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E-mail:
raquel.almeida@dep.uminho.pt

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Name:
Raquel Costa-Almeida
Nacionality: 
PORTUGAL
Position: 
PhD Students
Researcher ID: 
Background: 

- Advanced studies in Bioengineering Systems, MIT Portugal Program (2014-2015)

- Master degree in Biomedical Engineering - Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto (2011-2013)

- Graduation in Biology - Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto (2007-2011)

Research Area: 

Musculoskeletal diseases are one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. Among them, tendon injuries are responsible for substantial morbidity, pain and disability, affecting athletes, active working people, and elder population.

 

Currently, my PhD thesis is focused on the development of biomimetic microengineered hydrogels for tendon tissue engineering. The combination of the chemical interactions between oppositely charged polyelectrolytes with microfabrication technologies can be useful in designing the biomimetic fiber bundle structures that resemble the native tendon tissue structure. Thus, the goal of this work is to develop biomimetic hydrogels composed of polymers naturally present in tendons to structurally support and/or act as a delivery system, either for cells or growth factors, with feasible properties for tendon regeneration. Moreover, the reinforcement of hydrogel fibers to support the mechanical loading of native tendon tissue constitutes a major goal in the development of the referred strategies.

 

Furthemore, as cells contact directly with a natural microenvironment that is not only organized at the microscale, but mainly at the nanoscale, the incorporation of topographical cues is a key contributor to better mimic the surrounding milieu that cells will sense towards potentially triggering a regenerative response. Therefore, my work has also been focused on the generation of bioactive patterned patches for tendon applications.

 

KEYWORDS

  • Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
  • Biomaterials
  • Tendon regeneration
  • Hydrogels and hydrogel functionalization
  • Mechanical reinforcement of hydrogels
  • Composite fibers
  • Artificial extracellular matrix
  • Cell encapsulation (3D cell culture)
  • Co-culture systems
  • Microfluidics technology
  • Platelet lysates

 

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