Smart nanobiomaterials and 3D technologies for active aging

Title of the research project

GIOTTO - Active aGeIng and Osteoporosis: The next challenge for smarT nanobiOmaterials and 3D technologies

Scientific area 

Biomaterials, Bioengineering, Biology


GIOTTO project will develop technologies and smart materials aimed at the treatment of different types of bone fractures in people affected by osteoporosis. The innovative biomaterials will be able to stimulate bone regeneration and reduce bone resorption; moreover,  the use of additive manufacturing technologies and 3D printing will pave the way to personalized therapeutic treatments.

Description of the research project

Bone is a dynamic tissue subject to a continuous remodelling process through a well-balanced coupling of new bone deposition (formation) by osteoblast cells and old bone removal (resorption) by osteoclast cells. When the balance between these two opposite processes is compromised, bone becomes porous and fragile.  This pathology is called osteoporosis and affects elderly people: 1 woman over 3 and 1 man over 5 .

Giotto project will develop three types of devices specific for the treatment of different bone fractures.

  • A three-dimensional bioresorbable scaffold to treat long bone fractures.
  • A flexible composite material based on collagen fibres to be used for minimally invasive treatment of stable pelvic fractures.
  • A radiopaque, bioresorbable and injectable cement to stabilise vertebral fractures

The three GIOTTO devices will incorporate both a biomolecule patented by one of the partners (NOVAICOS) able to inhibit osteoclast activity, thus slowing down bone resorption process, and bioactive nanomaterials containing therapeutic ions able to stimulate osteoblast activity, favouring a faster and effective healing of the fractured bones.

Impact on society 

The proportion of elderly people in European societies is increasing fast and will have important social and economic effects in the coming years. In this context, the development of scientific and technological innovations aimed at allowing active and healthy aging is fundamental. The smart nano-biomaterials and 3D technologies developed in the framework of GIOTTO project will provide innovative and personalized solutions for people affected by osteoporosis, accelerating the possibility to come back to independence and to an active life thus contributing to mitigate the economic impact of this pathology on the health systems of European countries.

GIOTTO project is strongly interdisciplinary and will also contribute to the cross fertilization between universities and business sector, boosting the innovation of the European SME operating in the field of nanomaterials, medical devices and 3D technologies, attracting  investments on highly specialised human capital.

Working group @Polito

At DISAT Department of Applied Science and Technology

Chiara Vitale Brovarone, Full professor, project coordinator

Sonia Fiorilli, Associate professor, WP leader

Remy Gauthier, Post-Doc researcher

Federica Banche Niclot, PhD student

Giorgia Montalbano, PhD student

Alessandra Bari, Post-Doc researcher

Giulia Molino, PhD student

Carlotta Pontremoli, PhD student

Stefania Sola, Administrative staff

National and International Partners 

Università di Pisa, Centro Piaggio, Italy

Universiteit Maastricht, The Nederlands

Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas , Greece

University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom

Dublin City University, Irland





Tecnología Navarra de Nanoproductos, Spain


YODIWO, Greece


  GIOTTO project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement No 814410

  • Budget: 5.660.096 euro
  • Start date: 1/01/2019
  • End date: 28/02/2023