all’IIT si stampano cartilagini!

da quest’articolo de La Repubblica dell’11/10/15

L’intuizione del genovese Luca Coluccino: togliere la “memoria” al tessuto e riprodurlo

L’idea gli è venuta a Pittsburgh — la città della Pennsylvania famosa per Flashdance e le antiche industrie dell’acciaio — ma continuerà a svilupparla sulla collina di Morego, a Genova, nell’Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia. Luca Coluccino ha 28 anni, una laurea in ingegneria biomedica e una passione per le articolazioni delle ginocchia. Lo si capisce dalla tesi di laurea e dal suo dottorato di ricerca al’IIT, dove dal 2013 studia come ricostruire e riparare le cartilagini.

084139429-51f017df-9dea-4c3a-95e2-cc1e89146d41Lo scorso anno, durante un periodo all’Università di Pittsburgh, Luca ha azzardato: “Ma perché invece di fare protesi sintetiche non proviamo a creare una cartilagine vera? Una cartilagine senza parti artificiali. Biologica, umana. E poi usiamo questo tessuto senza forma come “inchiostro” per una stampante in 3D“. Era un’idea un po’ folle: creare la cartilagine è l’ambizione dei gruppi di ricerca più avanzati del mondo, dalla Corea del Sud agli Stati Uniti. Ci provano da anni, senza successo. Ma Luca e il team con cui lavora — il gruppo Smart Materials del Dipartimento di Nanofisica dell’IIT — ci sono riusciti. E a metà settembre hanno spiegato come fare al TERMIS di Boston, la conferenza mondiale di riferimento per la medicina rigenerativa.

Luca arriva all’IIT con un maggiolone anni ’70, la giacca stilosa e una barbetta bionda accennata. A parlar di cartilagini gli si illuminano gli occhi. “Sono affascinanti perché non si ricreano come le ossa — spiega — Se un adulto ha una lesione grave a una cartilagine bisogna sostituirla con protesi metalliche o plastiche. Ma sono parti estranee al corpo umano: causano problemi di rigetto e non durano all’infinito“. Tra qualche anno potrebbe non essere più così, perché il team dell’IIT in collaborazione con l’Università di Pittsburgh (dove Coluccino era sotto la guida di un altro genovese, il ricercatore Riccardo Gottardi) ha trovato la “ricetta” per ricostruire cartilagini, tendini e menischi. Ad ascoltare Luca Coluccino sembra semplice: si tratta chimicamente una cartilagine, per esempio, sino a farla diventare un liquido che ha perso tutte le informazioni che nel corpo di un’altra persona potrebbero dare reazione immunitaria. “Solo una cosa le deve rimanere: la ‘memoria’ di essere una cartilagine“, avverte Coluccino.

IEEE BioRob 2014 ( + mini news in italiano)

biorob145th edition of the IEEE/RAS-EMBS International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob 2014), the biannual conference on theoretical and experimental issues in the fields of robotics and mechatronics applied to medicine and biology. This year the conference will be held in São Paulo on August 12-15, 2014. The conference theme of this edition is “Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics Technology for a World without Borders“. The confluence of all stakeholders engineers, physicians, industry, government, patients, and caregivers will be unique but in line with United Nations 2012 unanimous decision to make healthcare and rehabilitation a human right.

BioRob covers both theoretical and experimental challenges posed by the application of robotics and mechatronics in medicine and biology. The primary focus of Biorobotics is to analyze biological systems from a “biomechatronic” point of view, trying to understand the scientific and engineering principles underlying their extraordinary performance. This profound understanding of how biological systems work, behave and interact can be used for two main objectives: to guide the design and fabrication of novel, high performance bio-inspired machines and systems for many different applications; and to develop novel nano, micro-, macro- devices that can act upon, substitute parts of, and assist human beings in prevention, diagnosis, surgery, prosthetics, rehabilitation and personal assistance. The technical program of IEEE BioRob2014 will consist of invited talks, special sessions, posters, and paper presentations. Papers can cover areas of Biorobotics and Biomechatronics including :

  • Technology for assisted surgery and diagnosis
  • Biomechatronic and human-centered design
  • Micro/nano technologies in medicine and biologylogo
  • Wearable assistive and augmenting devices
  • Biological systems modeling
  • Biologically-inspired systems
  • Rehabilitation and assistive robotics
  • Human-machine interaction
  • Neuro-robotics
  • Prosthetic devices
  • Locomotion and manipulation in robots and biological systems
  • Technology Assessment, Ethical and Social Implications of Biorobotics and Biomechatronics

Important dates :

  • February 28, 2014 – Submission of paper & workshop proposals
  • May 2, 2014 – Paper acceptance notification
  • May 26, 2014 – Final paper submission

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TGR_liguriae per dare un’occhiata al mondo della robotica a Genova, clicca qui per vedere un breve servizio del TG Regione Liguria del 12 febbraio 2014 (dal minuto 16:40 in poi)

PhD positions at IIT in Genova, Italy

IIT and the University of Genoa have published a call for application to the next PhD course starting January 2014This page is meant to help candidates navigate the large number of research themes as well as the online application forms. Prospective students are invited to read the call text carefully, read the available research themes and contact their respective proponents for more information. The deadline for applications is September 20th, 2013 noon (Italian time/CET).

The PhD offer is divided in “courses”. IIT covers four different courses, namely:

iit

  1. Bioengineering & Robotics Neuroscience
  2. Science & Technologies of Material
  3. Chemistry
  4. Science & Technologies for Electronics and Telecommunication

Courses are internally divided in one or more “curricula”. Each student must apply to at least one theme. Multiple applications are possible (albeit not encouraged) by repeating the file upload and submission procedure. Please note also that themes may repeat across curricula and joint tutorship across courses and between IIT and the University of Genoa is not rare. Prospective students are invited also to verify carefully the themes by contacting the relative tutor/tutors in advance (tutors and contact emails are listed for each theme).

Detailed information can be found on this webpage. Concerning the curriculum Advanced Robotics and Robot Design, here’s a list of the proposed themes:

  • 8: Developmental Robotics And Robot Learning Of Motor Skills
  • 9: Robot Learning For Agile Locomotion Of Compliant Humanoid Robots (link)
  • 10: Human-robot collaborative manipulation and coordination in bimanual tasks
  • 11: Learning from demonstration in a soft robotic arm for assistance in minimally invasive surgery
  • 12: Bidirectional user interfaces for human-robot interaction (link)
  • 13: Automatic Tumor Segmentation and Classification in Real-Time Endoscopic Video
  • 14: Modular end-effectors for robot-assisted minimally invasive microsurgery
  • 15: Minimally obtrusive surgeon-machine interface for robot-assisted surgery
  • 16: Simulator and Training System for Laser Surgeries in the Larynx (link)
  • 17: Planning and Control of Highly Dynamic Full Body Motions for Robots With Legs and Arms
  • 18: Perception and Mapping on a Quadruped Robot (link)
  • 19: Development of a Reconfigurable Multifinger Robot for Packaging Applications (Robotic Origami)
  • 20: Exploration of Haptic Sensation and Its Use in Detecting Peripheral Neuropathy