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Elisa Mele: Functional materials based on natural polymers: from fibers to complex architectures

April 26, 10:00 am @ B CUBE

Friday, April 26, 10:00 am
Dr. Elisa Mele (Team Leader, Nanophysics, Instituto Italiano Di Tecnologia, Genova, Italy)
B CUBE, Arnoldstrasse 18, conference room (4th floor)
Dr. Yixin Zhang
Biopolymers derived from natural sources, such as alginate, chitosan, cellulose, starch, and silk, are emerging as promising materials in the areas of packaging, food production, and medicine, due to their characteristics of easy availability, biodegradability, and low cost. We added novel functionalities to the natural polymers by incorporating active agents (like nanoparticles and plant extracts). In particular, we produced sodium alginate structures of complex shape and anisotropic character, and used them as chemical reactor for the in-situ synthesis of gold nanoparticles, where the nucleation, growth and organization of the particles are controlled by the polymeric network. Moreover, cellulose acetate nanofibers were realized by electrospinning and used as matrices to encapsulate plant extracts that possess antimicrobial properties, and to create fibrous substrates with unique wetting properties. The obtained novel class of nanocomposites is useful in the production of smart textiles, filters, tissue engineering scaffolds, wound dressing and drug delivery systems.
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