Drug Delivery Research Lab. Coordinator: Luppi

Development of non-conventional dosage forms such as thin films, inserts, micro/nanoparticles and liposomes, obtained by suitable productive processes (solvent casting, freeze/spray drying, ionic gelation and thin film hydration), for the delivery of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), health-promoting bacteria and natural molecules for pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic fields.

Research themes

Formulation of physical hydrogels based on natural and synthetic polymers and theirs use as innovative mucoadhesive materials, enhancers and for modified drug release.

Hydrogels are three-dimensional, hydrophilic, polymeric networks able to absorb large amounts of water without dissolving. Due to their soft consistency, they are similar to natural living tissue, and can be used for different

pharmaceutical applications. The research is addressed to the production of thin films and lyophilized matrices for local or systemic delivery of active substances upon mucosal (vaginal, nasal and buccal) or cutaneous application. The choice of the appropriate polymeric material together with the use of the suitable productive technology allows to increase the residence time of the dosage form at the application site and modulate the release and/or permeation through the biological membranes. The research is also focused on the use of new natural molecules (biosurfactants) as permeation enhancers to increase systemic absorption of API.

Delivery of health-promoting bacteria and active metabolites.

Probiotics may represent a natural, alternative or complementary, approach to the use of drugs for the prophylaxis and treatment of diseases characterized by the local microbiota alterations.

The research is mainly focused on the development of: 1- mucoadhesive vaginal matrices for the local release of lactobacilli and their supernatants; 2- nanocarriers for the administration of active metabolites produced by lactobacilli (biosurfactants with antimicrobial and antibiofilm properties) alone or in combination with antimicrobial drugs.

The research is also focused on the study of the influence of probiotics, their supernatants and metabolites on drug permeation through biological barriers, such as skin and mucosae.

Development of cellulose fibers (Spanish Broom, cotton and flax fibers) as a new material for wound dressing.

Wound dressing play an important role in the pharmaceutical wound care market. Due to the absence of healing, antioxidant and antibacterial activity of cellulose based dressing, molecules with these specific properties can be associated in order to treat wounds. The research is focused on the development of new wound dressings carrying, in micro/nanosystems, healing polymers (hyaluronic acid, alginates) and natural antioxidant and antibacterial substances.

Lab members

Barbara Luppi, Associate Professor (e-mail)

Federica Bigucci, Associate Professor (e-mail)

Teresa Cerchiara, Associate Professor ( (e-mail)

Angela Abruzzo, RTDa (e-mail)

Elisa Corazza, PhD Student

Valentina Sallustio, PhD Student

Martina Rossi, Research Fellow

Internship projects

Internship projects are mainly addressed to CTF, Pharmacy (RN) and Pharmacy (Bo) students.

Main publications

  • Abruzzo, A., Giordani, B., Miti A., Vitali, B., Zuccheri, G., Cerchiara, T., Luppi, B., Bigucci, F. (2021). “Mucoadhesive and mucopenetrating chitosan nanoparticles for glycopeptide antibiotic administration”. Int J Pharm. 606:120874. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpharm.2021.120874.
  • Trastullo, R., Abruzzo, A., Saladini, B., Gallucci, M.C., Cerchiara, T., Luppi, B., Bigucci, F. (2016). “Design and evaluation of buccal films as paediatric dosage form for transmucosal delivery of ondansetron”. Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 105:115-21. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpb.2016.05.026.
  • Giordani B., Costantini P.E., Fedi S., Cappelletti M., Abruzzo A., Parolin C., Foschi C., Frisco G., Calonghi N., Cerchiara T., Bigucci F., Luppi B., Vitali B. “Liposomes containing biosurfactants isolated from Lactobacillus gasseri exert antibiofilm activity against methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains”. (2019). Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 139:246-252. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpb.2019.04.011.
  • Abruzzo A., Parolin C., Corazza E., Giordani B., Pio di Cagno M., Cerchiara T. Bigucci F., Vitali B., Luppi B. (2021). “Influence of Lactobacillus Biosurfactants on Skin Permeation of Hydrocortisone”. Pharmaceutics. 13(6):820. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060820.
  • Abruzzo, A., Cappadone, C., Sallustio, V., Picone, G., Rossi, M., Nicoletta, F.P., Luppi, B., Bigucci, F., Cerchiara, T. (2021). “Development of Spanish Broom and Flax Dressings with Glycyrrhetinic Acid-Loaded Films for Wound Healing: Characterization and Evaluation of Biological Properties”. 13(8), 1192-1210. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13081192.