Recently, the demand for sustainable analytical (bio)devices dramatically increased; notably, electrochemical sensors equipped with functional nanomaterials (NMs) offer the possibility to produce miniaturized and portable analytical tools, suitable for on-site analysis/diagnostics and bioresearch applied to emerging health issues.In this project, flexible recycled plastics and cellulosic substrates will be used for (bio)analytical device development. Emerging low-environmental impact benchtop technologies for the development of lab-made integrated (bio)devices as xurography, wax-printing, laser-molding, thermal-assembling, and stencil-printing will be employed. To improve the performance and ensure communication with the biological elements, green-produced/derived NMs will be produced (i) via water-phase sonochemical exfoliation assisted by naturally-derived dispersant agents and (ii) using laser photo-thermal (LPT) solvent-free production strategies. Graphene, 2D-heterostructures, and biochar from industrial waste will be investigated. Using benchtop technologies, the more appropriate NMs will be integrated in all-in-one devices (lab-on-strip/paper) and sensors array. The nano-platforms will be employed for the determination of molecules of bio-functional interest and assessing the metabolic status of cell populations; the nanoplatforms ability to induce different metabolic pathways/differentiation in stem cells will be also investigated.
The PhD candidate can be a biotechnologist, a chemist, a material scientist, or a graduate in equivalent technical and scientific subjects. He/she should have a fundamental knowledge of sensors, biosensors, analytical chemistry, biology, and spectroscopical and or electrochemical fundamentals. Have skills in good laboratory practice and the ability to use basic computer programs. He/she should have a propensity for teamwork, and the willingness to get involved for explore new analytical techniques and challenging applications.
UNITE Analytical Chemistry Team is composed of 3 professors, 3 researchers, 2 postdocs, 7 PhD students, and 1 lab technician (seven are women). The group has a renowned experience in nanomaterials and (bio)sensors and was evaluated second at the national level by ANVUR (VQR 2015-2019) in the analytical chemistry field (CHIM/01). The group has 3 labs equipped with benchtop and portable potentiostats, LC-MS/MS, spectrophotometers/ELISA plate readers, probe sonicator (600W), refrigerated centrifuges, cruft-cutting and CO2 laser-plotter, wax-printer, presses, automatic thermal rollers, stations for manufacturing of microdevices, equipment to handle biological matrices, cells, and steam cells.