Nicola Tirelli holds a Master’s degree in Chemistry (1992) and a Ph.D. in Industrial Chemistry (1996) from the University of Pisa (Italy), both under the supervision of Francesco Ciardelli, focusing on photochromic polymers and polymers for non-linear optics; during his PhD, he moved to the ETH Zurich where he stayed also for a postdoctoral period under the supervision of Ulrich W. Suter at the Institute of Polymers until 1998, working on high-Tg, thermally resistant and processable polymers.
In December 1998 he joined the group of Jeff Hubbell at the ETH Zurich as an Oberassistent, developing hydrogels for tissue engineering and responsive polymers; in 2003 Nicola moved to the University of Manchester, first as a Senior Lecturer, and then (2005) as a Professor; in his stay in Manchester he worked in the School of Pharmacy with spells in the School of Materials, mostly focusing on drug delivery. During this period he was EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow (2005-10), Director of the NorthWest Centre for Advanced Drug Delivery (2014-17) and deputy Director, then Director, of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Regenerative Medicine (2014-17). In 2017 Nicola joined the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Genova as a Senior Researcher, to date keeping a part-time position in Manchester. His research currently hinges on colloid science, drug delivery, cell-material interactions.