What we investigate

Our laboratory develops novel smart fibers, textiles and membranes for body monitoring, drug delivery and tissue engineering applications. A special focus is to develop physical, biological, and numerical skin/body models for the analysis of the interactions between materials and the human skin to optimize the protection and ergonomics of systems.

materials-skin interactions, biomimetic materials, smart membranes and textiles, tissue engineering, skin models

Our research approach towards 3D tissue-engineered skin grafts (TE-SGs).
Our research approach towards 3D tissue-engineered skin grafts (TE-SGs).
Our research in more detail

Skin-simulating materials, structures, and computational models are fundamental elements for in vitro skin research, which are of great interest for many applications ranging from tissue engineering to pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and textile industries. In particular, the development of 3D tissue-engineered skin grafts (TE-SGs) recapitulating the multi-layered skin structure can allow us to circumvent the extensive use of animal models, providing a viable alternative to current preclinical development practices. Therefore, we have been working on multi-layered hybrid membranes that can support the co-culturing of skin cells for such 3D TE-SGs. For this purpose, our research activities include the design and synthesis of bioactive polymers, as well as further development of skin-mimetic structures via various polymer-processing technologies (e.g., electrospinning, microfluidic wet spinning, and injection molding, etc.). This enables us to tailor the biochemical, biophysical and topographical features of the resultant scaffolds for skin cell co-culturing. In collaboration with SKINTEGRITY.CH partners, we envision to target specific skin disease models (e.g. autoimmune diseases) based on such multi-layered hybrid membrane materials, which can potentially lead to better understanding of their pathogenic mechanisms, as well as more effective treatment options for many patients.

Prof. René M. Rossi

Prof. René M. Rossi
Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology
Laboratory for Biomimetic Membranes and Textiles
Lerchenfeldstrasse 5
9014 St. Gallen

Email   Website

Selected publications

SKINTEGRITY.CH Principal Investigators are in bold:

  • Wei K, Toncelli C, Rossi RM and Boesel LF (2022). Hydrogel Fibers Produced via Micro-fluidics. In Ricardo A. Pires, Iva Pashkuleva, Rui L. Reis (Eds.) Multifunctional Hydrogels for Biomedical Applications, pp. 233-274. Wiley-VCH GmbH.
  • Avossa J, Herwig G, Toncelli C, Itel F and Rossi RM (2022). Electrospinning based on benign solvents: Current definitions, implications and strategies. Green Chemistry 24, 2347-2375.
  • Morel A, Guex AG, Itel F, Domaschke S, Ehret AE, Ferguson SJ, Fortunato G and Rossi RM (2021). Tailoring the multiscale architecture of electrospun membranes to promote 3D cellular infiltration. Materials Science and Engineering: C, 130, 112427.
  • Brunelli M, Alther S, Rossi RM, Ferguson SJ, Rottmar M and Fortunato G (2020). Nanofiber membranes as biomimetic and mechanically stable surface coatings. Materials Science and Engineering: C, 108, 110417.
  •  Wei K+, Senturk B+, Matter M T, Wu X, Herrmann I K, Rottmar M, Toncelli C (2019). Mussel-Inspired Injectable Hydrogel Adhesive Formed under Mild Conditions Features Near-Native Tissue Properties. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces11, 47707-47719.