HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Rome, Italy or Virtually from your home or work.

3rd Edition of Euro-Global Conference on Biotechnology and Bioengineering

June 14-15 | Hybrid Event

June 14-15, 2023 | Rome, Italy
ECBB 2022

Simona Braccini

Simona Braccini, Speaker at Bioengineering Conferences 2022
University of Pisa, Italy
Title: Chitosan-based Polyelectrolyte Complex Hydrogels by Additive Manufacturing for 3D In Vitro Cancer Modelling


Polymeric hydrogels have been used over the past two decades as one of the most common types of tissue engineering scaffold thanks to their ability to maintain a distinct 3D structure in physiological environment, offer structural support for cells in the engineered tissues, and simulate the native extracellular matrix (ECM) functions. The high-water content absorbed by hydrogels can provide an ideal environment for cell survival mimicking that in many native tissues [1]. One of the most common methods for hydrogel preparation is through physical crosslinking of hydrophilic macromolecular chains. Polyelectrolyte complexes (PEC)s are supramolecular self-assembled systems formed upon combination of oppositely charged compounds by means of electrostatic interactions [2]. The possibility of directly mixing polyelectrolytes of natural origin with inherent biocompatibility, to obtain PECs with controlled water stability, biodegradability, and mechanical properties, has attracted great interest for various biomedical applications. In particular, additive manufacturing (AM) integration with naturally-derived PEC strategies is resulting into novel layered hydrogels designed for engineering human tissues [3].

In this contribution different ratios of chitosan, the reference cationic polysaccharide, and either alginate or hyaluronic acid, polyions of natural origin with established biocompatibility, were used to fabricate 3D PEC hydrogels with a predefined porous structure by means of Computer-Aided Wet Spinning (CAWS). Indeed, this AM technique allows the fabrication of scaffolds with advanced control over external geometry, internal pore size and distribution, determined by the deposition path of a polymeric fibre in a coagulation bath [4].

Experimental investigations showed that the designed chitosan-based PEC hydrogels were stable in physiological environment, demonstrating their suitability for long-term 3D cell culture applications. Moreover, biological characterization carried out with A2780 and A2780cis ovarian cancer cell lines highlighted interesting differences in cell adhesion and colonization among investigated hydrogels with different compositions that could be correlated to the influence of PEC composition on hydrogel’s physical-chemical and mechanical properties. Ongoing experimental investigations are dedicated to evaluating in vitro chemotherapeutics response of the 3D tissue models cultured on the developed PECs


Simona Braccini received a Master degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology in 2017 at the University of Pisa. After obtaining a two-year research fellowship on “Study of biofunctional characteristics of micro/nanostructured polymeric materials for biomedical applications, by cellular culture use”, she has been attending the PhD course in Chemistry and Materials Sciences since 2019, under the supervision of Professor Chiellini and Dr Puppi.

Her research interests concern the design, fabrication and characterization of hydrogel scaffolds obtained from naturally-derived polymeric materials, for the development of 3D in vitro modeling of tumor tissues. She is co-author of more than ten scientific articles in high impact international journals.