Short-Term Scientific Missions Feedback

Below you may find feedback of STSMs (Short-Term Scientific Missions) carried out within the scope of the MP1206 COST Action.

MSc Aleksandra Miletić

Home institution: Faculty of Technology Novi Sad, University of Novi Sad, Serbia
Host institution: CSIC IATA, Valencia, Spain prof. dr Jose Maria Lagaron

I spent 3 weeks (27.02.-17.03.2017.) in Novel Materials and Nanotechnology Lab at IATA CSIC working with research group lead by prof. dr Jose Maria Lagaron. The experience I gained during this STSM is very valuable, especially because this research group is specialized in production and characterization of nanofibers obtained with electrospinning. It was great to get to know another approach to electrospinning and to work in multinational environment with all support for exchanging ideas and discussion. I had the opportunity to work on different techniques for nanofibers characterization and also to scale-up the electrospinning process preparing nanofibers on machine Fluidnatek LE-500. 

In general, COST STSM is great opportunity for young researchers for learning and expanding knowledge and experience, as well as connecting and starting collaboration with new institutions and scientists. I would like to thank prof. dr Lagaron for support and many advices during my work and COST Action MP206 for financing my research.

Melike Gozutok

Location: MSc, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Atilim University, Ankara, Turkey
Host: Dr. Jose Maria Lagaron, Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA), Valencia, Spain
Date: June 20th – September 18th, 2016

Thanks to COST Action MP1206, I had a chance to visit Dr. Lagaron’s lab and his team. I have spent 3 months there and during this period we had tried to have a food packaging film with electrospinning process by using PHB and Pd nanoparticle mixture. Host lab already had film by this method with PHB and Pd nanoparticles before, however it was seen that the dispersion of the Pd nanoparticles wasn’t homogenous enough. My responsibility was to modify Pd nanoparticles with different surfactants to make homogeneous dispersion in the electrospun PHB matrix and do all of the characterizations to understand morphological, chemical, thermal, barrier and mechanical properties. It was seen that having a food packaging film with Pd nanoparticles is a new-term, that’s why after this collaboration, it is expected that at least 1 original paper will be published. After all, I was very satisfied with this collaboration since the host lab was expertise and the research team was helpful and creative. Being a part of this scientific mission was an amazing experience.

Dr. Zeliha GULER

Location: Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, Istanbul Technical University
Host’s Institute: Semmelweis University, Budapest Hungary 
Period : 05.09.2016 to 05.09.2016

I visited and the laboratory of Prof. Dr. Miklós Zrínyi and spend 3 months with the reseach group thanks to COST action MP1206. I had a chance to work with Poly(succinimide) (PSI) and its hydrolysed form poly(aspartic acid) (PASP), which are both biocompatible and degredable polymers. The purpose of my STSM was to fabricate nanofibers of PASP based polymers and functionalized them with RGD peptid in order to use the nanofibers as tissue engineering scaffolds for bone differentiation. Various types of PASP containing nanofibers were fabricated by electrospinning and functionalized with RGD peptid by covalent immobilization. Stem cells were cultured on the PASP based nanofibers and cytotoxicity, proliferation and alkaline phosphotase actvity were determined. It was found that RGD peptid increased the proliferation of stem cells onto nanofibers and the cells were able to differentiate into bone cells.

This COST STSM visit let the way of future collaborations which we can continue to investigate the behavior and differentiation of stem cells depending on the structure of the PASP based nanofibers.

MSc Aleksandra Miletić

Home institution: Faculty of Technology Novi Sad, University of Novi Sad, Serbia
Host institution: Université d’Haute Alsace, Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Ingénieurs Sud Alsace (ENSISA), Mulhouse, prof. dr Nabyl KHENOUSSI

Period: 18.09.-30.10.2015.

Thanks to COST Action MP1206 I had the chance to spend wonderful six weeks at Université d’Haute Alsace in Mulhouse working with the group lead by prof. dr Nabyl KHENOUSSI, prof. dr Laurence SCHACHER and prof. dr Dominique ADOLPHE. Our Department of Materials Engineering at Faculty of Technology Novi Sad bought electrospinning machine and this STSM was the training for me and I made baby-steps in the field of electrospinning. Dr KHENOUSSI showed me little secrets of electrospinning, the importance and influence of parameters on electrospinning process and morphology of obtained nanofibers. I used to work on different instruments, like DSC, TGA, SEM microscope, FT-IR, tensile testing machine etc. Parallel with this we made collaboration with prof. dr Christelle DELAITE from Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie and together we started new project on reusing chicken feathers.

Overall experience is great, it’s very important to visit another institution to enrich knowledge and experience, to meet new people and build your own network for future collaboration.       

My last day and lunch with colleagues from ENSISA


Philipp Lemke

Home institution: PhD student at University of Münster, Germany
Host institute: IATA, Valencia, Spain
Period: 23.11.2016 – 16.12.2016

Chitosan, the fully or partially deacetylated derivative of chitin, is used for a long time for clinical and agricultural products, but also arises interest in nanotechnology to produce chitosan capsules with diameters in sub-micrometer dimensions. It is already known that the bioactivity of chitosan capsules can be superior to chitosan solutions due to an increased surface-area-to-volume-ratio of smaller particles. Electrospinning and electrospraying are innovative ways to process chitosan solutions and to gain chitosan capsules. Adjustment of both chitosan solutions and technical parameters of the process can lead to desired morphologies with certain bioactivities. My aim was to produce particles via electrospraying with a range of different chitosans, varying in their degrees of acetylation and polymerization, and to characterize the morphology of the resulting particles. Thereby the influence of the physico-chemical properties of chitosans on the electrospraying process could be analyzed. Furthermore, I investigated the influence on changes of technical parameters (flow-rate of chitosan solutions, electric current and collector distance) or environmental variations. 



Host institute: Mersin University, Turkey
Period: 2014-06-04 to 2014-08-01

Thanks to STMS internship in the frame of COST Action MP1206, I could spend 2 months in Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials Laboratory at Mersin University, Turkey.
The research work of my master thesis was to investigate the cell growth on the patterned electrospun nanofibers, produced by electrospinning. In our LPMT laboratory, UHA university in France, we had developed a new method to fabricate structures nanofibers in an electrospun scaffold. But, we didn’t have the possibility to perform the biological test on samples. So through this program, I got the opportunity to do the interesting biological experiment under the supervision of Dr. Bolgen.
Many thanks to Dr. Bolgen who support me all the time with her great ideas and proposition during my work in Mersin. I would like to thank COST again for giving me the chance to make new contact and getting new experience in another country.

Ivanka Petrova
Home institute: Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Mechanics, Sofia, Bulgaria
Host institute: Institute for Polymers, Composites and Biomaterials, Pozzuoli, Italy
Period: Period: 2015-06-21 to 2015-07-04

Thanks to COST 1206 I had opportunity to visit Institute for Polymers, Composites and Biomaterials and I have spent two weeks research activities there. I was working under the topic “Preparation and investigation of nanocomposites and the possibility of subsequent electrospinning” and I was trained on electrospinning process of biopolymer fibers using the Nanofiber Electrospinning Setup, NF-103 Electro-spinning machine, available in the ICPB. In this training mission was also included preliminary information about the basic physical characteristics of the selected polymer – manufacturer, molecular weight, molecular weight distribution and structure of the polymer, suitable solvents, applications. The period of STSM gave me the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience and to use some instruments, which in turn was very helpful for my work at home institute.

Brigitta Bodák

Home institute: MSc student at Budapest University of Technology and Economics
Host institute: University College London
Period: 2016-06-19 to 2016-07-16

Our research group at Budapest University of Technology and Economics has been working on the development of drug delivery system with electrostatic spinning. On the other hand, Dr. Gareth William’s research team at University College London has been into the preparation of liposomes through molecular self-assembly, which can be used for effective drug delivery. The aim of my COST Short Term Scientific Mission was the comparison of these electrospun amphiphilic nanofibers with average electrospun fibres.
I spent 4 weeks at UCL working on using electrospun fibres as sacrificial templates to prepare drug-loaded liposomes. This gave me a chance to deepen my professional knowledge in the inspiring and creative environment of one of the largest British universities. Moreover, fostering collaboration between the two universities. As a result, we have developed new drug delivery systems. The collaboration was a success and I would like to thank COST action MP1206 for the opportunity.

PhD student Marijana Ponjavic

Location: Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, University of Belgrade, Serbia
Host: Dr Ramesh Babu Padamati, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Period: 01.02.2016 – 28.02.2016.

The STSM project was focused on developing the novel drug releasing carries using novel poly(ε-caprolactone) and its copolymer with poly(ethylene oxide), PCL/PEO. PCL/PEO nanofibers-loaded ibuprofen were produced by electrospinning technique available in Dr Ramesh Babu laboratory (Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland). For the ibuprofen encapsulation, commercially PCL80 (Mn 80000 g/mol) blended with the synthesized PCL and PCL-PEO was used as polymer matrix. Homopolymer PCL50 fiber mats, diblock copolymer PCL-PEO nanofibers as well as drug loaded polymer blends were spun and investigated by various techniques such as DSC, FTIR and SEM analysis.

I strongly believe that being a part of this project not only empowers my career development, but also gives me the framework to utilize my full potential. Moreover, using electrospinning method to produce drug-loaded nanofibers significantly increase the potential application of previously prepared block copolymers. Finally, thanks to this project, a plenty of ideas that can be worked on, have been made which might be beneficial for potential cooperation.


Paraskevi Paximada

Location: Laboratory of Food Engineering, Agricultural University Athens Greece
Host: CSIC-IATA, Valencia, Spain

Thanks to COST Action MP1206, I spent two months at CSIC-IATA, Valencia, Spain (Dr. J.M. Lagaron), in the frame of STSM. The COST has given me the great opportunity to get trained on emulsion electrospraying in matrices containing bacterial cellulose (BC), proteins, and oil for the encapsulation of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). During my visit, I was able to gain knowledge for the electrospraying process. The use of low RH (26-53%) and neutral or alkaline pH (6-9) are necessary for protecting EGCG in the particles. We observed that emulsion electrospraying can be used as a promising technology for encapsulation in the food industry. Participation in COST-STSM was a great experience, as I spent a nice time in Valencia.

Prof. Dr. A. Sezai SARAC

Location: Istanbul Technical University
Host: Miklos Zrinyi, Semmelweis University, Budapest (HU)
STSM Topic: Biocompatible Nanofiber Mats for tissue engineering scaffolds or biosensors
Period: 2016-08-21 to 2016-08-28

A new method developed recently in our group for the detection of dopamine by Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) using electrospun electrode(WE) was applied to the  dopamine containing PSI based conjugates.          

Natural amino acid based polymers could be good candidates for polymer-drug conjugates, due to their similar structure to natural proteins (biodegradable). In our collaborative work poly(succinimide) (PSI) based dopamine drug conjugates were used and drug release was investigated .

Electrospun nanofibers are great candidates for further functionalization due to the higher loading capacity and porosity compared to polymer films . Functionalization of nanofibers can be achieved with surface modifications by covalent immobilization of different biomolecules. Covalent immobilization provides not only the control of the immobilization of biomolecules on the surface, but also a prolonged availability for immobilized molecules.

By STSM Work, Nanofibers which are functionalized with growth factors can be used as tissue engineering scaffolds since they can gain specific biological functions such as mimicking bioenviroment and tuning cell behavior. They can enhance cellular processes such as attachment, proliferation or differentiation. RGD peptide (Arg-Gly-Asp) enhance the adhesion and proliferation of cells onto nanofibers. During my one week visit period to the research group of Prof. Dr. Miklós Zrínyi, we were be able to collect further  data on  Nanofibers of Poly(succinimide) (PSI) based polymers and evaluate them together . All the nanofibers are  functionalized with RGD peptide in order to use as tissue engineering scaffold.  We have prepared publications on our results as articles in international peer-reviewed journals resulting from this STSM.

I have given seminar on the topic of ,’Conductive Polymeric Nanofibers ’during my visit . This cooperation would improve our  knowledge and contribute to the literature by having common publications.

I would like thank COST giving both institute researcher  by  three STSM (David Jurgee & Zeliha Guler including me) to enhance our collaborative research activities .


Miguel Ângelo Parente Ribeiro Cerqueira

Institution: International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, Braga, Portugal
Host: Dr. José Maria Lagarón, Novel Materials and Nanotechnology, Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA) of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research, Valencia, Spain
Title: Use of an electrohydrodynamic process for the production of an active multilayer film
Period: 6th February to 21st March

The main objective of this short-term scientific mission was the development of an active multilayer film with functional properties using an electrohydrodynamic process. Corn zein was electrospun on a flexible packaging (Polyhydroxybutyrate-co-valerate) through an electrohydrodynamic process; this process was used for the encapsulation of a functional compound. Cinnamaldehyde, with antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, was used as functional compound model, and thus for the development of an active multilayer. Different multilayers systems, 1) without an outer layer; 2) with PHBV8 film as outer layer; and 3) with an alginate-based film as outer layer, were developed and characterized in terms of transport, thermal and colour properties; FTIR and antimicrobial analyses were also performed.

The results obtained during the STSM were used for a joint publication (Cerqueira et al. 2016. Use of Electrospinning to Develop Antimicrobial Biodegradable Multilayer Systems: Encapsulation of Cinnamaldehyde and Their Physicochemical Characterization DOI 10.1007/s11947-016-1772-4) between the research groups. This STSM was an excellent opportunity for me; it was possible to collaborate with the Dr. Jose Maria Lagarón group, exchange some ideas in the development of multilayers systems, and promote further collaborations in the topic. This STSM contributed for my professional experience and increased my expertise in the use of electrohydrodynamic processes in the food packaging area.


Gabriel Furtos 

Institution: Raluca Ripan Institute of Research in Chemistry, Babes-Bolyai University, CLUJ-NAPOCA ROMANIA 

The STSM allowed me to develop new electrospun nanocomposites for biomedical application. During my stay at the Biomedical Polymers Division, Research Institute for Materials Science and Technology (INTEMA), Mar del Plata, Argentina I obtained and investigated new electrospun nanocomposites with different composition and using different electrospinning settings. The structural, morphological, surface and thermal properties were characterized by using X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM, EDAX), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), contact angle measurements, AMX release. Biomineralization in simulated body fluid (SBF) was evidenced by SEM/EDX analysis after 21 days. I want to thank you COST MP1206 for the great opportunity to learn new things and to develop collaboration with this great department. Thank you Dr. Gustavo Abraham and Dr. Guadalupe Rivero for share your experience with me.


Kristóf Molnár

Location: Makromolekulare Chemie II, Gebäude NWII, Universität Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany
Host: Prof. Dr. Seema Agarwal
Period: 14.02.2015 - 11.04.2015

Monolith gels, with their cross-linked polymer network and their high fluid content resemble to the structure of the connective tissue. By creating nanofibrous gels we can get closer to the structure of the connective tissue. Therefore gelatic nanofibrous systems could be promising materials in tissue engineering, and also drug delivery systems. The purpose of my visit was the development of a new way to create gelatic fibers in a continuous way with reactive electrospinning using core-shell technique, as well as to learn the know-how of using such equipment.

Dr. Claudio Larosa

Location:  University of Genoa, Italy
Host: Polymer Institute of science in Riga, Latvia
Period: 1 December to 31 January 2016

A brief short-term scientific mission was performed in the Polymer Institute of science in Riga, Latvia, under the supervisor of the head department Prof. Janis Zicans and Prof. Remo Merijs Meri, within period of time from 1 December to 31 January 2016. While In the Institute of Architecture of RTU, under supervisor of Prof. Silvija Kukle, some polycarbonate solutions were characterized by electrospinning and AFM to evaluate the effect of crystallinity induced by cerium oxide particles (28 nm) and also ability to obtain transparent polycarbonate thin film material. The period of time required was spending to achieve the goal of the mission and for future plan to give profit in the project of European resonance. Electrospinning COST action MP 1206 in electrospinning with its grant support represent a real support to guaranty the realized of an intense training for instruments not available in the own laboratory and to give a change of prospective for young scientist. And more in a phase of evaluating of his position the candidate found a moment to consider his position not near his primary tutor and is stimulated to found ways step by step how to continuous his collaboration in the host group. With this opportunity, the candidate has 30 days to give a short report with the occasion to finalize the base of an article from original data and to show these results in a conference.


Dávid Juriga

Home Institution: Nanochemisty Research Group, Department of Biophysics and Radiation Biology, Semmelweis University, Hungary
Host Institution: Laboratory of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, Group of Polymer Science and Technology, Department of Chemistry, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey

Period: 19.10.2015-21.12.2015

Within the COST STSM program I have spent 2 months in Prof. Sezai A. Sarac Research group at Istanbul Technical University to investigate the drug release kinetics from a biodegradable polymer-drug conjugates with a method based on Electro Impedance measurement. The technic was previously developed in Prof. Sarac’s research group. In the experiment I have been able to follow the drug release kinetics in very small concentration range. Beside this project I have been preparing nano sized implants from the same polymer-drug conjugates with electrospinning and investigate the physical properties by different microscopic technics. In this two months I have been able to learn about electrospinning and the critical parameters in this fabrication method and to start working with Electro Impedance analytical technique.








COST MP1206 Final Event and MC meeting, University of Cyprus, Nicosia-Cyprus, 19-21 April 2017
COST MP1206 final SG meeting will take place on Monday 6 March 2017, in Ajaccio France
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