Soft Matter self-assembled materials of natural, synthetic or bioinspired building blocks are ubiquitous: they are the fundamental components of living organisms, they are present in healthcare products, in food science, in household products and they are among the most widespread investigated materials for application in nanomedicine for drug delivery, therapeutic or diagnostic applications.
In this field, CSGI contribution spans from the investigation of the phase diagram of complex multicomponent self-assembled polymeric and/or amphiphilic materials, to the development of lipid-based liquid crystalline nanoparticles for applications in nanomedicine; from the study of the surface-directed self-assembly, to the colloidal characterization and engineering of biogenic extracellular vesicles; from the investigation of emulsion, microemulsion and nanoemulsion phase behavior, to the design of polymer-based hydrogels or organogels for tailored applications (from art restoration to tissue engineering); from the design and synthesis of hybrid materials combining responsive inorganic nanoparticles and “soft” lipid or polymer-based scaffolds, to the design and investigation of advanced biomimetic systems
The activities of CSGI in this field are multifold: a colloidal, physicochemical perspective is adopted to address issues as diverse as the understanding of fundamental phenomena involving biologically relevant interfaces and the development of advanced functional soft matter materials for applicative purposes. Experimental and theoretical tools are applied and/or developed to investigate and rationalize interfacial phenomena, to design new smart materials with predictable functionalities, to disentangle complex phenomena occurring at the nanoscale. Thanks to this fundamental approach and to the know-how on colloidal systems, over the years CSGI has contributed to the understanding of basic phenomena (e.g., wetting/dewetting, diffusion in complex media, protein-protein interactions, synthetic-biogenic objects interaction, cell membrane structure and response) from a physicochemical perspective and, at the same time, has offered tailored smart solutions for applicative issues spanning from biomedicine and drug delivery to household products.