1 March 2019

Spinner’s second training event

Spinner's second training event took place on 18 - 22 February 2019. It was hosted by Luca Cristofolini at the University of Bologna and Fin-ceramica SPA, Faenza, Italy.

The Spinner consortium at the University of Bologna

On the first day of the training event, the fellows observed a spine surgery led by Professor Cesare Faldini at the Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli.

On the second day, Carla Pegoraro from the PLoS One journal and Insigneo’s former Director, Marco Viceconti, now at the University of Bologna, explained how to write scientifically from a publishing and academic perspectives. Luca gave a tour of the Biomechanics Laboratory and Vittorio Colombo from the University of Bologna gave a workshop on Intellectual Properties.

On the third day, the fellows had an opportunity to present their progress to the group. In the afternoon, Claudia Mazzà, from the University of Sheffield, talked about research ethics.

Spinner fellows watching a telecast of live spine surgery
Spinner fellows watching a telecast of live spine surgery after being shown around the theatre.

Luca Cristofolini explains biomechanical testing in the Biomechanics Laboratory to the Spinner fellows
Luca Cristofolini explains biomechanical testing in the Biomechanics Laboratory to the Spinner fellows.

Over the course of the week, the fellows learnt about project management from three different industrial perspectives

  • Michel Rochette, Ansys, as a large software house
  • Mathieu Causse, as a start-up software company
  • Christopher Schilling, Aesculap in the development of an implantable device
Christopher Schilling, Aesculap, explains the stages of development of an implantable device in Finceramica, Faenza
Christopher Schilling, Aesculap, explains the stages of development of an implantable device in Finceramica, Faenza.

Finceramica in Faenza, a biomaterials company that synthesises materials for bone and joint repair, hosted the final day. They provided an insight into their products and materials and the development of implantable products.

By day, the fellows experienced Bologna la dotta, the learned, through their technical and professional development and arguable Bologna la rossa, the red, observing the surgery. By night, they experienced Bologna la grassa, the fat, exploring the medieval, porticoed centre to feast in the shelter of the twin leaning towers, on the cured meats, cheeses, fresh pasta, of course beef ragú, the famous Bolgnese sauce.

Spinner consortium exploring Bologna la grassa
Spinner consortium (clockwise from left): Luca Cristofolini, Denata Syla, Marco Palanco, Enrico Dall’Ara, Chloé Techens, Marco Sensale, Jennifer Fayad, José Rui Rodrigues, Cameron James, Michel Rochette, Mathieu Causse, Claudia Mazzà.

Being able to observe a spinal surgery in person was not only fascinating but gave me a better idea of what is realistic and what not when designing a bone graft which could later be possibly used by the surgeons for spinal repair.

Denata Syla

Spinner fellow


The event was excellent and included some great activities. The scheduling achieved a really good balance between the more involved activities, such as tours, and the presentations, so that no single day was spent entirely in a lecture environment.

Spinner fellow

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