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Engineering therapeutic immune-biomaterials for tissue engineering applications

   School of Engineering

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Current regenerative medicine strategies aim to restore the function of damaged or diseased tissues with functional and site-appropriate implants. Biomaterials have played a central role in the implantable medical device industry and have improved the lives of millions of people worldwide. However, biomaterials are foreign bodies, and adverse immune reactions to biomaterials represents a fundamental challenge that impact and reduce the patients’ life quality. Adverse reactions are often seen to interfere with healing, leading to immediate acute outcomes such as immense pain, excessive inflammation, tissue destruction, or even isolation and rejection of medical devices. More recently, the fundamental participation of immune cells in development, tissue and organ homeostasis, ageing, and degenerative diseases has been recognised. Therefore, biomaterials with favourable immunoregulatory properties can shift the default response to a foreign body implant towards one of tissue integration and functional remodelling. 

Designing materials to regulate the immune response for regenerative medicine requires an understanding of the role of the immune system in normal physiologic processes including wound repair, development, and tissue homeostasis as well as an understanding of the immune system contribution to tissue remodelling through cross-talk with resident stem/progenitor cells. Within this highly interdisciplinary project, new biomaterials that can mitigate the foreign-body response and promote tissue regeneration and immune regulation are to be investigated by exploring natural and synthetic materials. Therefore, biosynthetic materials that combine synthetic and natural components towards mimicking those functional properties found in nature, will be engineered by using cell-friendly, effective, and selective bio-orthogonal reactions for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering applications. These materials are to be processed into more complex 3D structures by exploiting advanced additive manufacturing techniques to promote immune regulation for regenerative medicine applications. 

Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices. 


Salthouse D, Novakovic K, Hilkens CM, Ferreira AM. Interplay between biomaterials and the immune system: challenges and opportunities in regenerative medicine. Acta Biomaterialia. 2022. DOI: 

Montalbano G, Toumpaniari S, Popov A, Duan P, Chen J, Dalgarno K, Scott III WE, Ferreira AM. Synthesis of bioinspired collagen/alginate/fibrin based hydrogels for soft tissue engineering. Materials Science and Engineering: C. 2018; 91:236-46. DOI: 

Kotlarz M, Ferreira AM, Gentile P, Russell SJ, Dalgarno K. Droplet-based bioprinting enables the fabrication of cell–hydrogel–microfibre composite tissue precursors. Bio-Design and Manufacturing. 2022:1-7. DOI: 

Dura G, Peters DT, Waller H, Yemm AI, Perkins ND, Ferreira AM, Crespo-Cuadrado M, Lakey JH, Fulton DA. A thermally reformable protein polymer. Chem. 2020; 6(11):3132-51. DOI: 

Application enquires:  

Dr Ana Ferreira Duarte 



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