ESR 4: An in vitro model of skeletal muscle tissue to test anti-fibrotic therapies.




Project Title: An in vitro model of skeletal muscle tissue to test anti-fibrotic therapies.

Objectives: the aim of the project is to develop a 3D culture system mimicking the structure and function of a fibrotic skeletal muscle, to be used as a model tissue for drug screening. Such a device will be based on a PMMA support structure in which muscle fibers can be generated, surrounded by a gel containing a vascular network and muscle fibroblasts, thus mimicking a fibrotic environment. Skeletal muscle fibrosis arises as a consequence of genetic diseases like Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy but also in physiological muscle aging. The developed model will allow to reproduce the main hallmarks of the pathology and to measure the effects of applied drugs, aiming at representing a useful tool for the preclinical screening of new compounds or to test the use of innovative drug delivery strategies.

Expected Results: The device will allow long term culture to monitor the development of a relevant fibrotic environment and will include a vascular network through which delivery of therapies can be performed. To validate the model, a number of known anti-fibrotic drugs will be tested for their efficacy, comparing the results in our platform with standard in vitro and in vivo models. Following model development and validation, the potential of innovative delivery strategies will be tested to enhance the effectiveness of therapeutics by overcoming the limits of the available therapies, in terms of efficacy in the specific fibrotic environment.

Host: EOC

Main Supervisor: Matteo Moretti (EOC)

Duration: 36 months

Planned Secondment: in the first year she/he will also be hosted by MAAS (4 months) to be trained in advanced biofabrication techniques and numerical modelling for device fabrication in the second year he/she will be hosted at UKA (5 months) to deepen the knowledge about the biological mechanisms underlying fibrosis development and to be trained in advanced imaging techniques.

Enrolment in Doctoral Degree: PhD in Bioengineering at Politecnico di Milano

For any specific requests on this project, please get in contact with dr. Matteo Moretti (