2020-2024 Steering Committee Candidate:
Maria Cristina Tanzi, FBSE has contributed to the growth of Chemical Bioengineering and Biomaterials at
Politecnico di Milano, Italy. She started the Biomaterials laboratory (BioMatLab) in 1991 and was one of the
founders of the Bioengineering Department in 1995. In 2002, she was co-founder of the interdepartmental
Biocompatibility and Cell culture (BioCell) laboratory at Politecnico di Milano.
Research at BioMatLab was mainly centered on design and synthesis of polymers and composites for
applications into the human body, elastomers for cardiovascular devices, hydrogels and matrices for drug
delivery, scaffolds for tissue engineering. Major research achievements are related to a strategy for
overcoming thrombogenesis and diminish bacterial colonization of polyurethanes for cardiovascular
applications. The so-called “PIME technology” was patented in 1999 and licensed to an US Company in
2000. Experimental evidence demonstrated the ability to retain heparin, thus diminishing thrombogenicity
and bacterial colonization of a commercial biomedical polyurethane (BionateTM) incorporating low bulk
amounts of PIME groups.
Considering hydrogels and advantages/drawbacks of gelatin, Tanzi introduced a novel and simple method
for crosslinking gelatin by use of methylene-bis-acrylamide that is able to yield hydrogels with mechanical
and stability properties more advantageous than most gelatin hydrogels described so far. This technology,
patented in 2014, recently has been applied to the production of microspheres that are under investigation
for controlled drug release and cell delivery.
Research at BioMatLab also led to the acquisition of the know-how for the production of biocompatible
polyurethane foams. Among other investigations, the developed 3D PU scaffolds and composites have
been successfully explored for bone tissue engineering and as in vitro model for breast cancer bone
Throughout her career, Tanzi has been tutor and supervisor of a number of graduate and PhD students,
providing them mentorship and guidance in Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering; many of them now
hold important positions in international universities and research centers.
Vision & Purpose:
As a BSE fellow with a long experience as a teacher and senior researcher in the field of Biomaterial Science and Engineering, I feel it is my mission to help increase the visibility of the ICF-BSE and its role as promoter of exchanges and collaborations within the BSE
I believe that my current position as a retired professor may allow me to devote more time to those activities for which the position of a tenured university professor does not leave enough time.
Although the progress and international growth of biomaterials science education remains very important, I consider as priorities the scientific collaborations between groups, operating at international level and the exchange of young researchers aimed at promoting both individual growth and joint research programs.
This can be achieved if targeted meetings are organized within annual conferences of the various biomaterial societies and if efforts are made to involve representatives of groups in different member countries, including the developing ones.
Finally, I believe that as a super partes organization the ICF-BSE could commit itself to find funds to encourage the achievement of the objectives, even though this objective is not easy to solve.