14 June 2022

Third ERC Proof of Concept grant awarded to João Mano

Third ERC Proof of Concept grant awarded to João Mano

João F. Mano, professor at the Department of Chemistry, and vice-director of CICECO – Aveiro Institute of Materials, was awarded for the third time with a Proof of Concept (PoC) grant from the European Research Council. The ERC-PoC scheme supports activities at the very early stage of turning research outputs into a commercial valuable proposition, able to achieve economic or societal benefits.

Based on technological advances reached from the ERC-Advanced Grant ATLAS, João F. Mano and his team, will receive 150000€ for the development of a new family of commercially exploitable bioinks based on human-derived proteins, derived from blood fractions or placental tissues.

The project, entitled HumanINK - Human based bioinks to engineer physiologically relevant tissues, will be co-supervised by Catarina Custódio, who will also be involved in the validation and commercial exploitation of these products through Metatissue, a spin-off company from University of Aveiro.

Bioprinting techniques, which integrate 3D printing with tissue engineering by utilizing living cells encapsulated in biomaterials as bioinks, are paving the way toward devising many innovating solutions for key biomedical and healthcare challenges and herald new frontiers in medicine, pharmaceutical, and food industries.

HumanINK aims to validate human based-bioinks to produce robust humanized 3D hydrogel environments with unprecedented biofunctionality for specific cell culture that fully recapitulate the native microenvironment of a variety of human tissues and organs.

These bioengineered constructs could find fast applications in the development of disease models, to understand mechanisms of disease, screen drugs or to test other treatments. One expects that the technology will be later translatable into the clinics, to be used in therapies based on regenerative medicine.

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