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Testimonials for European Society for Biomaterials

Video of Riccardo Levato (Jean Leray award 2021).

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First and Last Name: Niels Willemen
Student/PhD/Postdoc: PhD student
Institute: University of Twente
Department: Leijten Lab
Group leader: Jeroen Leijten
A Colourful Cuddle
In this experiment, human mesenchymal stem cells (stained with phalloidin) and cell-adhesive microgels (stained with ATTO565 (red) and FITC (green)) self-assembled into a living microtissue. The properties of these cell-adhesive microgels are both physically and chemically tuneable. Moreover, the cell-adhesive microgels are able to direct the behaviour of the cells, for example by influencing cell fate by microgel stiffness.
Instrument used to produce the image: Zeiss LSM880

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I am an Assistant Professor of Biomaterials at ICBAS – Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar (University of Porto) and Assistant Researcher at the Biofabrication Group at i3S – Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde. I hold a PhD in Biomedical Sciences with specialization in 3D bioprinting of cell-instructive hydrogel bioinks. In the past years, I have been collaborating with the pharmaceutical industry in the design of biomaterials for skin repair and has been invited as a professor at Polytechnic Institute of Leiria (ESSL) and University of Porto (ISEP). I have also been involved in research projects supported by the industry, national and international agencies in the fields of bioengineering, 3D bioprinting and tissue engineering. My research interests focus on the development of dynamic hydrogels and bioinks for the bioprinting of biomimetic cell microenvironments and in vitro tissue models for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications, in particular to address relevant challenges in skin healthcare.

- Biofabrication and 3D bioprinting: vat photopolymerization, fused deposition modelling and extrusion bioprinting systems. - Biomaterials and biomimetic hydrogels: design and characterization of hydrogels as artificial matrices for 3D cell culture and cell-instructive bioinks for 3D bioprinting. - Characterization of cell-material interactions: rheometry, 3D cell culture, confocal microscopy and in vitro biological evaluation. - Click chemistry and photopolymerization: chemical modification of polymers for hydrogel fabrication through physical and chemical. - In vitro skin models: fabrication and characterization of 3D skin models. - In vivo assays: certified FELASA Category C according to Directive 2010/63/EU.