Universita di Genova

Barbara Pollini

PhD student
Politecnico di Milano

Barbara Pollini
  • Sustainable design

  • Material design

  • Bio design

About me

My research activities in brief

I’m a sustainable design and materials specialist and my design approach is based on life cycle design and circular design.

Bio & resume

My academic career summary

Since 2010, I have been involved with sustainable design and materials as a designer, consultant, teacher, and researcher. I hold a master’s degree in Ecodesign and Eco-innovation, a master’s degree in Computational Design, and I recently completed a Ph.D. in Design (2023) focusing on the research of biodesigned and biofabricated materials for the sustainability transition.

In 2011 I co-founded the Nuup, Sustainable Creativity team, a network of creative professionals spreading and promoting sustainable behaviours and tools.

Since 2012, I have been a lecturer at Naba in Milan on sustainable design and materials, Biodesign, and Design Fiction.


Principal research interests

Since 2010, I’ve been engaged in the realm of sustainable design, specializing through a Master’s in Ecodesign and Eco-innovation. This program provided me with a comprehensive understanding of life cycle design principles. I further honed my expertise with a Master’s Degree in Computational Design, where I delved into the fusion of biomimicry and the creation of novel materials. This integration was based on generative modeling and additive manufacturing.

Over the years, I’ve explored the realm of Design for Sustainability from various angles: as a designer, consultant, educator, and researcher. In recent times, my focus has been primarily on sustainable materials, particularly those that are circular, organic, waste-based, and biofabricated. I’ve delved into both industrial-scale production and the grassroots phenomenon of self-production, including DIY materials.

My current research for my PhD centers on materials derived from and created with living organisms. Employing a transdisciplinary approach that intersects material design, biology, and ecology, I’m exploring how this emerging materiality aligns within the context of sustainable design.

In addition, I’ve cultivated a collaboration with an Italian lichenologist to develop bioreceptive materials for lichens and mosses. Furthermore, I’ve undertaken two research stints as a visiting PhD in scientific laboratories. In one instance, I functioned as a “designer in the lab,” working on new fibroin-based materials at SilkLab, Tufts University, Boston. In another, I applied biofabricated materials to the realm of edible electronics at IIT, Milan.


Courses and teaching activities

Since 2012, I’ve held a lecturing position at NABA Design University in Milan. During this time, I’ve conducted courses on sustainable design, materials, and cutting-edge technologies driving product innovation.

Media & Outreach

Communication and dissemination of my scientific results

Communication and dissemination of my scientific results.


    I collaborate with

    Meet the people with whom I collaborate the most.


    Institutions and companies I have worked with

    Institutions and companies I have worked with.