Filippo Bonelli

PhD Student

Exploring Innovative Paths: Crafting a Cell Therapy for Corneal Endothelial Failure

Filippo studied Biotechnology at the University of Turin in Italy, getting his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Molecular Biotechnology. He spent time in Milan at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute and two years in Venice at the Veneto Eye Bank. This experience sparked his interest in eye research, leading him to start his PhD in October 2023. His project, a collaboration between the MERLN Institute and the Ophthalmology department at MUMC+, focuses on creating a new method to culture and expand primary corneal endothelial cells in vitro.

Corneal endothelial failure is the leading cause of blindness and therefore of corneal transplantation. The current treatment relies on transplanting tissue from deceased donors. However, because of limited donors and the one donor-one recipient paradigm, there is a pressing need for better solutions. In fact, the waiting list for corneal transplants affects nearly 13 million people worldwide. In his PhD, Filippo aims to enhance the way corneal endothelial cells are grown, trying to expand the original source to help multiple recipients.

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