Welcome again to Camogli!

For the second year we are proud to invite you to discuss novel nanotechnology tools and their application to the study of mechanical forces in biological systems.

Last year we introduced our original concept of direct and dynamic interaction between engineers developing state-of-the-art methods for the fabrication, structuring, and manipulation of matter at the nanoscale, and biologists investigating fundamental aspects of cell and tissue motility, function, and development.

The many novel ideas that were presented in 2016 resulted in a number of publications which contributed to shape the field of mechanobiology. In our 2017 symposium we will provide even better possibilities for new successful synergies.

In particular, the dynamics of cells and multicellular systems has recently shown striking analogies with physical systems of inert particles. For example, physical models describing the glass transition of amorphous materials can be adapted to capture complex behaviours of cell collectives. The ability of these models to predict emerging cellular activities, such as collective motions, tissue invasion or degeneration is among the exciting developments of this research.

Designing, developing, and implementing dedicated nanotechnologies for the manipulation of complex cellular systems will be key for the future unravelling of fundamental mechanisms in mechanobiology.

The 2017 edition of the Symposium will include a topical workshop on Mechanobiological Modelling, organized in the framework of the European ERC Nichoid project.

NICHOID: Mechanobiology of nuclear import of transcription factors modeled within a bioengineered stem cell niche

Many therapeutic applications of stem cells require accurate control of their differentiation. To this purpose there is a major ongoing effort in the development of advanced culture substrates to be used as “synthetic niches” for the cells, mimicking the native ones. The goal of this project is to use a synthetic niche cell culture model to test my revolutionary hypothesis that in stem cell differentiation, nuclear import of gene-regulating transcription factors is controlled by the stretch of the nuclear pore complexes. If verified, this idea could lead to a breakthrough in biomimetic approaches to engineering stem cell differentiation.

I investigate this question specifically in mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), because they are adherent and highly mechano-sensitive to architectural cues of the microenvironment. To verify my hypothesis I will use a combined experimental-computational model of mechanotransduction. I will a) scale-up an existing three-dimensional synthetic niche culture substrate, fabricated by two-photon laser polymerization, b) characterize the effect of tridimensionality on the differentiation fate of MSC cultured in the niches, c) develop a multiphysics/multiscale computational model of nuclear import of transcription factors within differentially-spread cultured cells, and d) integrate the numerical predictions with experimentally-measured import of fluorescently-labelled transcription factors.

This project requires the synergic combination of several advanced bioengineering technologies, including micro/nano fabrication and biomimetics. The use of two-photon laser polymerization for controlling the geometry of the synthetic cell niches is very innovative and will highly impact the fields of bioengineering and biomaterial technology. A successful outcome will lead to a deeper understanding of bioengineering methods to direct stem cell fate and have therefore a significant impact in tissue repair technologies and regenerative medicine.

For additional details, go to the Project website



The Nanoengineering for Mechanobiology symposium is organized in a selected venue and everything is organized to keep the meeting friendly and productive, fostering the informal interaction between participants. Tu such an extent, the number of participants is limited to 50 attendees, including invited speakerd and organizing committee. All participants are requested to contribute to the symposium, either with an oral talk and/or a poster to be presented during the two dedicated sessions. Living expenses (accommodation and dinners) will be in charge of the participant and a fee of 100€ is requested to contribute to lunches and coffee breaks. Additional details will be sent after the formal acceptance.

If you are interested in participating to the symposium, please fill the following request form and you will be contacted by the organizing committee. There is no formal deadline, but requests will be managed in chronological order.

Go to the Registration Form


The scientific activity of the symposium will start on Monday morning, March 27th. The evening before, all the attendees are expected to reach the hotel during the afternoon and a light cocktail will be organized to welcome the participants. A sketch of the overall organization is reported below.



The scientific program is organized in 5 thematic sessions spanning 2 full days and a morning. In each session, special talks (in bold) and standard talks (in italic) will take place. Special lectures are expected to last 30min and standard lectures 20min. A "questions and comments" slot will follow each lecture.

Monday 27/03
Tuesday 28/03
Wednesday 29/03
8:30-13:00 Mechanical sensing and transduction

Aldo Ferrari and Massimo Vassalli Introduction

Joachim Spatz Mechanotransduction in Collective Cell Migration and its Synthetic Mimic

Jacopo di Russo Mechanotransduction in collective cell migration from the ECM perspective

Boris Martinac From bacteria to man: “Force-from-lipids” principle of mechano-sensing at the membrane interface

Fabio Giavazzi Endocytic reawakening of motility in jammed epithelia

Pablo Dörig FluidFM at Cytosurge – the commercial story of a force-sensitive nanopipette

13:00-15:00 Lunch and Poster session
15:00-19:00 Nanoscale manipulation of biological objects

Jochen Guck Biophotonic techniques for the study of phase transitions in cells

Dimos Poulikakos How to arrest, interrogate and transport viruses one at a time

Peter Glynne-Jones Acoustic manipulation for tissue enginnering and diagnostics

Bjorn Hammarstrom Multilayered Tissue Models Enabled by Acoustic Trapping

9:00-13:00 Mechanobiological Modelling A

Manuela Raimondi Introduction to the day and the project NICHOID

Tommaso Zandrini Fabrication of scaffolds for stem cell expansion by two-photon laser polymerization

Barbara Bonandrini Nichoid substrates promote expansion of embryonic and adult stem cells in the absence of exogenous conditioning factors

José Félix Rodríguez Matas Multiscale Numerical Model of the Strain-Based Permeability of the Nuclear Envelope

Lucia Boeri Molecular approaches to develop protein fluorescent tracers for live detection of nuclear import fluxes

Emanuela Jacchetti Estimation of the nuclear import of fluorescent tracers in cells with different morphology

13:00-15:00 Lunch and Poster session
15:00-19:00 Mechanobiological Modelling B

Paolo Netti Controlling Cell Fate Through Material-Cytoskeleton-Nuclear axis interaction

Alessandro Marturano Mimicking the Mechano-environment in a Bioengineered Cancer Niche

Valeria Panzetta The role of cellular and extracellular mechanics cancer cell transformation

Riccardo Gottardi 3D musculoskeletal microphysiological systems: tools for disease modeling, mechanobiology, and space research

Antonio D'Amore Engineering micro-architecture to enhance de novo extracellular matrix elaboration in an elastomeric scaffold model

8:45-12:30 Biophysical control of cellular function

Paul Evans Shear stress and endothelial repair in stented arteries

Cecile Perrault Hemodynamics of endovascular devices

Katarzyna Plak Screening for regulators of cell mechanics during mitosis

Martin Wiklund Acoustic 3D cell culture for tumor micro-engineering

Tomaso Zambelli FluidFM and single cell in vitro: sub-compartmental sampling and chemical stimulationmical

Georgios Stefopoulos Complex bi-stable polarity of endothelia under flow

12:30-14:00 Lunch


Cytosurge AG
Sägereistrasse 25
8152 Glattbrugg - Switzerland
Schaefer South-East Europe Srl
Via Luigi Einaudi, 23/2
45100 Rovigo - Italy
Olympus Italia S.R.L.
Via Modigliani 45
20090 Segrate (Milano) - Italy
+39 02-26-97-21
+39 022-697-2355
De Boelelaan 1081
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands
+31 (0)20 598 7917
Mad City Labs GmbH
Balz-Zimmermann Str. 7
8302 - Kloten
+41 58 269 80 17
+41 58 269 80 18


Massimo Vassalli
Institute of Biophysics
National Research Council
Aldo Ferrari
Laboratory of Thermodynamics in Emerging Technologies
ETH Zurich
Manuela Teresa Raimondi
Laboratory of Mechanobiology
Politecnico di Milano

Hotel Cenobio dei Dogi

Via Nicolò Cuneo, 34
16032 Camogli Genova, Italy