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, namely 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 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 combining bioinstructive biomaterials and cells to fabricate 3D constructs for skin, stomach and bone/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: 15] [IF: 19.5]
DOI: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2019.09.004 SCOPUS: 85075891574. Trends in Biotechnology. 2020

Bauleth-Ramos T., Shih T.Y., Shahbazi M.A., Najibi A.J., Mao A.S., Liu D., Granja P., Santos H.A., Sarmento B., Mooney D.J.,
Acetalated Dextran Nanoparticles Loaded into an Injectable Alginate Cryogel for Combined Chemotherapy and Cancer Vaccination. Advanced Functional Materials29(35):, 2019. [Journal: Article] [CI: 19] [IF: 16,8]
DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201903686 SCOPUS: 85068179169. Advanced Functional Materials. 2019

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: 48] [IF: 14,4]
DOI: 10.1039/c8mh00525g SCOPUS: 85055847804. Materials Horizons. 2018

Pereira R.F., Barrias C.C., Bártolo P.J., Granja P.L.,
Cell-instructive pectin hydrogels crosslinked via thiol-norbornene photo-click chemistry for skin tissue engineering. Acta Biomaterialia66:282-293, 2018. [Journal: Article] [CI: 61] [IF: 6,6]
DOI: 10.1016/j.actbio.2017.11.016 SCOPUS: 85034850058. Acta Biomaterialia. 2018

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: 11] [IF: 5]
DOI: 10.1016/j.msec.2018.08.050 SCOPUS: 85054091151. Materials Science and Engineering C. 2018

Araújo F., das Neves J., Martins J.P., Granja P.L., Santos H.A., Sarmento B.,
Functionalized materials for multistage platforms in the oral delivery of biopharmaceuticals. Progress in Materials Science89:306-344, 2017. [Journal: Review] [CI: 27] [IF: 23,8]
DOI: 10.1016/j.pmatsci.2017.05.001 SCOPUS: 85020029869. Progress in Materials Science. 2017

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: 28] [IF: 8,4]
DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2016.04.016 SCOPUS: 84966708392. Biomaterials. 2016

Dias J.R., Granja P.L., Bártolo P.J.,
Advances in electrospun skin substitutes. Progress in Materials Science84:314-334, 2016. [Journal: Review] [CI: 65] [IF: 31,1]
DOI: 10.1016/j.pmatsci.2016.09.006 SCOPUS: 84992128552. Progress in Materials Science. 2016

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: 57] [IF: 4,9]
DOI: 10.1039/c4tb00885e SCOPUS: 84923913719. Journal of Materials Chemistry B. 2015

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: 25] [IF: 5,2]
DOI: 10.1088/1758-5090/8/2/025012 SCOPUS: 84987677248. Biofabrication. 2016