GREAT is a group dedicated to the research and development of new therapeutic solutions in the field of Tissue Engineering (TE), a branch of Biomedical Engineering. TE blends science and art in combining cells, materials and growth factors using the methods of engineering and the knowledge of the life and exact sciences for the development of biological substitutes to improve or replace the function of damaged or missing organs or tissues. Our research concerns the engineering of skin, blood vessels and bone and cartilage substitutes and the regeneration of the spinal cord.


To overcome the limitations of conventional methods used in the treatment of deep partial and full-thickness wounds, we are developing a complete therapeutic solution that can provide a permanent substitute for damaged skin and be an effective wound healing procedure, both from the functional and cosmetic point of view, that the surgeon can apply on the same day the patient is admitted to the hospital. Our approach is base on the unique properties of polymeric nanofibers arranged into dermal and epidermal substitutes and the use of autologous cells. 


The complexity of the Central Nervous System and of its response to a Spinal Cord injury makes recovery of motor and sensorial functionalities an unsolved clinical problem. Our research focusses on the development and evaluation of the influence of the structure and composition of neural conduits on the establishment of neuronal processes and myelination (endogenous regeneration) and on the differentiation (into different neural phenotypes) of Neural Stem/Progenitor Cells (scaffold assisted cell transplantation)


Our vision of the future blood vessel replacement consists in a multilayered tubular structure having a composition and microstructure tuned to foster cell migration and metabolism. This acellular scaffold - produced by electrospinning nano and microfibers of different polymers - exhibits mechanical properties comparable to those of the vessel it aims to replace in order to withstand the mechanical stresses upon implantation. It will be anastomosed to both ends of the native vessel and endogenous cells will initiate the regeneration of the damaged blood vessel. 


Osteochondral TE promotes the simultaneous regeneration of articular cartilage and underlining subchondral bone. It requires the use of bilayered scaffolds to promote individual growth of both tissues on a single integrated implant. We are using a novel approach towards the development of scaffolds for osteochondral tissue based on inverted colloidal crystals. These structures present a highly ordered porous structure with interconnected pores and excellent mechanical properties.