The 4th newsletter of NanoMedTwin project outlines project news and events during its final eight months (April – October 2022).
NanoMedTwin is a Horizon 2020 project focused on promoting smart specialization at the Technical University of Moldova by developing the field of Novel Nanomaterials for BioMedical Applications through excellence in research and twinning.
During its final year, project activities have focused on advancings its aims of promoting links between the Nano and BioMedicine fields, training a new generation of highly-skilled researchers and extending collaborative networking.
This newsletter is an overview of the projects’ activities and achievements during its final year, also highlighting some of the pertinent publications of the project consortium.
Prof. Ion Tiginyanu
NanoMedTwin project manager
NEWS and EVENTS
Final NanoMedTwin project meeting
The final meeting of the NanoMedTwin project took place on Oct 21, 2022 at the Technical University of Moldova. It aimed to discuss the results and achievements of the project during its 4 years of implementation, its overall impact and future cooperation opportunities of the project partners.
The meeting was organised in hybrid mode, with some of the partners attending online. National Center for Materials Study and Testing (NCMST) at the Technical University of Moldova, project coordinator, was represented by Prof. Ion Tiginyanu, Dr. Tudor Braniste, Prof. Veaceslav Ursachi and Irina Cojocaru. The event was also attended by Dr. Andrei Sarua from the University of Bristol and Dr. Pascal Colpo from JRC. The other project partners participated at the event online: Dr. Andres Hilfiker and Dr. Birgit Andree from the Hannover Medical School, Prof. Ian Linnros from the Royal Institute of Technology and Dana Remes from EFPC. The meeting was also attended by the researchers and students from Technical University of Moldova and the State University of Medicine and Pharmacy, who benefitted from the study visits organised by the project, Dr. Eduard Monaico, Prof. Viorel Nacu, Dr. Victor Zalamai, Simon Busuioc, Tatiana Galatonova, Vladimir Ciobanu, Mihail Batiri and Valentina Vorona.
The agenda of the event included a presentation of the project results and achievements (br Dr. Braniste), the scientific research carried out in the framework of the NanoMedTwin project activities (by Prof. Tiginyanu), such as expert and staff visits, partner workshops which resulted in 38 scientific publications during 4 years. Then all project partners engaged in discussions about further collaboration perspectives, as well as the upcoming NanoMedTwin reporting and project review. Prof. Tiginyanu also announced about the upcoming 6th edition of the International Conference on Nanotechnologies and Biomedical Engineering ICNBME to be organised on September 20-23, 2023 and invited all project partners to this event.
On September 23, 2022 the National Center for Materials Study and Testing at the Technical University of Moldova hosted a brokerage event in the field of novel nanomaterials for biomedical applications, organised in the framework of the NanoMedTwin project. The event brought together students, researchers, entrepreneurs and decision makers from Moldova, Romania, Germany, Italy and Japan.
The event was opened by the NanoMedTwin project manager Prof. Ion Tighineanu, who mentioned the importance of interdisciplinary research and transnational cooperation between scientists for further advancements. The discussions agenda was started by the special guest from Japan, Prof. Masakazu Kimura, the director of Research Institute of Electronics from Shizuoka University, who presented the research directions and the interaction between scientists and entrepreneurs at Shizuoka University.
An important guest of the brokerage event was dr. Pascal Colpo from the Joint Research Center of the European Commission. Dr. Colpo presented the JRC infrastructure in the field of nanobiotechnology and the main research directions concerning the detection of micro-nano-plastics and its toxicity assessment. Another important aspect in the presentation of dr. Colpo was the presentation of open calls regarding the possibilities to access freely the research infrastructure available at the JRC.
The event was completed by comprehensive presentations from other research organisations and private innovative companies, according to the AGENDA. The online recording of the event is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWT-7wvAZmE
During 8-9 September 2022, the next scientific workshop took place at the Joint Research Center in Ispra in Italy, in the framework of the NanoMedTwin project. It was accompanied by the project management board meeting and was attended by representatives of all project partners: prof. Ion Tiginyanu (on site), prof. Veaceslav Ursachi (online), dr. Tudor Braniste (on site) and Irina Cojocaru (online) from the Technical University of Moldova; dr. Andrei Sarua and dr. Annela Seddon (on site) from the University of Bristol; dr. Apurba Dev (on site) from the Royal Insitute of Technology; dr. Birgit Andree (online ) from Hannover Medical School and Dana Remes (online) from EFPC. The workshop was also attended by several PhD students, namely Irina Plesco (online), as well as Vlad Ciobanu and Valentina Vorona, who are currently at JRC, as part of the student visits oganised by the NanoMedTwin project.
The meeting aimed at discussing the intermediate outputs of the project, the progress in the implementation of the project objectives and the analysis of the current situation, taking into account that the project ends in October 2022. The meeting was moderated by the host dr. Pascal Colpo, who opened the event with a short introduction, together with the project manager, prof. Ion Tighineanu.
The workshop started with the presentation of dr. Annela Seddon from the University of Bristol, who informed the audience on the latest results concerning self-organization of lipids and their use in nanobiomedicine. The lecture of dr. Seddon was followed by two reports presented by PhD students Vladimir Ciobanu and Irina Plesco. The students delivered presentations on their research carried out during visits at partner institutions.
The visit program included the visit to the Nanobiotechnology Laboratory of the JRC, where the guests become acquainted with the modern techniques and equipment available for the characterization of nanoparticles and the assessment of cytotoxicity.
Vlad Ciobanu from NCMST, TUM participated at the ETPN 2022 conference organized by the European Technology Platform on Nanomedicine (ETPN) and International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL) in Braga, Portugal on June 20-23, 2022.
The event was divided in several sections, as follows: during the General Assembly 2022 were discussed the activity report for the year 2021, including the financial report and budget proposal for the year 2022, as well as the validation of the ETPN Membership fees for the year 2023. The action plan for 2023 was discussed and new working groups were initiated.
The event was organized simultaneously with INL SUMMIT 2022 and the participants had a unique possibility to share new ideas on their scientific work and results on nanomedicine or regenerative medicine in HORIZON 2020 and HORIZON EUROPE. Successful start-ups in these fields were presented. A Brokerage event on the Opportunities for nanomedicine in HORIZON EUROPE was organized, where different calls for proposals were discussed with the potential involvement in these projects of the ETPN members, taking into account their infrastructure and experience.
During the conference, Vlad Ciobanu presented the latest scientific results in the nanomedicine field “The interaction of wide bandgap semiconductor-based nanoparticles with proteins and living cells” with authors both from the Technical University of Moldova and the Joint Research Center of the European Commission: Vladimir Ciobanu, Francesco Roncari, Giacomo Ceccone, Tudor Braniste, Jessica Ponti, Alessia Bogni, Giuditta Guerrini, Domenico Cassano, Pascal Colpo, Ion Tiginyanu.
The second Summer School "Innovations in Nanomedicine" was focused on intellectual property (IP) protection in the field of applied science, technology transfer and promotion of innovation and entrepreneurial culture in Moldova. It was organised on July 3-6, 2022 in hybrid format, with over 45 participants.
The Summer School was aimed at PhD students, students and high school pupils, passionate about science and technology. The lectures were delivered both in English and Romanian. With a total duration of 19 hours, the lectures were delivered by professors and researchers from NanoMedTwin consortium partners: University of Bristol from UK, Joint Research Center in Ispra, Italy, Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and Hannover Medical School in Germany. It also included lectures and best practice advice from experts in technology transfer and representatives of the State Agency on Intellectual Property and Market Economy Institute in the Republic of Moldova.
The course also featured an online lecture, delivered by the Nobel Prize Laureate, Prof. Hiroshi Amano from Nagoya University in Japan. The online lecture “Roadmap to Realize Carbon Neutral Society with New Semiconductor Materials” was organised by the Academy of Sciences of Moldova and was streamed online, including via the national streaming service privesc.eu.
Among the participants were 7 high-school pupils interested in science and technology, as well as students, PhDs and MSc students from various higher education and research organisations, such as the Technical University of Moldova, State University of Medicine and Pharmacy “N.Testemitanu”, Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Moldova State University, Medical College “Raisa Pacallo”, Institute of Electronic Engineering and Nanotechnology “D.Ghitu”.
The lectures were focused on such topics as, latest achievements in the development of artificial organs, tissue engineering, specifics of innovations in Startups, technology transfer best practices in the companies based on innovations, Intellectual Property for scientific activities, development of nanomaterials for nanomedicine etc. Each lecture was followed by a Q&A session, where both onsite and online participants had the possibility to engage with lecturers. The lectures have been highly appreciated by all participants. "It is difficult to pick just one favorite lecture, they all disclose various topics and it was interesting to learn from each of the presentations", as mentioned by one of the participants.
NanoMedTwin Workshop at KTH in Stockholm
In the period 19-20 May 2022 a new workshop in the framework of the NanoMedTwin project was organized by the KTH team in Stockholm, Sweden. Due to relaxation of COVID-related restrictions, the workshop was held with both physical presence and online.
Visiting students and researchers from all partner institutions attended the workshop moderated by Professor Jan Linnros, KTH. The program included the presentations of the latest results obtained by the researchers during the last years. The discussions were focused on student visit results and further collaborative aspects.
The Workshop ended with a presentation from the students who at present are currently visiting KTH. Tatiana Galatonova and Moen Talebian Gevari presented their results on electrokinetically-based point of care biosensing technique - a road trip from principle to application.
During the visit the guests were introduced to the technological and characterization facilities available at KTH within the laboratories and the cleanroom.
STUDENTS' and EXPERTS' VISITS
Valentina Vorona (PhD student from the Institute of Microbiology and Biotechnology)
1 August – 21 October 2022
Joint Research Center, Ispra, Italy
During the period 01.08.2022 to 21.10.2022, PhD student Valentina Vorona from the Laboratory of Soil Microbiology at the Institute of Microbiology and Biotechnology and National Center for Materials Study and Testing, UTM, had a visit to Joint Research Center in Ispra, Italy where she continued the previous investigations on nanoparticles - cell bacteria interaction.
During the visit at Joint Research Center, Ispra, in Nanobiotechnology Laboratory, a variety of instruments were learned to use for characterization of nanomaterials. Nanoparticles like Fe3O4/PVP, CoFe2O4/PVP, CoFe2O4/PEG, MgFe2O4/PVP, and MgFe2O4/PEG were investigated for size distribution, morphology, structural properties and chemical analysis.
The interaction of magnetic ferrites nanoparticles with bacterial cells based on in vitro biocompatibility studies was investigated using techniques like TEM, SEM, CLM, AFM and characterize the adsorption of nanoparticles on the bacteria surface.
Valentina also studied the toxicity of the nanocomposites on different concentration for rodococci bacteria. In the last day of stay in Ispra, Valentina presented her results at the online Unit meeting, where the obtained results were discussed.
Vladimir Ciobanu (PhD student at the National Center for Materials Study and Testing)
9 May – 10 September 2022
Joint Research Center, Ispra, Italy
During his four-months visit, Vladimir learned a variety of instruments to use for characterization of nanomaterials. Nanoparticles like ZnO and GaN were investigated for size distribution, morphology, structural properties, chemical analysis for further application as antibiotics drug delivery system for sinusitis treatment. Techniques like XPS, TEM, DLS, UV/Vis spectroscopy were used to characterize both qualitatively and quantitatively the binding of antibiotics on the nanoparticles surface.
During the visit Vladimir investigated inorganic nanoparticles for potential applications in drug delivery system for sinusitis treatment. Nanoparticles with or without magnetic properties were used to encapsulate different types of antibiotics using strategies like chemical (carbodiimide or hydrazine chemistry) or electrostatic binding.
During the NanoMedTwin partner workshop in Ispra from September 8-9, he presented the results with a final conclusion on the work done during the last visit.
Vadim Morari (PhD student at the Institute of Electronic Engineering and Nanotechnologies „D. Ghitu”)
11 April – 10 July 2022
Joint Research Center, Ispra, Italy
During his three-months visit, Vadim was trained to operate the Scanning Electron Microscope, Raman spectroscopy and XRD equipment, and to interpret the obtained results. The investigated materials, ultrathin layers of semiconductor compounds, were obtained by Vadim at the „D.Ghitu” Institute in Moldova, in the framework of his doctoral thesis. The obtained results demonstrate the feasibility of the aerosol deposition and spin coating deposition, as cost-efficient methods for obtaining ultrathin layers of high-quality semiconductor compounds which will be used in the development of UV radiation detection.
Upon his return home, Vadim held a seminar and presented all the newly acquired results. Besides the improvement of English language, he had the possibility to improve his science communication and gain new valuable skills. He said: „The NanoMedTwin project was very necessary and useful in gathering information about photodetectors obtained by different methods. It gave me the opportunity to accumulate professional experience and information for my doctoral thesis. In order to make science more attractive in Moldova, there is a need for such research projects, where young generation can be involved at international level.”
Mihail Batiri (PhD student from the Technical University of Moldova)
4 April – 4 August 2022
University of Bristol, UK
Mihail Batiri, PhD student from the Technical University of Moldova, spent 4 months (April – August) at the University of Bristol under the guidance of Dr. Andrei Sarua. His visit focused on the exfoliation of 2D layered materials like SnSe, SnSe:Bi, SnS, and SnS2 and investigation of optical properties.
During his visit, Mihail had the opportunity to study and train on using different measuring equipment and also work with experienced specialists from the University of Bristol, thus making new and valuable contacts.
The main goal of the visit was achieved, by using different exfoliation techniques Mihail obtained very thin layers of SnS, SnS2 and SnSe materials with thicknesses of 5-25 nm and lengths of 1-10 um. The thin layers were characterized by SEM/EDX, TEM, AFM and Raman Spectroscopy. Through photolithographic processes, metallic contacts were deposited and later on the electrical properties of SnS thin layers were studied.
Mihail mentioned “NanoMedTwin project is an opportunity for young researchers at the beginning of their careers to improve their skills and gain valuable experience for their future research. During the visit, I participated in various courses and seminars, I had the opportunity to visit the Electrochemistry laboratory at the University of Southampton and under the guidance of Dr Andrei Sarua, I was training in various measurement techniques. The obtained experience and results are highly valuable for my doctoral thesis and I had the unique opportunity to make new and valuable contacts with whom to develop a longstanding collaboration”.
Tatiana Galatonova (MSc student at the Technical University of Moldova)
15 January – 15 June 2022
Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
During her visit, Tatiana developed new skills in the field of biosensing: working principle of biosensors based on signal detection; surface functionalization and multiplexed measurements for increased selectivity; DNA detection peculiarities, etc. Beside training at KTH, before accessing lab work, Tatiana passed the two-week training at Uppsala University on how to work with the system and the biosensor, calculate the maximum effective concentration of the solutions, and use them in practice. The lab work was continuously supervised at the weekly meetings and recent literature review was being assimilated during the Journal Clubs. As a Master student, Tatiana has followed all the activities at TUM online, and additionally was following the Bio-nanotechnology course at KTH BB2400 that contains: tutorial (assignments, ASS; 1.5hp), lab exercise (Lab; 1.5hp) and written examination (TEN1; 4.5hp).
Returning home by mid of June, Tatiana said: „Organizing projects of such a level as NanoMedTwin is an opportunity for young students at the beginning of their careers. The collaboration and mobilities through such high-level institutions as the Royal Institute of Technology develop our research skills and ignite our interest to go further in this field with a new baggage of ideas, knowledge, and experiences. Last but not least are the formation of the connections obtained on trips with the scientists who have been working in this field for years and are ready to guide and consult you even after finishing the mobility. Certainly, the NanoMedTwin project is a success for the Republic of Moldova and has opened a new vision for me in science.”
Simon Busuioc (MSc student at the Technical University of Moldova)
15 January – 15 June 2022
Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
Simon Busuioc is a Master student at Microelectronics and Nanotechnology, and during his visit at KTH he was involved in the investigation of the optical properties of the transparent wood. He got an introduction to integrating sphere, atomic force microscopy, laser-based particles analyser, and other characterization tools. Every two weeks Simon was attending meetings with Dr. Ilja Sytjunov and Dr. Hui Chen, where practical results were discussed and a short-term working plan was developed. Simon attended the course “Colloids and Colloidal Principles for Applications” between 21.03.2022 – 20.05.2022 and several seminars, including “Carla Camp Open House” organised by Photonics Sweden between 11.05.2022 – 12.05.2022, where the photonics as a future technology was discussed.
Back at TUM with inspiration and new vision, Simon said: „During this internship I gained a unique and much needed working experience, not only in a new, unfamiliar branch of my main field of study, but also in new environment, besides people with different perspective regarding working practices. This gave me an opportunity to improve myself as a person and as a researcher. Even if it was tedious from time to time, I consider my visit to be worthwhile.”
Vitalie Cobzac (Ph.D student at the State University of Medicine and Pharmacy)
1 October 2021 – 31 March 2022
Hannover Medical School, Germany
During his stay, Vitalie was familiarized with a series of techniques and best practices in the field of tissue characterization and cells differentiation with different methods. He has performed histochemical staining, Western blotting of type I collagen extracted from porcine Achilles tendon, Immunohistochemistry, chondrocyte differentiation from bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells, cartilage vitrification and other exciting experiments related to tissue engineering and cells culturing techniques.
Returning home, Vitalie shared his experience with his colleagues, during an enlarged meeting at the National Center for Materials Study and Testing at the Technical University of Moldova, on May 6, 2022. He presented the scientific results he managed to obtain during his stay at the Hannover Medical School. „NanoMedTwin is not just a project for experience exchange, due to the spirit of collegiality, respect and friendship within LEBAO and NIFE I had the unique opportunity to make new and valuable contacts with whom to develop a longstanding collaboration, especially in the field of molecular biology and cryopreservation of articular cartilage”, said Vitalie.
Moise, C.C.; Mihai, G.V.; Anicăi, L.; Monaico, E.V.; Ursaki, V.V.; Enăchescu, M.; Tiginyanu, I.M. Electrochemical Deposition of Ferromagnetic Ni Nanoparticles in InP Nanotemplates Fabricated by Anodic Etching Using Environmentally Friendly Electrolyte. Nanomaterials 2022, 12, 3787. https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12213787
Ciobanu, V.; Roncari, F.; Ceccone, G. et al. Protein-corona formation on aluminum doped zinc oxide and gallium nitride nanoparticles. Journal of Applied Biomaterials & Functional Materials. 2022;20. doi:10.1177/22808000221131881
Monaico, E.I.; Monaico, E.V.; Ursaki, V.V.; Tiginyanu, I.M. Controlled Electroplating of Noble Metals on III-V Semiconductor Nanotemplates Fabricated by Anodic Etching of Bulk Substrates. Coatings 2022, 12, 1521. https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings12101521
Morari, V.; Ursaki, V.V.; Rusu, E.V.; Zalamai, V.V.; Colpo, P.; Tiginyanu, I.M. Spin-Coating and Aerosol Spray Pyrolysis Processed Zn1−xMgxO Films for UV Detector Applications. Nanomaterials 2022, 12, 3209. https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12183209
Monaico, E.V.; Morari, V.; Kutuzau, M.; Ursaki, V.V.; Nielsch, K.; Tiginyanu, I.M. Magnetic Properties of GaAs/NiFe Coaxial Core-Shell Structures. Materials 2022, 15, 6262. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma15186262
Dragoman, M.; Dinescu, A.; Avram, A.; Dragoman, D.; Vulpe, S.; Aldrigo, M.; Braniste, T.; Suman, V.; Rusu, E.; Tiginyanu, I. Ultrathin tin sulfide field-effect transistors with subthreshold slope below 60 mV/decade. Nanotechnology 2022, 33. https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6528/ac7cf8
Ursaki, V.V.; Lehmann, S.; Zalamai, V.V.; Morari, V.; Nielsch, K.; Tiginyanu, I.M.; Monaico, E.V. Core–Shell Structures Prepared by Atomic Layer Deposition on GaAs Nanowires. Crystals 2022, 12, 1145. https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst12081145
Monaico, E.V.; Morari, V.; Ursaki, V.V.; Nielsch, K.; Tiginyanu, I.M. Core–Shell GaAs-Fe Nanowire Arrays: Fabrication Using Electrochemical Etching and Deposition and Study of Their Magnetic Properties. Nanomaterials 2022, 12, 1506. https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12091506
Dragoman, M.; Aldrigo, M.; Dinescu, A.; Iordanescu, S.; Romanitan, C.; Vulpe, S.; Dragoman, D.; Braniste, T.; Suman, V.; Rusu, E.; Tiginyanu, I. The microwave properties of tin sulfide thin films prepared by RF magnetron sputtering techniques. Nanotechnology, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6528/ac59e3
Cojocari, S.; Ignatov, O.; Jian, M.; Cobzac, V.; Braniște, T. Monaico, E.; Taran, A.; Nacu, V. Zinc Oxide and Gallium Nitride Nanoparticles Application in Biomedicine: A Review. CRIS of TUM. [Preprint]. March 10, 2022. Available from: http://cris.utm.md/handle/5014/1183
Malcova, T.; Nacu, V.; Rojnoveanu, Gh.; Andrée, B.; Hilfiker, A. Evaluation of Ultrasound Application for the Decellularization of Small Caliber Vessels. CRIS of TUM. [Preprint]. March 10, 2022. Available from: http://cris.utm.md/handle/5014/1184
Ciobanu, V.; Plesco, I.; Braniste, T.; Ceccone, G.; Colpo, P.; Tiginyanu, I. GaN Ultrathin Membrane for SERS Detection of Rhodamine B. CRIS of TUM. [Preprint]. March 10, 2022. Available from: http://cris.utm.md/handle/5014/1185
Monaico, E.; Busuioc, S.; Tiginyanu, I. Controlling the Degree of Hydrophilicity/Hydrophobicity of Semiconductor Surfaces via Porosification and Metal Deposition. CRIS of TUM. [Preprint]. March 10, 2022. Available from: http://cris.utm.md/handle/5014/1186