Where Ideas Grow

BioEngineered Surfaces


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

The group is expert in surface bioconjugation of biomolecules using self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) and biomedical polymers to create surfaces that will guide specific protein/cell binding and control bacterial adhesion/biofilm and/or thrombus formation.

Besides fundamental research, the group is also committed to transferring 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 colonizes the stomach of half of the world population and is responsible for 90% of the gastric cancer burden.
The group has been developing antibiotic-free engineered biomaterials (micro and nanoparticles) for H. pylori gastric infection management. These strategies, being specific to H. pylori, 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 several H. pylori strains (including clinical isolates) and gastric cell lines and in vivo using an H. pylori-infected mice model.


Biomaterials to fight wound skin infection
Chronic wounds represent a major healthcare problem affecting 1-2% of the population in developed countries. Infection by antibiotic-resistant bacteria contributes greatly to wound chronicity and is responsible for 33.000 estimated deaths per year in the European Union. Antimicrobial peptides (AMP) are a promising alternative to conventional antibiotics, as they act through non-specific mechanisms and cause virtually no resistance. The group explores AMP grafting on polymeric films and nanoparticles as a strategy to reduce AMP aggregation and degradation, while improving local AMP concentration and effectiveness.


Biomaterial coatings to prevent medical devices-associated infections and 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 biomaterial coatings with i) antimicrobial properties to kill bacteria by contact or ii) anti-adhesive features to avoid bacterial adhesion and thrombus formation.

Antimicrobial coatings have been developed based on AMPs grafting onto biomaterials, namely for orthopedic applications. Different chemical approaches for AMP bioconjugation have been explored to maximize their bactericidal activity after binding.
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.



  • 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)
  • NanoPyl® - A breakthrough approach for Helicobacter pylori control. (CaixaResearch Validate 2022, La Caixa Foundation)
  • BIOGEN - Biofilm genetic regulation in the treatment of Chronic Wound Infection (FCT, 2022.04739.PTDC)
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] [CI: 1] [IF: 6,6]
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: 7] [IF: 9,7]
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: 5,4]
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: 4] [IF: 10,8]
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] [CI: 4] [IF: 5]
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: 16] [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: 11] [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: 13] [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: 15] [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