Ennio Tasciotti, Ph.D.
Associate Member, Houston Methodist Research Institute
Scientific Director, Spine Advanced Technology Lab
Co-Chair, Department of Nanomedicine
Dr. Tasciotti earned his B.S. in Biological Sciences and his M.S. in Molecular Biology at Scuola Normale Superiore Pisa, Italy in 2000 and a Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine from a joint program of the Scuola Normale Superiore Pisa with the International Center for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (ICGEB) in 2004.
His research focused on AAV based gene therapy and stem cell therapy for cardiovascular and cancer diseases. As a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Molecular Medicine of ICGEB, he carried his research in the area of molecular imaging for the assessment of targeted drug delivery, bio-distribution of injected agents (viral vectors, genes, particulate) and to follow the functionality of different tissues in vivo. He then moved into the private sector as Project Manager of the Center for Molecular Biomedicine in the Area Science Park where he established and then managed the Molecular Imaging Unit in collaboration with major pharmaceutical companies.
He moved to the United States in 2006 as a senior postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Nanomedicine and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. There, Dr. Tasciotti expanded his research to material science and nanotechnology and to their applications in the fields of early diagnostics, drug delivery and regenerative medicine. He laid the groundwork for two major nanotechnology platforms: protein nano-chips for the early detection of disease onset, and mesoporous silicon particles for the targeted delivery of therapeutics and contrast agents. The latter was featured on the cover of Nature Nanotechnology and paved the way for a new field of investigation called the Multistage Delivery Approach, which was selected as one of the Five big ideas for nanotechnology by Nature Medicine in 2008.
Dr. Tasciotti accepted an appointment to Assistant Professor in the same department in 2008 and in 2009, was appointed to the first Assistant Professorship in the first Department of NanoMedicine in a US Medical School. There, he worked at the Fracture Putty project, a material that could provide immediate mechanical stabilization to bone fractures and promote bone tissue regeneration over time. This concept formed the basis for a grant award from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency. Since then, Dr. Tasciotti has been leading this project, BioNanoScaffold for post-traumatic osteo-regeneration, with more than 60 other investigators from multiple institutions. Thanks to this project, Dr. Tasciotti established strong ties within the community of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, particularly in the clinical fields of orthopedic, spine, maxillofacial, oral and dental surgery, and is now formalizing the clinical translation of this technology.
In 2010, he joined the Houston Methodist Research Institute Department of Nanomedicine, where he serves as Co-Chair of the Department of Nanomedicine, as Interim Director of the Regenerative Medicine program, and as Scientific Director of the Advanced Technology Lab. Dr. Tasciotti’s current research interest focus on the development of biologically inspired, unconventional nano-delivery systems and on biomimetic scaffolds and solutions for tissue engineering and musculo-skeletal regeneration. The goal of Dr. Tasciotti’s multidisciplinary team is to overcome the current limitations in drug delivery and regenerative medicine by leveraging on the lessons learned from nature and applied to technology and medicine.
Dr. Tasciotti is an inventor on five U.S. patents in nanotechnology. He is a prolific author of scientific publications, a frequent speaker at international meetings, and is a reviewer for more than 10 peer reviewed scientific journals. Dr. Tasciotti holds the privilege of serving as the president of the council of reviewers for the Young Investigator Award of the Italian Ministry of Health and served as a reviewer for The French National Cancer Institute. He is a member of the R21 NIH IMAT Review Panel for Innovative Technologies Development, and is a Scientific Review Officer for R21/R33 NIH/NCI grants.