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CODE 64767
SEMESTER 2° Semester


Biomaterials or biocompatible materials usually refer to materials capable of interacting profitably with living matter. This teaching provides the fundamentals required to study the polymer-based biomaterials and their functions in biological systems by describing their different classes, their application uses, and the main technological approaches applied in biomedical and pharmacological fields.



Knowledge of the main chemical, physical and mechanical properties of biomaterials with specific reference to those of a polymeric nature. Basic notions of biofunctionality, biocompatibility and hemocompatibility and of the problems related to the interaction of the biomaterial with the biological environment. Examples of specific applications and development strategies of biomaterials.


The teaching aims to provide the fundamental principles underlying the design and production of prostheses, engineered tissues and systems for controlled drug release (DDS) in order to develop the student's ability to apply the theoretical notions to the preparation, functionalization and characterization of innovative materials and systems.

At the end of the teaching the student will be able to:

  • identify the main classes of polymeric materials employed in biomedical/pharmacological field and properly define their application areas;
  • correlate the properties of polymeric materials with their use in biomedical and pharmacological domains;
  • correlate the properties of polymeric materials with their biocompatibility/hemocompatibility and suggest general criteria to improve and/or optimize the latter parameters;
  • individuate the most suitable characterization techniques of biomaterials according to their specific use;
  • know the current production technologies to produce biomedical and pharmacological devices according to their specific use;
  • express himself/herself with adequate terminology in the description of phenomena and processes involving biomaterials.


No prerequisites, but it may be useful to have previously followed basic teachings on polymers and biological chemistry.


The teaching consists of traditional lectures for a total of 32 hours, sometimes accompanied with exercises carried out by the teacher in the classroom.


Classification of biomaterials.

Polymeric and composite biomaterials.

Biodegradable, bioresorbable and bioactive materials.

Interaction of biomaterials outside of the blood flow: biostability and biocompatibility.

Interaction of biomaterials within the blood flow: hemocompatibility and thrombogenicity.

Analysis of biomaterial surfaces: characterization techniques and treatment/functionalization protocols.

Polymeric biomaterials for orthopedic, dental, and ophthalmological devices.

Polymeric biomaterials for soft tissues.

Polymeric biomaterials for cardiovascular devices.

Regenerative medical science: tissue engineering and biomimetic materials.

Mono-, bi-, and tridimensional scaffolds for tissue architecture: materials and fabrication techniques.

Controlled drug delivery systems (DDS).

Current regulations related to biocompatibility matter and main evaluation tests.

As a quality assurance, the detailed program of the teaching is uploaded to the corresponding aula@web page, so the students can verify the correspondence between topics and learning outcomes.


In order to facilitate learning, lesson notes are uploaded to the corresponding aul@web simultaneously with their contents presentation in the classroom. Verification quizzes and tests are uploaded to the same page to check individual preparation.

The following supporting texts are suggested:

R. Pietrabissa, “Biomateriali per Protesi e Organi Artificiali”, Patron Ed. Bologna, 1996 (CSB Ingegneria)

R. Fumero, P. Giusti, “Biomateriali: dalla ricerca di base all’applicazione clinica”, Patron Ed., Bologna, 1985 (CSB Ingegneria)

C. Di Bello, “Biomateriali-Introduzione allo Studio”, Patron Ed., Bologna, 2005

A. Atala, “Principles of regenerative medicine”, 2nd edition, London: Academic, 2010

“Perspectives on biomaterials: proceedings on the 1985 International Symposium on Biomaterials”, O.C.C- Lin & E.Y.S. Chao, Eds., 1985 (CSB Chimica)

J.B. Park, R.S. Lakes, “Biomaterials-An Introduction”, Springer-Verlag, N.Y. Inc., 2007

A.F. von Recum, “Handbook of Biomaterials Evaluation: Scientific, Technical and Clinical Testing of Implant Materials”, CRC Press, 1999 (ISBN 1560324791).

Supplementary material is provided on request to working students or students with SLD to meet specific needs.


Exam Board




The teaching is held during the second semester, starting on February 27th, 2023, according to the timetable indicated in the links below.

Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



The exam is an oral examination conducted by two teachers (including the teacher in charge) for a duration of at least 30 minutes. During the calendar year, 7 exam sessions are scheduled in the time intervals established by the Manifesto degli Studi and the Regolamento del Corso di Studio. Extraordinary sessions outside the as-indicated periods will be granted only to students overdue with the curriculum studiorum.

The oral examination consists of two parts; both of them are awarded a maximum rating of 15/30 for the exam evaluation:

- in the first part the student has to face a problem with the use of polymeric materials in biomedical field in order to verify his/her comprehension and mastery of the teaching topics as well as his/her ability to apply theoretical concepts to real situations. Alternatively, and only by the student's choice, the first part of the exam may involve exposing a topic not included in the teaching program. The topic is chosen by the student, but it must be approved in advance by the teacher in charge. To take the exam, the student must deliver a written report on the subject, according to the terms fixed by the teacher.

- in the second part, the student is called upon to answer questions related to topics of the teaching program, chosen by the exam commission.

For students with disabilities or with SLD, the examination methods refer to the specific regulations of the University of Genova (


Goal of the assessment is to verify the student's ability to correlate the chemical, physical, mechanical, and thermal properties of polymeric biomaterials with their potentialities in biomedical and pharmaceutical fields. Moreover, the oral exam will check the achievement of the appropriate level of knowledge of the topics developed during the lectures and the language skills. The student’s ability to compare and discuss the data available from different characterization and processing techniques included in the teaching program will also be evaluated.

If the learning outcomes are not achieved, the student is invited to deepen his preparation also by taking advantage of further explanations by the teacher in charge before repeating the exam.


Attendance to lectures is strongly recommended to become familiar with the examination procedures, since the frontal lessons are always accompanied by concrete examples related to daily life and industrial practice.