Diabetes research institute

Pancreas Bioengineering


Project leader

Antonio Citro


The aim of Citro's research project is to study and to characterize the interaction and engraftment between endocrine cells and organ microenvironment with a dedicated focus on cell to extracellular matrix interaction in physio/patological settings. The understanding of the precise interactions and integrations among the components of the endocrine pancreas will open new perspectives in the field of diabetes and drug discovery.

Research activity

In particular, the research will be based on different technological platforms, such as organ decellularization, bioreactor customization and 3D perfusion designed technologies. The research will take advantage of these technologies to recapitulate ex vivo the pancreatic native microenvironment with a direct impact on the in vivo application. Indeed, as proof of principle, he demonstrated the feasibility of this approach engineering the first prototype of Vascularized Islet Organ for the treatment of Type 1 Diabetes based on decellularized organ repopulated with pancreatic islets and human endothelial cells. The functional assessment of this new technology spans from ex vivo validation to in vivo function.

Antonio Citro will use this prototype technology as a template to model ex vivo the endocrine pancreas for drug discovery studies and to design more bio-compatible devices for in vivo application.