Nanoengineering for Mechanobiology

March 24th - 27th 2019, Camogli, Genova, Italy

4th international symposium on Nanoengineering for Mechanobiology (N4M). Three vibriant days to enjoy science in a picturesque environment with passionate scientists from over the world and the participation of leading companies in the field.

Organizers and Institutional support

About the symposium

Following the tradition of the first three editions, the Nanoengineering for Mechanobiology symposium will be organized at the beginning of Spring 2019, from March 24th to 27th in the picturesque fishermen village of Camogli, located on the shore of the Ligurian sea, close to the city of Genova, Italy. This year EMPA Zürich and CNR Genova will partner with LENS, the European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy of Florence to bring together scientists from all over the world, interested in sharing ideas on new and upcoming technologies and applications towards a deeper understanding of how the mechanical environment is shaping the function of cells and tissues.

The upcoming edition of the meeting is expected to host a stimulating multidisciplinary environment, with researchers belonging to different areas, from physics and engineering to biology and medicine, but sharing a common scientific interest. The main methodological focus will be posed on the application of advanced microscopy and spectroscopy approaches to follow the dynamics and measure the mechanical properties of single molecules and cells. Moreover, the scientific sessions will be flanked by a technological exhibit involving world-leading companies and high tech startups interested in presenting their solutions and services for the growing community of mechanobiology.

We suggest to have a look at the list of keynote speakers and register to the conference or, if you are still planning your next year activities, subscribe to the N4M Google Group

See you soon in Camogli!



The conference will start on Sunday evening shuttle services will be organized to connect the airport to the meeting venue. The last day, the conference will terminate after lunch and a shuttle will be organized to reach the Genova airport.
  • Sunday 24/03
    17:00 - 22:00
  • Registration and opening
  • Welcome lectures
  • Get together dinner
  • Monday 25/03
    9:00 - 19:00
  • Scientific session 1
  • Lunch and poster session
  • Scientific session 2
  • Tuesday 26/03
    9:00 - 19:00
  • LENS special session 3
  • Lunch and poster session
  • LENS special session 4
  • Wednesday 27/03
    9:00 - 14:00
  • Scientific session 5
  • Lunch and symposium closure
See the full program for more details and subscribe to the N4M Google Group to remain updated.


Mad City Labs
Physik Instrumente (PI)
Advanced Technologies
Light Machinery
Keynote speakers

Keynote Speakers

Felix Rico
Université de Aix-Marseille, France

We develop and apply high-speed atomic force microscopy (AFM and high-speed AFM) to unravel the physics behind biological systems. Our research is based on force spectroscopy approaches to determine how single molecules and living cells response to mechanical forces.

External website
Oliver Friedrich
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany

OF and his team develop and engineer new biomechatronics solutions for highly automated or high-content experimentation in the field of mechanobiology, among which the IsoStretcher, MyoRobot and the MechaMorph are some recent developments. Applying those systems to study involvement of mechanosensitive channels in cardiac tissue or axial biomechanical compliance of skeletal muscle fibres in various disease models represent some of the current research topics covered.

External website
Michele De Luca
Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy

Michele De Luca has dedicated most of his scientific activities to translational medicine. He is recognised as leading scientist in human squamous epithelial stem cell biology aimed at the development of epithelial stem cell-mediated cell therapy and gene therapy.

External website
Sandra Citi
Université de Genève, Switzerland

The goal of the Citi laboratory is to understand at the molecular level how the apical junctional complex of vertebrate epithelial cells controls epithelial function, morphogenesis, differentiation and proliferation.

External website
Peter Kohl
Universitäts-Herzzentrum Freiburg, Germany

Research interests: Mechano-electric coupling in the cardio-vascular system, Hetero-cellular cross-talk and roles of non-excitable cells in cardiac biophysics, Integrated wet-and-dry studies of cardio-vascular structure and function, Method development, imaging, auto-regulation.

External website
Edoardo Mazza
ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Professor Mazza's research deals with experimental continuum mechanics, applied for the solution of challenging problems in engineering and medicine. Novel experimental techniques are developed for the multiscale characterization of the mechanical reponse of structures and materials.

External website
Aurélien Roux
Université de Genève, Switzerland

My research focus is on the mechanical and dynamic properties of lipids and proteins involved in membrane traffic. Specifically, how do these properties produce efficient membrane deformation, lipid and protein sorting within traffic intermediates, and fission of separating membranes?

External website
Manuel Salmeron-Sanchez
University of Glasgow, UK

Material-based strategies to engineer tissue repair and regeneration, and to understand pathological conditions such as cancer. His multidisciplinary group designs microenvironments to simulate the complex spatio-temporal cues of the extracellular matrix, including viscoelastic substrates and 3D protein-based hydrogels that control integrin and growth factor receptor signalling.

External website
Kristian Franze
University of Cambridge, UK

We are taking an interdisciplinary approach to investigate how cellular forces, local cell and tissue compliance and cellular mechanosensitivity contribute to CNS development and disease. Methods we are exploiting include atomic force microscopy, traction force microscopy, custom-built simple and complex compliant cell culture substrates, optical microscopy including confocal laser scanning microscopy and cell biological techniques.

External website
Charles Cox
Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Sydney, Australia

The newly formed Cox Lab is focused on the molecular workings of mechanically-gated ion channels. In particular how they are regulated by the lipid environment and structural scaffold proteins. This includes trying to understand the bidirectional flow of information between these channels and the cytoskeleton and their downstream signaling effectors.

External website
Alex Dommann
EMPA, Zürich, Switzerland

Material characterization and surface analysis with focus on X-ray techniques; material in medical technology, aging of microsystems, microelectronics and sensors; coating technologies. Currently Member of Empa's Board of Directors, Head of Department "Materials meet Life", Head of Research Focus Area "Health and Performance", Titular Professor at the University of Bern (Biomedical Engineering)

External website


  • 24/03 17:00-18:00
  • Registration
  • 24/03 18:00-19:30
    Opening session
  • Aldo Ferrari and Massimo Vassalli

    Organizing committee

    Introduction and welcome

  • Michele De Luca

    Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy

    Epithelial stem cells in cell and gene therapy

  • Yannis Missirlis

    University of Patras

    Tissue morphogenesis and mechanoepigenetics

  • Katharina Maniura

    EMPA, Biointerfaces, St. Gallen, Switzerland

    Designing the 3D cellular environment by the use of light

  • 24/03 19:30-22:00
  • Get together dinner
  • 25/03 9:00-13:00
    Scientific session 1
  • Felix Rico

    Université de Aix-Marseille, France

    Molecular to cellular mechanics probed by atomic force microscopy

  • Jacopo Di Russo

    Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg and Interdisciplinary Centre for Clinical Reserach, RWTH Aachen University, Germany

    Collective cell migration: intercellular forces coordination by integrin α5β1

  • Hannah Donnelly

    University of Glasgow, UK

    Synergistic integrin-growth factor microenvironments to bioengineer the bone marrow niche in vitro

  • Charles Cox

    Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Sydney, Australia

    Mechanosensitive Piezo channels: bidirectional feedback with lipids and the cytoskeleton

  • Alice Nicolas

    CNRS-LTM, Grenoble, France

    Primary brain cells responses to multi-rigidities substrates

  • Marco Cecchini

    NEST, Istituto Nanoscienze-CNR and Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy

    Surface-Acoustic-Wave (SAW)-Driven Device for Dynamic Cell Cultures

  • 25/03 13:00-15:00
  • Lunch and poster session
  • 25/03 15:00-19:00
    Scientific session 2
  • Edoardo Mazza

    ETH Zürich, Switzerland

    Biomechanics and mechanobiology of soft collagenous tissue: some novel insights from multiscale mechanical experiments

  • Francesca Michela Pramotton

    ETH Zurich, Switzerland

    Individual and collective cell response to gradients of topographic noise

  • Alexandre Morel

    EMPA, St-Gallen Switzerland

    Understanding and Tailoring Structural and Mechanical Properties of Electrospun Fibers

  • Manuel Salmeron-Sanchez

    University of Glasgow, UK

    Engineering the cellular microenvironment with biomaterials: mechanics, growth factors and beyond

  • Carsten Schulte

    Università degli Studi di Milano, Italty

    Modulation of cellular mechanobiological processes and behaviour through nanoengineered topographical cues fabricated by cluster-assembling

  • César Pascual García

    LIST Luxembourg

    The role of nano-engineering in Bio-Field effect transistors

  • 26/03 9:00-13:00
    LENS special session 1
  • Sandra Citi

    Université de Genève, Switzerland

    Molecular mechanisms of mechanostranduction at apical cell-cell junctions

  • Lucia Gardini

    LENS and University of Firenze, Italy

    Dissecting mechanosensitivity of a single Myosin-5B motor and implications on its collective behaviour

  • Marie-Hélène Verlhac

    CIRB, Collège de France, Paris, France

    Active fluctuations modulates gene expression in mouse oocytes

  • Kristian Franze

    University of Cambridge, UK

    The mechanical regulation of neuronal growth and regeneration

  • Fernando Ciceri

    Mad City Labs GmbH

    Modular Microscopy Systems for Single Molecule Imaging

  • Silvia Caponi

    CNR-IOM, Perugi, Italy

    Correlative μ-Brillouin and μ-Raman spectroscopy: emerging tool for simultaneous mechanical and chemical analysis of cells and tissues

  • Andrea Candelli

    Lumicks, Amsterdam, The Netherland

    Measuring T cell avidity and enrichment using acoustic force-based technology

  • 26/03 13:00-15:00
  • Lunch and poster session
  • 26/03 15:00-19:00
    LENS special session 2
  • Peter Kohl

    Universitäts-Herzzentrum Freiburg, Germany

    Cardiac Mechano-Sensitivity: from Pipette to Patient

  • Leonardo Sacconi

    INO-CNR and LENS, Firenze, Italy

    Advanced morpho-functional analysis on ventricular and atrial tissue reveals sarcomere energetic impairment in HCM patients

  • Camilla Parmeggiani

    LENS and University of Firenze, Italy

    The biological value of LCE: from cell scaffolds to artificial muscles

  • Aurélien Roux

    Université de Genève, Switzerland

    Buckling of epithelium growing under spherical confinement

  • Nicolas Borghi

    CNRS, Institut Jacques Monod, Paris, France

    Mechanotransduction: from cell surface to nucleus

  • Caterina Tomba

    University of Geneva, Switzerland

    Mimicking tubular environments to study epithelial sensing to curvature

  • 27/03 9:00-13:00
    Final scientific session
  • Alex Dommann

    EMPA, Zürich, Switzerland

    Bioimaging: how x-ray techniques are able support precision medicine

  • Sivashankar Krishnamoorthy

    LIST Luxembourg

    Engineering High-resolution, Large Area Nanotopographies for Tissue engineering

  • Kyoohyun Kim

    BIOTEC, TU Dresden, Germany

    Optical diffraction tomography for mass density measurements of biological samples

  • Oliver Friedrich

    Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany

    Pulling the strings - novel biomechatronics feeds for biomechanical studies in cardiac and skeletal muscle

  • Sirio Dupont

    University of Padova, Italy

    Greasy links between actomyosin contractility and cell metabolism

  • Ilaria Tonazzini

    Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherland and Istituto Nanoscienze CNR, Pisa, Italy)

    Study of neuronal migration and guidance in UBE3A-related neurodevelopmental disorders by nano-engineered platforms

  • 25/03 13:00-15:00
  • Farewell Lunch
Special Issue

Special issue

For the 2019 edition of the symposium, we are partnering with Springer to provide access to a Special Issue of Biophysical Reviews (see below) dedicated to "Nanoengineering for Mechanobiology". The special issue will be edited by Boris Martinac (lead editor), Aldo Ferrari, Marco Capitanio and Massimo Vassalli. Submission to the special issue is already open and interested authors are kindly invited to contact the organizing committee at to indicate their availability.


The special issue will cover the broad topic around the conference, "Nanoengineering for Mechanobiology". Contributions are expected in the following form:

LONG REVIEWS (10,000 words + references)

SHORT REVIEWS (4000 words + refs)

LETTERS -TO-EDITOR (about 1000 words)

The final submission deadline is set to July 3rd 2019. Feel free to contact us for any query or to discuss your proposed contribution.

Biophysical Reviews

Biophysical Reviews publishes critical and timely reviews from key figures in the field of biophysics. Biophysical Reviews covers the entire field of biophysics, generally defined as the science of describing and defining biological phenomenon using the concepts and the techniques of physics. This includes but is not limited by such areas as bioinformatics, biophysical methods and instrumentation, medical biophysics, biosystems, cell biophysics and organisation, macromolecules: dynamics, structures and interactions, and membrane biophysics, channels and transportation.

Biophysical Reviews mainly targets basic research scientist, but as a number of reviews also have a strong link to medicine, the material is also likely to be of relevant to clinicians with an interest in the biophysical basis of diseases, treatments and interventions. Students of biophysics and the biomedical sciences will also find the reviews useful as they present in depth analyses of important topics.



The Nanoengineering for Mechanobiology symposium is organized in Camogli, a nice fishermen village near Genova, with the aim to bring together for three days junior and senior scientists passionate for the field of Mechanobiology. To enhance the interaction among the attendees, the core activities of the conference are organized inside the Hotel Cenobio dei Dogi which is also the accommodation for the participants.

The first round of registration to the symposium has closed and oral contributions have been assigned. The registration is still open for attendees interested in presenting a poster or simply participating to the conference till February 24th (or earlier if the max capacity of the meeting is reached).

The conference registration pack includes:

  • Conference material
  • All lunches and coffee breaks
  • Welcome dinner

Participation fees are set to 230€, including all the above listed items.

Regarding accommodation, the N4M organization agreed a special price of 90€/night in single room or 70€/night/person in double room at the conference hotel. During registration you might opt for a full pack including conference fees and hotel accommodation.

Privacy note: your data will be collected for the sole purpose of the registration and participation to the N4M meeting. Your name, email and data will be shared only with the participants and the service providers involved in the management of the conference, and for the specific need. All data will be deleted after the end of the conference and your email will be included in the N4M Google Group to get future info on the conference (with possibility to unsubscribe at any moment).



Massimo Vassalli
Institute of Biophysics
National Research Council

Marco Capitanio, Leonardo Sacconi, Riccardo Cicchi
LENS, European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy, Firenze, Italy

Aldo Ferrari
Empa Dübendorf, Switzerland

The symposium will be held at

Hotel Cenobio dei Dogi

Via Nicolò Cuneo, 34
16032 Camogli Genova, Italy

By train

The Camogli S.Fruttuoso station is 2 minutes walk from the Hotel and directly connected to the national railway network. Find timetables and connections at the Trenitalia website

By car

Have a look at the directions provided by the Hotel or follow any navigation system. The Hotel Cenobio dei Dogi provides free parking for all attendees staying at the Hotel.

By plane

The nearest airport is Genova Cristoforo Colombo, which is internationally connected to Paris (Air France), Munich (Lufthansa), London (Ryanair and BA), Barcelona (Flyvalan), Bruxelles (Flyvalan), Amsterdam (KLM), Zurich (Flyvalan) and nationally to the international hub Fiumicino in Rome. The airport is connected via a shuttle service to the Genova Brignole train station (volabus, check the timetable) where a train to Camogli departs every half an hour (timetable and tickets).