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Research Associate

Education and Training

PhD in Bioengineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, Portugal, 2021

Research Assistant, Policlinico di Modena, Italy, 2015

MSc in Medical Biotechnology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy, 2014

BSc in Biotechnology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy, 2011

Research activities

My interests rely on developing a large-scale platform to efficiently expand in parallel different cell types required to promote the repopulation of decellularized liver and its effective transplantation in vivo. Engineering a whole organ via decellularization of matrix bioscaffolds and recellularization with different cell types has been shown to be a promising approach to reduce the burden of liver shortage by increasing the number of organs available for transplantation. While organ decellularization has been extensively described in the literature, only few studies have reported the recellularization of the liver, as this requires the complex reconstruction of the organ’s parenchyma, vasculature and underlying support/connective structures.

My work will be focused on: i) the isolation and expansion under static conditions of different cell types (mesenchymal stem cells, umbilical vein endothelial cells, endothelial progenitor cells, smooth muscle cells and monocytes); ii) the development of a safe, robust and reproducible large-scale platform to efficiently expand in parallel the different cell types; and iii) the recellularization of liver scaffolds. The goal of my work is to develop the necessary technologies and methodologies to generate re-vascularized liver scaffolds that can be readily transplanted into living animals.

Selected publications

Pla-Palacin, I., Sánchez-Romero, N., Morini, S., Rubio-Soto, D., Baptista, P.M. Liver Tissue Engineering in Organ Tissue Engineering (D. Eberli, S. Lee & A. Traweger, Eds.), Springer, ISBN 9783030185121 (2020).

Morini, S., Sánchez-Romero, N., Palacín, I.P., Arnal, P.S., Almeida, M., Verscheijden, L., Almeida, J.I., Lue, A., Llorente, S., Almeida, H., Dachary, P.R., Gil, A.G., Serrano-Aulló, T., Baptista, P.M. Liver Tissue Engineering, in Bioreactors for Stem Cell Expansion and Differentiation, (J.M.S. Cabral & C. Lobato da Silva, Eds.), CRC Press, ISBN 9781498795906 (2018).

Pla-Palacín, I., Sainz-Arnal, P., Morini, S., Almeida, M., Baptista, P.M. Liver Bioengineering Using Decellularized Whole-Liver Scaffolds. Methods Mol Biol, doi: 10.1007/7651_2017_98. [Epub ahead of print] (2017).