Carla Vilela

Principal Researcher


Carla Vilela, born in Aveiro (Portugal), graduated in Chemical Engineering in 2004 and obtained a MSc degree in Materials Science and Engineering (EMMS) in 2008 at the University of Aveiro (UAVR, Portugal). During her MSc studies, she was awarded with a merit grant from the Joint European Masters Programme in Materials Science (EMMS). In 2008, CVilela started working as a grant holder on a National project (034/7.1/ADI/NOR) with Association Network for Competence in Polymers (Faculty of Engineering of University of Porto, FEUP, Portugal), which set the stage for the beginning of her PhD studies at UAVR (PhD grant SFRH/BD/44884/2008 awarded by the Portuguese Foundation from Science and Technology (FCT)) concerning the valorisation of vegetable oils as sources of novel macromolecular materials derived from renewable resources. After finishing her PhD in 2012, she participated as a grant holder in the National project PTDC/QUI-QUI/120982/2010 – Creating value from bio-wastes: suberin extraction and biotransformation in biocompatible ionic liquids aiming on novel biomaterials and compounds (University NOVA of Lisbon, Portugal). From June 2013 to December 2018, she was a post-doctoral researcher at CICECO – Aveiro Institute of Materials holding a postdoctoral fellowship (SFRH/BPD/84168/2012) awarded by FCT.

Currently, she is a Principal Researcher (research contract awarded by FCT, CEECIND/00263/2018) and a Principal Investigator of two national R&D projects (PTDC/BII-BIO/1901/2021 and CENTRO-01-0247-FEDER-113565) at CICECO, and her main research interests include the engineering of eco-friendly NANOCELLULOSE-based nanostructured conductive membranes for polymer electrolyte fuel cells, and the development of macromolecular-based materials containing BIOPOLYMERS and bioactive molecules for diverse applications (e.g., drug delivery, wound healing and active packaging). She already supervised 30 students (at BSc, MSc and PhD levels), 1 post-doctoral researcher and 3 research fellows. Her current research team includes 1 post-doctoral researcher, and 1 MSc and 6 PhD students.

CVilela is the author of 79 SCI papers (h-index: 28; citations: +2900), 3 books, 5 book chapters, 2 datasets, 6 patents, 8 abstracts of papers of the American Chemical Society, 10 conference proceedings, and more than 100 communications in national and international conferences . She has acted as invited Guest Editor for Applied Science (2018), Materials (2019-2021) and Nanomaterials (2019-2021) journals (MDPI), and is an active reviewer for international journals (e.g. Nature Commun., Carbohydr. Polym., Sci. Reports, Environ. Sci. Technol., ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., ACS Nano).

CVilela is an Associate Editor of Chemisrty Africa (Springer Nature), Editorial Board Member of Cogent Chemistry (Taylor & Francis Group) and Polysaccharides (MDPI), and Topical Advisory Panel Member of Nanomaterials (MDPI). She was a participant of the COST Action FP1405 (ActInPak, 2015-2019), and is a member of the European Polysaccharide Network of Excellence (EPNOE) and the Portuguese Materials Society (SPM).

Research group

BioPol4fun - Innovation in biopolymer based functional materials and bioactive compounds


Follow the group activities at: 

Selected Publications


Ongoing Supervisions



A concise guide to active agents for active food packaging

Vilela, C; Kurek, M; Hayouka, Z; Rocker, B; Yildirim, S; Antunes, MDC; Nilsen-Nygaard, J; Pettersen, MK; Freire, CSR

Secondary metabolites from Eucalyptus grandis wood cultivated in Portugal, Brazil and South Africa

Santos, SAO; Vilela, C; Domingues, RMA; Oliveira, CSD; Villaverde, JJ; Freire, CSR; Neto, CP; Silvestre, AJD

Multilayered materials based on biopolymers as drug delivery systems

Vilela, C; Figueiredo, ARP; Silvestre, AJD; Freire, CSR
2017, EXPERT OPINION ON DRUG DELIVERY, 14, 2, 189-200.

Protonic conductivity and fuel cell tests of nanocomposite membranes based on bacterial cellulose

Gadim, TDO; Loureiro, FJA; Vilela, C; Rosero-Navarro, N; Silvestre, AJD; Freire, CSR; Figueiredo, FML
2017, ELECTROCHIMICA ACTA, 233, 52-61.

Exploiting poly(ionic liquids) and nanocellulose for the development of bio-based anion-exchange membranes

Vilela, C; Sousa, N; Pinto, RJB; Silvestre, AJD; Figueiredo, FML; Freire, CSR
2017, BIOMASS & BIOENERGY, 100, 116-125.

Poly(N-methacryloyl glycine)/nanocellulose composites as pH-sensitive systems for controlled release of diclofenac

Saidi, L; Vilela, C; Oliveira, H; Silvestre, AJD; Freire, CSR
2017, CARBOHYDRATE POLYMERS, 169, 357-365.

Bioactive chitosan/ellagic acid films with UV-light protection for active food packaging

Vilela, C; Pinto, RJB; Coelho, J; Domingues, MRM; Daina, S; Sadocco, P; Santos, SAO; Freire, CSR
2017, FOOD HYDROCOLLOIDS, 73, 120-128.

Poly(1,20-eicosanediyl 2,5-furandicarboxylate), a biodegradable polyester from renewable resources

Soares, MJ; Dannecker, PK; Vilela, C; Bastos, J; Meier, MAR; Sousa, AF
2017, EUROPEAN POLYMER JOURNAL, 90, 301-311.
ISBN: 1873-1945

Profiling of lipophilic and phenolic phytochemicals of four cultivars from cherimoya (Annona cherimola Mill.)

Santos, SAO; Vilela, C; Camacho, JF; Cordeiro, N; Gouveia, M; Freire, CSR; Silvestre, AJD
2016, FOOD CHEMISTRY, 211, 845-852.

Nafion (R) and nanocellulose: A partnership for greener polymer electrolyte membranes

Gadim, TDO; Vilela, C; Loureiro, FJA; Silvestre, AJD; Freire, CSR; Figueiredo, FML

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