In 1995, professor Massimo Grattarola of the Biophysics and Electrical Engineering Department (DIBE) at the University of Genova, in Genova, Italy, created an undergraduate and graduate program named neurobioengineering (also referred to as neuroengineering). The program was designed to amalgamate anthropomorphic robotics, artificial intelligence, bioelectronics , electrical engineering, molecular biology, physics, and medicine, into a single program with the aim of developing advanced biocompatable neuroprosthetic implants (man-machine interfacing) for a variety applications (e.g. nervous system interaction with artificial limbs, central and peripheral nervous system implants, directional neural grafting (neural engineering), electron harvesting from biological processes to power implanted devices, neural arrays cultured on CMOS sensors, etc).

The goal: develop bio-artificial brain of cultured neurons capable of replicating human behaviour in an artificial robotic system. The European Union F.E.T. funded the neurobioengineering department to pursue this ambitious project.



The Neurobioengineering program spawned numerous journal publications by the departmental scientific pioneers (Dr. Marco Bove, Dr. Sergio Martinoia, Dr. Renato Zaccaria, and many others) and a university course textbook Bioelectronics, MOSFETS, Biosensors and Neurons published by Massimo Grattarola. Members of the department were collaborating with researchers throughout the European Union, Japan and North America. Students from throughout the European Union and Canada enrolled in the program.

Comparable International Efforts

At the time (1995), a small number of universities offered specialized bioelectronics and/or implantable neuroprostheses-related research (but no specialized undergraduate programs) internationally for example: University of Utah, MIT, UCSF (United States); McGill University (Canada), among others.

First European School on Neuroengineering

In 2003, following professor Grattarola's death, the Univeristy of Genova announced Europe's first neurobioengineering conference in his honour. The First European School on Neuroengineering 'Massimo Grattarola' was also founded in 2004, with the goal of establishing a long-term formal educational program to foster future pioneers in Neurobioengineering

In a state of transition, the neurobioengineering department renamed itself the neuroengineering and bio-nanoTechnology Group in 2005. By 2008, the core researchers of the original department had formalized the educational process into a formal long-term program at the University of Genova named School of Neuroengineering fulfilling Massimo Grattarola's original ambitions, offering degrees in Humanoid Technologies.

The current and former neurobioengineering (or neuroengineering) students continue his research interests throughout Europe and North America, some of whom have established related businesses, or hold positions of authority in neuroscience / biomedical institutions worldwide (e.g. Michele Giugliano, EPFL-Brain Mind Institute; Corrado Cali, University of Lausanne; Maura Arsiero, University of Bern; Harold KUNDGEN, University of Bern)...


Neuroengineering School - University of Genova
Massimo Grattarola
Marco Bove
Sergio Martinoia
Neural Engineering
Artificial Intelligence
Biomedical Engineering


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