Eleven researchers from the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) gave podium presentations at the prestigious TERMIS-EU 2014 conference in Genova, Italy last week. Abhigyan Satyam, a postdoctoral researcher at the NFB, was awarded the Young Investigator Award for Best Oral Presentation. The NFB, a research centre at NUI Galway, also had three researchers presenting posters at the conference.
TERMIS is one of the most prominent organisations in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine globally and attracts interest from the highest levels of the scientific community in biomedical research. The sessions this year focused on biomaterials and intelligent scaffolds, stem cells, growth factors, activation of developmental and regenerative pathways, and translation of research to the clinic and industry. The NFB, a Strategic Research Cluster funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), had the most researchers presenting out of any of the research groups that attended the conference.
Satyam’s winning lecture was about using macromolecular crowding to increase cellular activities to create extracellular matrix-rich tissue equivalents faster. When cells are in the body they are in a crowded space which makes them synthesise collagen quickly. When cells are placed in a less dense population area, such as culture conditions in a lab, collagen production is very slow. Satyam’s research, supervised by NFB’s Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis, involves adding inert polydispersed macromolecules into cell cultures to increase the density of the growth area which will, in turn, increase extracellular matrix production. Their research was recently published in Advanced Materials, the top among all materials science journals for 2012.
Professor Abhay Pandit, the director at NFB, stated: “Our strong presence at TERMIS-EU 2014 is further indication of the relevance of NFB’s research within Europe. We will continue to initiate collaborative research, with partners from outside of Ireland and look towards funding opportunities within Horizon 2020.”