Back Together: PREMUROSA Summer School in Belgrade

In the third week of June 2022, ESRs, professors and the representatives of the PREMUROSA project partners met for the second time within the summer school in Belgrade, Serbia. The 5-day meeting was a joint cluster event with the ExcellMater project and its project members. It consisted of a visit to the Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, University of Belgrade (FTM, UOB), where all the participants had an opportunity to attend various lectures and talks by our project partners, but also by the members of the ExcellMater project, and additionally ESRs had an exciting hands-on training, handful of social activities and the poster session.

The first two days of the event were dedicated to the ExcellMater seminar and the emphasis was mostly on Regulations and clinical utilization of novel biomaterials. Michael Gasik from the Aalto University familiarized the attendees with the regulatory landscape – MDR, ATMP and HTAR, while his colleague Katarina Dimic-Misic, gave an example lecture on it in relation to hydrogels. Matthew Allen, Ivo Schauwecker and Tracy Zhu from AO Foundation (ARI, Davos) presented the importance of ethics in preclinical/clinical research and a presentation on Randomized Clinical Trials. Project coordinator Lia Rimondini (Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale) gave ESR and partners some useful tips and tricks for Clinical utilization of biomaterials for dental application. The first part of the summer school ended with ESRs having a marvellous poster session, where each of them had an opportunity to present their results and network with ESRs from ExcellMater.

The next two days were focused on the biomimetic bioreactors for tissue engineering purposes. Design, operation, challenges, and potential issues were discussed in detail by Bojana Obradovic and Jasmina Stojkovska (FTM) and by Sibylle Grad and Mauro Alini (ARI, Davos). Furthermore, Petar Uskokovic, Vesna Radojevic and Dusica Stojanovic (FTM) gave a lecture and demonstration on nanoindentation for biomaterials and tissues. All the valuable information ESRs have learned was used in the hands-on training on the set-up of the biomimetic bioreactor developed by FTM.

The last part of the lectures was dedicated to mathematical modelling and simulation presented by Manolo Venturin from Enginsoft. Additionally, consortium members had a chance to get together and discuss the progress of the project and make many other exciting plans for the next year. After the busy and productive days, ESRs had the possibility to explore the charming city of Belgrade and they were presented with a surprise team-building activity – Dragonboat rowing! Teams of ExcellMater members and PREMUROSA members had an amazing time learning the technique and racing among themselves while having a lot of fun together.

Summer school ended with a day full of communication! Our partners “Science on the Street” (Znanost na cesti), led by Saša Novak, held a Science Communication Workshop. All the ESRs had a unique chance to get out of their comfort zones and present themselves, their work and their abilities in an elevator pitch and real interviews with a journalist – Petra Prešeren. It was dynamic, cooperative and very beneficial for everyone involved!

Our second in-person meeting was truly a success, thanks to our highly motivated project members, and especially our great host and partner UOB. Spending time together, catching up with friends and enjoying everything Belgrade had to offer was truly a pleasure!! Now the only thing left to do is wait for our third and final summer school in Latvia, organized by our partner Riga Technical University.

Ilijana in Novara

As the project is moving forward, ESRs are given a chance to go on their planned secondments and explore all the possibilities the ITN (Innovative Training Networks) project offers. 

In the previous three months, our ESR2 Ilijana Kovrlija from Riga Technical University (RTU, Riga, Latvia) has visited the Center of Autoimmune and Allergic Diseases (CAAD, Novara, Italy) and got a chance to dabble in the field of biology and get a unique hands-on experience in cell culture laboratories. In this case, we had a special opportunity to have not one, not two, but four ESRs working together, developing new network connections and spending some quality time with each other. A quote from Ilijana best describes her vision of this secondment: “Before coming to CAAD, I had a big experience in material science, but never did I realize the complexity of connecting it with actual living things. I had a chance to learn from the best, and the push from my comfort zone led to so many great things. From learning how to work with cells and having a glimpse of how it is in the world of biology, to meeting so many amazing people and making friendships that will last much longer than our project”.

The host of Ilijana’s secondment was the laboratory of Prof. Lia Rimondini in CAAD – the research institute of the Università del Piemonte Orientale in Novara. The joint work of this institution and RTU, with Prof. Dagnija Loca’s lab, has been very fruitful and, as we can already see, it set the stone for many future projects and collaborations among our young scientists.

Ilijana and Ksenia working together with cells and biomaterials

Finally All Together: The 2nd PREMUROSA Network School in Porto, October 2021

On October 20-22nd, the ESRs and the representatives of the PREMUROSA project partners finally got the opportunity to meet in person in terms of the second network school and mid-term check held in Porto, Portugal. The 3-day meeting consisted of a visit to the Instituto Nacional de Engenharia Biomédica (INEB) facilities, various informative training sessions and talks by our project partners, and highly anticipated chances to interact and network between the consortium members.

The first two days of the meeting were dedicated to the second network school. The ESRs and the project partners had a chance to familiarize themselves with the Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde (i3S) and their laboratory facilities, followed by interactive lecture sessions, and project progress presentations by the ESRs. Maria Lazaro from INEB provided us information regarding bioimaging applications, João Vinagre and Hugo Prazeres from INEB, and Tiziano Serra from AO Research Institute Davos (ARI) gave us inspiring insights into the world of intellectual property rights, and examples of creating and managing start-ups in the biomedical field.

The following day the network school continued with sessions regarding various topics. The day was opened by Michael Gasik from Aalto University engaging us with his talk about biomechanology, followed by Tiziano Serra’s (ARI) lecture concerning biofabrication. We also had the pleasure to learn about neuroskeletal interactions in a speech delivered by Cecilia Juliana Alves (INEB), and about microfluidics by Laura Boschis from Trustech (TRS). The successful day culminated with the official consortium dinner with a breath-taking view over Porto city.

The final day of the meeting was dedicated to the project midterm check with the REA project officer, where ESRs successfully delivered their progress presentations along with the project coordinator Lia Rimondini (Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale, UPO). After the busy and productive days, the official part of the meeting was closed, and the ESRs had possibilities to explore the beautiful Porto city before returning to their institutes.

PREMUROSA’s second network school was truly a success, thanks to our highly motivated project members and especially our great host and partner INEB. Visiting Porto together and finally interacting in presence was truly a pleasure! The highly awaited second opportunity to gather all together again will be in Belgrade, Serbia, where the third network school will take place in June 2022, hosted by the University of Belgrade (UOB).

Finally all together – in life!

Serbian lady-scientists on their way to discover a cure for the serious diseases

The RasTv in Serbia has broadcasted a story about the Biomedical Engineering Group led by Prof. Bojana Obradovic in which she and ESR Ivana Banicevic also talked about the Premurosa project (in Serbian).

Our Young Scientists’ Achievements

Our ESRs were incredibly busy in doing and promoting science this year. Numerous activities reflect their passion and determination to be successful young scientists. Here we will familiarize you with their top achievements so far but bear in mind that the list is not full for the sake of space.

We are very proud to announce that Hugo (ESR9) won 2nd place in the first UPO Science Slam. Premurosa’s fellows are also fully aware that promoting science is a good opportunity to share knowledge while having fun at the same time. Ksenia (ESR5), Elzbieta (ESR10), Hugo and Ilijana (ESR2) had a great time on the well-known manifestation Researcher’s Night 2021 where the citizens got to know their work. Similarly, Ivana (ESR4) was pleased to attend the International Festival of Innovation, Knowledge and Creativity, Tesla Fest 2021 held in Serbia. Some of the ESRs managed to be very active in presenting their work at conferences:

– Ilijana gave a talk at the 61st International Scientific Conference, Materials Science and Applied Chemistry. Also, she presented posters at the Scandinavian Society for Biomaterials Conference 2021 – she was a winner of the rapid-fire presentation – and at the 31st Conference of the European Society for Biomaterials.

– Mauro (ESR 12) spoke on „Forest embeddings for gene expression data modelling of tumour stage and survival in bladder cancer”, Mathematical and Statistical Methods for Metrology 2021 Virtual Workshop.

– Nicola (ESR6) delivered speeches at the World Biomaterials Congress 2020 and the International Conference on Biofabrication 2021. Additionally, he presented posters at the International Society For Biofabrication (ISBF) Twitter Poster Conference 2021 and TERMIS 2021 World Congress.

We’re delighted to point out the most recent publication of Premurosa’s fellows which is one by Aydin (ESR11): „Surface functionalization of anodized tantalum with Mn3O4 nanoparticles for effective corrosion protection in simulated inflammatory condition”, Ceramics International, October 2021. You can check his article for more details! We would like to end this post by informing you about an upcoming Research Day at Tempere University where Virginia (ESR3) will present her studies. Let’s wish luck to Virginia!

Ilijana Kovrlija participates in the online conference. Pandemic forces people to become creative!
Hugo Abreu competes in Science Slam.
Congratulations on the 2nd place, Hugo!

“Scientists without Borders”: PREMUROSA participated in Researchers’ Night

Four ESRs from PREMUROSA promoted Science to youngsters and their families at the event held by Università del Piemonte Orientale (UPO). Elżbieta Pańczyszyn, Ilijana Kovrlija, Ksenia Menshikh, and Hugo Abreu prepared fun tasks to light a spark for Science in children. Teams competed in assembling a full-size skeleton as fast as possible and created their first lung model from plastic bottles, straws and balloons.

The XVI edition of the Researchers’ Night held by UPO took place in Alessandria, Italy, on October 15th. ESRs collaborated with Prof. Diego Cotella to create different activities engaging the young generation in Science simply and interactively. As Benjamin Franklin once said: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”. The feedback from the future generation of scientists and their parents was very positive, as well as from ESRs themselves who were happy to share their work. “It was truly a pleasure to be involved in the event and to help promote the PREMUROSA project, UPO and Science itself to the community of Alessandria.” – says Hugo. Even without speaking Italian fluently, the ESRs showed that Science has no borders and that its language is universal!

Ilijana, Hugo, Elżbieta and Ksenia in Alessandria, Italy
Competition in assembling a paper skeleton
Lung model from bottles, straws and balloons

Press release: November 3, 2020 

New young researchers in PREMUROSA presented their projects linked to new therapies of musculoskeletal disorders  

GoToTraining, October 19-23, 2020 – The partners of PREMUROSA, the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative training network, first “met” the thirteen young researchers, collected in a few months highly competitive process. During the 5-days First network school that took place from 19-23 October, they presented themselves and their projects, which will significantly contribute to new technologies and new therapies for musculoskeletal disorders.

The 4-years project PREMUROSA kicked off in January 2020. The project combines ICT, biomedicine and material science competencies to increase the application of precision medicine approaches in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. Its main objective is to train a new generation of tissue engineering scientists from multiple European countries to develop new technologies and new therapies for musculoskeletal disorders.  

In October the project team organized a five-day network school, which was held online during this unpredictable time. A total of 53 participants representing all project partners attended the event. One of the main goals of the network school was to meet for the first time the 13 young researchers, to learn about them and their assigned research projects and to provide them with an insight into project structure, goals and scheduled obligations. 

Lia Rimondini, the project coordinator and a professor at the University of Eastern Piedmontsaid: “The meeting was a success. The young researchers interacted with each other and with their supervisors enthusiastically. They are very talented, proactive and willing to explore new research frontiers.”

The project meeting was opened on October 19 by Rimondini’s general overview of the PREMUROSA project and presentation of consortium partners. Following Rimondini’s introduction, external expert Elisaveta Kon delivered a presentation on translational aspects in musculoskeletal regeneration, combining material science with clinical aspects. Presentation of the early-stage researchers (ESR) and tutors, with a short overview of their assigned research projects and an overview of their scheduled obligations, closed the first day of the network event. 

In the following days of the meeting, the participants had the opportunity to listen to various lectures and workshops. One of the key topics was research integrity, “which is based on the foundations of four principles of reliability -ensuring the quality of research; honesty -transparent, fair, full and unbiased; respect -for oneself and others; and accountability -idea to publication,” explainedAbhay Pandit from the National University of Ireland Galway in his presentation. 

Roberto Cippitani from the European Cooperation in Research and Education (EU CORE) offered a general overview of the main rules and approaches governing Open Access and Open Data obligations in the framework of H2020, in addition, Rimondini and Irene Liverani from EU CORE explained all the relevant aspects related to event organization, such as fundraising, venue and timing, needed infrastructure etc.

Other topics of the network school focused on Ethics issues in Research and Technology product development, EU initiatives to fund research and intellectual Property Rights. Science on the Street, the science promotion institute organized a short communication exercise, during which the fellows got to know each and afterwards Ilijana Kovrlija and Clive Jabangwe as a chair and co-chair of the Fellows board.  

Ilijana Kovrlija, researcher hosted by Riga Technical University and working on smart personalized degradable biomaterials for bone tissue regeneration, commented that “the meeting was eagerly awaited among the ESRs and even though the Zoom conferences are a new experience to all attending, everything was very well organized, with interactive and diverse content, that still managed to bring about the social aspect of these ITN meetings”.

The next Network school is to be held in Porto in April 202; whilst the First Dissemination Meeting will be held in Slovenia on the 14th of September. 


PREMUROSA is part of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network – European Joint Doctorates programme, funded by the European research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. The project’s aim is to train a new generation of creative, entrepreneurial and innovative early-stage researchers, able to face current and future challenges and to convert knowledge and ideas into products and services for economic and social benefit. 

The consortium comprises 11 European partner institutions led by the University of Eastern Piedmont (Alessandria, Novara and Vercelli, Italy), and 6 non-academic partners and companies specializing in the biomedical field.

Follow the project on the website:

LinkedIn: Premurosa Project

Twitter: Follow@ThePremurosa 

Facebook: @Premurosa

Press Release

New PREMUROSA project will improve the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders 

A group of international partners from Italy, Finland, Portugal, Ireland, Latvia, Serbia and Switzerland launched an EU funded project Precision medicine for musculoskeletal regeneration, prosthetics, and active ageing – PREMUROSA. The 3-years programme main objective is to train a new generation of tissue engineering scientists from multiple European countries to develop new technologies and new therapies for musculoskeletal disorders. 

Musculoskeletal diseases are reported to affect roughly half of those over 60, strongly impacting the quality of life and posing a significant burden on healthcare and welfare systems. Treatment of musculoskeletal disorders is currently based either on prosthetic or regenerative surgical procedures, often involving medical device implantation, compromising the effectiveness of treatments. 

A significant improvement could be achieved by precision medicine, specifically designed on patient’s individual characteristics. This requires new and highly skilled professionals who will develop new strategies for translating tissue engineering innovations into useful information to customise therapies, taking into account the characteristics of each patient. 

The project aims at training a new generation of scientists with an integrated vision of the whole value chain in musculoskeletal regeneration technologies and able to boost the necessary innovations to achieve precision principles in developing innovative devices and optimized clinical applications. 

A total of 13 students from the field of medical and health sciences, clinical medicine, surgery and surgical procedure will be selected to take part in the interdisciplinary project and earned their PhD degrees. Students will be hosted by a member of a European consortium of universities, research institutions and companies in Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, Finland, Latvia, Ireland and Serbia. 

Young researchers will gain advanced knowledge and skills, through an innovative combination of academic, industrial and clinical experience and training. They will benefit from an excellent scientific environment, up-date technologies and supervision by international leaders in the field. 

The successful implementation of PREMUROSA will not only set the ground for innovative PhD training but will also contribute in meeting important SOCIAL CHALLENGES, such as optimisation of clinical choices and therefore improvement of quality of life of patients and reduction of healthcare system costs. Moreover, industrial competitiveness will be substantially boosted due to medical devices optimisation and the development of new products in the project. 

The consortium comprises eleven European partner institutions led by the University of Eastern Piedmont (Alessandria, Novara and Vercelli, Italy), and several non-academic partners and companies specialising in the biomedical field. 

Kickoff meeting

Among the 11 partner organisations are: University of Eastern Piedmont (Alessandria, Novara and Vercelli, Italy), Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute (Bologna, Italy), Aalto University Foundation (Aalto, Finland), AO Research Institute Davos (Davos, Switzerland), Riga Technical University (Riga, Latvia), Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, University of Belgrade (Belgrade, Serbia), INEB—National Institute of Biomedical Engineering, University of Porto (Porto, Portugal), Polytechnic University of Turin (Turin, Italy), EnginSoft SpA (Trento, Italy), Tampere University of Technology, (Tampere, Finland), National University of Ireland Galway (Galway, Ireland). 

PREMUROSA is part of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network – European Joint Doctorates programme, funded by the European research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. The project aims to train a new generation of creative, entrepreneurial and innovative early-stage researchers, able to face current and future challenges and to convert knowledge and ideas into products and services for economic and social benefit.