Research

We work in the interphase between cells and materials.

We work on material-based strategies to engineer tissue repair and regeneration. Our group develops novel concepts to direct cell behaviour by engineering the cell-material interface. We design advanced biomaterials and biointerfaces to trigger the self-organization of extracellular matrix proteins in a biomimetic way, to simulate the complex spatio-temporal cues of the natural healing microenvironment. Within a multidisciplinary group and key local and international collaborators, we address a broad range of topics within this field, including the design of biomaterials, protein adsorption, the role of growth factors and their interactions with components of the extracellular matrix, cell adhesion, the reorganisation and remodelling of proteins at the material interface, and stem cell fate influenced by the extrinsic signals coming from the engineered microenvironments.

Ongoing funded projects

Synergistic microenvironments for non-union bone defects. UK Regenerative Medicine Platform; 2014 – 2017

Material-driven fibronectin fibrillogenesis to engineer synergistic growth factor microenvironments. European Research Council – ERC Consolidator Grant; 2013- 2018

Microfluidics-generated hydrogel microparticles for protein deliveryMarie Curie Actions – International Outgoing Fellowship; 2013 – 2016

Network for development of soft nano fibrous construct for cellular therapy of degenerative skeletal disorders. Marie Curie Actions – Industry Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP); 2012 – 2016

Engineering synergistic microenvironments

Engineering cellular environments to promote tissue healing involves the design of complex systems that combine materials, extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins and growth factors (GF). We exploit synergistic interactions between material surfaces, natural and synthetic ECM and GFs to control cell behaviour and tissue repair. We study the role of surface mobility in cell – material interactions and stem cell fate, … Continue reading Engineering synergistic microenvironments

Constructs for non-union bone defects

We work in a therapeutic solution to address unmet clinical needs in bone regeneration and vascularisation in non-union bone defects. Our approach is based on the use of synthetic functional materials polymerised on the surface of 3D structural scaffolds, that allow the safe and effective presentation of GF rhBMP-2. We are analyzing rhBMP-2 binding and presentation, … Continue reading Constructs for non-union bone defects

Living biointerfaces

Materials-based approaches to direct stem cell fate are the focus of a rapidly developing international research that has already resulted in major findings in relation to surface chemistry, stiffness and nanotopography. In these approaches, synthetic biomaterials have been functionalised with a broad range of proteins and growth factors that provide (static) cues to direct cell … Continue reading Living biointerfaces