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Gianni Ciofani

Senior Researcher Tenured - Principal Investigator

Research Line

Smart Bio-Interfaces




Viale Rinaldo Piaggio 34, 56025 Pontedera (Pisa), Italy
+39 050 883481
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Gianni Ciofani (born in La Spezia, Italy, on August 14th, 1982) is Senior Researcher Tenured at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (Italian Institute of Technology, IIT), where he is Principal Investigator of the Smart Bio-Interfaces Research Line and Coordinator of the Center for Materials Interfaces (Pontedera, Italy).

He received his Master Degree in Biomedical Engineering (with honors) from the University of Pisa, Italy, in July 2006, and, in the same year, his Diploma in Engineering (with honors) from the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna of Pisa, Italy. In January 2010, he obtained his Ph.D. in Innovative Technologies (with honors) from the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. From January 2010 to August 2013 he was Post-Doc at the IIT, Center for Micro-BioRobotics, where, from September 2013 to October 2015, he was Researcher in the framework of the Smart Materials Platform. From October 2015 to October 2019 he was Associate Professor at the Polytechnic University of Torino (Italy), maintaining at the same time his research activity in IIT, where he is Senior Research Tenured since November 2019.

His main research interests are in the field of smart nanomaterials for nanomedicine, bio/non-bio interactions, and biology in altered gravity conditions. He is coordinator or unit leader of many grants/projects, and in 2016 he was awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant. Gianni Ciofani is author of more than 140 papers on international journals (H-index 34, excluding self-citations), 3 edited books, and 16 book chapters. He delivered more than 40 invited talks/lectures in international contexts and, for his research activity, he was awarded several national and international prizes. He serves as Reviewer for more than 180 international journals, and as Editorial Board Member of Nanomedicine UK, Scientific Reports, International Journal of Nanomedicine, Journal of Physics: Materials, Bioactive Materials, and Advances in Nano Research; he is Specialty Chief Editor (Nanobiotechnology) for Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology.


Smart nanomaterials Biomaterials Nanomedicine Altered gravity


Granted projects

  • Patient-derived hybrid nanocarriers for personalized nanomedicine of glioblastoma multiforme (CyberNano), grant number 24454, Fondazione AIRC, 2021-2025 (Principal Investigator)
  • Magnetic solid lipid nanoparticles as a multifunctional platform against glioblastoma multiforme (SLaMM), grant number 709613, European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant, 2017-2022 (Principal Investigator)
  • Development of novel approaches using trimagnetic nanoparticles for intracellular hyperthermia of prostate cancer cells, grant number 800924, Marie Skłodowska-Curie / AIRC Fellowship, 2020-2023 (Supervisor)
  • Nichoid in space: Advanced in vitro models for “on orbit” investigations (Nichoid-ET), grant number 4000133244/20/NL/GLC, European Space Agency, 2021-2022 (Principal Investigator)
  • Elucidating modes of interaction of redox-active nanomaterials with biological systems exposed to microgravity (InterGravity), grant number 4000129652/20/NL/MH/ac, European Space Agency, 2020-2022 (Principal Investigator)
  • A deep characterization of a nanotechnological antioxidant for space using simple invertebrates (NanOxSpace), grant number 4000130094/20/NL/MH/ac, European Space Agency, 2020-2022 (Principal Investigator)
  • Advanced in vitro physiological models: Towards real-scale, biomimetic and biohybrid barriers-on-a-chip (BBBhybrid), grant number 832045, European Research Council (ERC) Proof of Concept Grant, 2019-2020 (Principal Investigator)
  • Insight into new therapeutic preclinical strategies in autosomal recessive spastic ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay type, grant number RF-2016-02361610, Italian Ministry of Health, 2018-2021 (Unit Coordinator)
  • Nanotechnological countermeasures against oxidative stress in muscle cells exposed to microgravity (NOEMI), project number ILSRA-2014-0012 (implementation phase), European Space Agency & grant number 2018-0156, Fondazione CaRiPLo, 2018-2020 (Principal Investigator)
  • A biomimetic and neuroprotective delivery nanocapsule for the targeted treatment of post-ischemic stroke effects (BIONICS), grant number 793644, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, 2018-2020 (Supervisor)
  • Cerium oxide nanoparticles as countermeasure against reactive oxygen species production in altered gravity conditions: Preliminary investigation on planarians (PlanOx2), grant number CORA-GBF-2017-001, European Space Agency, 2017-2019 (Principal Investigator)
  • Nanotechnology solutions against oxidative stress in muscle tissue during long-term microgravity exposure (NANOROS), grant number 2016-7-U.0, Italian Space Agency, 2016-2019 (Principal Investigator)
  • Starting grant "Compagnia di San Paolo", grant number 55_AI16GC01, Compagnia di San Paolo, 2016-2018 (Principal Investigator)
  • New self-powered devices for cochlear stimulation based on piezoelectric nanomaterials, grant number RF-2011-02350464, Italian Ministry of Health, 2014-2018 (Unit Coordinator)

Other projects

  • Nanotechnological countermeasures against oxidative stress in muscle cells exposed to microgravity (NOEMI), project number ILSRA-2014-0012 (definition phase), European Space Agency, 2015-2017 (Principal Investigator)
  • In vitro effects of the Bayer’s proprietary compound BAY 43-9006 (Sorafenib) linked to magnetic nanoparticles on HepG2 cell line, project number US208314731, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc., 2014-2016 (Principal Investigator)


  • SmartCup Liguria 2020: Life Science Section Award, "Confesercenti Liguria" Award, "Studio Demetra" Award, “Associazione Culturale Sintesi” award, “EBN Business Innovation Network” award, and “InnoEU” Award for the Kidaria Bioscience Start-Up project
  • Cover image of issue 5(10), October 2020, of Advanced Materials Technologies
  • Cover image of issue 12(26), July 2020, of ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
  • Cover image of issue 5(21), June 2020, of ACS Omega
  • Cover image of issue 5(3), March 2020, of Advanced Materials Technologies
  • Cover image of issue 5(2), February 2019, of ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
  • Cover image of issue 11(1), January 2019, of Nanoscale
  • International Association for Advanced Materials (IAAM) 2018 Scientist Medal
  • Cover image of issue 14(6), February 2018, of Small
  • Cover image of issue 6(9), May 2017, of Advanced Healthcare Materials
  • Winner of the Spin Your Thesis! Campaign (2016), promoted by the ESA, presenting the experiment Hypergravity-induced oxidative stress in planarians: Nanotechnology-based countermeasures
  • Cover image of issue 4(11), August 2015, of Advanced Healthcare Materials
  • Cover image of issue 7(7), February 2015, of Nanoscale
  • Cover image of issue 31(11), November 2014, of Pharmaceutical Research
  • Winner of the Spin Your Thesis! Campaign (2014), promoted by the ESA, presenting the experiment Implementation of hypergravity in mammalian cell transfection procedures
  • Cover image of issue 14(5), May 2014, of Macromolecular Bioscience
  • Winner of the Spin Your Thesis! Campaign (2013), promoted by the ESA, presenting the experiment Combination of hypergravity and nanotechnology for the improvement of the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells into osteoblasts
  • Cover image of issue 114(1), July 2012, of the Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering
  • European Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Doctoral Award (EDA) 2011
  • “Nital I-Robot - Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna” 2010 award for the Ph.D. Thesis
  • “Massimo Grattarola” 2010 award for the Ph.D. Thesis
  • Winner of the “Salvatore Venuta” 2010 scholarship for young researchers in nanomedicine
  • Winner of the Spin Your Thesis! Campaign (2010), promoted by the ESA, presenting the experiment Investigation of hypergravity on proliferation, metabolism and differentiation of muscle cells
  • STSBC-Roche 2009 award (Italian-Switzerland Society of Biomedical and Chemical Sciences and Roche Diagnostics Ltd.) for researches in the fields of biomedicine and/or biotechnology
  • Excellent Paper Award 2009 of the Society for Biotechnology of Japan, with the paper Bi-compartmental device for dynamic cell co-culture: Design, realisation and preliminary results (Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering, 105(5): 536-544, 2008)
  • AICC 2008 award (Italian Cell Culture Association, national branch of the European Tissue Culture Society) for young researchers in the biomedical field
  • ISIB-CNR 2006 award (Institute of Biomedical Engineering, National Research Council) for the Master Degree Thesis
  • Winner of the 8th Parabolic Flight Campaign (2005), promoted by the ESA and NOVESPACE, presenting the experiment Verification of the Fitts’ law in microgravity and hypergravity environment and energetic considerations


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