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Focus Area Biomaterials and Devices for Advanced Medicine

Biomimetic and Bioinspired Materials and Processes Lab

PI: Frederico Ferreira

Manufacture of functional advanced materials

Manufacture of functional advanced materials, able to provide biological and physical cues, along with stimuli responsive properties, namely to electric, piezoelectric, magnetic and near infrared or ultrasounds wireless stimulation. Synthetic and natural materials. The development of soft hybrid materials for cell and organ engineering is an unmet challenge. To foster hierarchical organization and mediate stimuli delivery adequate materials will be developed, combining stimuli responsive properties, with adequate mechanic features (i.e. low stiffness, flexible or elastic), biodegradability, transparency, biocompatibility (including ability to modulate stem cell behavior), facilitated cross-link and, importantly, being possible to be processed alone or with cells and extracellular matrices on 3D structures.

Manufacture of 3D scaffolds and bioprinting for tissue constructs engineering

Design and construction of (i) scaffolds and/or (ii) 3D direct printing of cells using additive manufacturing to support 3D culture of stem cells and tissue construct development. The functional materials developed, along with existing biomaterials and natural extracellular matrix components, are engineered on different structures ranging from the nanoscale (nanoparticles, electrospun nanofibers) to macroscale to provide hierarchical cell organization, support control drug/factor delivery and provide physical stimuli to cells, contributing to stem cell differentiation and maturation on tissue constructs.

Bioreactor and device design and prototyping for 3D cell culture and processing

Novel bioreactors and devices designs will be employed for integration of cells, scaffolds and controlled physical stimuli. Design of bioreactors and/or devices able to support and stimulate cell and tissue construct development. Combining adequate mathematical models of mass transfer, mechanical forces distribution, shear stress, electrical and/or magnetic field intensities to design the scaffold and bioreactors and/or devices to support 3D cell culture and processing.

Electrical and magnetic stem cell stimulation

To investigate the effect of electrical and magnetic stimulation of stem cells in 3D supported stem cell culture. Specifically, investigations have been focused on
(i) Magnetic stimulation of MSC-seeded scaffolds to tune cell secretome and enhance its angiogenic potential and responsive biomaterial platforms for cancer therapies;
(ii) Hierarchical scaffolds and electrical field stimulation for production of osteochondral substitutes;
(iii) Electrical stimulation of iPSCs and progenitor cells for neural and cardiovascular differentiation aiming, respectively, at the regeneration of neural tissue and development of cardiac tissue.

Economic assessment of innovative advanced therapies

Early economic assessment of advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) and medical key enabling technologies (mKET) are essential to support decisions on the development of technologies, in close collaboration with clinicians and industry partners.


PhD holders

Frederico Castelo Alves Ferreira, Innovative Materials and Processes (Keywords: Scaffold design, Bioreactor design, Economic analysis, Membranes, Electromagnetic cell stimuli)

João Carlos Fernandes da Silva, Biomimetic bioactive scaffolds for functional osteochondral regeneration (Keywords: Biomimetic and Bioactive Scaffolds, Electrospinning, Osteochondral tissue engineering, Bioreactor prototyping, MSC, Extracellular matrix)

Marta Monteiro Silva Carvalho, Decellularized extracellular matrix as a biomaterial strategy for periodontal tissue regeneration (Keywords: Biomimetic Scaffolds, Alveolar bone, Periodontal ligament, Dental and mesenchymal stem cells, Extracellular matrix)

Fábio Filipe Ferreira Garrudo, Novel electrospun scaffolds for neural stem cell differentiation under electrical stimulation. (Keywords: Electroconductive scaffold, Neural stem cell differentiation, Electric stimulation)

Ana Carina Baeta Manjua, Novel Cell-based Strategies for Development of Vascular Tissue: Exploring Magnetic Field Stimulation and Fluidic Dynamics (Keywords: Microfluidic platforms, Magnetic responsive scaffolds, Vascularization)

PhD students

Laura Sordini, A new generation of 4D bioprinted electrically conductive hydrogels wireless activatable for induced pluripotent stem cell neural differentiation (Keywords: Piezoelectric hydrogels, wireless activated electrical materials, Bioprinting)

Maria Leonor Matos Resina, New electro-responsive materials platforms for cancer treatment: Smart self-growing nanoparticles and transdermal devices (Nanoparticles, Molecular Imprinted Polymers, Cancer therapies)

Rafaela Neves, Design and modelling of cryopreservation systems with application in cellular therapies (Keywords: Cryopreservation, Computing fluids dynamic modelling, Cell viability studies)

Medical doctors (MD), PhD students

Pedro Miguel Gonçalves Diniz, Achilles tendon ruptures: novel insights in risk factors and treatment options (Keywords: Orthopedics, Achilles tendon, Finite element analysis)

Carlos Eduardo Baião Nogueira Maia Dias, Implications and complications of different types of materials and its application in knotless rotator cuff repairs: An evaluation of force, pressure and area of contact of tapes in a tendon bone unit mechanical model and evaluation of clinical outcomes (Keywords: Orthopedics, Shoulder repair, Finite element analysis)

Key collaborators

Robert J. Linhardt (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)), Jorge Morgado (Instituto de Telecomunicações), Carla Portugal (REQUIMTE/NOVA), Paula Faria (IPLeiria), Carlos Alemán (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya), Stan Finkelstein (MIT), Frankie Rawson (University of Nottingham), Miguel Rodrigues (SmartFreez), Eduardo Pires (Bioceramed), Nuno Ribeiro (Hospital Luz)