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Stefania Sabella

Principal Investigator of Nanoregulatory Group of D3-PharmaChemistry
D3 PharmaChemistry
Research center

Stefania Sabella got her degree in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Pavia, Italy, in 2002. In 2005, she became Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) at the Dipartimento di Scienze del Farmaco, University of Pavia, working on pharmaceutical analysis of amyloidogenic proteins and their interactions with drugs (with Prof. E. De Lorenzi and Prof. V. Bellotti). During the Ph.D education, under the Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation project “Technological Innovation and Transfer of Technology” financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affair (Italy), she won a project as young researcher in cooperation with TU-Wien (Austria). Hence, in 2004, she moved as External Researcher at TU-Wien, Austria, with Prof. B. Lendl. There, she developed an analytical method for the selective separation and detection of abeta amyloids by FTIR and capillary electrophoresis. In 2006, she moved as a post-doc in the Department of Analytical Chemistry at the National Nanotechnology Laboratory-CNR, Lecce, Italy with Prof. R. Cingolani (2006-7). There she developed a technique to produce smart polymeric microchips for efficient and fast sensing of biomolecules for POC diagnostics. In 2008, she started her career as Associate Researcher at National Nanotechnology Laboratory-CNR, Lecce, Italy, and after, in 2009 (2009-2015) she moved at the Center for Biomolecular Nanotechnologies of Italian Institute of Technology (CBN-IIT, Lecce, Italy as Team Leader. There, she worked on physical and chemical characterization of the interactions between nanoparticles and living systems.

Since 2015 (2015-current), she is appointed as Technologist and Senior Researcher at Italian Institute of Technology, Genova, Italy. In 2015, she founded the Nanoregulatory Group within the D3-Pharma Chemistry Department. The mission of the group is highly interdisciplinary, requiring a strong integration of scientific knowledge of the nanomaterials to regulatory understanding. Each research activity focuses on toxicology assessments linking the physicochemical properties and functionality of emerging key enabling technologies (including manufactured nanomaterials) to specific hazard outcomes.

Current research interests include:

  • Biotransformation of edible novel food or constituents (nanomaterials, nanosensors, etc.) applying bio-fluids related to human exposure (e.g., simulant gastro-intestinal, lung, lysosomal fluids) and their toxicological impact;
  • Biotransformation of Nanoplastics in the oro-gastro-intestinal tract and their toxicological impact with doses relevant for human exposure;
  • Dissolution test to evaluate drug-drug interactions in complex fluids, bio-accessibility and permeability;
  • Co- and 3D- cell cultures (gastro-intestinal or lung epithelia) and their interactions with bio-transformed NP/drug.
  • Tiered Testing Strategies (from simple in vitro to in vivo assays) to define homogenous classes of similar nanomaterials grouped by similarity assessment of functional properties (i.e. dissolution). The TTS is a flexible tool to provide support to read across in nanoregulatory assessments and the applications span from human toxicological testing of new technologies to risk classification of emerging new risks in occupational settings. 

In recent years, Stefania Sabella got many National and International projects on the above presented topics. She has established several National and International scientific collaborations with regulatory and economic agencies (Italian Workers’ Compensation Authority (INAIL), Istituto Superiore della Sanità (ISS) Ministero della Salute, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD). In 2014, Stefania Sabella was endorsed by EC (through Nanostair, http://www.nanostair.eu-vri.eu) as Italian technical expert in Nanoregulatory and appointed by Italy as Committee member of ISO/TC 229/JWG2 and CEN/TC 352/WG 1/PG 2 and IIT representative.

She has published about 60 articles in refereed journals, she is the author and co-author of 2 book chapters, she is the inventor of >6 patents internationally granted (EU, US, CN, JP, HK).  She has several oral and invited contributions to international conferences.

  • S.S. has provided tutoring activities of graduate and PhD students of the University of Pavia, University of Salento and IIT (multidisciplinary activities in Physics, Biology, Biotechnology, Medicinal Chemistry). She has provided teaching activities in the International Master NAMED at University of Pavia and in the Master Sapienza-Inail "Gestione integrata di salute e sicurezza nell’evoluzione del mondo del lavoro" providing lessons on “Advanced analytical methods for nanomaterials”

S.S. has provided extra-research activities as listed below:

- Organization of the ITS-NANO international conference (Venice, March 2013);

- Preparation of the rollout event of ITS-NANO held in Dublin (webinar session, June, 2012).

- Expert and project reviewer for the Croatian Science Foundation.

- Reviewer of several international referred journals (ACS Nano, Small, Nanoscale, etc).


Title: M.Sc. in Medicinal Chemistry
Institute: University of Pavia
Location: Pavia
Country: Italy
From: 1996 To: 2002

Title: Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Institute: University of Pavia
Location: Pavia
Country: Italy
From: 2002 To: 2005

Title: External researcher
Institute: TU-Wien
Location: Wien
Country: Austria
From: 2004 To: 2005

Title: Post-doctoral fellow
Institute: National Nanotechnology Laboratory-CNR, Lecce, Italy
Location: Lecce
Country: Italy
From: 2006 To: 2008


- Cross cutting activities focused on nanotechnology, material characterization and regulation

- Analytical Chemistry

Medicinal Chemistry
- In Vitro digestive tools to simulate oral ingestion

All Publications
Tolardo V., Romaldini A., Fumagalli F., Armirotti A., Veronesi M., Magrì D., Sabella S., Athanassiou A., Fragouli D.
Polycarbonate nanoplastics and the in vitro assessment of their toxicological impact on liver functionality
Environmental Science: Nano
Article in Press Journal
Cavallo D., Ursini C.L., Fresegna A.M., Ciervo A., Boccuni F., Ferrante R., Tombolini F., Maiello R., Chiarella P., Buresti G., Del Frate V., Poli D., Andreoli R., Di Cristo L., Sabella S., Iavicoli S.
A follow-up study on workers involved in the graphene production process after the introduction of exposure mitigation measures: evaluation of genotoxic and oxidative effects
Nanotoxicology, vol. 16, (no. 6-8), pp. 776-790
Di Cristo L., Ude V.C., Tsiliki G., Tatulli G., Romaldini A., Murphy F., Wohlleben W., Oomen A.G., Pompa P.P., Arts J., Stone V., Sabella S.
Grouping of orally ingested silica nanomaterials via use of an integrated approach to testing and assessment to streamline risk assessment
Particle and Fibre Toxicology, vol. 19, (no. 1)
Murphy F., Johnston H.J., Dekkers S., Bleeker E.A.J., Oomen A.G., Fernandes T.F., Rasmussen K., Jantunen P., Rauscher H., Hunt N., Di Cristo L., Braakhuis H.M., Haase A., Hristozov D., Wohlleben W., Sabella S., Stone V.
How to formulate hypotheses and IATA to support grouping and read-across of nanoforms
ALTEX-Alternatives to animal experimentation
Di Cristo L., Janer G., Dekkers S., Boyles M., Giusti A., Keller J.G., Wohlleben W., Braakhuis H., Ma-Hock L., Oomen A.G., Haase A., Stone V., Murphy F., Johnston H.J., Sabella S.
Integrated approaches to testing and assessment for grouping nanomaterials following dermal exposure
Nanotoxicology, vol. 16, (no. 3), pp. 310-332
Scientific Talks
Sabella S.
Messa a punto delle Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) per la digestione simulata in vitro e relativi risultati
Workshop Istituto Superiore di Sanità e Ministero della Salute “Assorbimento orale dei nanomateriali: un approccio in vitro per il rispetto degli obblighi di informazione di cui al regolamento REACH”, seminar
Di Cristo L., Dekkers S., Oomen A.G., Moore C., Janer G., Murphy F., Braakhuis H., Ma-Hock L., Johston H.J., Haase A., Bleeker E.A.J., Fernandes T., Stone V., Sabella S.
Grouping of nanoforms following oral ingestion: Development of an Integrated Approach to Testing and Assessment within The EU Project GRACIOUS
Virtual 10th International Conference on Nanotoxicology
Sabella S.
In vitro dissolution assay: state of the art analysis
NanoInnovation Conference & Exhibition 2021
Sabella S.
“Modelli di digestione simulata in vitro: stato dell’arte”
On-line Workshop "Assorbimento orale dei nanomateriali: un approccio in vitro per il rispetto degli obblighi di informazione di cui al regolamento REACH”, Istituto Superiore della Sanità, 9 March 2021
Sabella S.
The “NanoKey” prevention-through-design approach: development, validation and technology transfer
NanoInnovation 2021
Oral presentations
Di Cristo L., Keller J.G., Dekkers S., Oomen A.G., Stone V., Wohlleben W., Sabella S.
Dissolution of nanomaterials in cascaded gastrointestinal simulants and the physiological role of digestive enzymes: criteria to establish gold standard dissolution method for grouping approaches
Virtual 10th International Conferenceon Nanotoxicology
Organized Events
Sabella S., Boccuni F.
Advanced technologies for occupational health and safety in nanomaterials production processes” IITA-INAIL