Sandra Camarero Espinosa

Sandra Camarero Espinosa

Oraingo lanpostua / Puesto actual

Basque centre for Macromolecular Design and Engineering POLYMAT / Polymer Science and Technology Department, Faculty of Chemistry, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU).

Nire Europako proiektua / Mi proyecto europeo

Within PRIUS-TE we developed piezoelectric implant materials that can restore the damaged or diseased osteochondral interface of the knee. The main objective is to 3D print scaffolds that can be stimulated using sound. This stimulation results on the vibration of the material and the generation of small electrical charges. These vibrational and electrical signals are transmitted to the surrounding cells that then feel the motivation to grow, populate the damaged area and produce a tissue that resembles the native one.

Formakuntza eta ikerketa-ibilbidea/Formación académica y trayectoria investigadora

I was educated at the University of the Basque Country (Spain) where I obtained her BSc. and M.Sc. degree in Engineering of Advanced Materials. I then moved to develop her doctoral studies at the Adolphe Merkle Institute (Fribourg, Switzerland). I obtained my PhD degree in 2015 in Polymer Chemistry and Bioengineering and was recognized with an award for an outstanding PhD thesis by the Swiss Chemical Society.

After gaining an early post-doctoral fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation, in 2015 I moved to Brisbane (Australia) to work at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology where I continued her research in instructive scaffolds and their interaction with stem cells. In 2017 I joined the MERLN institute (The Netherlands) where I focused my studies on the fabrication of 3D printed scaffolds for the regeneration of complex tissues.

In 2020 I joined the BERC POLYMAT as an EMAKIKER, IKERBASQUE and MSCA fellow to develop my research in stimuli-responsive scaffolds for the regeneration of the osteochondral interface.

Ikerketan aritzeko motibazioa/Mi motivación para dedicarme a la investigación

My main motivation to dedicate my career to research is to be able to contribute to the generation of knowledge that will change our future and improve our quality of life.

Aritzen naizen taldea eta ikerketa-lerroak/Grupo y líneas de investigación que desarrollo

I work in the groups of Advanced Multiphasic Polymers and Responsive Polymers Therapeutics Groups. Within these two, I have opened a new research line, “BioSmarTE Lab”, that focuses on the regeneration of damaged tissues such as bone, cartilage, ligaments, etc. These tissues are not able to self-regenerate after trauma or degeneration by common diseases and slowly bring the patient to a state of disability. Our aim is to give a solution to these problems and restore the quality of life of the patient.

We look at the development of smart implants that are responsive to external stimuli such as light, sound, magnetic and electric fields. When implanted into the body and stimulated these materials can act as a “gym” where cells can exercise and thus direct the formation of new tissues that replace the damaged ones. Moreover, we also look at the innate immune response that the scaffolds elicit and what determines their acceptance by the body.

Nire ikerketa-ibilbidean aipatzen dut…/En mi trayectoria investigadora destaco…

Over the last decade I have dedicated myself to acquire a multidisciplinary profile that allows me to tackle the issues associated to tissue engineering, developing my career internationally at multiple institutions and generating a large network of collaborators. These efforts have taken me to develop a first-of-a-kind material that responds to ultrasound waves and stimulate, remotely, tissue formation (Nat. Commun. 12, 1, – (2021).  [doi:10.1038/s41467-021-21325-x]). Moreover, on the last year, I have been able to open a new lab “BioSmarTE” with all the facilities required for synthesis of novel materials, scaffold fabrication (3D printers, bioprinters and DLP), cell and tissue culture facilities and characterization of gene expression and tissue formation.