Donato Romano received the M.Sc. degrees in Agriculture Science and Technologies (summa cum laude) from the University of Pisa, Italy, in 2014.
He received the PhD in BioRobotics (summa cum laude) at The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy, in 2018.
He is currently an Assistant Professor at The BioRobotics Institute.
He is mainly focusing his activities on bioinspired and biomimetic robotics, and in particular on animal-robot interaction, biohybrid intelligent systems, behavioral ecology, EvoDevo, Space bioregenerative systems. Romano’s research contributions represent a sophisticated approach to the study of organism complexity, with potential applications in agriculture, environmental management, biomedical contexts, and biohybrid multiagent systems.
He also worked as visiting scholar at Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi (UAE).
Romano has published more than 70 studies on highly-ranked international journals with impact factor. His H-index is 22 (Scopus, June 2023). He received national and international recognitions for his research. Romano is Member of the Editorial Board for several international scientific journals.
He is Coordinator, PI, or partner of several national and international research projects.
Editorial board memberships
- November 2022 – Present: Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Medical Robotics and Bionics.
- October 2022 – Present: Associate Editor of Journal of Field Robotics, Wiley.
- April 2022 – Present: Member of the Editorial Board of iScience, Cell Press.
- July 2022 – Present: Associate Editor of Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, section Biosensors and Biomolecular Electronics.
- December 2021 – Present: Member of the Editorial Board of Insects.
- September 2021 – Present: Associate Editor for the Conference Editorial Board (CEB) of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society for ICRA.
- February 2021 – Present: Member of the Editorial Board of Applied Sciences, section “Robotics and Automation".
- June 2020 – Present: Editor of Applied Bionics and Biomechanics, Hindawi.
- June 2018 – Present: Member of the Editorial Board of Data in Brief, Elsevier.
- November 2020 – Present: Member of the Editorial Board of Frontiers in Robotics and AI, section Bio-Inspired Robotics.
- March 2019 – July 2022: Member of the Editorial Board of Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, section Bionics and Biomimetics.
Guest Editor in Special Issues
- November 2021 – Present: Guest Editor of Bioinspiration & Biomimetics for the special issue “Biohybrid Systems: Bioinspired and Biomimetic Robots Interacting with Living Organisms”.
- January 2023 – Present: Guest Associate Editor of Frontiers in Robotics and AI for the special issue “Bioinspired robotics at small-scale: from 3D microfabrication to bio-hybrid materials”.
- July 2022 – Present: Guest Associate Editor of Insects for the special issues “Breakthrough Technologies in future Entomology”.
- June 2022 – Present: Guest Associate Editor of Sensors for the special issues “Biohybrids, Bioinspired and Biomimetic Agents for Dynamic and Complex Environments”.
- November 2020 – December 2021: Guest Editor of Biological Cybernetics for the special issue “Animal-Robot Interaction and Biohybrid organisms”.
- May 2020 – Present: Guest Associate Editor of Applied Sciences for the special issues “Biorobotics and Bionic Systems (I and II)”.
- November 2020 – March 2022: Guest Associate Editor of Frontiers in Psychology for the special issue “Robots and Bionic Systems as Tools to Study Cognition: Theories, Paradigms, and Methodological Issues”.
- December 2019 – September 2020: Guest Associate Editor of Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, section Bionics and Biomimetics for the special issue “Animals in Engineering: From Biomechanics and Biomimetic Structural Design to Adaptive Cognition”.
Awards and honours
- Winner of the Article of the Year Award 2020 for Applied Bionics and Biomechanics with the article “Impact of Different Developmental Instars on Locusta migratoria Jumping Performance” (03 July 2021).
- Winner of the prize "AgroInnovation Award", established by Image Line and Accademia dei Georgofili, for best PhD thesis in Precision Agriculture (May 2020). Precision agriculture is a key component of the third wave of modern agricultural revolutions. According to the European Commission “Precision Agriculture (PA) is a whole-farm management approach using information technology, satellite positioning (GNSS) data, remote sensing and proximal data gathering… PA contributes to the wider goal concerning sustainability of agricultural production”.
- Winner of the prize “Italian National Bioengineering Group and Patron” for best PhD thesis in Bioengineering, with the following motivation: “For his frontier studies in the field of interactions between animal models and robotic artefacts, and the resulting scientific contribution of international impact: the understanding of selection mechanisms, the persistent inductions of acquired behaviours, lateralization. Also in recognition of his significant contribution to the development of new bio-hybrid technologies for the control of hematophagous insects of medical interest as vectors of pathogens “. (Brixen, Italy, 11 September 2019).
- F1000Prime Recommendation on the article: Encoding lateralization of jump kinematics and eye use in a locust via bio-robotic artifacts., Journal of Experimental Biology, 2019 (DOI: 10.3410/f.734453040.793559235). https://f1000.com/prime/734453040?subscriptioncode=adb0fda9-18c3-4612-99fd-e92b74078cff&utm_medium=email&utm_source=prime_ypp.
- Encoding lateralization of jump kinematics and eye use in a locust via bio-robotic artifacts(DOI: 10.3410/f.734453040.793559235): mention in the Highlights of Journal of Experimental Biology as the most cited article of the journal in 2019.
- Finalist for the “Giovanni Spitali Prize” (Pisa, February 2020).
- 3rd place in the 2018 StartCup Toscana (30 October 2018) with the project “HUBI-Mosquito”, a bio-hybrid artifact for the mosquito control.
- Finalist for the “Innovation National Award” (29-30 November 2018) with the project “HUBI-Mosquito”, a bio-hybrid artifact for the mosquito control.
Research Projects (funding)
Currently, dr. Romano is leading, as the Coordinator or PI, several large national/international research projects on organism-robot biohybrid systems and bioinspired engineering, including:
- Project name: HORIZON-EIC-2023-PATHFINDEROPEN-01, SENSORBEES “Sensorbees are ENhanced Self-ORganizing Bio-hybrids for Ecological and Environmental Surveillance”, (2024-2029).
- Project name: REGOLIFE “Promoting Pedogenesis Through Lunar Soil-Terrestrial Organisms Interaction For Moon Fertilization”, funded by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), (2024-2027).
- Project name: PRIN (Progetti Di Ricerca Di Rilevante Interesse Nazionale), COSMIC “COntrolled Space MIcroecological system supporting eCopoiesis”, Contract no. J53D23009930006 (2023-2025).
- Project name: H2020-MSCA-RISE, ECOBOTICS.SEA "Bio-inspired Technologies for a Sustainable Marine Ecosystem", European contract no. 824043 (2018-2024).
- October 2021 – Present: lecturer for the course “Principles of Bionics and Biorobotics Engineering” (M.Sc. Bionics Engineering, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna & University of Pisa, Italy).
- A.Y. 2021-2022: lecturer for the course “Human and Animal Models in Biorobotics” (M.Sc. Bionics Engineering, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna & University of Pisa, Italy).
- October 2017 – September 2021: lecturer for the course “Principles of Bionics Engineering” (M.Sc. Bionics Engineering, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna & University of Pisa, Italy).
- 2019 – 2021: supporting didactic activities for the PhD course “Introduction to Biorobotics” (PhD students at Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Khalifa University, and Tianjin University).
- October 2022: Invited Key Lecturer for the Seasonal School “BEEP - Biology for human space exploration” organized by Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, with the talk “Earthworms as potential biotools supporting lunar regolith habitability for future crop growth in space”.
- October 2022: invited lecturer on “Robotics and AI for future Entomology” for the course “Insect Biotechnology” (M.Sc. Vegetable and Microbic Biotechnologies, University of Pisa, Italy).
- April 2022: invited lecturer on “New challenges of bionics: from copying nature to eco-integrating robots with living organisms” for the course “Principles of Agrarian Zoology” (B.Sc. Agriculture Science and Technology, University of Pisa, Italy).
- April 2021: invited lecturer on “Eco-integrating biorobotic agents for new bionics systems” for the course “Biological Control” (M.Sc. Agriculture Science and Technology, University of Pisa, Italy).
- A.Y. 2017-2018: guest lecturer for the course “Physiological Systems and Modeling (2)" (B.Sc. Biomedical engineering, Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi, UAE).