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Mimicking the dynamic and complex ECM: designing bioprinted immune-instructive hydrogels


Tissue and organ shortage is the limiting factor in treating many patients with chronic organ failure and has led to over 18 patients deaths every day just in Europe. Recreating the 3D complexity of tissues and organs is moving step-by-step from sci-fi to reality thanks to the tremendous progress in 3D printing techniques. Native tissues and organs are composed of different cells, proteins, and signaling molecules that are arranged in a hierarchical complex microenvironment, called extracellular matrix (ECM). Bioprinting has emerged as a novel fabrication technique that assembles cells-laden biomaterials in a spatially controlled manner, promising customized 3D tissue-engineered constructs for potential clinical use. One of the main challenges to clinical success is to avoid immune system rejection. The overall aim of the INKspired project is to generate novel ECM-inspired bioinks, which could further recapitulate the dynamicity and complex structure of native tissue and even modulate the immune response. By double network strategy, I will combine two dynamic hydrogel networks to control the overall mechanical and biological properties of printed constructs. The outcomes of INKspired aim to contribute to tissue bioprinting and hence the global chronic lack of tissues.
My unique research background, which includes tissue engineering, material science and engineering, will allow me to carry out this multidisciplinary project. I will collaborate with the supervisors, who have a vast experience in biofabrication and biomaterials, and work at the international and interdisciplinary setting (MERLN, Maastricht University). Marie Curie fellowship will enhance the potential of my future career perspectives by providing an interdisciplinary and translational education program, empowering me to take leading positions in the field of tissue engineering worldwide.

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Minderbroedersberg 4
6200 MD Maastricht
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 175 572,48