Bone tissue regeneration is a complex well-orchestrated physiological process, involving a number of cell types and intracellular and extracellular molecular signalling pathways.
The existence of stromal cells with progenitor characteristics in bone marrow was first hypothesized by Cohnheim in the 19th century.
Stem cells are a population of undifferentiated cells characterized by the ability to extensively proliferate and to differentiate into different cell types.
Magnetic scaffolds have recently attracted significant attention in tissue engineering, due to the prospect of improving bone tissue formation by conveying soluble factors such as growth factors.
In recent years, the importance of the surrounding microenvironment as modulator of cell activity has been greatly recognized and its maintenance is crucial to preserve tissue homeostasis.
Organs transplantation or implantation of synthetic devices is the currently available and most used methods to treat loss of tissues and organs in humans.
Due to the increasing annual incidence of neurotraumas, advanced tissue engineering approaches could represent the resolute remedies for patients with strongly lesioned central nervous system and have a great repercussion in the public healthcare cost.
INEB – Instituto de Engenharia Biomédica
Carla Cunha completed her University Degree in Biology in 2002 in the Faculty of Sciences from the University of Porto. She was then selected as a fellow of the GABBA PhD programme. In 2007 she obtained her PhD degree in Biology granted by the University of Porto, with a PhD project in neurobiology of learning developed at the San Raffaele Institute in Milan. Carla Cunha has since then been working on the area of Biomedical Engineering in Italy, USA and Australia. Research interests are centred on the combined used of stem cells and biomaterials for tissue engineering strategies in different target tissues. In particular, research has focused on nerve reconstruction, including development of in vitro 3D scaffolds made of functionalized self-assembling peptides for culture of neural stem cells and in vivo nerve regeneration strategies. Later on, osteochondral tissue engineering strategies were pursuit, with several novel biomaterials being tested in vitro and applied into osteochondral animal model defects. In 2012 she moved to Portugal to join INEB, where tissue engineering strategies focus the intervertebral disc.
Department of Nanomedicine, Houston Methodist Research Institute
Francesca Taraballi earned her B.S. in Biological Sciences and her M.S. in Biochemistry at University of Milan - Bicocca, Italy and a Ph.D. in Nanostructures and Nanotechnologies from a joint program of the Materials Science Department of University of Milan - Bicocca with the Lawrence National Berkeley Laboratory (LBNL) in 2009. Her research focused on tissue engineering for different applications (spinal cord injury, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal). Dr. Taraballi worked in different laboratory such as the Department of Biomedical engineering of TAMU (College Station, TX), the Molecular Foundry at LBNL (Berkeley, CA) and the School of Materials Science and Engineering of NTU (Singapore). Dr. Taraballi developed in her career many tissue engineering platforms applied to different regenerative medicine approaches, from neural to bone and cartilage regeneration. She has authored multiple papers and book chapters in the field in nanomedicine and materials science, as well as multiple patent applications. She definitely moved to the United States in January 2013 as a senior research associate under the supervision of Dr. Ennio Tasciotti at Houston Methodist Research Institute, Department of Regenerative Medicine with a research focus on biomaterial functionalization for immune modulation.
Institute of Science and Technology for Ceramics, National Research Council of Italy
Silvia Panseri received her PhD in Biology at the University of Milan-Bicocca (Italy) working on regenerative medicine in traumatic injury of central nervous system (Vescovi’s Lab). She was awarded with SIBS award (16° ed.) Best PhD Thesis of 2009 in Biological Field (83° National Congress of Italian Society of Sperimental Biology). She completed a Post Doctoral fellowship (2009-2012) with Dr. Marcacci at Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute in Bologna (Italy). In 2011 she was a visiting fellow (Marco Polo Fellowship for young Italian Researchers to research periods abroad - University of Bologna) at Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cellular Engineering Laboratory - Columbia University (NYC, USA). Since 2013 she is a researcher in the Bioceramics and Bio-hybrid Composites Group at Institute of Science and Technology for Ceramics of National Research Council of Italy in Faenza (RA). Since the 2006 she has been worked on different biomaterials applied to regenerative medicine. She has expertise in three dimensional stem cell culture with several scaffolds (self-assembling peptide, electrospun fibrous materials, ceramic, polymeric and bio-hybrid composite) and in vivo regenerative medicine. Her interests are focused on novel approaches in tissue engineering and nanomedicine based on innovative biomaterials and 3D cell culture.