The Center for Advanced Biomaterials for Healthcare@CRIB develops materials and technologies to engineer bio-logically inspired platforms and systems for applications in the biomedical sector.

The control and the guidance of the interactions between synthetic materials and biological entities is the leitmotif of the research activities. The interactions range from individual biomolecules, cells up to tissues and organs and might occur in a broad range of timescales. Specific combinations of these are of crucial importance in various applications such as biomaterial design, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, drug delivery, diagnostics.

The Center has built up a solid know-how in the design and fabrication of materials displaying bioactive signals at the biologic-synthetic interface. Such functional interfaces are able to actively guide and control recognition events, which ultimately elicit specific responses.

Within this context, the research activities are organized according to specific platforms, namely Cell Instructive Materials, Tissues and Organs-on-Chip, Theranostic Nanoshuttles and Molecular Sensing Materials.

These activities address relevant issues of the biotechnological, pharmaceutical and clinical sectors and stimulate interdisciplinary joint collaborations of researchers belonging to both the academic and industrial field.

The center possesses more than 1200 m2 of laboratories equipped with cutting-edge instrumentation enabling synthesis, fabrication and characterization of material platforms and devices, along with state-of-art cell culture facilities for in vitro testing and organotypic tissue fabrication. Labs are located in the beautiful frame of the “Mostra d’Oltremare” exhibition park, close to the Polytechnique School of the University of Naples.

Laboratories

Cell Instructive Materials: Material design and chemical functionalization strategies developed at the Center are implemented in a cluster of laboratories equipped with a complete set of tools and instrumentations enabling to tightly control and monitor the evolution of the fabrication and synthetic processes. The activities performed in these labs find application in the development of functional material interface aimed at interacting with cells and tissues, along with molecular decoration and patterning of surfaces.

Notable equipment: Peptide Synthesizer; Microspotter; HPLC

In vitro Tissue Production: the in vitro production of macroscopic and functional tissues, such as skin, tendons and epithelia, is performed according to proprietary processes in a dedicated environment. The laboratories are equipped with biological clean benches, incubators and state-of-art instrumentation for on- and off-line monitoring of the developing biochemical, molecular and biophysical properties of the tissues.

Notable equipment: Clean benches; Incubators; Fluorescence Microscopes; RT-PCR; Spectrophotometers.

Human Tissues and Organs on Chip: micronscale mimics of organs and tissues are assembled in miniaturized fluidic devices in order recapitulate the systemic interactions between different tissues and organs. The lab is equipped with the adequate instrumentation to maintain in living conditions the cells within the devices and to analyze and interrogate specific functions on-line.

Notable equipment: Fluorescence Microscopes equipped with mini-incubators for time-lapse imaging. Ad-hoc designed sensors.

Lab-on-a-drop: Molecular sensing materials, mainly microgels, are formulated and fabricated in this lab. Sensing materials are aimed at sequestrating target molecules of interest in extremely low concentrations (down to the femto molar range). Conjugation of fluorescent bacons are integrated to the sensing devices in order to allow a convenient read-out.

Notable Equipment: Light scattering; Fluorescent microscopes

Materials Characterization Cluster: This facility enables the chemical, physical and mechanical characterization of synthetic materials and biologic entities. State-of-art equipment allows to obtain information on the structure, composition and various properties of a broad range of specimens: from small peptides up to complex structures as living tissues.

Notable Equipment: AFM; dynamometer; solid state NMR; XPS; Gi-SAXS; FT-IR and Raman spectrometer; Ellipsometer; Tensiometer; CD; Mass spectrometer; HPLC

Ultrastructure: Top-class microscopes enable to investigate material morphology and structures with ultra-high resolution. The array of microscopes allows to visualize features down to the sub-nanometric level. STED and multiphoton confocal microscopes are specifically used to biological specimens with unparalleled spatial and temporal resolution, even in living conditions. An additional area is dedicated to sample preparation and complements the facility.

Notable Equipment: STED and Multiphoton Confocal Microscopes; AFM; cryo-TEM; SEM; microCT scanner; Ultra High Pressure Freezer.

Micro- and Nano-fabrication: Material processing and manipulation techniques developed in the center are exploited in this facility equipped with cutting edge technologies enabling the fabrication of materials and devices with features ranging from the nanometer up to the 100 micron scale. The materials here processed are used for different applications, such as microfluidics, nanopatterned substrates for cell and tissue culture, material sensing microgels and nanovectors for delivery and diagnostics.

Notable equipments: Class 1000/10000 Clean Room; ICP RIE; Micromilling machines; Micropositioning apparati, Laser 2D printer.