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MIcrobiota-Gut-BraiN EngineeRed platform to eVAluate intestinal microflora impact on brain functionality

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "MINERVA" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: MILANO
postcode: 20133

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Italy [IT]
 Project website
 Total cost 1˙999˙194 €
 EC max contribution 1˙999˙194 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2016-COG
 Funding Scheme ERC-COG
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-05-01   to  2022-04-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    POLITECNICO DI MILANO IT (MILANO) coordinator 1˙999˙194.00


 Project objective

What is the relation between the intestinal microflora and the brain in the development of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease? A functional relation between the intestinal microflora (microbiota) and the brain, referred to as the “microbiota-gut-brain axis”, was hypothesized more than 100 years ago but only recently has been re-evaluated becoming a new, exciting hypothesis in neuroscience. We have the proof that aging, bad alimentary habits, poor food quality and stress can affect our intestinal microbiota: the impact of this modification on brain functionality has been observed but the absence of suitable research tools does not allow verifying this research hypothesis. My aim is to overcome this limitation through a bioengineering approach: I will develop the first microbiota-gut-brain platform relying on three miniaturized microfluidic compartments, representing in vitro the most important features of microbiota-brain interaction. Once validated, my platform will be challenged in healthy and neurodegenerative scenarios by using human complete microbiota. MINERVA has a ground breaking potential: the proof of a causal link between intestinal microbiota and brain functionality would completely change the actual scenario, shifting the investigation of neurodegenerative disorders causes from the brain to the body periphery. MINERVA is a high gain project: if its vision succeeds, neurodegenerative disorders will benefit from new, cost effective, low invasive preventative and therapeutic strategies based on microbiota management by food ingredient and probiotics with an enormous beneficial impact worldwide. MINERVA will provide a versatile platform that will overcome the strong limitations arising from the current in vivo models and standard in vitro tools: by changing cell type or culturing conditions, it could address microbiota impact not only on neurodegenerative disorders, but also on other severe other-than-nervous pathologies.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2020 Diego Albani, Carmen Giordano
published pages: 1-12, ISSN: 2384-986X, DOI: 10.4081/scie.2017.641
Istituto Lombardo - Accademia di Scienze e Lettere - Rendiconti di Scienze 151 2020-04-15
2019 Lucia Boeri, Luca Izzo, Lorenzo Sardelli, Marta Tunesi, Diego Albani, Carmen Giordano
Advanced Organ-on-a-Chip Devices to Investigate Liver Multi-Organ Communication: Focus on Gut, Microbiota and Brain
published pages: 91, ISSN: 2306-5354, DOI: 10.3390/bioengineering6040091
Bioengineering 6/4 2019-11-26
2019 Luca Izzo, Marta Tunesi, Lucia Boeri, Matteo Laganà, Carmen Giordano, Manuela Teresa Raimondi
Influence of the static magnetic field on cell response in a miniaturized optically accessible bioreactor for 3D cell culture
published pages: , ISSN: 1387-2176, DOI: 10.1007/s10544-019-0387-8
Biomedical Microdevices 21/1 2019-10-03
2018 Ilaria Raimondi, Marta Tunesi, Florencia Andrea Ceppa, Luca Izzo, Carmen Giordano
3D hydrogel-based cell model assays in MINERVA, a microfluidic organ-on chip-engineered platform of gut-brain axis to study neurodegeneration
published pages: 136-137, ISSN: 0722-5091, DOI:
2018 Luca Izzo, Marta Tunesi, Matteo Laganà, Carmen Giordano, Manuela Teresa Raimondi
A new Miniaturized Optically Accessible Bioreactor to investigate the microbiota-gut-brain axis: magnetic characterization of the chambers
published pages: 490, ISSN: , DOI:
5th TERMIS World Congress 2018-Proceedings 2019-04-18
2017 Carmen Giordano, Diego Albani
MINERVA: The technological project to boost research on the microbiota-gut-brain axis in chronic neurodegenerative disorders
published pages: 48-50, ISSN: 1722-6996, DOI:
AGRO FOOD INDUSTRY HI-TECH 28 (6) 2019-04-18
2018 Luca Izzo, Marta Tunesi, Alessandro Marturano-Kruik, Laganà Matteo, Carmen Giordano, Manuela Teresa Raimondi
Organ-on-chip platform based on a Miniaturized Optically Accessible Bioreactor: magnetic characterization of the culture chambers
published pages: 1-4, ISSN: , DOI:
Sixth National Congress of Bioengineering-Proceedings 2019-04-18

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