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Hasselt University, 14-15 November

Hasselt University, 14-15 November

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Prof. dr. Andrea BANFI

Title of presentation: Therapeutic Angiogenesis – From Vascular Biology to Regenerative Medicine.

Prof. Andrea Banfi graduated in Medicine (1996) and specialized in Clinical Oncology (2000) at the University of Genoa (Italy), studying the biology of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells and their use for bone tissue engineering in the Cancedda lab. He then worked as a postdoc at Stanford University (USA) in the Blau lab, focusing on cell-based gene delivery for therapeutic angiogenesis. In 2004 he became Research Scientist at Stanford with a Career Development Award by the American Heart Association. In 2005 he moved to Basel (Switzerland), where he directs the group of Cell and Gene Therapy at the University Hospital, in the Departments of Biomedicine and of Surgery. The goal of his group is to promote vascular growth for tissue repair, combining expertise on mesenchymal progenitor cell biology and vascular biology. His research aims at: 1) elucidating the basic mechanisms governing the growth of blood vessels under therapeutically relevant conditions, and 2) translating these concepts into rational regenerative medicine approaches, to restore blood flow in ischemia and to regenerate vascularized tissues, particularly bone. Core competences of the group are the combination of stem cell therapy and gene therapy, to provide both vascular growth and tissue regeneration, as well as engineering of controlled microenvironments by factor-decorated smart biomaterials.

Prof. dr. Sarah CARTMELL

Title of presentation: Innovation on Orthopaedic Tissue Repair.

Sarah was appointed Professor of Bioengineering at The University of Manchester in 2014 in the School of Materials after joining Manchester in 2010. She received a B.Eng. in Materials Science with Clinical Engineering and a Ph.D. degree in Clinical Engineering from The University of Liverpool in 1996 and 2000, respectively and then furthered her studies at GeorgiaTech, Atlanta for two years as a postdoctoral research fellow. She joined Keele University in 2002 where she continued her postdoctoral studies until obtaining a Lecturership and then a Senior Lecturer position in orthopaedic tissue engineering in 2008.

Sarah is currently Deputy Head of The School of Materials which is home to nearly 2,000 students. She is a member of the school’s senior management team and is a currently elected Senate member for The University of Manchester. In addition to her Deputy Head role she is also the UK Biomedical Materials champion for The Royce Institute of a £235million UK government investment for advanced materials. In this activity she has created an interaction of a 200 strong stakeholder working group of UK academics and industry. She has prepared and led community day and strategic working group meetings. In this role she has led the creation of UK landscape activity in the biomedical materials area and has liaised with many UK and international academics and industry. These internationally leading biomaterials activities fits well into the TERMIS tissue engineering scaffold and advanced therapeutics research. Sarah also leads Faculty of Science and Engineering lead for the University of Manchester’s ‘Advanced Materials in Medicine @ Manchester’ activity.

Sarah has been awarded 51 grants, >£12.7million of grants as lead PI and >£22million as both PI and CI from 22 different competitive sources ranging from government, charity and industry. She is elected secretary of the UK Tissue and Cell Engineering Society and an outreach committee member of The Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society; EU chapter. She has over 70 publications with over 3400 citations, 180 published abstracts and has given over 40 invited keynotes in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. All these publications have a common theme of orthopaedic engineering with a particular focus on X-Ray evaluation of tissue engineering constructs and biomaterials and the response of orthopaedic cells to a variety of stimuli such as mechanical forces, electrical stimulus, statins and a variety of different novel materials to support their growth into the correct tissue type/shape.

She has been a review panel member for the government funding such as the BBSRC, MRC and Innovate UK and has been an external evaluating panel member and UK expert advisor to the European Union as a member of The European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research (COST) in the ‘Biomedicine and Molecular Biosciences’ Domain. She is also a reviewer for ERC, EU H2020 Marie Skłodowska Curie Award Individual Fellowships and Integrated Training Networks, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Irish Research Council, Czech Science Foundation and Israel Science Foundation. She has been a previous editorial board international member for ‘Biomaterials’ journal and is currently associate editor for ‘Science and Technology of Advanced Materials (STAM)’ and an editorial board member for ‘World Journal of Orthopaedics’.

Prof. dr. Patricia DANKERS

Title of presentation: Supramolecular biomaterials for engineering the cell-material interface.

Prof. Patricia Dankers started her PhD research at Eindhoven University of Technology, developing and studying supramolecular bioactive biomaterials by introducing a modular approach. After her PhD defense in 2006, she became a research scientist at the company SupraPolix in Eindhoven and a researcher at the laboratory of Pathology and Medical Biology at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). At UMCG she initiated the Dutch bioartificial kidney project together with Prof. Marja J.A. van Luyn. In 2008, Patricia Dankers was appointed as assistant professor at Eindhoven University of Technology. In 2010 she was a visiting professor in the research group of Prof. Samuel I. Stupp at the Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine at Northwestern University, Chicago (USA). In 2013, she defended her second PhD thesis, this time in the medical sciences at University of Groningen University. In 2014, she was appointed associate professor at TU/e and in 2017 full professor of Biomedical Materials & Chemistry. Prof. Patricia Dankers is a Veni (2008) and Vidi (2017) laureate and received an ERC starting grant in 2012. She has been awarded various grants and awards, such as the DSM Science & Technology award, the Pauline van Wachem award (for the best thesis in biomaterials research and tissue engineering), and the Journal of Polymer Science Innovation Award (2019). Since 2015 she is a member of De Jonge Akademie (DJA) of the KNAW and in 2016 she joined the board of DJA.  Her research group focusses on the design and synthesis of bioinspired functional biomaterials. The main goals are: 1. To develop methods to specifically modify biomaterials surfaces, and 2. To translate these biomaterials to applications in the field of regenerative medicine, with a focus on cardiovascular and renal applications. The biomedical application of different supramolecular polymeric biomaterials held together via directed, non-covalent interactions is the central theme of her research.


Title of presentation: Immune-instructive biomaterials for regenerative medicine applications.

Prof. Amir M. Ghaemmaghami is professor of Immunology & Immuno-bioengineering at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. He is a clinician by training and an immunologist who works at the interface of biological sciences, chemistry and engineering. Prof Ghaemmaghami’s research is focused on understanding the interaction between the immune system and environmental stimuli with emphasis on the role of antigen presenting cells in immune regulation in health and disease. Within his group there are multiple cross-disciplinary research themes with particular interest in immune modulation by targeting dendritic cell/macrophages, developing bio-instructive materials for regenerative medicine applications, next generation medical devices and immune competent tissue models as platforms for disease modelling and testing new drug leads. Prof Ghaemmaghami is a Follow of the UK Higher Education Academy and member of various Editorial/Advisory Boards and international research funding panels. His research has received continuous support from different UK funding agencies, medical charities, industry and European Commission.

Prof. dr. Ralph MULLER

Title of presentation: Towards Human Bone Organoids - From Stem Cells to Bioprinting

Dr. Müller is currently a Professor of Biomechanics at the Department of Health Sciences and Technology and heads the Laboratory for Bone Biomechanics at ETH Zürich in Switzerland. He studied electrical engineering at ETH Zürich, where he also received his doctoral degree. Subsequently, he was involved in the development of a compact desktop micro-tomographic imaging system that since has been commercialized and is now marketed worldwide. The research he has completed and is currently pursuing employs state-of-the-art biomechanical testing and simulation techniques as well as novel bioimaging and visualization strategies for musculoskeletal tissues. His approaches are now often used for precise phenotypic characterization in mammalian genetics, mechanobiology as well as tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. He is an author of over 500 peer-reviewed publications in international scientific journals and conference proceedings. His work has been cited over 30,000 times on Google Scholar with an h-index of 90. He has received numerous awards, more recently the Mike Horton Award from the European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS), the Muybridge Award from the International Society of Biomechanics (ISB), and the Huiskes Medal for Biomechanics from the European Society of Biomechanics (ESB). In 2015, he was elected to both the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW) and as a Fellow of the European Alliance for Medical and Biological Engineering and Science (EAMBES). In 2017, the European Research Council (ERC) awarded him with a prestigious ERC Advanced Grant. He is a former President of the European Society of Biomechanics (ESB) and the Swiss Society for Biomedical Engineering (SSBE) and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the International Society of Bone Morphometry (ISBM). He founded two spin-off companies, Pearltec AG, developing and marketing novel patient positioning systems for medical imaging, and b-cube AG, now a subsidiary of Scanco Medical AG.

Prof. dr. James PHILIPS

Title of presentation: Nerve Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine

Prof. Dr James Phillips was appointed to the post of Senior Lecturer in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering at UCL in November 2013, then became Reader in Regenerative Medicine in December 2017. Before that he was a Lecturer in Health Sciences at the Open University in Milton Keynes (2004-2013), leading a research group and taking part in a range of teaching and public engagement activities. His first degree was in Biochemistry at Imperial College London (awarded 1996), followed by a PhD in Pharmacology at the School of Pharmacy, University of London (awarded 2000). He was then a postdoctoral researcher on an EU project in the Tissue Repair and Engineering Centre at UCL, then worked as a Research Fellow in the Surgery Department at UCL. James Phillips is currently involved in a range of research projects including collaborations with scientists, clinicians and engineers working in academia and industry. He is a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Biomaterials Applications, part of the Executive Committee of the Tissue and Cell Engineering Society and a Board Member for the European Society for the Study of Peripheral Nerve Repair and Regeneration. His research group uses tissue engineering principles to model and to repair the nervous system. The group specialises in building artificial neural tissues by growing nervous system cells in a 3- dimensional environment. These engineered neural tissues can be adapted using specific cells, extracellular matrix, chemical signals and biomechanical cues in order to provide laboratory models for neuroscience research, or implantable grafts for use in regenerative medicine.


Title of presentation: The role of cellular forces in vascular invasion.

Hans Van Oosterwyck (DOB 02.02.1972) is a professor and the chair of the Biomechanics section (Mechanical Engineering Department) at KU Leuven, where he is heading the Mechanobiology and Tissue Engineering research group (www.mech.kuleuven.be/mechanobiology). He holds an MSc degree in Materials Engineering (1995) and a PhD degree in Engineering (2000), both obtained at KU Leuven (Leuven, Belgium). He has been a postdoctoral fellow at the AO Research Institute (Davos, Switzerland) in 2004-2005 and a visiting scientist at the University of Zaragoza (Spain) in 2009. He is a member of Prometheus, the Leuven R&D Division for Skeletal Tissue Engineering. He has been the recipient of an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2012. His research focuses on the importance of cellular forces for cell fate, with a focus on vascular biology and angiogenesis in particular. His group is strongly interdisciplinary and develops experimental and computational methods that aim at quantifying cellular forces, such as traction force microscopy. He has been (co-) authoring 111 peer-reviewed publications and has a h-index of 26 (both according to Web of Science). A full list of publications can be found on https://lirias.kuleuven.be/cv?u=U0030372. Hans Van Oosterwyck has been a Council Member of the European Society of Biomechanics (ESB) between 2006 and 2014. He has been its President between 2012-2014. He teaches courses on classical mechanics, and various courses in biomedical engineering, such as tissue biomechanics, mechanobiology, tissue engineering and modelling of physiology.

Dr. Jolien ROBIJNS

Title of presentation: Photobiomodulation therapy: Can light restore tissue?

Dr. Jolien Robijns obtained her master’s in Biomedical Sciences at Hasselt University, Belgium in 2014. In October 2018, she received the degree of doctor in Biomedical Sciences at the same university under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Jeroen Mebis. The main topic of her PhD project was the application of photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) for the prevention and management of acute radiodermatitis in cancer patients. Now, she further investigates the use of PBMT in the field of the supportive care of cancer patients as a postdoctoral fellow. She has been invited to speak at several (inter)national conferences in the field of oncology and laser therapy. Her research has been awarded with numerous prizes and has gained attention in the Belgian media. Dr. Robijns is also a member of several organizations in the field ranging from the ALSMS, Belgian Laser Group, MASCC, ESTRO, to the WALT. In November 2019, her research team will introduce the first laser centre in Belgium, "LOwLIght", with three specific aims: treating patients with PBM to reduce cancer therapy-related complications, performing PBM research, and training people to increase the PBM knowledge.


Title of presentation: Application of cellular therapy to current surgical techniques in Implantology

Ana obtained her dental degree in 2010 at the University of Barcelona (Spain) and in 2012 her Master in Biomedical Sciences at the University of the Basque Country (Spain). In 2014, she started a PhD on the use of platelet concentrates in oral surgery at the KU Leuven (Belgium) where she has evaluated the application of tissue engineering approaches on the current oral surgical techniques. One year later, Ana also started her training in Periodontology within the program of the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP). Ana is a member of the Belgian Society of Periodontology (BVP) and has written several international publications regarding Periodontology and Implantology.