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Barbara Mazzolai

Senior Researcher Tenured - Center Coordinator Center Director


MAZZOLAI B FotoBarbara Mazzolai is Coordinator of the Center for Micro-BioRobotics (CMBR) at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) and Deputy Director at IIT delegate to the Supervision and Organization of IIT Centers Network at the same institute.
She holds an MSc cum laude (1995) in Biology at the University of Pisa and a PhD in Microsystems Engineering at the University of Rome Tor Vergata (Italy). From 1994 to 1998 she was research assistant at the Institute of Biophysics of the National Research Council in Pisa. In 1997 she won a scholarship for an International Master Degree in Eco-Management at the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (SSSA) in Pisa. From 1999 to 2009 she performed her research in service and green robotics, and bioinspired robotics at the Center for Research in Microengineering (now The BioRobotics Institute) at SSSA. Since November 2009 she has been a scientist at IIT. She was Project Manager of several EU project, including the FET-Proactive OCTOPUS European Project, and the Coordinator of the PLANTOID FET-Open European Project.
She is Editorial Board Member of Bioinspiration & BiomimeticsSoft RoboticsBiomimeticsRobotics & Automation Letters, and Associated Editor of Frontiers in Bionics and BiomimeticsMicro-BioRobotics.
She is author and co-author of more than 180 scientific publications. Her current scientific activity focuses on bioinspired and soft robotics.


XoSoft - Soft modular biomimetic exoskeleton to assist people with mobility impairments (EC H2020-ICT-2015, IIT Coordinator) – CMBR PI
Innovative Robotic Artefacts Inspired by Plant Roots for Soil Monitoring (PLANTOID, ICT-2011.9.1 FET Open, Grant Agreement no. 293431, 2012-2015) - Coordinator

Selected Publications

  • C. Larson, B. Peele, S. Li, S. Robinson, M. Totaro, L. Beccai, B. Mazzolai, R. Shepherd, Highly stretchable electroluminescent skin for optical signaling and tactile sensing, Science 351(6277): 1071-1074, 2016.
  • A Argiolas, GL Puleo, E Sinibaldi, B Mazzolai, Osmolyte cooperation affects turgor dynamics in plants, Scientific Reports 6, 2016.
  • L. Popova, D. van Dusschoten, K.A. Nagel, F. Fiorani, B. Mazzolai, Plant root tortuosity: an indicator of root path formation in soil with different composition and density, Annals of Botany 2016.
  • B Mazzolai, V Mattoli, Robotics: Generation soft, Nature 536 (7617), 400-401, 2016.
  • S. Taccola, F. Greco, E. Sinibaldi, A. Mondini, B. Mazzolai, V. Mattoli, Toward a new generation of electrically controllable hygromorphic soft actuators, Advanced Materials 27(10) 1637–1795, 2015.
  • Sadeghi, A. Tonazzini, L. Popova and B. Mazzolai, A Novel Growing Device Inspired by Plant Root Soil Penetration Behaviors, PLoS ONE 9(2), 2014.
  • F. Tramacere, A. Kovalev, T. Kleinteich, S. N. Gorb, B. Mazzolai “Structure and mechanical properties of Octopus vulgaris suckers”, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, vol. 11, (no. 91), pp. 20130816, 2014.
  • F. Tramacere, L. Beccai, M. Kuba, A. Gozzi, A. Bifone, B. Mazzolai "The Morphology and Adhesion Mechanism of Octopus vulgaris suckers", PLoS ONE 8(6): e65074, 2013.
  • B. Mazzolai, L. Margheri, M. Cianchetti, P. Dario and C. Laschi, Soft robotic arm inspired by the octopus. II. From artificial requirements to innovative technological solutions, Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, 7 025005, 2012.
  • Mazzolai, A. Mondini, P. Corradi, C. Laschi, V. Mattoli, E. Sinibaldi, P. Dario, A Miniaturized Mechatronic System Inspired by Plant Roots, IEEE Transaction on Mechatronics 16(2), 201-212, 2011.


Center: Center for Micro-BioRobotics - Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
Address: viale Rinaldo Piaggio 34, 56025 Pontedera (PI), Italy
Phone: 0039 050 883444
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