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Dr Alessandra Grillo
Department of Renal Medicine
Rowland Hill Street, UCL Medical School
Royal Free Hospital
Dr Alessandra Grillo profile picture
  • Research Fellow
  • Renal Medicine
  • Div of Medicine
  • Faculty of Medical Sciences

Alessandra undertook a MSc project through the Erasmus+ scheme at the Centre for Nerve Engineering (UCL) (2016-2017) where she studied the use of biomaterials for the local delivery of drugs to treat peripheral nerve injuries.

She then completed her PhD in Tissue Engineering (2018-2022) at the Centre for 3D Models of Health and Disease (UCL) where she developed an hybrid anisotropic mesh for abdominal hernias. During her PhD she published two papers and presented her work to different national and international conferences, including Tissue and Cell Engineering Society (TCES), Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine international Society - World (TERMIS World).

Following that, Alessandra started a postdoctoral position in the Department of Renal Medicine (UCL) (2022-present) to develop a 3D in vitro tubule on-chip system for the collecting duct. Her research aims to develop an accurate model of the B-Intercalated cells to study the correlation between pendrin and blood pressure. This will inform scientists and clinicians about the mechanisms of action and therapies to tackle hypertension.

Research Groups
Research Summary

Alessandra's research focuses on the development of a 3D in vitro model of the collecting duct B-Intercalated cells to study the role of pendrin in hypertension. She will develop a tubule-on-chip using a collecting duct cell line on an organ-on-chip system, using a combination of biomimetic extracellular matrix components.

Main research techniques:

- 2D and 3D cell culture

- Primary cells isolation

- Cell culture experience with fibroblasts and epithelial cells

- Experience with collagen tissue engineered equivalents

- In vitro models development and characterisation

- RNA extraction, qPCR

- Scanning Electron Microscopy, Fluorescence Microscopy, Second Harmonic Generation Microscopy

- Mechanical testing of biomaterials and biological tissues

- Experience with ethical approval process for human tissue retrieval

As part of her PhD, she previously worked on the development of an anisotropic mesh for hernia repair by combining mosquito meshes with an aligned sheet of collagen generated through a rapid and novel technique to align collagen fibres.

Teaching Summary

Alessandra contributed to teaching UCL as laboratory demonstrator, exam marker and project facilitator. She also supervises MSc, BSc students during their research projects by providing training in the laboratory techniques, supervising their progress and providing feedback on their final report.

Alessandra was also awarded the Associate Fellowship of Higher Education (AFHEA) to certify her contribution to teaching at UCL.

01-JUL-2022 – 30-JUN-2024 Research Fellow Department of Renal Medicine University College London, United Kingdom
Academic Background
    Doctorate of Philosophy  
    MSc Bioengineering - Biomaterials and Rehabilitation Engineering  
    BSc Biomedical Engineering  
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