The enthesis structure with reversed gradients of mineral and collagen that make up the 4 zones from the ligament/tendon to the bone. Especially, the hard-to-soft tissue transition is hard to regenerate.

Research line 1

Cell Biology - Inspired Tissue Engineering (cBITE)

Led by: Martijn van Griensven – Profile page

The Department of Cell Biology-Inspired Tissue Regeneration focuses on molecular and cellular techniques for regeneration of tissue and organs. Cell-cell interactions as well as molecular mechanisms are studied. Aberrations during pathologies are investigated. Furthermore, computer modelling will allow an additional more complex insight. All this knowledge is used to develop novel therapies with a strong translational vision.

Cells or derivatives thereof are combined with biomaterials and molecular cues. Immunereactions are taken into consideration as well, in order to make the innovative regenerative therapy successful. The department works in a highly interdisciplinary fashion and provides a research line from basic science to translational application.

C2C12 Cell attachment movie

Research line 2

Instructive Biomaterials Engineering (IBE)

Led by: Pamela Habibović – Profile page

Research at IBE is inspired and driven by materials science and engineering. The group aims at developing “smart”, instructive synthetic biomaterials for tissue and organ regeneration, with focus on inorganic materials for regeneration of connective tissue.

IBE's main objectives are:

  • The design and fabrication of biomaterials for regenerative medicine with closely controlled properties, by combining different material types and fabrication technologies
  • Fundamental study of biological mechanisms behind interactions of biomaterials and cells/tissues, with the aim of designing and developing novel instructive biomaterials.
  • Application of bioinorganics as synthetic “growth factors”
  • Biomineralization
  • The development of screening platforms (e.g. based on microfluidics) to increase throughput of screening interactions of materials with the biological
    environment and rate at which new biomaterials are developed
  • Fabrication of highly functional film-based biomedical microdevices by micro and nanoscale 3D forming and superimposed patterned surface and bulk modification of thin polymer films

  • Engineering of artificial cellular microenvironments and of in vitro 3D tissue and organ analogues using the aforementioned 3D film micro- and nanotechnologies

  • Lithography for multiscale hierarchical 3D substrates, e.g. 3D nanoimprint, 3D deep UV or 3D X-ray lithography

Research Highlights

  • Engineering of calcium phosphate ceramics to be used as instructive biomaterials in regeneration of hard tissue and the use of bioinorganics as alternative synthetic “growth factors”.
  • Patterning of bioceramics to study their interactions with biological systems in a controlled manner.
  • Application of fundamental knowledge on biomineralization to develop improved strategies for regeneration of bone and bone-to-soft tissue interfaces.

3DHTS 11 07 2011

Research line 3

Complex Tissue Regeneration (CTR)

Led by: Lorenzo Moroni – Profile page

At CTR, advanced macro, micro and nanobiofabrication technologies are developed and combined with fundamental knowledge of biology and materials chemistry towards the design of complex tissues and organs. With an emphasis on high-throughput approaches, potential applications of such constructs include stem cell research, developmental biology, cancer research, pharmaceutical or toxicological screening, tissue regeneration and bioartificial organs.

The technological bases for the fabrication of such constructs, ranging from bioprinting to advanced microwell arrays, are:

  • Additive manufacturing technologies for building functional 3D scaffolds, such as 3D fiber deposition
  • Advanced electrospinning technologies for generating extracellular matrix-like fibrous meshes
  • Bottom-up tissue engineering based on micro and nanoengineered objects as instructive microscaffolds
  • Scaffold-free, self-assembled 3D tissues/organ spheroids
  • Dynamic and responsive polymeric and supramolecular materials for the control and influence of cellular response
  • Integrate neural and vascular cues in tissue and organ regeneration strategies.

  • Engineer the immune response of biomaterials, scaffolds, and biomedical devices.

  • Design of scaffolds able to control and steer (stem) cell activity

MERLN research centres around the following research lines

  • Research line 1

    Cell Biology - Inspired Tissue Engineering (cBITE)

  • Research line 2

    Instructive Biomaterials Engineering (IBE)

  • Research line 3

    Complex Tissue Regeneration (CTR)