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Chiara Ghezzi

Dr. Chiara E GhezziAssistant Professor

Research Interests

Biomaterials, natural polymers, tissue engineering, tissue models, host-tissue interactions, biomaterial design for clinical translation

Supported by a deep knowledge in structural biopolymer nanomanufacturing, regenerative medicine of three-dimensional tissues and in vivo animal models, the focus of my lab is on understanding how multicellular responses are affected by the native microenvironment in order to design and engineer natural polymers to support the investigation of these processes in vitro and in vivo. The focus of my research liaises with engineering biopolymer structure/function properties with advanced biofabrication techniques to develop 3D tissue models, by combining physiological architecture, physical stimuli, and native microstructure to recapitulate healthy and disease tissue states. The impact of these approaches will be to further guide and educate biopolymer material designs towards needs in regenerative medicine.


  • BS: Biomedical Engineering, Politecnico di Milano - Italy
    Supporting Area: Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering
    Dissertation/Thesis Title: Cardiac Tissue Engineering: evaluation of cytocompatibility in dynamic culture conditions on biodegradable polyurethane scaffold, Degrapol®
  • MS: Biomedical Engineering, Politecnico di Milano - Italy
    Supporting Area: Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering
    Dissertation/Thesis Title: Engineering an anterior cruciate ligament with suitable fibroin textile structures and design of a dedicated bioreactor
  • Ph D: Mining and Materials Engineering, McGill University - Montreal, QC, Canada
    Supporting Area: Biomaterials
    Dissertation/Thesis Title: Dense collagen based tubular tissue models for airway tissue engineering
  • Postdoc: Biomedical Engineering Department, Tufts University - Medford, MA, US


Chiara Ghezzi, PhD is assistant professor in the department of biomedical engineering at University of Massachusetts Lowell. She received her undergraduate and master’s degrees in biomedical engineering from Politecnico di Milano, in Italy. During her doctoral studies at McGill University in Materials Science and Engineering, she developed several fabrication strategies based on natural polymers, such as collagen and silk, to design biomimetic airways tissue models and study cell-material interaction in three-dimensional soft materials. Dr. Ghezzi has a strong engineering background, with specific training and expertise in biomedical and material science. Her research interests have been centered in developing biopolymer substrates to mimic physiological native environments towards medical devices and functional tissue models, with particular emphasis on cornea and other soft tissues. Her research focus is on biopolymer engineering to understand structure-function relationships and to design the next generation of biomaterials to direct specific material-host responses. She was a Research Assistant Professor in the BME Department at Tufts University and served as Project Coordinator for the NIH P41 Tissue Engineering Resource Center (TERC) from 2016-2019. Her research has resulted in 44+ published manuscripts, 3+ patent applications, and 2+ book chapters so far.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Women in Engineering Visitor Award (2019), Scholarship/Research - University of New South Wales
  • James Douglas Fellowship - Bronze medal recipient (2012), Scholarship/Research - McGill University
  • GREAT Travel Award (2011), Service, University - McGill University
  • Principal’s Graduate Fellowship (2011), Scholarship/Research - McGill University
  • Principal’s Graduate Fellowship (2009), Scholarship/Research - McGill University

Selected Publications

  • Kaplan, D.L., Wang, S., Gomes, R., Ghezzi, C., Cairns, D. (2019). An Artificial Silk Based Innervated Cornea.
  • McKay, T.B., Ford, A., Wang, S., Cairns, D.M., Parker, R.N., Deardorff, P.M., Ghezzi, C., Kaplan, D.L. (2019). Assembly and Application of a Three-Dimensional Human Corneal Tissue Model. Current Protocols in Toxicology, 81(1) e84.
  • Algarrahi, K., Franck, D., Cristofaro, V., Yang, X., Savarino, A., Affas, S., Sch\"afer, Frank-Mattias, ., Ghezzi, C., Jennings, R., Nedder, A., others, . (2018). Bi-layer silk fibroin grafts support functional tissue regeneration in a porcine model of onlay esophagoplasty. Journal of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, 12(2) e894--e904.
  • Nazhat, S., Marelli, B., Ghezzi, C., Kamranpour, N.N. (2018). Dense hydrogels. Google Patents
  • Stoppel, W., Raia, N., Kimmerling, E., Wang, S., Ghezzi, C., Kaplan, D. (2017). 2.12 Silk Biomaterials. Elsevier.
  • Ghezzi, C., Marelli, B., Omenetto, F.G., Funderburgh, J.L., Kaplan, D.L. (2017). 3D functional corneal stromal tissue equivalent based on corneal stromal stem cells and multi-layered silk film architecture. PloS one, 12(1) e0169504.
  • Przydacz, M., Mahfouz, W., Loutochin, O., Ghezzi, C.E., Carmel, M., Corcos, J. (2017). Elastic modulus for long-term evaluation of the tensile properties of polypropylene meshes in an in vivo rat model. Acta of bioengineering and biomechanics, 19(4).
  • Raia, N.R., Partlow, B.P., McGill, M., Kimmerling, E.P., Ghezzi, C., Kaplan, D.L. (2017). Enzymatically crosslinked silk-hyaluronic acid hydrogels. Biomaterials, 131 58--67.
  • Wang, S., Ghezzi, C., Gomes, R., Pollard, R.E., Funderburgh, J.L., Kaplan, D.L. (2017). In vitro 3D corneal tissue model with epithelium, stroma, and innervation. Biomaterials, 112 1--9.
  • Ghezzi, C., Marelli, B., Donelli, I., Alessandrino, A., Freddi, G., Nazhat, S.N. (2017). Multilayered dense collagen--silk fibroin hybrid: A platform for mesenchymal stem cell differentiation towards chondrogenic and osteogenic lineages. Journal of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, 11(7) 2046--2059.
  • Calabrese, R., Raia, N., Huang, W., Ghezzi, C., Simon, M., Staii, C., Weiss, A.S., Kaplan, D.L. (2017). Silk--ionomer and silk--tropoelastin hydrogels as charged three-dimensional culture platforms for the regulation of hMSC response. Journal of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, 11(9) 2549--2564.
  • Happe, C., Deacon, D., Erbe, R., Tenerelli, K., Tran, V., Adler, E., Chi, N., Engler, A., Kumar, A., Thomas, S., others, . (2016). 2016 TERMIS-Americas Conference and Exhibition San Diego, CA December 11--14, 2016. Tissue Engineering Part A, 22(S1) S--1.
  • He, M., Storr-Paulsen, T., Wang, A.L., Ghezzi, C., Wang, S., Fullana, M., Karamichos, D., Utheim, T.P., Islam, R., Griffith, M., others, . (2016). Artificial polymeric scaffolds as extracellular matrix substitutes for autologous conjunctival goblet cell expansion. Investigative ophthalmology \& visual science, 57(14) 6134--6146.
  • Ghezzi, C., Wang, L., Behlau, I., Rnjak-Kovacina, J., Wang, S., Goldstein, M.H., Liu, J., Marchant, J.K., Rosenblatt, M.I., Kaplan, D.L. (2016). Degradation of silk films in multipocket corneal stromal rabbit models. Journal of applied biomaterials \& functional materials, 14(3) e266--e276.
  • Bolagh, B., Ghareh, A., Ghezzi, C., Kaplan, D., Weiss, A. (2016). Development Of Transparent, Protein Based Biocompatible Cornea Substitutes For Transplants (22: pp. S16--S16).
  • Gomes, R., Ghezzi, C., Kenyon, K., Funderburgh, J.L., Kaplan, D.L., others, . (2016). In vitro study of 3D tissue model of innervated corneal epithelium and stroma. Investigative Ophthalmology \& Visual Science, 57(12) 5310--5310.
  • Jia, L., Ghezzi, C., Kaplan, D.L. (2016). Optimization of silk films as substrate for functional corneal epithelium growth. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part B: Applied Biomaterials, 104(2) 431--441.
  • Amsden, B., Chen, F., Hochleitner, G., Groll, J., Dalton, P., J\"ungst, T, ., Hrynevich, A., Brook, G., Groll, J., Dalton, P., others, . (2015). 2015 4th TERMIS World Congress Boston, Massachusetts September 8--11, 2015. Tissue Engineering Part A, 21(S1) S--1.
  • Algarrahi, K., Franck, D., Ghezzi, C., Cristofaro, V., Yang, X., Sullivan, M.P., Chung, Y.G., Affas, S., Jennings, R., Kaplan, D.L., others, . (2015). Acellular bi-layer silk fibroin scaffolds support functional tissue regeneration in a rat model of onlay esophagoplasty. Biomaterials, 53 149--159.
  • Stoppel, W.L., Ghezzi, C., McNamara, S.L., Black, III, L.D., Kaplan, D.L. (2015). Clinical applications of naturally derived biopolymer-based scaffolds for regenerative medicine. Annals of biomedical engineering, 43(3) 657--680.
  • Wang, S., Ghezzi, C., White, J.D., Kaplan, D.L. (2015). Coculture of dorsal root ganglion neurons and differentiated human corneal stromal stem cells on silk-based scaffolds. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A, 103(10) 3339--3348.
  • Ghezzi, C., Rnjak-Kovacina, J., Kaplan, D.L. (2015). Corneal tissue engineering: recent advances and future perspectives. Tissue Engineering Part B: Reviews, 21(3) 278--287.
  • Marelli, B., Ghezzi, C., James-Bhasin, M., Nazhat, S.N. (2015). Fabrication of injectable, cellular, anisotropic collagen tissue equivalents with modular fibrillar densities. Biomaterials, 37 183--193.
  • Marelli, B., Ghezzi, C., Zhang, Y.L., Rouiller, I., Barralet, J.E., Nazhat, S.N. (2015). Fibril formation pH controls intrafibrillar collagen biomineralization in vitro and in vivo. Biomaterials, 37 252--259.
  • Ghezzi, C., Moreau, J., Weiss, A., Kaplan, D. (2015). In Vitro and In Vivo Chemotactic Behavior of Silk-tropoelastin Protein Alloys (21: pp. S25--S25).
  • Hardy, J.G., Khaing, Z.Z., Xin, S., Tien, L.W., Ghezzi, C., Mouser, D.J., Sukhavasi, R.C., Preda, R.C., Gil, E.S., Kaplan, D.L., others, . (2015). Into the groove: instructive silk-polypyrrole films with topographical guidance cues direct DRG neurite outgrowth. Journal of Biomaterials Science, Polymer Edition, 26(17) 1327--1342.
  • Marelli, B., Le Nihouannen, D., Hacking, S.A., Tran, S., Li, J., Murshed, M., Doillon, C.J., Ghezzi, C., Zhang, Y.L., Nazhat, S.N., others, . (2015). Newly identified interfibrillar collagen crosslinking suppresses cell proliferation and remodelling. Biomaterials, 54 126--135.
  • Di Buduo, C.A., Wray, L.S., Tozzi, L., Malara, A., Chen, Y., Ghezzi, C., Smoot, D., Sfara, C., Antonelli, A., Spedden, E., others, . (2015). Programmable 3D silk bone marrow niche for platelet generation ex vivo and modeling of megakaryopoiesis pathologies. Blood, 125(14) 2254--2264.
  • Hardy, J., Ghezzi, C., Saballos, R., Kaplan, D., Schmidt, C. (2015). Supracolloidal assemblies as sacrificial templates for porous silk-based biomaterials. International journal of molecular sciences, 16(9) 20511--20522.
  • Mitropoulos, A.N., Marelli, B., Ghezzi, C., Applegate, M.B., Partlow, B.P., Kaplan, D.L., Omenetto, F.G. (2015). Transparent, nanostructured silk fibroin hydrogels with tunable mechanical properties. ACS Biomaterials Science \& Engineering, 1(10) 964--970.
  • Bolagh, B., Ghareh, A., Ghezzi, C., Kaplan, D., Weiss, A. (2015). Tropoelastin-Silk Hybrid Films as High Performance Candidates for Corneal Tissue Replacement (21: pp. S234--S234).
  • Kakinoki, S., Nakayama, M., Moritan, T., Yamaoka, T., Daley, E., Stegemann, J., Wu, L., Evseenko, D., Wu, L., Evseenko, D., others, . (2014). 2014 TERMIS-AM Conference Washington, DC December 13--16, 2014. Tissue Engineering Part A, 20(S1) S--1.
  • Marelli, B., Ghezzi, C., Alessandrino, A., Freddi, G., Nazhat, S. (2014). Anionic fibroin-derived polypeptides accelerate MSC osteoblastic differentiation in a three-dimensional osteoid-like dense collagen niche. Journal of Materials Chemistry B, 2(33) 5339--5343.
  • Ghezzi, C., Marelli, B., Nazhat, S. (2014). Collagen-based tubular constructs for tissue engineering applications (pp. 589--632). Elsevier
  • Ghezzi, C., Marelli, B., Donelli, I., Alessandrino, A., Freddi, G., Nazhat, S.N. (2014). The role of physiological mechanical cues on mesenchymal stem cell differentiation in an airway tract-like dense collagen--silk fibroin construct. Biomaterials, 35(24) 6236--6247.
  • Ghezzi, C., Risse, Paul-Andr\'e, ., Marelli, B., Muja, N., Barralet, J.E., Martin, J.G., Nazhat, S.N. (2013). An airway smooth muscle cell niche under physiological pulsatile flow culture using a tubular dense collagen construct. Biomaterials, 34(8) 1954--1966.
  • Ghezzi, C. (2013). Dense Collagen-based Tubular Tissue Constructs for Airway Tissue Engineering. McGill University Libraries
  • Chicatun, F., Pedraza, C.E., Muja, N., Ghezzi, C., McKee, M.D., Nazhat, S.N. (2013). Effect of chitosan incorporation and scaffold geometry on chondrocyte function in dense collagen type I hydrogels. Tissue Engineering Part A, 19(23-24) 2553--2564.
  • Marelli, B., Ghezzi, C., Nazhat, S. (2013). Mineralization of nanomaterials for bone tissue engineering (pp. 387--416). Elsevier
  • Ghezzi, C., Rnjak-Kovacina, J., Weiss, A.S., Kaplan, D.L. (2013). Multifunctional Silk: Tropoelastin Biomaterial Systems. Israel journal of chemistry, 53(9-10) 777--786.
  • Gaharwar, A., Sant, S., Hancock, M.J., Hacking, S.A. (2013). Nanomaterials in tissue engineering: fabrication and applications. Elsevier
  • Ghezzi, C., Marelli, B., Muja, N., Nazhat, S.N. (2012). Immediate production of a tubular dense collagen construct with bioinspired mechanical properties. Acta biomaterialia, 8(5) 1813--1825.
  • Marelli, B., Ghezzi, C., Alessandrino, A., Barralet, J.E., Freddi, G., Nazhat, S.N. (2012). Silk fibroin derived polypeptide-induced biomineralization of collagen. Biomaterials, 33(1) 102--108.
  • Marelli, B., Ghezzi, C., Mohn, D., Stark, W.J., Barralet, J.E., Boccaccini, A.R., Nazhat, S.N. (2011). Accelerated mineralization of dense collagen-nano bioactive glass hybrid gels increases scaffold stiffness and regulates osteoblastic function. Biomaterials, 32(34) 8915--8926.
  • Marelli, B., Ghezzi, C., Barralet, J.E., Nazhat, S.N. (2011). Collagen gel fibrillar density dictates the extent of mineralization in vitro. Soft Matter, 7(21) 9898--9907.
  • Mahfouz, W., Loutochin, O., Carmel, M., Ghezzi, C., Nazhat, S.N., Moore, R., Corcos, J. (2011). EVALUATION OF THE TENSILE PROPERTIES OF THE TVT-O AND SUB-URETHRAL TAPE I-STOP" IN LONG-TERM FOLLOW-UP IN VIVO RAT MODEL (30:2 pp. 242--242).
  • Ghezzi, C., Marelli, B., Muja, N., Hirota, N., Martin, J.G., Barralet, J.E., Alessandrino, A., Freddi, G., Nazhat, S.N. (2011). Mesenchymal stem cell-seeded multilayered dense collagen-silk fibroin hybrid for tissue engineering applications. Biotechnology journal, 6(10) 1198--1207.
  • Chicatun, F., Pedraza, C.E., Ghezzi, C., Marelli, B., Kaartinen, M.T., McKee, M.D., Nazhat, S.N. (2011). Osteoid-mimicking dense collagen/chitosan hybrid gels. Biomacromolecules, 12(8) 2946--2956.
  • Ghezzi, C., Muja, N., Marelli, B., Nazhat, S.N. (2011). Real time responses of fibroblasts to plastically compressed fibrillar collagen hydrogels. Biomaterials, 32(21) 4761--4772.
  • Marelli, B., Ghezzi, C., Barralet, J.E., Boccaccini, A.R., Nazhat, S.N. (2010). Bulk Biomineralization of Dense Fibrillar Collagen-Bioglass\textregistered Hybrid Scaffolds. retrieved on Sep, 23.
  • Marelli, B., Ghezzi, C., Barralet, J.E., Boccaccini, A.R., Nazhat, S.N. (2010). Three-dimensional mineralization of dense nanofibrillar collagen- bioglass hybrid scaffolds. Biomacromolecules, 11(6) 1470--1479.