Harrington Department of Bioengineering
Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering
Current research thrusts in Pizziconi's group focuses on the development of molecular, cellular and tissue strategies to develop bioresponsive and biomimetic materials for the biohybrid diagnostic and medical devices, and engineered cell and tissue systems. New scanning probe techniques are being developed to elucidate nanoscale structure and properties of soft biological materials, such as, biopolymers and cells in their native, hydrated or living state. Isothermal calorimetry techniques are also being developed to study cellular molecular recognition responses to selected agents, biomaterials, and selected environments. Cell adhesion studies using parallel plate flow devices are being used to assess cell interactions with bioactive ceramic thin film coatings, and extracellualr matrix protein and sequence modified sensor surfaces. Sol-gel dervied and ion-beam modified bioresponsive hydroxyapaptite coatings are being developed for engineering tissue attachment to implants in conjunction with Prof. Alford and Mayer from the Materials Engineering program and Dr. Nastasi at Los Alamos National Laboratories. Related biomineralization studies on understanding molecular recognition at inorganic-organic interfaces is being conducted with post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Krishnaswamy in collaboration with materials chemistry researcher, Dr. Ramakrishna. Biohybrid sensor devices using mast cells with engineering molecular recognition are undergoing feasibility studies for use as immunosensors. Thermoelectric transducer design modifications and improved microfabrication techniques are being developed in collaboration with Dr. Towe and Guilbeau. Initial work on engineering cartilage tissue for load-bearing joint applications has begun in collaboration with Dr. Lippiello at the Harrington Arthritis Research Center. The development of biocompatibility indices is being studied experimentally using calorimetry and complement activation studies, and theoretically using cellular automaton (CA) algorithms. The latter study is in collaboration with ASU immunologist, Dr. Steve Hoffman and Dr. Seiden at IBM Yorktown. Novel biophotonic approaches for the development of optical biomolecular materials and devices have recently been initiated in collaboration with investigators from the Photosynthesis Center. Current studies are focused on developing engineering models that characterize the highly efficient light harvesting antenna stucture of the thermophilic photosynthetic Chloroflexus bacteria that has been extensively studied by Dr. Blankenship with potential biomimetic applications.
Bioresponsive and biomimetic materials
Ph.D., Arizona State University
M.S.E., Arizona State University
B.S., University of Lowell