Taking place annually at University of Aveiro, Jornadas CICECO is the most important scientific event in the associate laboratory CICECO, which is the largest Portuguese institute in the field of materials science and engineering, encompassing over 510 research-active members. This year’s edition of Jornadas CICECO on the 19-20th November 2020 was held fully remotely and with poster presentations done in a completely paper-free way using the Twitter platform.

In a very competitive scientific forum, all of the 128 scientific posters submitted using the event’s hashtag were evaluated by an independent jury team, which selected the top 10 to showcase their research in flash oral presentations and compete for the top 3 prize podium. Of those 10 researchers, 2 were members of our group and they were both nominated to the podium, collecting the 1st and 3rd prize awards!

PhD student Pedro Lavrador showcased his work on “ECM-inspired mechanochemical hydrogels with on-demand topographical reconfigurability”, and was awarded the 1st prize for his accomplishments on designing tissue-inspired dynamic hydrogels with adaptable cell-instructive topographies.

Research fellow Inês Deus showcased her work on “Preparation of a hydrogel from human fetal membranes for 3D cell culture”, and was awarded the 3rd prize for her achievements on developing human-based hydrogels with tunable mechanical properties for the culture of cells in vitro.

Collectively, both presentations of the awardees Pedro and Inês demonstrated the innovative research that is being pursued at the COMPASS RG in developing evermore biofunctional tissue engineering platforms, either in the scope of harnessing the dynamic features of native tissues via mechanochemical adaptable hydrogels, or through the design of tissue-mimetic hydrogels with fully human-origin protein biomaterials for translational endeavors.

Noticia Jornadas CICECO

Isabel Bjørge, PhD student from the Compass RG, was awarded the first prize in the science@CICECO category of the Fundação Jacqueline Dias de Sousa Photo Awards at CICECO Jornadas, with the work image entitled “When cell orientation translates into colour”. This image is a part of a recently published article in Small (doi: 10.1002/smll.202001975), where we assessed the role of grooved versus non-grooved surface topography on cell behaviour within a sandwich culture model. Sandwich culture models are an interesting vehicle for cell studies as they enable a simultaneous dorsal and ventral cell stimulation, as opposed to a solely ventral stimulation in 2D environments. Specifically in this image, pre-osteoblastic cells are randomly aligned on the 2D non-grooved control, giving rise to a myriad of colours, which colour code the orientation of actin filaments within each cell.

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Congratulations to Pedro, Inês and Isabel for their outstanding works and driving COMPASS research to the spotlight!