Coordination: Gaspar Martinho and Jorge Morgado





The aim of this course is to provide the students with advanced knowledge on the development of artificial materials with application in regenerative medicine, namely to support stem cells over ex-vivo cultivation or in-vivo applications. The course will provide the student with a perspective on (1) Cells and their natural niche composition, (2) Desirable materials properties for tissue engineering, (3) Polymeric building blocks, (4) Techniques to produce 3D structures, (5) Surface modification and characterization techniques, (6) Materials characterization, (7) Effects of materials nature and structure in stem cell fate, (8) Advanced stimuli responsive materials, (9) Application of structured materials for ex-vivo culture scale-up, (10) Application of structured materials for in-vivo tissue regeneration.




This course offers an overview of the advances for development and tailoring of different materials and 3D architectures, intercalated with a series of case studies of advanced examples, such as:


1. The extracellular matrix (ECM) and cell niche. Cell-surface interactions. Desirable properties of artificial structures for applications in tissue engineering;
2. Polymeric building blocks. Natural and synthetic materials;
3. Polymer synthesis and characterization: synthesis with controlled molecular size and architecture;
4. Tools for polymer structure and composition modification. Stimuli-responsive polymers;
5. Chemical and topographic surface modification: plasma treatment, chemical modification, SAMS, lithography, contact printing, stamping;
6. Electroconductive and optically active polymers for stem cell fate;
7. Standard characterization of materials: hydrophobicity, stress and strain mechanical properties; mass transfer, porosity, biodegradability, biocompatibility (cytotoxicity, genotoxicity);
8. Advanced materials characterization: laser scanning optical microscopies (confocal, multiphoton, FLIM, super-resolution); electron microscopy; atomic force microscopy and MicroCT (X-Ray);
9. Promoting cell anchorage and providing mechanical stimulus. ECM microenvironment and mimicking the cell niche;
10. Luminescent nanomaterials for cell characterization: labelling and sensing platforms for microscopic analysis. Luminescent materials for in vivo cell sensing;
11. Scaffold design: Techniques for polymer processing: Salt leaching and gas foaming, Emulsion freeze drying, Electrospinning, 3D Rapid prototyping. Cell Printing;
12. The role of biomaterials for scale-up ex-vivo cell cultivations;
13. Examples of in vivo applications: Cell and tissue constructs.


Evaluation Methodology


The students will be challenged to study a specific case in a topic related to the course contents and objectives and envisaging an application in regenerative medicine. The students will be evaluated individually on the basis of their analysis of this case, namely through:


1. Individual short report (ca. 5-10 pages) with presentation in class;
2. Debate of topic on the field of biomaterials for regenerative medicine;
3. Individual class participation.