF2I, which has been linked to the hypersociability phenotype, though the etiology was poorly understood. To dissect Gtf2i neuronal function, we selectively deleted Gtf2i in forebrain excitatory neurons and found WS-relevant abnormalities, including neuroanatomical defects, fine motor deficits, increased sociability and anxiety. Unexpectedly, we found significantly reduced myelin-related genes expression, mature oligodendrocyte cell numbers, reduced myelin thickness and impaired axonal conductivity.
Prof. Barenholz has been on the faculty at Hebrew University since 1968 and has been a visiting Professor at leading Universities around the world. His current research focuses on the development of drugs and nano-drugs based on drug delivery systems (DDS) best exemplified by the anticancer Doxil®, the first liposomal drug as well as the first nano-drug approved by the FDA (1995) and used world-wide. Professor Barenholz is an author of >410 scientific publications, cited as of February 2018 >34,000 times, with h-index of 91.
The talk will focus on systemic delivery of RNA molecules using targeted nanocarriers to the immune system. Prof. Peer pioneered the use of RNA interference (RNAi) for in vivo validation of new drug targets within the immune system that has enormous implications in cancer and inflammation.
Professor Dan Peer is the Director of the Laboratory of Precision NanoMedicine at Tel Aviv University (TAU). He is also the Chair of Tel Aviv University Cancer Biology Research Center; the biggest Cancer Center in Israel that includes 17 affiliated hospitals and the Managing Director of the SPARK program of Translational Medicine at TAU.
Dr. Shoshy Mizrahy will attend the "Next Generation Therapeutics and Technological Approaches for Treatment of Neurodevelopmental and Rare Diseases in Children" conference at Tel Aviv University. This unique conference focuses on new therapeutic and technological approaches for treating neurodevelopmental disorders and rare diseases that appear in early child development. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), neuromuscular diseases, cerebral palsy and other rare diseases affect more than 10 percent of all children.
IIT Technology Transfer and Venture Factory presented the “Proof of Concept (PoC) investment program” of the VV3TT fund - one of the leading Italian technology transfer funds specialized in robotics, automation and medical devices.
This fund invests in IP and high-tech projects generated by Italian research centers and universities, starting from the prototyping phase. The PoC program makes available the first 75k EU investment which allows the realization of the prototype and the participation in an Executive MBA to better define the tech-business model of the initiative.
MINDED Fellows attended the event and met the speakers afterwards.
MINDED Fellow Dr Nathan Foster was invited by the Centre for Educational Neuroscience to give a Seminar on "Modulating practice structures to facilitate motor learning and transfer in autism spectrum disorders" as part of the "Summer Term Seminar Series" focused on pedagogy and neurodevelopmental disorders.
MINDED Fellow Dr Martina Pannuzzo acted as MSCA MINDED Ambassador and presented her academinc path and current research for the MINDED project at the MIUR event in Rapallo.
Her talk focused on "Research and Innovation" and was dedicated to secondary schools students.
Prof. Xiaoyuan (Shawn) Chen talk focused on how theranostics (Rx/Dx) aims to develop molecular diagnostic tests and targeted therapeutics with the goals of individualizing treatment by targeting therapy to an individual's specific disease subtype and genetic profile. It can be diagnosis followed by therapy to stratify patients who will likely respond to a given treatment; it can also be therapy followed by diagnosis to monitor early response to treatment and predict treatment efficacy; it is also possible that diagnostics and therapeutics are co-developed (nanotheranostics). This talk will use Evans blue as an example to illustrate how this reversible albumin binder can be suitably for vasculature and lymphatic system imaging, as an enhancer to prolong circulation half-life of drugs for diabetes treatment, radioligand cancer therapy, cancer vaccine and cancer nano prodrug development.
On September 25 and 26, 2018 the Nanomedicine MINDED Fellows presented their most recent activities and explored potential interactions with the Nanotechnology for Precision Medicine group. The meeting was held at the International Library for Young People Edmondo de Amicis, at the Old Port of Genova.
In her talk, Dr Lara Cancedda has shown that GABAAR signaling is excitatory rather than inhibitory, in the hippocampi of adult DS mice. Accordingly, hippocampal expression of the cation Cl− cotransporter NKCC1 is increased in both trisomic mice and individuals with DS. Notably, NKCC1 inhibition by the FDA-approved diuretic bumetanide restores inhibitory GABAergic signaling, synaptic plasticity and hippocampus-dependent memory in adult DS mice. Based on these findings, a pilot clinical trial will soon start on adult individuals with DS patients. Yet, although repurposing bumetanide for DS is a straightforward therapeutic approach, this may be hindered by bumetanide’s diuretic effect.
Prof. Alexandre Dmitriev visited IIT as an Invited Speaker to present his latest research accomplishments.
Prof. Dmitriev, Full professor at the University of Gothenburg, explained how he combines the plasmonic and magnetic materials (magnetoplasmonics) to devise various nano-optical systems that are controlled by the external magnetic field, including chiral optics, polarizers and biochemosensing surfaces. He also discussed the various low-cost bottom-up nanofabrication methods that we develop to produce large surfaces with optical nanoantennas that can be used in nanophotovoltaics, thermal management and other fields.
In his talk, Prof. Lombrardo highlighted his most recent work using early developmental stratifiers based on early language outcome and social engagement behaviors that dissect and connect multi-level heterogeneity in the autisms. By enhancing the precision of our understanding about multiple types of autisms and specific early developmental mechanisms that affect them, this work will help accelerate progress towards the ideals of personalized medicine.
On August 13-21, 2018 Alexander Cook took part to the CAS SciFinder Future Leaders at CAS headquarters in Columbus, Ohio.
At the conclusion of the stay in Columbus, Alex will travel to Boston, MA for the 256th ACS National Meeting & Exposition: Nanoscience, Nanotechnology & Beyond, a platform for scientific professionals to present, publish and discuss the most exciting research discoveries in the field.
On June 20, 2018 Dr. Martina Pannuzzo was interviewed on the national TV programme REPORT (RAI3 TV) during which she described the research activities she is involved on a daily basis and how she aims to make an impact through the MINDED programme.
MINDED Fellow Dr Lucilla Cardinali, gave an oral presentation at the 19th International Multisensory Research Forum, during the Developmental Perspective session. The conference took place in Toronto, Canada.
On June 11, 2018, our MINDED Partner, Prof. Moein Moghimi, visited IIT and presented the following seminar: "Innate Immunity and the Nanoscale Matters".
Prof. Moein Moghimi is a Professor of Pharmaceutics and Nanomedicine (School of Pharmacy) at Newcastle University (UK). He is also an Adjoint Professor at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Colorado-Denver Medical Center (USA).
Dr. Shadi Farhangrazi's talk took a close look at the science and business factors impacting design, translation, technology transfer and commercialization of pharmaceutical drugs and ways of improving them. We will take a close look at precision medicine, innovations, therapies and medical technologies making a difference and further take a glance at the possible future of medicine and patient care.
Dr. Shadi Farhangrazi, PhD., MS., MBA, Co-Founder and CEO of SMDG is a global business expert, neuroscientist, and biochemist who has facilitated biotechnology business development, and commercialization for many companies world-wide.
On May 25, 2018 Dr Alessandro Gozzi participated to the group retreat as an Invited Speaker and presented a talk focused on the application of advanced MRI methods to investigate the large-scale neurofunctional architecture of the mouse brain, and describe its modulation by neurodevelopmental and pathological effectors.
Dr Alessandro Gozzi is a Tenure Track Scientist, ERC winner, at IIT Rovereto.
On April 16, 2018, our MINDED Partner, Prof. Dan Peer, visited at IIT and gave the following talk "A universal platform for RNA therapeutics".
Prof. Peer is the Director of the Laboratory of Precision NanoMedicine at Tel Aviv University (TAU) funded by the US NIH and the European Union via ERC grant. Prof. Peer is also the Chair of Tel Aviv University Cancer Biology Research Center. He leads the new SPARK program (Center for Translational Medicine) at TAU.
On April 9, 2018 Prof. Didier Letourneur, came to IIT as an Invited Speaker to present to the Minded Fellows a talk focused on industrial and clinical transfers of research works on biomaterials.
Prof. Didier Letourneur is Research Director at CNRS. Since 2014, he is the Director of the Laboratory for Vascular Translational Science affiliated to Inserm and Universities Paris Diderot and Paris North. He also leads the team of Cardiovascular Bioengineering at Bichat Hospital in Paris.
L’Europa premia il progetto MINDED coordinato dall’IIT-Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia con un co-finanziamento pari a oltre 3 milioni di euro, per un totale di oltre 6 milioni di investimento, nel quadro delle Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA).
L’iniziativa permetterà l’avvio di un nuovo piano formativo per giovani scienziati che vogliono identificare terapie innovative per le malattie del neurosviluppo, senza tralasciare gli aspetti sociali ed economici di miglioramento della qualità della vita delle persone.
Formare 24 ricercatori-imprenditori nel settore delle malattie neurologiche dello sviluppo: è l'obiettivo di "Minded", il progetto europeo da 6 milioni di euro co-finanziato dalla Commissione Ue nell'ambito delle Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions e coordinato dall'Italia, con Paolo Decuzzi, dall'Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (Iit). Al progetto - che prevede l'assunzione di 24 giovani ricercatori da tutto il mondo per svolgere un programma di formazione quadriennale