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Nicola Tirelli

Senior Researcher (tenured); IIT Associate Director for Education
Senior Researcher Tenured - Principal Investigator
Polymers and Biomaterials
Research center

Nicola was born in Rome. He spent his childhood in the quiet town of Pisa, and his teenager and University years in its even quieter outskirts.

In the last year of his PhD, he moved to the ETH Zurich, as a guest of the group of Macromolecular Chemistry (Dept. of Materials) then led by Ueli Suter. Having grown very fond of the group, the institution, the town, and the Swiss way of life that, he then stayed as a postdoc until the end of  1997; during this period, he unsuccessfully tried to learn the intricacies of polymer physics, but became firmly convinced that it is complicated. Quoting from the Master thesis of a later mentor of his, Nicola's use of polymer physics is similar to that of a drunkard for a lamp post: more for support than for illumination.

Between 2006 and 2012 he had fun as the editor in chief of Reactive & Functional Polymers, a journal published by Elsevier. The impact factor doubled in the first three years of his tenure, but then editorship became less fun and more a job.

At the UoM, Nicola helped establishing the MRes course in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (BBRSC grants: BB/H015868/1 and BB/H021205/1), the NoWNANO Doctoral Training Centre ("A North West Nanoscience Doctoral Training Centre"; 2009-2018; EPSRC grant: EP/G03737X/1) and the Centre of Doctoral Training in Regenerative Medicine (2014-running; co-director 2014-15, director 2016-17; EPSRC/MRC grant EP/L014904/1).

Nicola has published >180 papers. h-index 53 (Google Scholar) / 47 (Scopus).

Selected recent publications:

R. d’Arcy, F. El Mohtadi, N. Francini, C. DeJulius, H. Back, A. Gennari, M. Geven, M. Lopez Cavestany, Z.Y. Turhan, F. Yu, J. Bong Lee, M. King, L. Kagan, C.L. Duvall, N. Tirelli, “A Reactive Oxygen Species-Scavenging ‘Stealth’ Polymer, Poly(thioglycidyl glycerol), Outperforms Poly(ethylene glycol) in Protein Conjugates and Nanocarriers and Enhances Protein Stability to Environmental and Biological Stressors” Journal of the American Chemical Society 144 (2022), 21304–21317. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.2c09232.

G. Scoponi, N. Francini, V. Paradiso, R. Donno, A. Gennari, R. d’Arcy, C. Capacchione, A. Athanassiou, N. Tirelli “Versatile preparation of branched polylactides by low-temperature, organocatalytic ring-opening polymerization in N-methylpyrrolidone, and their surface degradation behaviour” Macromolecules, 54 (20219482–9495. DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.1c01503

F. El Mohtadi, R. d’Arcy, J. Burke, J.M. Rios De La Rosa, A. Gennari, R. Marotta, N. Francini, R. Donno, N. Tirelli, “A ‘tandem’ nanomedicine approach against osteoclastogenesis. Polysulfide micelles synergically scavenge ROS and release rapamycin”, Biomacromolecules, 21 (2020) 305-318. DOI: 10.1021/acs.biomac.9b01348.

J.M. Rios de la Rosa, P. Pingrajai, M. Pelliccia, A. Spadea, E. Lallana, A. Gennari, I.J. Stratford, W. Rocchia, A. Tirella, N. Tirelli, “Binding and internalization in receptor-targeted carriers. The complex role of CD44 in the uptake of hyaluronic acid nanoparticles (siRNA delivery)” Advanced Healthcare Materials, 8 (2019) 1901182. DOI:10.1002/adhm.201901182

M. Geven, H. Luo, D. Koo, G. Panambur, R. Donno, A. Gennari, R. Marotta, B. Grimaldi, N. Tirelli, “Disulfide-mediated bioconjugation. How to control their formation and re-structuring on nanoparticle surfaces”, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 11 (2019) 26607-26618. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.9b07972.

E. Lallana, J.M. Rios de la Rosa, A. Tirella, M. Pelliccia, A. Gennari, I.J. Stratford, S. Puri, M. Ashford, N. Tirelli “Chitosan/hyaluronic acid nanoparticles: rational design revisited for RNA delivery”, Molecular Pharmaceutics, 14 (2017) 2422–2436. DOI: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.7b00158.

A. Gennari, C. Gujral, E. Hohn, F. Cellesi, N. Tirelli “Revisiting boronate/diol complexation as a double stimulus-responsive bioconjugation”, Bioconjugate Chemistry, 28 (2017), 1391-1402 DOI: 10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.7b00080.

J.M. Rios de la Rosa, A. Tirella, A. Gennari, I.J. Stratford, N. Tirelli, “The CD44-mediated uptake of hyaluronic acid-based carriers in macrophages”, Advanced Healthcare Materials, 6 (2017) 1601012. DOI: 10.1002/adhm.201601012.