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Gemma Palazzolo

Researcher
Head of the Tissue Engineering Unit

Research Line

Enhanced Regenerative Medicine

Center

IIT Central Research Labs Genova

Contacts

Via Morego 30, 16163 Genova
+39 010 71781 884

Social profiles

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About

Gemma Palazzolo leads the unit of Tissue Engineering in the research line of Enhanced Regenerative Medicine. She is co-PI of the EU H2020 FET PROACTIVE project HERMES, a highly interdisciplinary project, whose long-term vision is to heal epilepsy, a so far incurable brain disorder characterized by aberrant synaptic transmission and nervous tissue degeneration.

Dr. Palazzolo’s research focus is to engineer bioinspired extracellular matrices that support cell organization into nervous tissue and thus help rebuild the brain matter, damaged or lost due to brain disorders.

Dr. Palazzolo earned her M.Sc. degree in Biotechnologies from the University of Palermo (Italy) in 2007 and, there, she gained her PhD in 2011, with a thesis on proteomic characterization of breast cancer extracellular microvesicles. Following her PhD, she obtained a Postdoctoral fellowship at ETH Zurich (Switzerland) (2011-2014), where she broadened her interests to embrace natural biomolecules, biopolymers and tissue engineering, to regenerate body tissues like cartilage and brain. In 2015 she moved to IIT, as Postdoctoral fellow, where she has run a broad range of activities, which include: i) developing in vitro brain tissue structures; ii) exploiting optical approaches to monitor and/or modulate the functional connectivity of neural networks; iii) establishing patient derived tumor spheroids as in vitro platforms for drug screening.

Dr. Palazzolo has been visiting scientist, during her PhD, at FHNW Basel (Switzerland), in 2009-2010; and visiting Postdoc at Tampere University (Finland), in 2014, in the context of the 3DNeuroN project (FP7-ICT 2012-2015; http://www.3dneuron.eu/).

Gemma Palazzolo holds patents on tissue engineering, cell manipulation and volumetric imaging.

Projects

2019 G. Palazzolo (co-PI) Hybrid Enhanced Regenerative Medicine Systems – HERMES. EU H2020 FET-PROACT-01-2018. 01/01/2019 – 31/12/2023 (€ 8 429 857,50)

https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/219205/factsheet/en

www.hermes-fet.eu

Selected Publications

Broguiere N, Husch A, Palazzolo G, Bradke F, Madduri S, Zenobi-Wong M. Macroporous hydrogels derived from aqueous dynamic phase separation. Biomaterials (2019) 200:56-65. doi: 10.1016/j.Biomaterials.2019.01.047.

Soloperto A, Boccaccio A, Contestabile A, Moroni M, Hallinan GI, Palazzolo G, Chad J, Deinhardt K, Carugo D, Difato F. Mechano-sensitization of mammalian neuronal networks through expression of the bacterial mechanosensitive MscL channel. Journal of Cell Science (2018) doi: 10.1242/jcs.210393.

Palazzolo G, Moroni M, Soloperto A, Aletti G, Naldi G, Vassalli M, Nieus T, Difato F. Fast wide-volume functional imaging of engineered in vitro brain tissues. Scientific Reports (2017) 7(1):8499. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-08979-8

Kerschenmeyer A, Arlov Ø, Malheiro V, Steinwachs M, Rottmar M, Maniura-Weber K, Palazzolo G*, Zenobi-Wong M*. Anti-oxidant and immune-modulatory properties of sulfated alginate derivatives on human chondrocytes and macrophages. Biomaterials Science (2017) 5(9):1756-1765. doi: 10.1039/c7bm00341b. *Corresponding authors

Evrova O, Hosseini V, Milleret V, Palazzolo G, Zenobi-Wong M, Sulser T, Buschmann J, Eberli D. Hybrid randomly electrospun PLGA:PEO fibrous scaffolds enhancing myoblast differentiation and alignment. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces (2016) 8(46):31574-31586

Soloperto A, Bisio M, Palazzolo G, Chiappalone M, Bonifazi P, Difato F. Modulation of neural network activity through single cell ablation: an in vitro model of minimally invasive neurosurgery. Molecules (2016) doi: 10.3390/molecules21081018

Soloperto A, Palazzolo G, Tsushima H, Chieregatti E, Vassalli M, Difato F. Laser nano-neurosurgery from gentle manipulation to nano-incision of neuronal cells: an advanced neurotechnology tool. Frontiers in Neuroscience (2016) 10:101. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2016.00101

Palazzolo G, Broguiere N, Dermutz H, Cenciarelli O, Zenobi-Wong M. Ultra-soft alginate hydrogels support long term 3D functional neuronal networks. Tissue engineering Part A (2015) 21(15-16):2177-85

Mhanna R, Aditya A, Palazzolo G, Vallmajo Martín Q, Möller S, Becher J, Schabelrauch M, Zenobi-Wong M. Chondrocyte culture in 3D alginate sulfate hydrogels promotes proliferation while maintaining expression of chondrogenic markers. Tissue Engineering part A (2013) doi:10.1089/ten.TEA.2013.0544

Scaffaro R, Botta L, Sanfilippo M, Gallo G, Palazzolo G, Puglia AM. Combining in the melt physical and biological properties of poly(caprolactone) and chlorhexidine to obtain antimicrobial surgical monofilaments. Applied Microbiology Biotechnology (2013) 97(1):99-109.

Palazzolo G, Horvath P, Zenobi-Wong M. The flavonoid isoquercitrin promotes neurite elongation by reducing RhoA activity. PLoS One (2012) 7(11):e49979.

Palazzolo G, Albanese NN, DI Cara G, Gygax D, Vittorelli ML, Pucci-Minafra I. Proteomic analysis of exosome-like vesicles derived from breast cancer cells. Anticancer Research (2012) 32(3):847-60.

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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.