Tissue and organ failure, caused by injury or other type of damage, accounts for a large part of the health care costs in EU and U.S. Current surgical or grafting procedures are only partly successful in restoring the functions of the damaged tissues.Tissue Engineering has emerged as a rapidly expanding field for repair and regeneration of damaged tissue and organs.This involves the seeding and attachment of human cells onto a scaffold through in-vitro, or a combination of in-vitro and in-vivo. Existing scaffold fabrication techniques are time consuming and costly. We plan to take the first steps towards the commercialization of a novel system to fabricate tissue scaffolds made of Graphene Oxide (GO) in an extremely dynamical and efficient manner. The prototype consists of opto-mechanical and laser components that will be used to dynamically deform the initially flat surface consisting of a single layer of GO deposited over a porous membrane. Specifically, we will utilize a Spatial Light Modulator laser and a novel software application in order to realize a pixelated surface with the desired profile. The spatial deformation will be controlled and detected with the use of Atomic Force Microscopy. Special shapes of the asperities, i.e. local surface maxima of a rough surface, enhance adhesion over the entire surface when in contact with a biological material. Analogously to known natural surfaces with hierarchical roughness, we aim to mimic this kind of effects by using Graphene thanks to its high strength and flexibility. All in all, the goal of VANGuaRD is two-fold: (1) to establish the technical feasibility of our idea by designing and building a highly versatile prototype device that includes both hardware and software components for fabricating easily reconfigurable GO-based scaffolds using only a single substrate. (2) to establish the commercialization potential of such system by means of designing a viable and scalable business model.
We are in an era of demand for new, high-performance and sustainable plastics. The challenge is to counterbalance the actual need of society for disposable devices without compromising the sustainability of the overall production. Within the polymer field, polyolefins account for more than 50% of global plastics demand. However, their main drawback is represented by their hydrophobicity and their poor applicability in blending, adhesion and dyeing due to a lack of functional groups. In this regard, one fundamental challenge is to develop a new strategy that combines polymer synthesis and the incorporation of polar moieties into polyolefins. Within this context, POLYFUN seeks to deliver functional polyolefins by employing a single iron-based catalyst to perform two subsequent catalytic steps in a one-pot strategy. This approach, although being an important tool at the molecular level, has not yet found any application in the polymer field to access materials with intriguing and robust properties in one single process. From a scientific and technological perspective, POLYFUN intends to fabricate functionalized polymers with tunable and unique properties with an innovative approach in the field. This project is highly interdisciplinary, involving different research areas such as organic chemistry, catalysis, and material science. As such, it is envisioned that the development of this new strategy can generate breakthrough scientific papers, valuable discoveries and/or potential patents. This fellowship brings a two-fold transfer of knowledge: advanced techniques in organic chemistry to the host institution and material chemistry to the fellow. Overall, the project’s multidisciplinarity and intersectoral nature will broaden the fellow’s competencies and will place her in a competitive position for her next career move.
The use of science for the conservation of cultural heritage is nowadays widespread. Many studies have been conducted on artworks made of single materials (e.g. paintings, stones, metals). However, a novel research field is rising among European conservation scientists: the characterisation and conservation of composite artefacts. This project will be focused on composite artworks made of painted metal. Indeed, the particular use of metals as “canvas” has never been investigated even though many masterpieces were created using this technique. Known are the degradation mechanisms occurring to metal artefacts as well as to paints as single materials. However, rare studies about painted metals and paint-metal interactions have been undertaken so far. Indeed, there is an extended lack of knowledge about the degradation processes that occur on such artefacts and about the conservation methodology to adopt. The project INTERFACE (paINTed mEtal aRteFActs ConsErvation) aims to fill this lack of scientific information, having two main objectives: 1. The characterisation of the degradation mechanisms, with particular attention to the processes occurring at the paint-metal interface; 2. The development of a conservation methodology to preserve both paint film and metal substrate. In particular, the decay mechanisms and the conservation approaches of copper and iron/low carbon steel as substrates decorated with linseed oil paints and lacquers will be investigated. The first phase of the project will focus its attention on the permeation of the paint film, on the metal corrosion processes (e.g. differential aeration, cathodic delamination) and on the interaction between the binder fatty acids and the metal substrate at their interface. For the first time the interface area between the paint film and the metallic support will be characterized at micro and nano-scale. The second phase will be devoted to the development of a conservation methodology for painted metal artworks.