Termis European Chapter Meeting 2017

    Baptista, Danielle Fereira | Maastricht University | 29 augustus 2017 |

Samenvatting verslag

Monday, 26th June

Session: Nature as a source of TERM biomaterials and strategies

In this section, the main topic was the utilization of natural materials for the fabrication of tissue engineering matrices. While the scaffolds provide macroscopic cues, such as morphology, porosity, and mechanical properties, the constitutive materials should be able to activate biochemical dialogues with the surrounding environment, instructing cells to differentiate or driving their activity to perform their regeneration potential. In this context, researchers used silk fibers, collagen/hASCs/dCECM bioink, chitosan/gelatine scaffolds, tropoelastin hydrogel and clickECM to create ECM-based scaffolds and coatings for tissue engineering.

Session: Artificial Organs meet @ TERMIS2017

To my disappointment, this session did not focus on artificial organs per se but on a few advances on the prior stages of research before having an artificial organ. It was shown that physical immobilization of GAG can generate richer scaffolds suitable for osteogenesis but also that injectable hydrogels of gelatine and hyaluronic acid can promote mesenchymal stem cells proliferation and chondrogenic differentiation. For a future artificial pancreas, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), synthesized by Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, was presented as suitable candidate.

Tuesday, 27th June

Session: SYIS Oral Presentations Finalists III

I was selected for participating in the award for Best Oral presentation.

Session: Integrated enabling technologies for personalised regenerative medicine

In this session, various technologies were applied to create platforms to be used in the field personalized medicine. This talk reviewed current attempts to use biomaterials and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to tissue engineer functional articular cartilage and bone grafts for use in bone and joint regeneration. In particular, the integration of hydrogel bioinks and MSCs into 3D bioprinting systems to engineer anatomically accurate constructs that could potentially be used regenerate large bone defects or damaged and diseased joints.

Wednesday, 28th June

Session: Cell-matrix interactions: innovative 3D hydrogel models for studying and directing stem cell fate

The moto for this session was that the first steps of development are characterized by cellular reorganization and differentiation within a three-dimensional (3D) microenvironment, and therefore it should be preserved in vitro as well. Combining stem cells with smart, instructive materials has the potential to deliver tissue-engineered regenerative therapies, however, effectively controlling differentiation remains challenging. Work presented included modified hydrogels (hyaluronic acid/ PEGDA and PEG) for stiffness sensing and microvascularization studies, but also, light responsive PEG hydrogel which can be used for studying complex cell-material interactions without requiring direct UV light, and could be used for triggered delivery of biomolecules on demand to direct stem cell fate.

Session: New advancements in drug-free antibacterial biomaterials for medical applications

Antibacterial biomaterials sound controversial and challenging to achieve because preventing microbial attachment to implant surfaces and to inhibit their proliferation and organization in biofilms on inner and outer

implant surfaces will open the critical question regarding biocompatibility. Materials should be not only cyto-, but hemo- and immunocompatibilty. Current status is that we still don’t have the ideal candidate and some options currently used in clinics don’t have proper research background. Some efforts have been made to create materials that are antimicrobial but also biocompatible to be potentially used as wound dressings. Polyhydroxyalkanoates (bacteria derived polyesters), silk-based fibers functionalized with antimicrobial peptides, amphipathic antimicrobial polyurethanes, collagen-copper-doped bioactive glass and platelet lysate were some of the examples presented in the session as possible candidates for tissue repair.

Session: The immune system in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine

There was a big focus on macrophages and their role on regenerative medicine as they are present in almost any type of tissue. Obviously, it seems interesting to be able to modulate the macrophage phenotype in the tissue, aiming to create an environment that fosters tissue regeneration or to prevent adverse outcomes after the implantation of a tissue engineered construct that might include biomaterials.

Session: SYIS How to give a impactful presentation by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Publishers

Some guidelines were provided on how to give an impactful presentation and how to create an appealing poster.

Thursday, 29th June

Session: Multiscale mechanobiology in tissue engineering

It is known that major transformations of extracellular matrix are tightly associated with the progression of a wide range of diseases, including cancer and fibrosis, yet how the reciprocal crosstalk between extracellular matrix and cells drives these processes remains unknown. Despite major progress in our understanding how proteins act as mechano-chemical switches and how the mechanobiology of cells regulates their fate, our knowledge about the mechanobiology of tissues in health and disease is lacking behind, mostly due to the lack of probes to either measure cell traction forces in living tissues or the mechanical strain of extracellular matrix fibers. In this session various advances were presented from the development of probes for fibronectin to cell geometry regulation of macrophages activation.

Session: Biophysical, biological cues for tissue regeneration

Unfortunately, in vitro cell culture is associated with cell phenotypic drift, cell senescence and loss of cells’ therapeutic potential. For these reasons, the focus is on creating of functional in vitro microenvironments that would either maintain permanently differentiated cell phenotype or differentiate stem cells towards specific lineage. Indeed, biophysical (e.g. surface topography, substrate rigidity, macromolecular crowding, mechanical loading), biochemical (e.g. oxygen tension) and biological (e.g. growth factor media supplements) tools are under intense research and development.

Friday, 30th June

Session: Microfactories for tissue engineering” or “Regeneration-on-a-chip”

In this session, the focus was on how microfluidics can enable advances in regenerative medicine. From a microfactories perspective, where the chip works as a tool to produce/generate something towards a more environment where regeneration itself, happens in the chip, this session cover it all. The main conclusion is that, we should combine available technology and create more realistic and useful in vitro models in order to further develop the field of regenerative medicine.

Overall, this conference was a great experience for my personal and professional development as I could meet experts on the field of regenerative medicine and moreover, could see different approaches that other groups are implementing to solve some scientific problems. Networking was strongly encouraged, giving the participants the possibility to discuss their projects with other scientists with different backgrounds.

Keyword: Termis 2017

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