Biomateriais, Nanotecnologia e Medicina Regenerativa
This scientific area integrates a set of technologies which have as a common point the controlled interaction, at the micro and nanoscale, of complex artificial constructs with biomolecules, cells and tissues. High impact applications in biotechnology and medicine are the goal, in particular in the development of novel strategies for biodiagnostics and regenerative medicine. Research at the DBE encompasses the interdisciplinary areas of biomaterials, nanotechnology and nanobiotechnology, and stem cell engineering and regenerative medicine.
Biomaterials: although biomaterials are primarily used for medical applications, they are also used to grow cells in culture, to assay for blood proteins in the clinical laboratory, in processing biomolecules in biotechnology, for fertility regulation implants in cattle, in diagnostic gene arrays, in the aquaculture of oysters and for inves- tigational cell-silicon “biochips.” The commonality of these applications is the interaction between biological systems and synthetic or modified natural materials.
Nanotechnology: the engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale. Nanotechnology is the under- standing and control of matter at dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers, where unique phenomena enable novel applications. Nanobiotechnology consists on the application of nanotechnology concepts to bioengineering and biological sciences, in lab-on-a-chip systems, novel biosensors, nanoparticles for drug delivery, surface functionalization, etc. Bionanotechnology consists in the translation of biological concepts for engineering applications, namely taken from neural sciences, systems biology, biomaterials and biomimetics.
Regenerative Medicine: regenerative medicine is an interdisciplinary field of research and clinical applications focused on the repair, replacement or regeneration of cells, tissues or organs to restore impaired function resul- ting from any cause, including congenital defects, disease, trauma and ageing. It uses a combination of several converging technological approaches, both existing and newly emerging, that moves it beyond traditional trans- plantation and replacement therapies. The approaches often stimulate and support the body’s own self-healing capacity. These approaches may include, but are not limited to, the use of soluble molecules, gene therapy, stem and progenitor cell therapy, tissue engineering and the reprogramming of cell and tissue types.
The Biomaterials, Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine scientific area is involved in the undergra- duate formation in Biotechnology and Bioengineering, including in the degrees in Biological Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, as well as in advanced doctoral and postdoctoral training in the field. Students, at all levels, do have the opportunity to actively participate in research training in the laboratories of the Stem Cell Engineering Research Group (SCERG) and of BioEngineering Research Group (BERG) of the Institute of Bioengineering and Biosciences (IBB), at IST, in the INESC-MN micro and nanofabrication cleanroom facilities, and in the NanoLab.