Where Ideas Grow

BioEngineered Surfaces


The BioEngineered Surfaces (BeSurf) group focuses on nanotechnology approaches for surface modification of biomaterials to fight infection and improve hemocompatibility of medical devices.

We use self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) & biomedical polymers to incorporate molecules (antimicrobial peptides (AMP); fatty acid-like compounds; glycans and other polysaccharides) that will guide specific protein/cell binding and control bacterial adhesion and/or thrombus formation. Besides fundamental research, the group is also committed to transfer the knowledge created through patent applications in collaboration with industrial partners. For the development of these biomaterial surfaces, different approaches are being followed depending on the final medical application:



Biomaterials to fight gastric infection

Helicobacter pylori is a Gram-negative bacterium that infects more than 50% of the worldwide population. It is the etiological agent of several gastro-duodenal diseases and responsible for 75% of the global gastric cancer burden. The group has been developing antibiotic-free engineered biomaterials for H. pylori gastric infection management. These strategies are based on orally administered micro/nanoparticles that, by being specific to H. pylori cells are able to kill them in situ or to capture and remove them from infected hosts, without affecting other bacteria from the gut microbiota. The efficacy of the different approaches is studied in vitro using H. pylori and gastric cell lines and in vivo using a H. pylori-infected mice model.
Selected Publications: Fonseca2022/Henriques2020/Seabra2018/Parreira2019



Biomaterials-associated infection & thrombus formation

Biomaterials-associated infection is a major threat in all medical devices since, after surface colonization, pathogens can produce biofilm protecting them from the host immune system and available therapies. Moreover, thrombus formation is also a serious concern associated with blood contacting medical devices. The group has been developing biomaterials and coatings with antimicrobial properties to kill bacteria by contact or with anti-adhesive features to avoid bacterial adhesion and thrombus formation.

Antimicrobial Peptides (AMPs) are explored for the creation of anti-infective implant coatings for tissue repair, namely for orthopaedic applications and prevention/treatment of skin wound infections. Different strategies for AMPs grafting onto biomaterials are explored in order to maximize their bactericidal activity after surface binding.
Selected Publications: Monteiro2020/Barbosa2019/Costa2017/Costa2015

Anti-adhesive coatings are investigated using two main approaches namely i) albumin-binding coatings due to albumin “passivant” effect and ii) polysaccharides coatings based on extracellular polymer released by marine cyanobacteria. Selected Publications: Felgueiras2017/Matinha-Cardoso2021



  • AntINFECT - Bioengineered Advanced Therapies for Problematic Infected Wounds (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-031781). PI: Cristina Martins
  • Bio2Skin Advanced - Development of a new generation of adhesives with antiseptic, regenerative and adhesive proprieties to prevent and/or treat skin lesions caused by the use of conventional medical adhesives. Project in co-promotion with the company BestHealth4u (NORTE-01-0247-FEDER-047225)
Chitosan microsphere (in red) with adherent Helicobacter pylori (in green)


Selected Publications

Ramôa A.M., Campos F., Moreira L., Teixeira C., Leiro V., Gomes P., das Neves J., Martins M.C.L., Monteiro C.,
Antimicrobial peptide-grafted PLGA-PEG nanoparticles to fight bacterial wound infections. Biomaterials Science11(2):499-508, 2022. [Journal: Article] [IF: 7,6 (*)]
DOI: 10.1039/d2bm01127a SCOPUS: 85144032387

Fonseca D.R., Moura A., Leiro V., Silva-Carvalho R., Estevinho B.N., Seabra C.L., Henriques P.C., Lucena M., Teixeira C., Gomes P., Parreira P., Martins M.C.L.,
Grafting MSI-78A onto chitosan microspheres enhances its antimicrobial activity. Acta Biomaterialia137:186-198, 2022. [Journal: Article] [CI: 4] [IF: 10,6 (*)]
DOI: 10.1016/j.actbio.2021.09.063 SCOPUS: 85118721492

Chitas R., Nunes C., Reis S., Parreira P., Martins M.C.L.,
How Charge, Size and Protein Corona Modulate the Specific Activity of Nanostructured Lipid Carriers (NLC) against Helicobacter pylori. Pharmaceutics14(12):, 2022. [Journal: Article] [IF: 6,5 (*)]
DOI: 10.3390/pharmaceutics14122745 SCOPUS: 85144862441

Pinho A.S., Seabra C.L., Nunes C., Reis S., L. Martins M.C., Parreira P.,
Helicobacter pylori biofilms are disrupted by nanostructured lipid carriers: A path to eradication?. Journal of Controlled Release348:489-498, 2022. [Journal: Article] [CI: 1] [IF: 11,5 (*)]
DOI: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2022.05.050 SCOPUS: 85132423536

Alves P.M., Pereira R.F., Costa B., Tassi N., Teixeira C., Leiro V., Monteiro C., Gomes P., Costa F., Martins M.C.L.,
Thiol-Norbornene Photoclick Chemistry for Grafting Antimicrobial Peptides onto Chitosan to Create Antibacterial Biomaterials. ACS Applied Polymer Materials4(7):5012-5026, 2022. [Journal: Article] [IF: 4,9 (*)]
DOI: 10.1021/acsapm.2c00563 SCOPUS: 85135691768

Matinha-Cardoso J., Mota R., Gomes L.C., Gomes M., Mergulhão F.J., Tamagnini P., Martins M.C.L., Costa F.,
Surface activation of medical grade polyurethane for the covalent immobilization of an anti-adhesive biopolymeric coating. Journal of Materials Chemistry B9(17):3705-3715, 2021. [Journal: Article] [CI: 6] [IF: 7,6]
DOI: 10.1039/d1tb00278c SCOPUS: 85105524958

Costa B., Martínez-De-tejada G., Gomes P.A.C., Martins M.C.L., Costa F.,
Antimicrobial peptides in the battle against orthopedic implant-related infections: A review. Pharmaceutics13(11):, 2021. [Journal: Review] [CI: 11] [IF: 6,5]
DOI: 10.3390/pharmaceutics13111918 SCOPUS: 85119597181

Alves P.M., Barrias C.C., Gomes P., Martins M.C.L.,
Smart biomaterial-based systems for intrinsic stimuli-responsive chronic wound management. Materials Today Chemistry22:, 2021. [Journal: Review] [CI: 5] [IF: 7,6]
DOI: 10.1016/j.mtchem.2021.100623 SCOPUS: 85118856398

Monteiro C., Fernandes H., Oliveira D., Vale N., Barbosa M., Gomes P., Martins M.C.L.,
AMP-chitosan coating with bactericidal activity in the presence of human plasma proteins. Molecules25(13):, 2020. [Journal: Article] [CI: 9] [IF: 4,4]
DOI: 10.3390/molecules25133046 SCOPUS: 85087666295

Parreira P., Monteiro C., Graça V., Gomes J., Maia S., Gomes P., Gonçalves I.C., Martins M.C.L.,
Surface Grafted MSI-78A Antimicrobial Peptide has High Potential for Gastric Infection Management. Scientific Reports9(1):, 2019. [Journal: Article] [CI: 10] [IF: 4]
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-53918-4 SCOPUS: 85075982293

Ongoing Projects

Biofilm genetic regulation in the treatment of Chronic Wound Infection
Reference: 2022.04739.PTDC
Proponent: Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde - Universidade do Porto
Sponsor: FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
From 01-MAR-23 to 31-AUG-24