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Stefania Sabella

Principal Investigator of Nano-regulatory 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.

·  She is appointed as Technologist at Italian Institute of Technology, Genova, Italy (2015-current), 

·  S.S. is appointed as Committee Member in the OECD Task Force on "Intestinal Fate of Orally Ingested Nanomaterials"  at Italian Ministry of Health (REACH department) (2015-current).

·  S.S. is appointed as Italian Committee member of ISO/TC 229/JWG2 and CEN/TC 352/WG 1/PG 2 (2014-current). 

·  Stefania Sabella is founder of the Nanoregulatory Group within the D3-Pharma Chemistry Department (2015-current).

The mission of the group  accounts for cross disciplinary themes spanning from material science, medicinal chemistry, and analytical chemistry. The central aim of the research activities is the deepening of scientific knowledge of bio(nano)material impact on human health toward the development of  human physiologically relevant tools  (both based on cellular or acellular technologies)  that can be predictive of toxicity.

Current research interests include:

    • 2D and 3D cellular models (e.g., multi cellular lineage liver organoids) with particular attention to using primary human cellular lines (e.g., human hepatocytes)
    • Characterization of bio(nano)materials  (NPs, edible electronics, etc.) or contaminants (e.g., nano- or micro-plastics) with respect to their biological transformations in artificial body fluids (saliva, stomach, intestine, lung, sweat, cellular micro-environment) that simulate the human inhalation and/or ingestion
    • Dissolution test in artificial body fluids to evaluate drug-drug interactions, bio-accessibility and permeability
    • Risk classification of substances by integrated testing strategies or screening assays (IATA, Bayesian, cluster analyses)

In recent years, Stefania Sabella got many National and International projects on the above presented topics (see Projects). To date, S.S. has published ca. 70 publications in international peer-reviewed journals (including PNAS, ACS Nano, NanoToday, Particle and Fibre Toxicology, etc.). In addition, S.S. coauthored 3 book chapters (invited contributions). She is inventor of 6 patents internationally granted (EU, US, CA, JP) and strongly committed to technology transfer establishing several collaborations with industries and regulatory/government agencies [(BASF, NIA, Italian Workers’ Compensation Authority (INAIL), Istituto Superiore della Sanità (ISS), Ministero della Salute, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)]. S.S. has been invited to lectures at many international conferences and top-level institutions in the world.


  • 2023: Professor at Inail Master "Risk management in occupational settings", University of Sapienza, Rome, Italy, with lessons on “Toxicity of nanomaterials and relationship to chemical-physical properties in the context of nanoregulatory” (ongoing).
  • 2022-28-01: Assessment Committee Member for PhD students of National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark; name of the student: Else Skovgaard Holmfred.
  • 2021: Professor at Inail Master "Risk management in occupational settings", University of Sapienza, Rome, Italy, with lessons on “Toxicity of nanomaterials and relationship to chemical-physical properties in the context of nanoregulatory”.
  • 2018: Professor at International Master NAMED, University of Pavia, Italy, with lessons “Advanced analytical methods for biotech and nanomaterials” Lessons: Toxicology of nanomaterials Generalities and related analytics”.
  • 2015: Professor at School of Nanomedicine, INSTM, CNR, Bari, Italy, with lessons on “Nanoparticles for biomedical applications and nanoregulatory issues”
  • 2005-ongoing: Tutoring activities of graduate and PhD students of the University of Pavia, University of Lecce and IIT (multidisciplinary activities in Physics, Biology, Biotechnology, Medicinal Chemistry.


  • Expert and project reviewer for the Croatian Science Foundation (CSF).
  • Expert and project reviewer for the European Science Foundation (ESF).
  • Referee for international journals (Nature Nanotechnology, ACS Nano, Nanoscale, Analytical Chemistry, Chem. Comm., Small, Langmuir, ACS Appl. Mater. Interf., Nanomedicine NBM, Nanotoxicology, PLoS One).


  • National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark; N, DK (K. A. Jensen): in vitro dissolution of nanomaterials
  • Institute of Occupational of Medicine (IOM), Scotland, U.K.  (Prof. L. Tran): Silica nanoparticles, protein nanoparticles, silica nanoparticles as reference materials
  • HWU, Scotland, U.K. (Prof. Vicki Stone): toxicity of nanomaterials and IATA development
  • OECD (Dr. Isabella De Angelis): regulation of nanomaterials in novel foods
  • BASF SE, Germany (Dr. Wendel Wohlleben): in vitro dissolution test of nano and non-nano pigments
  • EPFL, Lausanne (Prof. F. Stellacci), nanobiointeractions;
  • Italian Ministry of Health (L. M. Polci): nanoregulatory
  • Istituto Superiore Sanità, ISS, Rome, Italy (Dr. I. De Angelis): nanoregulatory
  • Tor Vergata University, Rome, Italy (Prof. A. Pietroiusti and Prof. L. Campagnolo): in vivo nanotoxicology;
  • IIT, Genova, Italy (Dr. A Athanassiou): sensor grapes as novel foods;
  • IIT, Genova, Italy (Dr. Bandiera/Bertozzi): dissolution test and permeability assay of drugs
  • IIT, Genova, Italy (Dr. Russo): toxicity of NPs and inflammatory markers
  • IIT, Genova, Italy (M. Caironi): Sustainability initiative (SDG-2) Zero Hunger
  • IIT, Genova, Italy (Rosalia Bertorelli): Sustainability initiative (SDG-14) Detection and effects of micro and nanoplastics
  • IFOM-IEO, Milan, Italy (M. Gariboldi): tumor biomarkers, nanodiagnostics
  • Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Milan, Italy (Dr. Maria Grazie Daidone): tumor biomarkers, nano-diagnostics


In 2004, SS was awarded as Italian researcher in the Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation project “Technological Innovation and Transfer of Technology” financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affair (Italy) and TU-Vienna (Austria). Name of the project: “New instrumental techniques for the characterization of early folding intermediates of β2-microglobulin and other proteins responsible for amyloids


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
Di Cristo L., Sabella S.
Cell Cultures at the Air–Liquid Interface and Their Application in Cancer Research
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), vol. 2645, pp. 41-64
Book Chapter Book Series
Di Cristo L., Keller J.G., Leoncino L., Marassi V., Loosli F., Seleci D.A., Tsiliki G., Oomen A.G., Stone V., Wohlleben W., Sabella S.
Critical aspects in dissolution testing of nanomaterials in the oro-gastrointestinal tract: the relevance of juice composition for hazard identification and grouping
Nanoscale Advances
Murphy F.A., Johnston H.J., Dekkers S., Bleeker E.A.J., Oomen A.G., Fernandes T.F., Rasmussen K., Jantunen P., Rauscher H., Hunt N., di Cristos L., Braakhuis H.M., Haase A., Hristozov D., Wohlleben W., Sabella S., Stone V.
How to formulate hypotheses and IATAs to support grouping and read-across of nanoforms
ALTEX : Alternativen zu Tierexperimenten, vol. 40, (no. 1), pp. 125-140
Tolardo V., Romaldini A., Fumagalli F., Armirotti A., Veronesi M., Magri D., Sabella S., Athanassiou A., Fragouli D.
Polycarbonate nanoplastics and the in vitro assessment of their toxicological impact on liver functionality
Environmental Science: Nano, vol. 10, (no. 5), pp. 1413-1427
Article Journal
Romaldini A., Veronesi M., Spanò R., Girotto S., Grimaldi B., Bandiera T., Sabella S.
Structural and Functional Characterization of Growth and Stabilization of Human Trilineage Liver Organoids
Italian Metabolomics Network, General Meeting 2023
Poster Conference
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 Conference & Exhibition 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” IIT-INAIL