Alberto Saiani


Personal profile


Professor Alberto Saiani graduated from the University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France with a MSc in Soft Condensed Matter Physics and subsequently did a PhD in Polymer Physics at the same University. Following his PhD he held several post-doctoral positions in Japan, at Osaka University for which he was awarded a Japanese Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS) fellowship, in the UK, at imperial College London and in Belgium, at Huntsman Polyurethanes. In 2000 he was appointed lecturer at the University Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, France before joining in 2002 the Department of Materials at the University of Manchester where he co-established the Polymers & Peptides Research Group ( which is currently based at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB).

In 2006 he was awarded a 6-months industrial fellowship by the Royal Academy of Engineers (RAEng) to work at AstraZeneca and in 2013 he was awarded a 5-year research fellowship by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC, UK) to pursue his work on the development of a technological platform for the design of self-assembled peptide based biomaterials for a broad range of biomedical applications from cell culture and drug / cell delivery to tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. In 2016 he was elected fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

In 2014 this work led him to co-found a start-up company, Manchester BIOGEL, which for almost 10 years developed and commercialised advanced gel-based combination products for the life science and biomedical sector. In 2023 the PeptiGels® technology was taken on by Cell Guidance Systems.

In November 2022, after 20 years in the Department of Materials, Alberto joined the Division of Pharmacy and Optometry in Manchester to pursue translational projects, looking at moving his biomaterial technology from the lab bench to the clinic.


Research interests

His research work spans a wide area of experimental polymer and biopolymer science and focuses on understanding the chemical architecture - thermodynamic - structure - physical property correlations in complex polymeric systems, encompassing a variety of synthetic and biological materials. His work includes fundamental, industrial, and translational research.

Over the last 10 years his group research has focussed on exploiting the self-assembly and gelation properties of a family of short beta-sheet forming peptides based on alternating hydrophilic / hydrophobic residues. Through the fundamental understanding and exploitation of biomolecular interactions across length scales, from peptides to fibres, his group was able to control and tailor the self-assembly and gelation pathways of these short peptides and design hydrogels with tailored properties for a range of biomedical application from drug and cell delivery to 3D scaffolds for cell culture and tissue engineering.

My group

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, PhD in Polymer Science, Universite De Strasbourg

1 Oct 199330 Sept 1997

Award Date: 30 Sept 1997

External positions

Chief Scientific Officer

28 Dec 20131 Feb 2023

Director, Manchester BIOGEL

28 Oct 20131 Feb 2023

Areas of expertise

  • Q Science (General)
  • Materials Science
  • Biomaterials Science

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Advanced materials
  • Manchester Regenerative Medicine Network
  • Advanced Materials in Medicine
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute
  • Manchester Institute of Biotechnology
  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing


  • Polymers
  • Polymer composites
  • Hydrogel
  • 3D Scaffolds
  • Cell culture
  • Self Assembling Peptides
  • drug delivery
  • Bioprinting


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