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Maria Letizia Focarete

Full Professor

Department of Chemistry "Giacomo Ciamician"

Academic discipline: CHIM/04 Industrial Chemistry

Head of Department of Chemistry "Giacomo Ciamician"

Curriculum vitae

Maria Letizia Focarete is Full Professor of Science and Technology of Polymeric Materials at the Department of Chemistry “G. Ciamician” of the University of Bologna, where she leads the Polymer Science and Biomaterials research group.

She is Deputy Director of the Chemistry Department "Giacomo Ciamician" and a member of the Academic Senate of the University of Bologna.

She is a member of the Health Sciences and Technologies - Interdepartmental Center for Industrial Research (HST-ICIR) at the University of Bologna. 

She founded (in 2006) the interdisciplinary Research Group on Electrospinning of the University of Bologna (RGE-UNIBO) whose activities are mostly focused on: extending current basic  knowledge for better control and optimization of the electrospinning process, implementing and tailoring the electrospinning apparatus for specific requirements and fabricating innovative engineered nanofiber assemblies from selected polymers.

Technology transfer is also performed, and the electrospinning technology developed in the group is now the focus of a start-up company, where M.L.F. is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board.

Her academic research interests are focused on the chemistry and technology of polymeric materials for several application fields such as biomedical, environmental and energy sectors. In particular, present research lines include: functional polymeric materials, biomaterials, polymers for controlled drug release, polymeric nanostructures, study of the physical properties, rheology and mechanical properties of polymers, surface modification and surface properties characterization of polymeric materials. More in detail, competences are related to: (i) the study of structure-property relationships in natural and synthetic polymers, copolymers and polymer blends to design new polymeric materials with physical properties aimed to specific applications; (ii) molecular, structural, morphological, and thermo-mechanical characterization of macromolecular systems; (iii) surface functionalization through chemical and physical methods, biomolecules conjugation, and surface characterization of polymeric materials mainly pointing at biomedical applications; (iv) use of the electrospinning technology to produce innovative nanostructured porous materials.

 

CURRICULUM STUDIORUM

1995: Master degree (Laurea) in Chemistry, University of Bologna (110/110 magna cum laude). Master thesis: “Characterization of novel biodegradable polymers”.

1996-1999: PhD in Industrial Chemistry, University of Bologna. PhD Thesis: “Structure, physical properties and biodegradability correlation in polymeric materials”. During her PhD she has been visiting student at the Institute of Microbiology and Genetics of Göttingen University (Germany) (June-December 1998)

 

PREVIOUS ACADEMIC RECORD

2000-2006: Various fellowships and consultant assignments, University of Bologna and National Interuniversity Consortium of Materials Science and Technology (INSTM). During this period she was adjunct professor at the University of Bologna.

2006-2014: Assistant Professor of Science and Technology of Polymeric Materials at the Department of Chemistry “G. Ciamician” of the University of Bologna.

2014-2020: Associate Professor of Science and Technology of Polymeric Materials at the Department of Chemistry “G. Ciamician” of the University of Bologna.

 

TEACHING AND EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES

  • She teached and presently teaches in various courses at the University of Bologna, such as:
    • Chemistry of Macromolecules (Bachelor degree in Chemistry and Material Chemistry)
    • Science and Technology of Polymeric Materials (Bachelor degree in Chemistry and Material Chemistry)
    • "Polymeric materials for life science" (Master degree in Photochemistry and molecular materials)
    • "Functional polymeric materials" (Master degree in Photochemistry and molecular materials)
    • "Cosmetic packaging" (Master degree in Advanced Cosmetic Sciences)
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  • She is Director of a Professional Master's Programme on “Polymeric materials and products for the biomedical sector” of the University of Bologna, scheduled for the academic year 2017/2018.
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  • She is member of the scientific committee and teacher of the Professional Master's Programme on “Composite materials” of the University of Bologna.
  •  
  • She has been the supervisor and co-supervisor of many Master and Bachelor degree students, and of 5 PhD thesis at the University of Bologna.
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  • She has been Tutor of Collegio Superiore of Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna

 

SCIENTIFIC ACTIVITY

PROJECT COORDINATOR

  • Local coordinator of the European Project H2020 RISE "GreenMap"

  • Unit coordination of the project H2020-ICT-2016-2017: "Smart and intuitive osseointegrated transfemoral prostheses embodying advanced dynamic behaviors" (2018-2022)

  • Co-PI of FET-OPEN (H2020-FETOPEN-2016-2017) "From nano to macro: a groundbreakIng actuation technology for robotic systems" (2018-2022)

  • Local coordinator of the POR-FESR Project (European Funding for the Regional Development): “TECNO_EN-P: generation of "smart materials" to be applied in biomedical devices for the selective removal of cells and soluble or suspended substances in biological fluids” 2016-2018
  • UniBo Coordinator of the European Project FP7-SME-2011-BSG: “Nano-Electrospun Filter for Efficient Liberation & Encapsulation of acticides for water treatment in transportation applications” 2011-2013
  • UniBo Coordinator of the Regional Project: POR-FESR, Mis 3.1A PRRIITT "Novel biomimetic nanostructured material from electrospinning for wound tissue engineering and other applications in advanced medicine“ 2007-2013
  • Coordinator of the UniBo research unit of the project: Research Program Emilia Romagna Region-University, Area 1b "Regenerative Medicine" 2007-2009
  • Coordinator of the UniBo Strategic Project: "Polymeric nanostructured scaffolds from electrospinning for biomedical applications” 2007-2009
  • Local Coordinator of the Research project of relevant national interest (PRIN) of the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR): “Influence of the material and its micro and nanostructure on the differentiation of adult stem cells and on the inflammatory response” 2006-2008

    M.L.F. carried out the design, submission, coordination and management of the above mentioned research projects, as well as of industrial contracts with several companies (PepsiCo, Solvay, Medtronic, Fresenius, etc.), for a total achieved grant around 600k€ (around 400k€ from research projects and 200k€ from industrial projects).

    PROJECT PARTICIPATION

  • Participant of the POR-FESR Project (European Funding for the Regional Development):“MAT2REP: Biomateriali multifunzionali per l’autoriparazione di tessuti e organi” (2019-2021)
  • Participant of the POR-FESR Project (European Funding for the Regional Development): “Step-by-‐step: integrated approach for the patient with acute neurologic lesions” 2016-2018
  • Research project PLASMAT, Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna (Funding for Basic Research) (FARB): "Plasma-assisted preparation and modification of molecular and macromolecular materials for biomedical, pharmaceutical and energy applications” 2013-2016
  • Significant Bilateral Project Italia-USA, collaborative program: "Novel Polymeric materials for life sciences applications through biocatalytic routes and nanotechnology" with the Centre for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing of Macromolecules of the National Science Foundation (NSF-BBM) (Brooklyn Polytechnic University, USA) 2008-2010.
  • Research project: “Engineered scaffolds for regenerative medicine of myocardio” (Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio in Bologna) 2007-2009.
  • Marie Curie Host Fellowships for transfer of Knowledge "Biodegradable Polymeric Materials for Health and Environment" (BIOMAHE) 2004-2008.

 

OTHER SCIENTIFIC ACTIVITIES

She has been visiting researcher at:

  • Chemistry Faculty of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (March 2018).
  • National University of Singapore - NUS Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Initiative (Singapore)
  • Center for Bio-Catalysis & Bio-Processing Polytechnic Institute of New York University (USA)
  • Centre of Polymer Science and Carbon Materials, Polish Academy of Sciences, Zabrze (Poland);

She has been involved in the following European COST Actions:

  • Cost Action MP1206 “Electrospun nano-fibers for bio inspired composite materials and innovative industrial applications”
  • Cost Action MP1301 NEWGEN, New Generation Biomimetic and Customized Implants for Bone Engineering.

Referee of several national and international research proposals.

Chair of a team of evaluation experts of the European project Polinnova (2016)

Vice-Chair for projects evaluation of the call Science with and for Society 2016-2017 (Horizon 2020)

Referee for leading journals in the fields of polymeric materials sciences and biomaterials including Advanced Functional Materials, Acta Biomaterialia, Biomacromolecules, European Polymer Journal, Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics, Reactive and Functional Polymers, Advances in Polymer Technology.

 

INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATIONS

S. Ramakrishna (NUS National University of Singapore), R.A. Gross (RPI Troy, N.Y. USA), A. Korsunsky (Oxford University), D. Mantovani (Laval University), L. Moroni (Maastricht University), N. Tirelli (Manchester University).M. Kowalczuk (PAN, Poland), I.K. Radecka (Wolverhampton University), I. Noda (Delaware University), E. Zussman (Technion), Mark Saltzman e Zhaozhong Jiang (Yale University).

 

INSTITUTIONAL ACTIVITIES AND ACADEMIC ROLES

She is member of the Academic Board of the Doctoral programme on Health and Technology

She has been responsible for the Third Mission activities of the Department of Chemistry "Giacomo Ciamician"

She has been member of the Academic Board of the Doctoral programme on Nanoscience for Medicine and Environment of the University of Bologna.

She is a member of the Tematic Group of University of Bologna on Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials and Processes.

She is representative for the University of Bologna of the Erasmus programme with the University of Wolverhampton (UK).

She is responsible of the research and education agreement PIRE (Partnerships for International Research and Education): Materials for Renewable Energy NaturE’s Way (RENEW) of the NSF (US).

She has been member of the Academic Board of the Doctoral programme on Chemistry of the University of Bologna.

 

EDITORIAL ROLES

Associate Editor of the Journal: "Advances in Polymer Technology"

Associate Editor of the Journal “Electrospinning” DE GRUYTER

Editor of the book "Filtering Media by Electrospinning - Next Generation Membranes for Separation Applications" (in preparation) - Springer International Publishing.

Editor of the book ‘Core-shell nanostructures for drug delivery and theranostics: Challenges, strategies and prospects for novel carrier systems.’ (in preparation) - Elsevier.


SCIENTIFIC PRODUCTION

She authored or co-authored more than 120 papers on international, peer-reviewed scientific journals (including 1 Advanced Materials, 1 Nano Letters, 1 Energy and Environmental Science, 1 Biomaterials, 8 Macromolecules and 7 Biomacromolecules) and 3 book chapters. She is inventor of 8 patents or patent applications. H-index = 32 (Web of Science).

 

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