Francesca’s research is focused on the development of advanced materials for regenerative medicine, with focus on sol-gel inorganic/organic hybrid materials and Additive Manufacturing methods for making them into porous structures, such as scaffolds for bone and cartilage repair. She works with clinicians, biomechanical engineers, cell biologists, the MSk Lab, and medical device companies, to take the new biomaterials through technology readiness levels (TRLs).
After obtaining her Master in Biomedical Engineering at Politecnico di Torino, Francesca joined Imperial College in 2012 as PhD student in Materials Science within the BioBone (Bioceramics for Bone Repair) Marie Curie ITN (European Commission FP7). Starting from her background in bioactive glass and glass-ceramic materials, during her PhD she developed and patented a new material (“Bouncy Bioglass”), based on new chemistry, that has unprecedented mechanical properties and control of their biodegradation and exhibits intrinsic self-healing behaviour. Bouncy Bioglass 3D porous scaffolds, 3D printed with a specific pore channel size, promote the regeneration of articular cartilage. Her PhD achievements allowed her to obtain funding from EPSRC and NIHR to carry on her research on Bouncy Bioglass as PDRA in the group of Prof. Julian Jones. She currently works on preclinical trials of Bouncy Bioglass scaffolds in sheep at Royal Veterinary College.
et al., 2021, Tribological evaluation of a novel hybrid for repair of articular cartilage defects, Materials Science & Engineering C - Biomimetic and Supramolecular Systems, Vol:119, ISSN:0928-4931, Pages:1-10
et al., 2021, Electrospun cotton–wool-like silica/gelatin hybrids with covalent coupling, Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology, Vol:97, ISSN:0928-0707, Pages:11-26
et al., 2020, Scaffold channel size influences stem cell differentiation pathway in 3-D printed silica hybrid scaffolds for cartilage regeneration, Biomaterials Science, Vol:8, ISSN:2047-4830, Pages:4458-4466
et al., 2018, Bouncing and 3D printable hybrids with self-healing properties, Materials Horizons, Vol:5, ISSN:2051-6355, Pages:849-860
et al., 2014, Zirconia-containing radiopaque mesoporous bioactive glasses, Materials Letters, Vol:130, ISSN:0167-577X, Pages:281-284