Elena Simone

Order out of chaos: applications, challenges and opportunities of crystallization processes

Politecnico di Torino, Turin, Italy



Crystallization is a widespread unit operation used for separation and purification in many sectors including the food, pharmaceutical and fine chemical industries. Crystal properties such as shape, size and internal structure (polymorphs) can dramatically affect important final product features such as solubility, bioavailability and dissolution rate. Crystal engineering is a branch of material science that is devoted to the design of complex crystal structures for specific targeted applications (e.g., controlled release of active ingredients, antibacterial functions, CO2 capture); whereas formulation scientists and process engineers need to effectively incorporate these complex crystalline particles in formulations that can deliver the desired product functionality, and design the most efficient manufacturing processes (e.g., less unit operations, reduced volumes) necessary to produce both particles and formulations. Hence, an holistic approach that combines material & formulation sciences with process engineering is essential to improve production efficiency and sustainability for complex crystalline products. Developing such approach for the production of food & pharmaceutical crystalline formulations is one of the aims of my research. In my talk I will illustrate my research vision to tackle this scientific challenge and I will show some examples of my past, current and future work. In particular, I will describe some of the process strategies that I developed to control crystal properties during crystallization in solution, and some recent work that I have carried out to understand the relationship between crystal structure and particle properties for nutraceutical molecules.

Short Bio:

Dr Elena Simone obtained her BSc and MSc in chemical engineering from the University of Pisa (Italy). After a short period as research assistant in Unilever R&D (Colworth, UK), in 2012 she started her PhD in Chemical Engineering at Loughborough University (UK). She graduated in 2015, and after a short postdoc between Loughborough and Purdue University (US), in 2016 she joined the school of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds (UK), as lecturer in Food Crystal Engineering. Since 2021 she has been associate professor in chemical engineering and European Research Council fellow at Politecnico di Torino (Italy).

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