The NANOS DIAMOND COLLECTION by Paola Ferrari, NANASHAPES LLC, Houston, Texas, USA
PAOLA FERRARI is the ultimate embodiment of a stylish Italian woman with a mission. Born in Milan, and based in Houston and New York City, Paola has over 30 years of experience in international engagement and entrepreneurship with a special focus in non-profit management. In 2009, she and her husband, researcher Dr. Mauro Ferrari, founded Accademia di Gagliato delle Nanoscienze, a non-profit that holds an annual invitation-only conference highlighting science and emerging technologies in medicine, in Calabria, Italy. The conference, and the eclectic community of international guests that every summer take residence in Gagliato, have transformed this once declining town of 400 into a renowned Science&Tech destination, earning the appellative of ‘Creative Town’ in UNESCO’s Global Report presented at UN HABITAT III in Quito, in 2016.
A whole ecosystems of cultural and entrepreneurial activities grew out of the events of the Accademia di Gagliato, and it is now offered as a model for other small communities at risk of decline and depopulation, in Italy and beyond.
Fascinated by the stunning shapes and forms of the engineered nanoparticles used in her husband’s groundbreaking research, Paola found an innovative way to help support the work of NanoGagliato and its junior arm, NanoPiccola, which teaches hundreds of children ages 4-18 about the wonders of the nanoworld.
Nanoparticle research is one of the most studied branches of research in the world with infinite possibilities.
Dr. Ferrari’s laboratories use the technology for a multiplicity of drug delivery applications, especially in cancer therapy. The Nanos Collection is inspired by the nanoparticles in the shape of ‘half-coconuts’ that belong to a class of delivery systems called Multi-Stage-Vectors (MSV). They are made out of biocompatible and biodegradable porous silicon wafers. Once loaded with chemotherapeutic agents, the MSV travel along the blood stream and through a sequence of physical and chemical reactions reach the targeted cancer cell, where they release their payload, killing the tumor and then dissolving with no side effects. In their latest version (iNPG pDox, Nature Biotechnology, March 2016), the MSVs have cured 50% of the experimental mice of metastatic cancer of the lung and liver from triple negative breast cancer, and are now advancing toward phase 1 of clinical trials in human patients.
Eager to translate the beauty of the nano images into wearable art, Paola designed her first “nanojewel” from a square piece of silicon containing 16,000 nanochannels encased in a frame of white gold which she wore as a pendant. The necklace was so well received that she soon began to create more wearable nanoparticle art jewelry.
The Nanos Collection of silver, bronze and copper pieces was unveiled in July 2016 at NanoGagliato 2016.
The Nanos Diamond Collection was launched on November 13, 2018, during a Gala at Gallerie d’Italia in Milan.
“Nos esse quasi NANOS, gigantium humeris insidentes. Ut possimus plura eis et remotiora videre”
“We are like dwarfs, standing on the shoulders of giants so we can see more and further than they…”
— Bernardus Carnotensis