September 14th, 2023 

Sara Nadine and Isabel Bjørge, from CICECO – Aveiro Institute of Materials, take home the Julia Polak Award from the European Society for Biomaterials (ESB)

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Isabel Bjørge and Dr. Sara Nadine have been honored with the distinguished Julia Polak European Doctorate Award by the European Society for Biomaterials (ESB). This prestigious recognition was conferred during the Young Scientist Forum session at the 33rd Annual ESB Conference, which took place in Davos, Switzerland. The purpose of the Julia Polak European Doctorate Award is to recognize the outstanding achievements of young researchers who have completed their Ph.D. in the specialized fields of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering.

Isabel Bjørge and Sara Nadine both completed their Ph.D. theses at the Department of Chemistry, CICECO, University of Aveiro, under the guidance of Professor João Mano and Dr. Clara Correia.

Isabel’s thesis entitled “Advanced injectable micro-scaffolds for modular bone tissue engineering” included a nine-month exchange to the Biological Design Center, Boston University, under the supervision of Professor Christopher Chen and Dr. Subramanian Sundaram. Isabel’s work centered around the use of geometrical and topographical cues to control and guide cell behavior in a 3D environment. To this end, unique microcarriers were developed, to which cells could adhere, or be encapsulated within. The main focus revolved around how these physical cues could stimulate osteogenesis and angiogenesis, to be used as a potential bone tissue regeneration strategy.

Sara’s thesis, entitled “Sophisticated and Self-Regulated Microcapsules Compartmentalizing Cells and Microparticles for Tissue Regeneration”, included a six-month Fulbright exchange program at the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation in Los Angeles, under the guidance of Dr. Ali Khademhosseini and Dr. Samad Ahadian. Sara’s research centered around the development of a liquefied bioencapsulation strategy with immunomodulatory, osteogenic, and angiogenic properties. This innovative approach holds immense promise as a self-regulated system, offering promising applications in bottom-up bone tissue engineering and disease modeling.