Where Ideas Grow

The aim of the Group is to develop 3D artificial matrices, in vitro biological models, and smart micro/nano-systems for applications in tissue engineering and cancer. The Group focuses on the development of multifunctional biomaterials and biofabrication strategies to generate versatile biomimetic platforms to study cell-material interactions underlying healthy and diseased tissues, translating this knowledge to create cutting-edge solutions for tissue repair and cancer diagnosis and treatment.

The Group’s research is developed in several areas, including multifunctional biomaterials, biofabrication strategies - namely 3D bioprinting and electrospinning -, organ-on-a-chip devices, advanced bioengineered platforms, and tissue engineering applications. Biomaterials play a central role in most biomedical applications, acting as cell-instructive matrices and/or delivery vehicles of cells, drugs and biomolecules. Our Group is developing new biomaterials with controllable properties, capable of guiding de novo tissue formation. Novel biomaterials with multifunctional properties, dynamic and viscoelastic behaviors are being synthetized by exploring a variety of chemistries in order to recreate fundamental functions of the native extracellular matrix. These biomaterials are being applied to develop advanced bioinks, 3D cell culture platforms, matrices for tissue regeneration and micro/nanoparticulate systems.
Bioprinting is a core technology in biofabrication enabling the automated generation of biologically functional 3D constructs. The Group is working on the development of bioprinting technologies combining modular printing units to produce 3D cell-laden constructs, cell-instructive 3D scaffolds and in vitro tissue models. By utilizing bioprinting systems we are able to control the spatial arrangement of cells, biomaterials and biomolecules towards the fabrication of biomimetic 3D constructs. Our team is developing bioengineering strategies combining bioinstructive biomaterials, cells and biofabrication approaches to develop novel solutions for skin, stomach, bone and cartilage regeneration.
Another area of research is the use of microfluidic technology to create miniaturized organs-on-a-chip platforms resembling fundamental features of human organs. Biomimetic platforms are a valuable tool to perform in vitro studies to understand fundamental mechanisms underlying healthy and diseased tissues. We are combining cell-derived matrices, engineered biomaterials, cells and bioprinting technology to create in vitro 3D tissue models and artificial 3D cell culture systems to study the transport of nanoparticles and cell-cell/cell-material interactions. These platforms are essential to develop more efficient strategies for cancer and tissue repair (e.g., stomach ulcers, chronic skin wounds).


Human mesenchymal stem cells cultured under 3D conditions within soft RGD-alginate hydrogels. Cells rapidly modify their local mechanical/biochemical environment, becoming embedded within an endogenous fibronectin-rich ECM (Green: F-actin filaments, Red: Fibronectin mesh).


Selected Publications

Neves S.C., Moroni L., Barrias C.C., Granja P.L.,
Leveling Up Hydrogels: Hybrid Systems in Tissue Engineering. Trends in Biotechnology38(3):292-315, 2020. [Journal: Review] [CI: 42] [IF: 19,5]
DOI: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2019.09.004 SCOPUS: 85075891574

Pereira R.F., Sousa A., Barrias C.C., Bártolo P.J., Granja P.L.,
A single-component hydrogel bioink for bioprinting of bioengineered 3D constructs for dermal tissue engineering. Materials Horizons5(6):1100-1111, 2018. [Journal: Article] [CI: 70] [IF: 14,4]
DOI: 10.1039/c8mh00525g SCOPUS: 85055847804

Dias J.R., Baptista-Silva S., Sousa A., Oliveira A.L., Bártolo P.J., Granja P.L.,
Biomechanical performance of hybrid electrospun structures for skin regeneration. Materials Science and Engineering C93:816-827, 2018. [Journal: Article] [CI: 22] [IF: 5]
DOI: 10.1016/j.msec.2018.08.050 SCOPUS: 85054091151

Branco da Cunha C., Klumpers D.D., Koshy S.T., Weaver J.C., Chaudhuri O., Seruca R., Carneiro F., Granja P.L., Mooney D.J.,
CD44 alternative splicing in gastric cancer cells is regulated by culture dimensionality and matrix stiffness. Biomaterials98:152-162, 2016. [Journal: Article] [CI: 34] [IF: 8,4]
DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2016.04.016 SCOPUS: 84966708392

Dias J.R., Granja P.L., Bártolo P.J.,
Advances in electrospun skin substitutes. Progress in Materials Science84:314-334, 2016. [Journal: Review] [CI: 94] [IF: 31,1]
DOI: 10.1016/j.pmatsci.2016.09.006 SCOPUS: 84992128552

Neves S.C., Gomes D.B., Sousa A., Bidarra S.J., Petrini P., Moroni L., Barrias C.C., Granja P.L.,
Biofunctionalized pectin hydrogels as 3D cellular microenvironments. Journal of Materials Chemistry B3(10):2096-2108, 2015. [Journal: Article] [CI: 63] [IF: 4,9]
DOI: 10.1039/c4tb00885e SCOPUS: 84923913719

Neves S.C., Mota C., Longoni A., Barrias C.C., Granja P.L., Moroni L.,
Additive manufactured polymeric 3D scaffolds with tailored surface topography influence mesenchymal stromal cells activity. Biofabrication8(2):, 2016. [Journal: Article] [CI: 30] [IF: 5,2]
DOI: 10.1088/1758-5090/8/2/025012 SCOPUS: 84987677248

Pereira R.F., Lourenço B.N., Bártolo P.J., Granja P.L.,
Bioprinting a Multifunctional Bioink to Engineer Clickable 3D Cellular Niches with Tunable Matrix Microenvironmental Cues. Advanced Healthcare Materials10(2):, 2021. [Journal: Article] [CI: 6] [IF: 11,1]
DOI: 10.1002/adhm.202001176 SCOPUS: 85094651302

Baptista-Silva S., Borges S., Costa-Pinto A.R., Costa R., Amorim M., Dias J.R., Ramos O., Alves P., Granja P.L., Soares R., Pintado M., Oliveira A.L.,
In Situ Forming Silk Sericin-Based Hydrogel: A Novel Wound Healing Biomaterial. ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering7(4):1573-1586, 2021. [Journal: Article] [CI: 18] [IF: 5,4]
DOI: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.0c01745 SCOPUS: 85103772271

Ferreira D.A., Rothbauer M., Conde J.P., Ertl P., Oliveira C., Granja P.L.,
A Fast Alternative to Soft Lithography for the Fabrication of Organ-on-a-Chip Elastomeric-Based Devices and Microactuators. Advanced Science8(8):, 2021. [Journal: Article] [CI: 11] [IF: 17,5]
DOI: 10.1002/advs.202003273 SCOPUS: 85100571451

Wang Z., Kapadia W., Li C., Lin F., Pereira R.F., Granja P.L., Sarmento B., Cui W.,
Tissue-specific engineering: 3D bioprinting in regenerative medicine. Journal of Controlled Release329:237-256, 2021. [Journal: Review] [CI: 23] [IF: 11,5]
DOI: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2020.11.044 SCOPUS: 85098733531

Lourenço B.N., Pereira R.F., Barrias C.C., Fischbach C., Oliveira C., Granja P.L.,
Engineering modular half-antibody conjugated nanoparticles for targeting CD44v6-expressing cancer cells. Nanomaterials11(2):1-16, 2021. [Journal: Article] [CI: 5] [IF: 5,7]
DOI: 10.3390/nano11020295 SCOPUS: 85099747153

Lourenço B.N., Springer N.L., Ferreira D., Oliveira C., Granja P.L., Fischbach C.,
CD44v6 increases gastric cancer malignant phenotype by modulating adipose stromal cell-mediated ECM remodeling. Integrative biology : quantitative biosciences from nano to macro10(3):145-158, 2018. [Journal: Article] [CI: 15] [IF: 2,8]
DOI: 10.1039/c7ib00179g SCOPUS: 85044245768

Costa-Almeida R., Soares R., Granja P.L.,
Fibroblasts as maestros orchestrating tissue regeneration. Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine12(1):240-251, 2018. [Journal: Review] [CI: 44] [IF: 3,3]
DOI: 10.1002/term.2405 SCOPUS: 85019570228

Costa-Almeida R., Granja P.L., Gomes M.E.,
Gravity, Tissue Engineering, and the Missing Link. Trends in Biotechnology36(4):343-347, 2018. [Journal: Short Survey] [CI: 6] [IF: 13,7]
DOI: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2017.10.017 SCOPUS: 85034606920

Ongoing Projects

3D models of skin fibrosis
Reference: 2022.06048.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 28-FEB-26