RELIANCE partners gathering for the 6th management meeting in ROME, ITALY

The saying “All roads lead to Rome” had certainly held true for RELIANCE partners who gathered last week in the ancient city spread on seven hills, for their 6th management meeting.

The event hosted by the University of Rome Tor Vergata and Policlinico Militare di Roma comprised a busy schedule, dense with presentations on work progress, challenges encountered on the way and effective solutions for alleviating potential repercussions on follow on activities of interconnected packages.

The project has entered its mid phase, expected to deliver more than 10 deliverables by the end of May, and reach two more milestones, deriving from the completion of the development and up-scaling of the copper doped silica mesoporous nanoparticles, their antimicrobial functionalization and the development of the nanoparticles’ dispersion matrix as well as the development and upscaling of the organic coating formulations.

Along with that, the consortium is preparing for its first Review Meeting in February, to report on results and key achievements. Opportunities to continue coordinating next steps were not missed even during coffee and lunch breaks while enjoying the delicious Italian cuisine and flavorful espresso.

Excited with the impressive research progress it had scored so far, the group was happy to delve into an insightful tour of Rome and learn more about the history of the Colosseum and the gladiator battles, Basilica of San Clemente, Basilica di San Giovanni, the Vatican and so much more. Despite the drizzle, it was a beautiful evening, dissolving into a cozy dinner embraced with the fragrance of homemade bread and pasta, lively chatter, laughter and optimism for what’s next. 


RELIANCE Project presented at the Medical Biodefense Conference 2023

The Medical Biodefense Conference (MBDC), held on October 22 – 25, 2023, in Munich, Germany, is the world’s largest specialist conference in the field of medical biodefence, bringing together experts from science, politics and the security and health sector from all over the world. It provides a platform to discuss strategies and research on measures against biological threats, that can be applied in natural disease outbreaks as well as in bioterrorist attacks.
Despite the current international crises and armed conflicts, the organisers managed to put together a full and scientifically valuable programme with over 70 talks and more than 130 poster presentations, with around 450 attendees.
Over two and a half days, participants presented and discussed a wide range of biosecurity-related topics: from decontamination of ships, application of innovative bioinformatics developments and new findings in biotoxin research to clinical cases and the potential use of bacteriophages in diagnostics and therapy. (Source

What were the main topics the conference covered?

• Antibiotics, Antivirals and Medical Countermeasures
• Bacteriophages for Diagnostics and Therapeutics
• Big Data for Surveillance and Outbreaks
• Bioforensics
• Biological Toxins
• Biosafety & Biosecurity
• Emerging Pathogens
• Molecular Epidemiology
• German Biosecurity Program
• Outbreak Management
• Mobile Bio-Reconnaissance and Tools for Rapid Responses
• Preparedness & Response Policies
• Vector borne and Zoonotic Diseases

How was RELIANCE represented?

✓ An oral presentation focused on the preliminary results achieved in the study of the antiviral activity of essential oils, highlighting that i) Carvacrol and Eugenol exhibit a strong virucidal activity against respiratory viruses (Influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2) and the alphavirus Chikungunya Virus; ii) Menthol and Thymol show a minor virucidal activity against the viruses studied; iii) The essential oils studied don’t exert any virucidal activity against MS2 bacteriophage.

✓ A poster demonstrated the investigation of the molecular mechanisms of E. coli in response to different concentrations of carvacrol (Ca) by studying differentially expressed genes with RNA-seq analysis, highlighting that the findings suggest that carvacrol may affect biological pathways associated with the inhibition of biofilm formation.

Follow the link if interested in downloading the poster.
More about the conference:


Horizonverkenning Groene innovaties voor textiel en kunststoffen
“Horizon exploration Green innovation for textiles and plastics”

Last week of November 2023, RELIANCE partner Centexbel held a workshop at their premises in Zwijnaarde, Belgium called “The Horizonverkenning Groene innovaties voor textiel en kunststoffen” (Horizon exploration Green innovation for textiles and plastics).  The intent of the workshop was to keep the textile and plastic industry informed of new developments in the field of green innovations in textiles and plastics.

In addition to the recurring themes of patents concerning green innovations, attention was paid to the latest advancements in recyclable, recycled and bio-based materials, textile fibre recycling technologies and sustainable innovations presented at the ITMA fair. The event was attended by a few representatives of the research community as well as more than 30 representatives of the textile, plastics and chemical industry. During the workshop, the development of biobased and biodegradable polyurethane coatings was presented by David De Smet, who highlighted Centexbel’s work on developing bio-based polyurethane coatings for textiles within RELIANCE while also introducing the project’s main objectives.


RELIANCE partners participate in the Plastics Update Conference 2023 in Switzerland

RELIANCE project partners from HES SO participated at the Plastics Update Conference 2023 – Beyond Business as Usual, on 14 November 2023 in Fribourg, Switzerland.

The benefits of plastics are numerous and often favored over other materials such as metal, glass, ceramic, paper, and cardboard. However, over the past 70 years, the irresponsible management of plastics products has transformed a once-successful narrative into a widely perceived tragedy. As a result, continuing with Business as Usual is no longer a viable option. A forward-thinking strategy is essential to ensure a sustainable future, and the alternatives require a complex socio-economic paradigm shift in the mindset of all citizens and transdisciplinary actions for companies and involved stakeholders.

The Plastics Update conference endeavors to outline a roadmap spanning generations, focusing on shaping plastics – particularly, polymeric materials – to facilitate and foster the creation of a sustainable society. To this end, the Plastics Update Conference 2023 is bringing together speakers who offer a vision BEYOND Business as Usual, that address various aspects, including the topics about integration of bio-based polymeric materials, digitalization, legislative frameworks, and societal and economic alternatives.

This forward-thinking open system approach embraces multi-generational themes. It includes tackling current challenges, envisioning the future of greening 2.0, and striving for the sustainable integration of human activities within a diverse biosphere.

RELIANCE partners had a role in the organization of the event and presented 2 posters during the conference, entitled “Keratin-based antimicrobial peptides for smart response self-disinfected surfaces – Isolation & Characterization” and “Bio-based antimicrobial peptides for smart response self-disinfected surfaces”, respectively.

RELIANCE posters presented at conferences can be found in the Results section of the website.



© Tampere University

Beginning of November, partner Millidyne attended the popular annual gathering of students of Biotechnology called RekomBIOnaato (Recombination, aka Reko). This year, the event was organized by the student guild of Tampere University’s biotechnology and biomedicine students where loads of new people from different parts of Finland met and took part in the interesting program activities.

Millidyne participated with a company presentation, which included RELIANCE as one of the projects they are involved in, providing a general overview of the project’s ambition, key objectives and expected results. The event was attended by 150 university students.


Preliminary results from RELIANCE presented at the Physics and Chemistry of Microfluidics Conference in Italy

The Physics and Chemistry of Microfluidics Gordon Research Conference took place 4 – 9 September in Tuscany, Italy. The event is a premier international scientific conference focused on advancing the frontiers of science through the presentation of cutting-edge and unpublished research, while prioritizing time for discussion after each talk and fostering informal interactions among scientists of all career stages.

The subtopic of the conference was Microscale Systems: From Physical Phenomena to Biological Applications, with a program comprising a diverse range of speakers and discussion leaders, a wide range of institutions and organizations from all over the world, all interested in the latest developments in the field.

Prof. Fabiana Arduini, University of Rome Tor Vergata (UNITOV) took part in the conference and presented on “Paper-Based Electrochemical (Bio)sensors as Smart and Sustainable Microfluidic Devices”, based on unpublished examples from RELIANCE taken from the conducted research on a  microfluidics set-up for virus detection to evaluate the efficiency of the antimicrobial nanocoatings within the project. In addition to the primary talks, the conference featured poster sessions from scientists with various level of professional development. The free time in the afternoons and communal meals allowed for informal networking opportunities with leaders in the field. The remote location where the five conference days were held at, fostered a sense of camaraderie and created scientific communities striving for lasting collaborations and friendships.


RELIANCE poster presentation at XXX Conference of the Division of Analytical Chemistry in Italy

The XXX Conference of the Analytical Chemistry Division of the Italian Chemical Society (SCI) took place from 17 to 21 September in the Italian city of Vasto. The topics of the conference regarded the recent scientific advances in the sector of Analytical Chemistry at large. A particular focus was placed on contributions related to the development of theories, materials, methodologies, and instrumental techniques for the qualitative and quantitative compositional determination of chemical systems, design and development of (bio)sensors, advanced separation techniques, integrated analytical systems, techniques and methods of characterization and specification as well as field and remote measurements for environmental, food and medical diagnostics, and  development and application of theoretical models and chemometric tools for the evaluation of the quality and significance of chemical information.

RELIANCE partners from the University of Rome Tor Vergata (UNITOV) participated in the event and presented the project with a poster entitled “A paper-based device for surface essential oils monitoring”, which shared some preliminary results from work package seven dealing with analysis of the antimicrobial properties of the nanocoatings and the durability of the antimicrobial action under certain circumstances.

RELIANCE poster was presented as part of the Electroanalytics session. Other featured sessions that were conducted in parallel were Food, Environment and Cultural Heritage, Bioanalytic-omics, Chemometrics, Balances, Forensic, Green Chemistry, Science Separations, Sensors-Biosensors, Mass spectrometry, Spectroscopy and Toxicology – Health.

Visit our Results section to check on other poster presentations made by RELIANCE.


The novel paper-based electrochemical sensors used in RELIANCE highlighted at the 74th Annual Meeting of the International Society of Electrochemistry

From 3 to 8 September, the 74th Annual International Society of Electrochemistry hosted in Lyon, France about 1800 registered participants from all over the world to present and discuss the latest developments in the field of electrochemical sensing and biosensing.

The capacity of paper-based electrochemical (bio)sensors to overcome the limitations of the polyester-based ones, being able to detect the target analytes in aerosol or on the surface without any additional sampling system was demonstrated with the work conducted in RELIANCE. The paper-based electrochemical (bio)sensors are used to evaluate the efficiency of the nanocoatings developed within the project, by measuring the essential oils on the surface.

The novel approach was presented in Symposium 3 “From wearable to sustainable electrochemical sensing and biosensing”, sponsored by the Divisions of Analytical Electrochemistry and Bioelectrochemistry.


RELIANCE Project presented at the 4th European BioSensor Symposium 2023

The European BioSensor Symposium is bringing together both experienced and young scientists to discuss new insights in all aspects of biosensor research and related areas, to push forward cutting-edge ideas and novel approaches as well as to inspire for scientific exchange among all groups of participants. Its fourth edition was hosted by the University of Applied Sciences Aachen and took place in the city of Aachen, Germany from 27 to 30 August 2023.

 The topics the Symposium tackled were the following:

  • Technologies for innovative formats such as implantable, non-invasive, single-use biosensors, and paper-based diagnostics
  • Bioengineered and biomimetic recognition elements
  • Nanotechnology, surface engineering and bioelectronics
  • Cell-based biosensors and single cell-based diagnostics
  • Advances in applications
  • Microfluidics and actuators for biosensing and integration
  • Theory, modelling and software development

Prof. Fabiana Arduini, leader of the antimicrobial characterization activities in RELIANCE was invited as plenary speaker at the Symposium where she presented an overview of the smart use of paper for the development of electrochemical biosensors, which includes the use of paper-based electrochemical (bio)sensors for target analytes in solution, aerosol, and surface. In the case of RELIANCE project, we are developing paper-based electrochemical (bio)sensors to evaluate the efficiency of the nano-coatings developed within the project.



The Euroanalysis biannual international conference of the Division of Analytical Chemistry of the European Chemical Societytook place in Geneva, Switzerland, 27 – 31 August, 2023. The 21st edition was jointly organized by the Division of Analytical Sciences of the Swiss Chemical Society (DAS) and the University of Geneva.

RELIANCE partners from Fribourg School of Engineering and Architecture (HEIA-FR) participated in the event and presented the project with a poster entitled “Bio-based antimicrobial peptides for smart response self-disinfected surfaces”. They shared some preliminary results regarding the extraction of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) from keratin from chicken feathers through the application of various hydrolysis methods. These peptides undergo detailed characterization of their bioactive properties in order to be incorporated in the unique nanoparticles RELIANCE develops. The process will be further optimized for broader porduction and acquisition of fully active AMPs, to be integrated into materials, thus driving advancement in self-disinfecting applications.

Euroanalysis provides a forum for the European Analytical World to discuss the latest developments in analytical sciences. The theme of the 2023 meeting was: Analytical Probing of Complex Systems. It reflects the urgent need to observe chemical changes in complex systems, from materials surfaces, to living cells and ecosystems, in real time and with adequate spatial resolution. The conference is problem-oriented and has an interdisciplinary spirit. It brings together researchers that work in fundamental and applied sciences, but also decision makers and people intimately familiar with the systems of interest. It actively involves people from academia, federal research institutes, industry and regulatory bodies.

Take a look at RELIANCE poster