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Valentina Cauda

Affiliated Researcher
Post-Doc Senior

Research Line

Advanced Materials for Sustainable Future Technologies


CSFT@PoliTo Torino


Center for Space Human Robotics - IIT@PoliTO Italian Institute of Technology Corso Trento 21
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Valentina Cauda was born in Turin, Italy, in 1981.
She received the Laurea degree in Chemical Engineering in 2004.
In January 2005, she started her PhD at the Department of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering at Politecnico di Torino.
In March 2008 she received the European Ph.D. degree in Materials Science and Technology, Politecnico di Torino, with a thesis entitled: "Incorporation of Ordered Mesoporous Silica inside Macroporous Systems for Drugs Adsorption and Delivery".
From January 2008 to July 2010 she worked as Post-Doc at the Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich (Germany) in the research group of Prof. Thomas Bein, Dep. of Chemistry. She worked on the synthesis and characterization of mesoporous materials, self-assembled structures, and nanoparticles for biomedical applications

Since August 2010 she joined IIT as Post-Doc Senior Researcher in the Center for Space Human Robotics IIT@Polito in Turin, working on nanostructured oxides and piezoelectric polymers with both the aims of developing tactile sensors devices and solar cells.

She recently received an ERC Starting Grant for the call 2015, Project title: “TROJANANOHORSE - Hybrid immune-eluding nanocrystals as smart and active theranostic weapons against cancer”

She is at present author of 63 publications on international peer reviewed journal, 25 articles as first-author and 16 articles as corresponding author. She published 22 articles in journals with impact factor (IF) > 5 (Adv. Mater., Nano Lett., JACS, Nano Energy, Chem. Mater, J. Mater. Chem., Chem. Eur. J, Nanoresearch, ACS Appl. Mater. Interf….)


2015    ERC Starting Grant call 2015, Project title: “TROJANANOHORSE - Hybrid immune-eluding nanocrystals as smart and active theranostic weapons against cancer”, Role: Principal Investigator, Duration: 60 months, Jan 2016 – Dec 2020

2015  Industrial research project "Encrustation level study on the surfaces of ureteral stents in a Dynamic In-vitro Model (DIM)”, Role: Principal Investigator at CSHR@Polito (IIT), Industrial partner: Rocamed, Duration: 8 months, Mar – Oct 2015

2012 EU Project FP7-NMP-2011-CSA-5 “Piezo Institute (PI)” N° 290591: The PI is well a functioning non profit organisation with ongoing activities dedicated to support the integration of the fragmented European expertise and deliver innovative educational tools through postgraduate degrees combining materials, technology and device knowledge. Role: IIT unit coordinator , Duration: 36 months, Mar 2012 - Feb 2015

2009  COST Action No MP 0902 “COINAPO” (COmposite of Inorganic NAnotubes and POlymers) Role: IIT unit coordinator, Duration: 48 months, Nov 2009 - Feb 2013

2009   Industrial research project "Endosoft Radiance versus Endosoft: Surface characterization of 72 stents”, Role: Principal Investigatorat University of Munich, Industrial partner: Cook Medical INC, Duration: 5 months, Aug – Dec 2009

2009   Grant “LMU Mentoring Program” supporting women in science, Role: Mentee, Duration: 10 months, Sep 2009 – Jul 2010

2009  Grant from CeNS (Center for NanoScience, University of Munich) “Colloidal Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles for drug release and cancer cell targeting”, Role: Principal Investigator, Duration: 12 months, Nov 2009-Nov-2010

2008  Grant from CeNS (Center for NanoScience, University of Munich) “Evaluating the Nano-Risk: Colloidal Mesoporous Silica degradation inside living cells”, Role: Principal Investigator, Duration: 12 months, Dec 2008-Dec 2009.

Selected Publications

S. Stassi, V. Cauda, S. Fiorilli, C. Riccairdi “Surface area enhancement by mesoporous silica deposition on microcantilever sensors for small molecule detection” JOURNAL OF MATERIALS CHEMISTRY C, 2015, doi: 10.1039/C5TC02635Kin press.

V. Cauda, S. Stassi, A. Lamberti, M. Morello, C. F. Pirri, G. Canavese “Leveraging ZnO morphologies in piezoelectric composites for mechanical energy harvesting” NANOENERGY, 2015, vol. 18, pp. 212–22, ISSN: 2211-2855, doi:10.1016/j.nanoen.2015.10.021.

M. Laurenti, G. Canavese, A. Sacco, M. Fontana, K. Bejtka, M. Castellino, F. C. Pirri, V. Cauda “Nanobranched ZnO Structure: p-Type Doping Induces Piezoelectric Voltage Generation and Ferroelectric-Photovoltaic Effect” ADVANCED MATERIALS, 2015, vol. 27, pp. 4218–4223, ISSN: 0935-9648, doi: 10.1002/adma.20150159.

S. Stassi, V. Cauda (Co-First Author),C. Ottone, A. Chiodoni, C. F. Pirri, G. Canavese, “Flexible piezoelectric energy nanogenrator based on ZnO nanowires hosted in polycarbonate membrane” NANOENERGY, 2015, Vol. 13, pp. 474-481, ISSN: 2211-2855, doi: 10.1016/j.nanoen.2015.03.024

M. Laurenti, S. Stassi, M. Lorenzoni, M. Fontana, G. Canavese, V. Cauda, C. F. Pirri “Local piezoelectric property analysis and charge-generation measurements in hard and flexible zinc oxide thin films” NANOTECHNOLOGY, 2015, Vol. 26 (21), pp. 215704, ISSN: 1361-6528, doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/26/21/215704.

A. Chiolerio, I. Roppolo, V. Cauda, M. Crepaldi, S. Bocchini, K. Bejtka, A. Verna, C.F. Pirri “Ultraviolet mem-sensors: flexible anisotropic composites featuring giant photocurrent enhancement”, NANORESEARCH, ISSN: 1998-0000, doi: 10.1007/s12274-015-0704-3, in press

V. Cauda, S. Stassi, G. Canavese “Nanostrucutred piezoelectric polymers”, JOURNAL OF APPLIED POLYMER SCIENCE, 2015, vol 32 (13), pp. 41667 (1-14), ISSN 1097-4628, doi.10.1002/app.41667 (Invited Review, Journal Cover  doi: 10.1002/app.41847)

S. Hernández, V. Cauda, A. Chiodoni, S. Dallorto, A. Sacco, D. Hidalgo, E. Celasco, C. F. Pirri “Optimization of 1D ZnO@TiO2 Core–Shell Nanostructures for Enhanced Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting under Solar Light Illumination” ACS APPLIED MATERIALS AND INTERFACES, 2014, 6 (15), pp. 12153–12167, ISSN:1944-8244, doi: 10.1021/am501379m

C. Ottone, A. Lamberti, M. Fontana, V. Cauda “Wetting behavior of hierarchical oxide nanostructures: TiO2 nanotubes from anodic oxidation decorated with ZnO nanostructures” JOURNAL OF ELECTROCHEMICAL SOCIETY, 2014, Vol. 161, Issue 10, pp. D484-D488, ISSN: 1945-7111, doi:10.1149/2.0431410jes.

S. Stassi, V. Cauda, G. Canavese, D. Manfredi, A. Chiodoni, F.C. Pirri “Shape-Controlled Synthesis of Silver Nature-Like Spiky Particles for Piezoresistive Sensor Applications” EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF INORGANIC CHEMISTRY, 2014, Vol. 16, pp. 2711-2719, ISSN: 1434-1948, doi: 10.1002/ejic.201402036

V. Cauda, D. Pugliese, N. Garino, A. Sacco, S. Bianco, F. Bella, A. Lamberti, C. Gerbaldi “Multi-functional energy conversion and storage electrodes using flower-like ZnO nanostructures”, ENERGY, 2014, Vol. 65, pp. 639-646, ISSN: 0360-5442, doi:  10.1016/

D. Pugliese, F. Bella, V. Cauda, A. Lamberti, A. Sacco, E. Tresso, S. Bianco “A Chemometric Approach for the Sensitization Procedure of ZnO Flower-like Microstructures for Dye-sensitized Solar Cells”, ACS APPLIED MATERIALS AND INTERFACES, 2013, Vol. 5 (21), pp. 11288–11295, ISSN:1944-8244, doi: 10.1021/am403527m.

V. Farías Rivera, F. Auras, P. Motto, S. Stassi, G. Canavese, E. Celasco, T. Bein, B. Onida, V. Cauda (Co-First Author)“Length-dependent charge generation from vertical arrays of high-aspect ratio ZnO nanowires” CHEMISTRY: AN EUROPEAN JOURNAL, 2013, Vol. 19 (43), pp. 14665–14674,  ISSN: 1521-3765, doi: 10.1002/chem.201204429.

V. Cauda, S. Stassi, K. Bejtka, G. Canavese “Nanoconfinement: an effective way to enhance PVDF piezoelectric properties", ACS APPLIED MATERIALS AND INTERFACES, 2013, Vol.5 (13), pp. 6430-6437, ISSN:1944-8244, doi: 10.1021/am4016878.

M. Laurenti, V. Cauda (Co-First Author), R. Gazia, M. Fontana, V. Farías Rivera, S. Bianco, G. Canavese “Wettability control on ZnO nanowires driven by seed layer properties”, EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF INORGANIC CHEMISTRY, 2013, Vol. 2013 (14), pp. 2520-2527, ISSN: 1434-1948, doi: 10.1002/ejic.201201420.

V. Cauda, B. Torre, A. Falqui, G. Canavese, S. Stassi, T. Bein, M. Pizzi “Confinement in Oriented Mesopores Induces Piezoelectric Behaviour of Polymeric Nanowires”,CHEMISTRY OF MATERIALS, 2012, Vol. 24 (21), pp 4215–4221, ISSN: 0897-4756, doi: 10.1021/cm302594s.

F. Feil, V. Cauda (Co-First Author), T. Bein, C. Bräuchle "Direct visualization of dye and oligonucleotide diffusion in silica filaments with collinear mesopores, NANO LETTERS, 2012, Vol. 12 (3), pp 1354-61, ISSN: 1530-6992, doi: 10.1021/nl2039474.

V. Cauda, C. Argyo, D. Percey, T. Bein  “Liquid phase calcination” in high-boiling solvents of colloidal mesoporous silica nanoparticles”, JOURNAL OF AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, 2011, vol. 133, pp 6484–6486, ISSN: 0002-7863, doi: 10.1021/ja1067492.

V. Cauda, H. Engelke, A. Sauer, D. Arcizet, C. Bräuchle, J. Rädler, T. Bein “Colchicine-loaded lipid bilayer-coated 50 nm mesoporous nanoparticles efficiently induce microtubule depolymerization upon cell uptake”, NANO LETTERS, 2010, vol. 10, issue 7, pp 2484–2492, ISSN:1530-6984, doi: 10.1021/nl100991w.

A. Sauer, A. Schlossbauer, N. Ruthardt, V. Cauda, T. Bein, C. Bräuchle “Role of endosomal escape for disulfide-based drug delivery from colloidal mesoporous silica evaluated by live-cell imaging”, NANO LETTERS, 2010, vol. 10, issue 9, pp 3684-3691, ISSN 1530-6984, doi: 10.1021/nl102180s.

V. Cauda, A. Schlossbauer, J. Kecht, A. Zϋrner, T. Bein “Multiple core-shell functionalized mesoporous silica nanoparticles“, JOURNAL OF AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, 2009, vol. 131, issue 32, pp. 11361-11370, ISSN: 0002-7863, doi: 10.1021/ja809346n.


Premio Zonta 2015 Area 03 Distretto 30 from Zonta International – Scientific Area: Chemical Sciences 

Best Paper Award 2015 at the 38th International Spring Seminar on Electronics Technology (ISSE 2015) for the publication: B. Miccoli, A. Bonanno, V. Cauda, A. Sanginario, D. DemarchiInterface of a Single ZnO-Nanowire Assembled onto Custom-Fabricated Nanogap Device for UV Sensing Applications”, Eger (Hungary), 6-10 May 2015, pp. 431-435, doi: 10.1109/ISSE.2015.7248035.

Prize “Giovedì Scienza” 2013- 2nd Edition- Acknowledgement for the scientific divulgation from researcher under 35 having relevant scientific and technological results and operating in a research institution in Piedmont (Italy).

Publication Award 2010 – Center for NanoScience (CeNS), University of Munich, Germany, for the publication: A. Sauer, A. Schlossbauer, N. Ruthardt, V. Cauda, T. Bein, C. Bräuchle “Role of endosomal escape for disulfide-based drug delivery from colloidal mesoporous silica evaluated by live-cell imaging”, NANO LETTERS, 2010, vol. 10, issue 9, pp 3684-3691.

Prize “Dr. Klaus Römer Stiftung” Post-Doc 2010 -Stiftung zur Förderung Chemischer und Biochemischer Forschung, to promote the research of chemists and biochemists, Departments of Chemistry, University of Munich, Germany.


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I numeri di IIT

L’Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) è una fondazione di diritto privato - cfr. determinazione Corte dei Conti 23/2015 “IIT è una fondazione da inquadrare fra gli organismi di diritto pubblico con la scelta di un modello di organizzazione di diritto privato per rispondere all’esigenza di assicurare procedure più snelle nella selezione non solo nell’ambito nazionale dei collaboratori, scienziati e ricercatori ”.

IIT è sotto la vigilanza del Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca e del Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze ed è stato istituito con la Legge 326/2003. La Fondazione ha l'obiettivo di promuovere l'eccellenza nella ricerca di base e in quella applicata e di favorire lo sviluppo del sistema economico nazionale. La costruzione dei laboratori iniziata nel 2006 si è conclusa nel 2009.

Lo staff complessivo di IIT conta circa 1440 persone. L’area scientifica è rappresentata da circa l’85% del personale. Il 45% dei ricercatori proviene dall’estero: di questi, il 29% è costituito da stranieri provenienti da oltre 50 Paesi e il 16% da italiani rientrati. Oggi il personale scientifico è composto da circa 60 principal investigators, circa 110 ricercatori e tecnologi di staff, circa 350 post doc, circa 500 studenti di dottorato e borsisti, circa 130 tecnici. Oltre 330 posti su 1400 creati su fondi esterni. Età media 34 anni. 41% donne / 59 % uomini.

Nel 2015 IIT ha ricevuto finanziamenti pubblici per circa 96 milioni di euro (80% del budget), conseguendo fondi esterni per 22 milioni di euro (20% budget) provenienti da 18 progetti europei17 finanziamenti da istituzioni nazionali e internazionali, circa 60 progetti industriali

La produzione di IIT ad oggi vanta circa 6990 pubblicazioni, oltre 130 finanziamenti Europei e 11 ERC, più di 350 domande di brevetto attive, oltre 12 start up costituite e altrettante in fase di lancio. Dal 2009 l’attività scientifica è stata ulteriormente rafforzata con la creazione di dieci centri di ricerca nel territorio nazionale (a Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) e internazionale (MIT ed Harvard negli USA) che, unitamente al Laboratorio Centrale di Genova, sviluppano i programmi di ricerca del piano scientifico 2015-2017.

IIT: the numbers

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is a public research institute that adopts the organizational model of a private law foundation. IIT is overseen by Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca and Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze (the Italian Ministries of Education, Economy and Finance).  The Institute was set up according to Italian law 326/2003 with the objective of promoting excellence in basic and applied research andfostering Italy’s economic development. Construction of the Laboratories started in 2006 and finished in 2009.

IIT has an overall staff of about 1,440 people. The scientific staff covers about 85% of the total. Out of 45% of researchers coming from abroad 29% are foreigners coming from more than 50 countries and 16% are returned Italians. The scientific staff currently consists of approximately 60 Principal Investigators110 researchers and technologists350 post-docs and 500 PhD students and grant holders and 130 technicians. External funding has allowed the creation of more than 330 positions . The average age is 34 and the gender balance proportion  is 41% female against 59% male.

In 2015 IIT received 96 million euros in public funding (accounting for 80% of its budget) and obtained 22 million euros in external funding (accounting for 20% of its budget). External funding comes from 18 European Projects, other 17 national and international competitive projects and approximately 60 industrial projects.

So far IIT accounts for: about 6990 publications, more than 130 European grants and 11 ERC grants, more than 350 patents or patent applications12 up start-ups and as many  which are about to be launched. The Institute’s scientific activity has been further strengthened since 2009 with the establishment of 11 research nodes throughout Italy (Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) and abroad (MIT and Harvard University, USA), which, along with the Genoa-based Central Lab, implement the research programs included in the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan.