Briefly describe your background & experience, and how you came to work on Nanother
I have a Life Science background and I got my PhD at Universita’ degli Studi di Milano in 2007 with a thesis describing different transcriptomic approaches for the study of host-pathogen interaction. I made my PhD studies between the Livestock Genomics 1 Laboratory, CERSA-PTP, Lodi, Italy and the Laboratoire de Radiobiologie et Etude du Genome, INRA CEA, Jouy-en-Josas, France, thanks to a Marie Curie EST fellowship. After one year of post-doc contract at CERSA-PTP, Lodi, in 2008 I started my post-doc at the Nanobiosciences Unit of the IHCP JRC, Ispra, working on nanotoxicology projects. Form one year I’m actively involved in the experimental work and in the coordination of the Nanother SP2.
Tell us a bit about your organisation, the participation of your organisation in Nanother & your personal role in the project
The Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (http://ihcp.jrc.ec.europa.eu) is one of the seven scientific institutes of the Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission. One of the most relevant areas in which the IHCP applies its scientific experience is Nanotechnology. JRC is the leader of the subproject (SP) two, that aims to verify the toxicity and biocompatibility of NPs. Moreover, it is involved in biodistribution studies in the framework of SP six.
What are your expectations of the project?
Verify the safety and biocompatibility of the nanoparticles selected within the project for clinical applications. Produce high level scientific publications and be involved in the IPR of the exploitable scientific results.
As SP Leader, what are the most difficult or critical aspects of managing SP partners, and the most fruitful or pleasing aspects?
The most difficult aspect of this role is the harmonisation of the work of the SP partners and the attention due to the deadlines, while the most pleasing aspect is the collaborative environment that was grown within the partners of the SP and between the SP leaders.
Are there already some concrete & interesting results for your organisation?
We are at the last steps of the testing of the safety of all the nanoparticles selected from the project consortium, employing different protocols and considering different aspects of the potential biological responses to the particles. On the base of the results obtained from our laboratory and the other SP2 partners we could rank the nanoparticles on the base of their safety to help in the choice of the ones that are more promising for further investigations in the framework of the project.
IPR issues are essential to large consortia such as NANOTHER, integrating universities, SMEs, research centres & large industrial partners. In what ways do you think that the exploitation seminar helped to clarify the IPR situation for all partners?
I think that the exploitation seminar was very useful to underline the importance of the contribution of all the partners of the project to guarantee the success of the exploitation of the scientific findings, pointing out that the IPR could not be consider only a relevant issue for the partners involved in the fabrication of the particles.
What are currently / will be the most promising results in your SP?
The most promising result of SP2 is the selection of the safer particles synthesised by SP1 to be used in clinical applications. Moreover, the scientific contribution given by the partners of the SP2 will let them to have part of the IPR of the exploitable results of the projects.
Would you participate in another European project?
I would participate in other European projects, and actually our institute is involved in them. The positive aspect of the Nanother collaboration is the possibility to take advantage from the experience of the other partners on aspect related, but not overlapped, with the experience of our research group.
As SP leader, you have been involved in the project since its conception & set-up in 2007 - what is your view on the project & it’s progress today?
The Nanobiotechnology is a fast growing discipline, so it is normal that from the project ideation to the half of the project execution some changes occurred to be always up to date. Nevertheless, despite some changes occurred in the protocols used, the goals of the project remain unmodified.