Flavia Caronna (ESR 10)
I am Flavia Caronna, I am 24 years old and I was born in Palermo, Italy. I obtained a Bachelor degree cum laude (with honors) in Energy Engineering from University of Palermo (Palermo, Italy) in 2016, and a Master of Science cum laude (with honors) in Materials Engineering and Nanotechnology from Politecnico di Milano (Milan, Italy) in 2018. In 2019 I worked for three months as a researcher at the BioMechanical Engineering Department of Technische Universiteit Delft (Netherlands) as part of the Erasmus+ for Traineeship programme. My work focused on the architectural study of additive manufactured porous structures for orthopaedic implant applications.
Studying and working in international environments gave me the opportunity to learn the preciousness of multicultural exchange, knowledge sharing and networking, while actively contributing to science and society development. As a result, this ambitious and exciting project at BioImplant ITN perfectly matches my expertise, interests, and my values as Italian and proudly European engineer.
My long term career goal is to become an Academic researcher in the field of materials for biomedical applications, being able to employ a strong practically oriented mindset, developed during the BioImplant ITN experience, and to create a dynamic scientific network in the medical technology sector.
The present project about the development of an innovative fibre-based bioresorbable bone scaffold for critical size defects, will be carried out in NUI Galway (Galway, Ireland) and ITA GmbH (Aachen, Germany).
Critical sized bone defects are one of the most challenging orthopaedic conditions to treat. Such problems, in which bone is unable to heal spontaneously within a patient lifetime, could be successfully tackled by tissue engineering, which aims to heal damaged tissues by combining cells from the body with highly porous biodegradable three-dimensional structures, i.e. scaffolds, exposed to biophysical stimuli. In this context, textile technology stands out as versatile and innovative tool for scaffold design, allowing a fine control over the final product architecture and microstructure while scaling easily to large volumes.
Textile scaffolds will be fabricated using different techniques and bioresorbable polymers (i.e. whose degradation products are metabolizable, low molecular weight molecules), and assessed for both biological and mechanical performance. Device characterization, including accelerated material degradation tests, in vitro cytocompatibility tests and ex vivo bioreactor tests will be subsequently carried out in order to understand the cell-scaffold system response to the native tissue microenvironment. A biomechanical model will be developed to predict scaffold resorption, and ultimately, device architecture will be optimized to achieve superior mechanical and biological properties.