Bottagisio / Bonizzi

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Marta Bottagisio graduated in Veterinary Biotechnology Science Master’s Degree at the University of Milan in July 2014 with the evaluation of 110/110 with the highest honors. She is the author of the thesis “Dynamic culture of ovine bone marrow stem cell-loaded construct for bone tissue engineering”. During her thesis internship she had the chance to work at the Cell and Tissue Engineering Laboratory, at the Galeazzi Orthopaedic Institute in Milan. Her work is now focused on medicated hydrogels and activated mesenchymal stem cells to amplify the antibiotic activity against Staph. aureus and epidermidis infection in orthopedics.


Luigi Bonizzi, PhD (Head of Department, UNIMI-DIVET)
Degree in Biological Science, PhD in Animal Pathology

- Researcher of Domestic Animals Infectious Diseases at University of Milan (1992-1998);
- Associate Professor of Domestic Animals Infectious Diseases at University of Padova.
From 2000: Full Professor of Domestic Animals Infectious Diseases at University of Milan.
Since 2005: Delegate of the Dean as Director of Veterinary Hospital of the University of Milan in Lodi.
From 2009: Head of Department of Veterinary Science and Public Health, University of Milan.
Member: International Centre for Rural Health (WHO).
From 2013: President of “Fondazione Italian Proteomics Association onlus”.

Research interests:
The main research interests are focused on:
- Zoonoses and Public Health;
- Classical and innovative diagnosis of infectious diseases;
- Microbial proteomics;
- Metagenomics and metaproteomics of bacteria consortium in complex matrices;
- Metabonomics and proteomics applied to food safety and quality;
- Evaluation of immunodeficiency and study of immune parameters in breeding;
- Molecular immunology;
- Animal immunodeficiency virus (e.g. FIV) and transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE).
The scientific activity is supported by 150 scientific reports.

PhD Project
Bacterial infections due to implanted prosthesis or complicated fractures still represent a serious burden in orthopedic surgery.


Septic complications are the first and the third reason for knee and hip joint prosthesis failure and similarly acute or chronic osteomyelitis develops from 5% to 33% of cases after bone fractures. The most common pathogens of these infections are opportunistic microorganisms, including methicillin-susceptible or resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis and aureus (80%), Streptococcus spp. and Gram-negative bacteria (20%). Typically, these bacteria are able to adhere to one another, forming a microbial assembling embedded in an extracellular matrix, the biofilm, that leads to persistent local (osteomyelitis) and/or systemic infections and retains a multifactorial tolerance to host immune cells and antibiotic treatments.


The administration of antibiotics involves some drawbacks such as systemic toxicity, reduced absorption into the ischemic or necrotic tissues and prolonged hospitalization to monitor drug levels and its effects. In order to avoid these drawbacks, local antibiotic therapy has become an accepted and common alternative, and in the recent few years, studies have shown that mesenchymal stem cells exhibit antimicrobial activity when activated in vitro. The first aim of the project is to investigate antibacterial materials with non-fouling properties, for use as coatings of the orthopedic prostheses; such materials should preferably be capable to release drugs immediately and during the following hours after the operation to cover the critical period of possible bacteria attack and proliferation in the intervention site.


The second aim of this project is to activate mesenchymal stem cells to enhance the activity of conventional antibiotics. This project provides for both in vitro and in vivo studies in order to test the hydrogel capability in releasing drugs in vitro and in contrasting the biofilm formation in Staph. Aureus/epidermidis infected animal models of fractures and prosthetic implants. Furthermore, adult mesenchymal stem cells will be expanded in vitro and activated to assess the effects on antimicrobial activity and production of antimicrobial peptides. The effects of the cell therapy in vivo will be assessed using an animal model of chronic Staph. aureus/epidermidis biofilm infection.