Gianluca Fontana

Position title: Scientist I


photo of Gianluca Fontana

Education Background:

Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering, National University of Ireland, Galway
Master degree in Medical Biotechnology, University of Trieste, Italy
Bachelor degree in Biotechnology, University of Trieste, Italy

Research Description:

Develop platforms for the delivery of nucleic acids in non-dividing cells or in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Moreover, I also have interest in understanding the development of neural tissues using controlled microenvironments and iPSCs.

  1. Nelson A.L., Fontana G., Miclau E., Rongstad M., Murphy W., Huard J., Ehrhart N., Bahney C. Therapeutic approaches to activate the canonical Wnt pathway for bone regeneration. Journal of Tissue Eng Regen Med, 2022
  2. Thomas D., Marsico G., Thirumaran A., Chen X., Lukasz B., Fontana G., Rodriguez B., Marchetti M., O’Brien T., Pandit A. Macromolecular concentration in a 3-D microgel environment enhances proangiogenic capacity of mesenchymal stem cells at a low-cell density in a severe model of critical limb ischemia. PNAS, 2022
  3. G. Fontana, H.L. Martin, J.S. Lee, K. Schill, P. Hematti, W.L. Murphy. Mineral-coated microparticles enhance mRNA-based transfection of human bone marrow cells. Molecular Therapy – Nucleic Acids, 2019; 18 :455-464
  4. B. Kerzner, H.L. Martin, M. Weiser, G. Fontana, N. Russell, W.L. Murphy, E.A. Lund, C.J. Doro. A reliable and reproducible critical-sized segmental femoral defect model in rats stabilized with a custom external fixator. Journal of Visualized Experiments, 2019; 24; 145
  5. G. Kaushik, D.A. Gil, E. Torr, E.S. Berge, C. Soref, P. Uhl, G. Fontana, J. Antosiewicz-Bourget, C. Edington, M.P. Schwartz, L.G. Griffith, J.A. Thomson, M.C. Skala, W.T. Daly, W.L. Murphy. Quantitative label-free imaging of three-dimensional vascular networks self-assembled in synthetic hydrogels. Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2019; 8: e1801186
  6. M. Adamski, G. Fontana, J.R. Gershlak, G.R. Gaudette, H.D. Le, W.L. Murphy. Two methods for decellularization of plant tissues for tissue engineering applications. Journal of Visualized Experiments, 2018; 135
  7. G. Fontana, J. Gershlak, M. Adamski, J.S. Lee, S. Matsumoto, H.D. Le, B. Binder, J. Wirth, G. Gaudette, W.L. Murphy. Biofunctionalized plants as diverse biomaterials for human cell culture. Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2017; 6: 8
  8. A.S. Khalil, X. Yu, A.W. Xie, G. Fontana, J. Umhoefer, T. Hookway , T.C. McDevitt, W.L. Murphy. Functionalization of microparticles with mineral coatings enhances non-viral transfection of primary human cells. Scientific Reports, 2017; 7: 14211
  9. J. Gershlak, S. Hernandez, G. Fontana, L. Perreault, K. Hansen, S. Larson, B. Binder, D. Dolivo, T. Yang, T. Dominko, M. Rolle, P. Weathers, F. Medina-Bolivar, C. Cramer, W.L. Murphy, G. Gaudette. Crossing kingdoms: using decellularized plants as perfusable tissue engineering scaffolds. Biomaterials, 2017; 125: 13-22
  10. Fontana G., Srivastava A., Thomas D., Lalor P., Dockery P., Pandit A. “A three-dimensional microgel Platform for the Production of Cell Factories Tailored for the Nucleus Pulposus” Bioconjugate Chemistry 2015 Jul 15;26(7):1297-306
  11. Fontana G., See E., Pandit A.. “Current Trends in Biologics Delivery to Restore Intervertebral Disc Anabolism” Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, 2015 Apr;84:146-58
  12. Fontana G., Thomas D., Collin E., Pandit A.. “Microgel Microenvironment Primes Adipose-Derived Stem Cells Towards a NP Cells-like Phenotype” Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2014 Dec;3(12):2012-22
  13. Thomas D., Fontana G., Chen X., Sanz-Nogues C., Zeugolis D.I., Dockery P., O’Brien T., Pandit A. “A Shape-Controlled Tuneable Microgel Platform to Modulate Angiogenic Paracrine Responses in Stem Cells” Biomaterials, 2014 Oct;35(31):8757-8766
  14. Browne S.*, Fontana G.*, Rodriguez B., Pandit A. “A Protective Extracellular Matrix-based Gene Delivery Reservoir Fabricated by Electrostatic Charge Manipulation.” Molecular Pharmaceutics, 2012 Nov 5;9(11):3099-106 (* Equal Contribution)
  15. Newland B., Moloney TC., Fontana G., Browne S., Pandit A. “The Neurotoxicity of Gene Vectors and its Amelioration by Packaging with Collagen Hollow Spheres”. Biomaterials, 2013 Mar;34(8):2130-41
  16. Book Chapter: Zeugolis D.I., Keeney M., Collin E., Fontana G., Pandit A.. “Xenogenic Tissues and Biomaterials for the Skeletal System” Comprehensive Biomaterials (2011), 387-404.
  17. Book Chapter: Fontana G., Delgado L., Cigognini D.. “Biologically Inspired Materials in Tissue Engineering” Extracellular Matrix for Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials, Springer – Submitted in September 2014

Awards & Honors:

  • Winner of the Wiley Functional Material Award for best poster presentation at The 24th European Society for Biomaterials (ESB), 4th -8th September, 2011; Dublin.