Donato Romano [M.Sc. in Agriculture Science and Technologies (honors) 2014, PhD in BioRobotics (honors) 2018] is currently an Assistant Professor at The BioRobotics Institute. Romano is mainly focusing his activities on bioinspired and biomimetic robotics, and in particular on animal-robot interaction, biohybrid systems, natural and biohybrid intelligence, ethorobotics, neuroethology. Major aims of his research are biodiversity preservation, sustainable environmental management, life support in extreme scenarios. He received national and international recognition for his research. He is co-founder and R&D Director of the HUBILIFE srl (spin-off of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna) aimed at developing and commercializing bioinspired devices to improve human daily life. He also worked as visiting scholar at Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi (UAE), where he carried out research activities in the framework of recent advances in methods of using Terahertz (THz) frequency band to study the interaction between radiation and biological molecules and tissues. 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”.
- 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 (May 2020).
- Winner of the prize “Italian National Bioengineering Group and Patron” for best PhD thesis in Bioengineering (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).
- 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).