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Biomimetic systems for cell engineering

The Biomimetic systems for cell engineering group is a junior group under IBEC’s Tenure Track scheme.

About

The “Biomimetic Systems for Cell Engineering” group is a multidisciplinary research group focussing its research activities on the development and application of new artificial systems that mimic tissue micro and nanofeatures for biomimetic in vitro assays.

The use of more biomimetic and complex 3D models in in vitro assays is now a hot and extremely relevant topic.

“Flat biology” results are questioned when being transferred to in vivo, while the pressure to decrease animal testing continues increasing. As a group of engineering providers working in the biotechnological field, we see these issues as both a challenge and a clear opportunity to impact the field with novel technological solutions. Our research ambition will be to develop better engineering tools to help in the development of organotypic cell culture models, easy to implement in daily cell culture routines, so they have a real and meaningful impact in the biotechnological arena and, therefore, will impact applications in basic cell research, disease modelling and regenerative medicine.

Along with this line, we are working towards the following objectives: (i) to engineer and validate a complex in vitro model of small intestinal epithelium, (ii) to validate a novel in vitro model of engineered cardiac tissue and (iii) to engineer a novel vessel-on-chip to reproduce the tumor metastatic environment. To carry out our research we employ cutting edge biofabrication technologies such as bioprinting and novel biological tools such as organoids.

 

Staff

Projects

INTERNATIONAL PROJECTSFINANCERPI
GUT3D-PLATE · Ready-to-use cell culture plates for gut 3D models (2020-2022)European Commission, ERC-PoCElena Martínez
COMIET · Engineering Complex Intestinal Epithelial Tissue Models (2015-2022)ERC Consolidator GrantElena Martínez
BRIGHTER · BIOPRINTING BY LIGHT-SHEET LITHOGRAPHY (2019-2023)European Commission FET OpenElena Martínez
PRIVATELY FUNDED PROJECTSFINANCERPI
PROMISE · BioPrinted hydROgel MicrofluIdicS to mimic patient-specific tumor mEtastatic microenvironment (2020-2023)Obra Social La Caixa, Health Research Call for ProposalsElena Martínez
FINISHED PROJECTSFINANCERPI
ENGUT · Engineered models of intestinal epithelial tissue: assessing in vivo-like functional properties (2019-2020)Bist Ignite ProgramElena Martínez
INDUCT Dispositivo de multitejido intestinal para la monitorización de la comunicación entre epitelio y músculo en condiciones patológicas (2018-2020)MINECOElena Martínez
COMIET Engineering Complex Intestinal Epithelial Tissue Models (2015-2020)ERC Consolidator GrantElena Martínez
GLAM Glass-Laser Multiplexed Biosensor (2015-2019)European Commission (H2020) – PHC-10-2015Elena Martínez
MINAHE5 (Bio)funcionalización de Micro- y NanoHerramientas en Suspensión para Aplicaciones en Células Vivas (2015-2017)MINECOMaria Lluïsa Pérez

Publications

Equipment

Micro and nanofabrication techniques:

  • Biomolecule gradients produced by microfluidics
  • Large-area nanostructured polymer surfaces produced by diblock copolymers
  • 3D microstructures on hydrogel materials
  • Mini-bioreactor for 3D cell culture

Characterization techniques:

  • Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) measurements on polymer materials
  • Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) expertise
  • Optical Microscopes (white light/epifluorescence)
  • Focused Ion Beam (FIB) / Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) of biological specimens

Equipment:

  • Biological safety cabinet (class II)
  • High precision syringe pumps
  • Peristaltic pumps
  • Access to the Nanotechnology Platform (IBEC Core Facilities): equipment for hot embossing lithography, polymer processing and photolithography, chemical wet etching, e-beam evaporation and surface characterization (TOF-SIMS)
  • Access to the Scientific and Technological Centers (University of Barcelona): equipment for surface analysis (XPS, AFM, XRD) and microscopy techniques (SEM, TEM, confocal)
  • PRUSA i3MK3S (FDM printer) 
  • Phrozen Shuffle XL (DLP-SLA printer)
  • SOLUS (DLP-SLA printer)

Collaborations

  • Prof. Ángel Raya / Dr. Samuel Ojosnegros
    Center of Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona (CMRB), Barcelona
  • Prof. Eduard Batlle
    Institut de Recerca Biomédica (IRB), Barcelona
  • Prof. Pablo Loza
    Institut de Ciències Fotòniques (ICFO), Castelldefels (Spain)
  • Dr. Javier Ramón, IBEC
  • Dr. Elisabeth Engel, IBEC
  • Prof. Raimon Jané, IBEC
  • Prof. Josep Samitier, IBEC
  • Prof. Javier Santos, Dra. Maria Vicario
    VHIR, Barcelona (Spain)
  • Dr. Bruno Sarmento
    i3S – Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde, Porto, Portugal
  • Dr. Sonia García-Blanco
    University of Twente, Enschede (The Netherlands)
  • Dr. Fabio Variola
    University of Ottawa (Canada)
  • Dr. Daniel Riveline
    ISIS/IGBMC, Strasbourg (France)
  • Dr. Matthew Dalby
    University of Glasgow (UK)
  • Prof. Jordi Martorell
    Institut de Ciències Fotòniques (ICFO), Castelldefels (Spain)
  • Prof. José Antonio Plaza
    CNM-CSIC, Barcelona
  • Dr. Francesc Mitjans
    LEITAT, Barcelona
  • Francesco Pampaloni
    Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (Frankfurt)
  • Dra. Elena Élez
    VHIO

News

Introduction to the vacant position: The Biomimetic Systems for Cell Engineering Group is looking for a Senior Postdoctoral Researcher to work on the development and optimization of a new fabrication … Read more

Research Assistant at the Research Group Biomimetic Systems for Cell Engineering

Introduction to the vacant position: The Biomimetic Systems for Cell Engineering Group is looking for a Senior Postdoctoral Researcher to work on the development and optimization of a new fabrication … Read more

Data límit: 20/06/2022Ref: RA_EM Biomimetic systems for cell engineering Group is looking for a for a Research Assistant. The contract will be within the framework of an ERC Proof-of-concept project (GUT3DPLATE), whose objective is the fabrication and validation of ready-to-use hydrogel in vitro models of tissue barriers using 3D bioprinting.

Research assistant at the Biomimetic systems for cell engineering Research Group

Data límit: 20/06/2022Ref: RA_EM Biomimetic systems for cell engineering Group is looking for a for a Research Assistant. The contract will be within the framework of an ERC Proof-of-concept project (GUT3DPLATE), whose objective is the fabrication and validation of ready-to-use hydrogel in vitro models of tissue barriers using 3D bioprinting.

Researchers from the group of Biomimetic Systems for cell engineering of the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia, led by Elena Martínez, appear in the media for their innovative BRIGHTER project, which uses 3D bioprinting technology to create human tissues and thus avoid the use of animals.

The european project BRIGHTER in the media

Researchers from the group of Biomimetic Systems for cell engineering of the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia, led by Elena Martínez, appear in the media for their innovative BRIGHTER project, which uses 3D bioprinting technology to create human tissues and thus avoid the use of animals.

The European project BRIGHTER, coordinated by IBEC, is developing a new technology to produce functional human tissues as an alternative to animal experimentation in the field of biomedical research. This light-based 3D bioprinting technology fabricates tissues by patterning three-dimensional cell cultures. In the future, it could be even used to produce organs in the laboratory.

Reducing animal testing with 3D Bioprinting: European project BRIGHTER brings new light

The European project BRIGHTER, coordinated by IBEC, is developing a new technology to produce functional human tissues as an alternative to animal experimentation in the field of biomedical research. This light-based 3D bioprinting technology fabricates tissues by patterning three-dimensional cell cultures. In the future, it could be even used to produce organs in the laboratory.

Nanomed, the Spanish nanomedicine platform coordinated by the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), organized with the Germans Trias i Pujol Institute (IGTP), the sixth edition of a conference designed to present the advances against cancer, from early diagnosis and controlled drug release, up to nanoparticle radiation therapy.

Nanomedicine against cancer brings together hundred experts

Nanomed, the Spanish nanomedicine platform coordinated by the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), organized with the Germans Trias i Pujol Institute (IGTP), the sixth edition of a conference designed to present the advances against cancer, from early diagnosis and controlled drug release, up to nanoparticle radiation therapy.

Elena Martínez, group leader at IBEC and professor at the University of Barcelona (UB), is interviewed for the Big Vang section of La Vanguardia expaining her project to develop organs on a chip to improve the survival of patients with colorectal tumor metastases.

Does 3D bioprinting improve cancer survival?

Elena Martínez, group leader at IBEC and professor at the University of Barcelona (UB), is interviewed for the Big Vang section of La Vanguardia expaining her project to develop organs on a chip to improve the survival of patients with colorectal tumor metastases.

IBEC researchers Elena Martínez, Xavier Trepat and Pere Roca-Cusachs aim to understand the processes that promote metastasis in colorectal cancer using innovative bioengineering tools, such as bioprinting and microscopy capable of revealing forces at the cellular level. The results will be translated into a device that will recreate the tumor environment from cancer cells derived from patients, as well as a new technology that will allow to visualize how physical forces affect the nuclei of metastatic cells.

Bioengineering against cancer: IBEC researchers receive funding from La Caixa

IBEC researchers Elena Martínez, Xavier Trepat and Pere Roca-Cusachs aim to understand the processes that promote metastasis in colorectal cancer using innovative bioengineering tools, such as bioprinting and microscopy capable of revealing forces at the cellular level. The results will be translated into a device that will recreate the tumor environment from cancer cells derived from patients, as well as a new technology that will allow to visualize how physical forces affect the nuclei of metastatic cells.

Bioengineering is a core discipline for the medicine of the future, and Europe knows that. Proof of this is that the European Union (EU) has granted during the last months the coordination of three European projects to the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) to continue combining medicine, science and technology with the aim of improving people’s health. The first one is the BRIGHTER project that is led by Professor Elena Martínez, the head of the ‘Biomimetic Systems for Cell Engineering’ group. The EU has contributed to this initiative that will be used by the consortium partners to develop an innovative high resolution 3D bioprinting technology able to fabricate 3D cell culture substrates which could be useful to produce artificial organs in the future.

IBEC leads three new European projects

Bioengineering is a core discipline for the medicine of the future, and Europe knows that. Proof of this is that the European Union (EU) has granted during the last months the coordination of three European projects to the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) to continue combining medicine, science and technology with the aim of improving people’s health. The first one is the BRIGHTER project that is led by Professor Elena Martínez, the head of the ‘Biomimetic Systems for Cell Engineering’ group. The EU has contributed to this initiative that will be used by the consortium partners to develop an innovative high resolution 3D bioprinting technology able to fabricate 3D cell culture substrates which could be useful to produce artificial organs in the future.

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Jobs

Introduction to the vacant position: The Biomimetic Systems for Cell Engineering Group is looking for a Senior Postdoctoral Researcher to work on the development and optimization of a new fabrication … Read more

Research Assistant at the Research Group Biomimetic Systems for Cell Engineering

Introduction to the vacant position: The Biomimetic Systems for Cell Engineering Group is looking for a Senior Postdoctoral Researcher to work on the development and optimization of a new fabrication … Read more