We shape the future of multifunctional medicines through the combination of material science, biology, medicine, chemistry, 3D-printing, and nanotechnology by developing novel drug delivery platforms to a broad range of clinical targets.

In our research we focus on several lines of investigation:

  • Synthesis and fabrication of tissue-mimicking hydrogels and scaffolds for regenerative purposes
  • Development of bio-inspired and responsive nanomedicines for controlled drug release
  • Microfluidic-assisted preparation of drug formulations
  • Microneedles to improve the therapeutic performance of medicines

Our research team makes the unique bridge between medical engineering/technology, pharmaceutical nanotechnology and biomedical research by combining unique techniques, helping to build innovative nanomedicines/nanovectors, multidrug loading nanocarriers, 3D-bioprinting hydrogels and scaffolds for tissue regeneration. To design and test the functionality and efficacy of biomedical systems, we use state-of-the-art nanotheranostic technologies for personalized medicine and 3D-printing, which allow the precisely engineering of materials to develop novel therapeutic formulations, including industrial scale-up validation, batch-to-batch reproducibility, and controllability of the biomaterials’ physicochemical properties for translation into the clinic.

The discoveries from our research group have the potential to decrease in-hospital stay, reduce future hospital admissions and decrease adverse events of current therapeutics available for cancer and heart diseases, thus be of direct benefit to patients and the healthcare system. Our developed and under-development technologies can support pharmaceutical companies to develop efficient treatments for different diseases, while reducing the enormous failure costs associated with the current treatments in the hospitals. This is expected to tremendously impact the global healthcare, leading to unprecedented novel solutions to treat patients suffering from invasive or poor-effect therapies.

We are always looking for talented students and visitors to perform their research projects on these topics in our lab. Applicants with strong background in nanotechnology, drug delivery and regenerative medicine are encouraged to contact us for possible PhD or Post doc opportunities.

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How our research benefits to society

We are committed to research in areas that have a significant healthcare, societal, and industrial impact:

  • Cancer nanotherapy: By nanoparticle-based chemotherapy we propose many advantages in cancer treatment, such as good pharmacokinetics, precise targeting of tumor cells, reduction of side effects, and decreasing tumor resistance to current therapies. Delivery of more complex drug molecules to the specific site of action, design of nanotherapeutics with multi-functionalities, and introduction of nano-level diagnostic carriers hold promising future applications to fill the gaps that exist in the present therapeutic domain.
  • Immunotherapeutics: Our research on immunotherapy addresses the treatment of disease by activating or suppressing of immune cells. In this context, we use biomaterials to create new Immunotherapies to elicit or amplify an immune response, classified as immunostimulatory formulations, or to establish immunotherapies that reduce or suppress the immune cells, which are recognized as immunosuppressive or immunoregulatory systems. This is of interest for clinicians and pharmaceutical companies, particularly in its promise to treat various forms of cancer, autoimmune diseases, degenerative disorders, and organ damages by immune cell modulation.
  • Cardio-regenerative strategies: Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally, and myocardial infarction is one of the most occurring heart failure with, no approved therapy to decrease the size of an established heart scar. We are continuously developing alternative strategies to promote cardioprotection and repair in the infarcted heart by (nano)biomaterials in different formats, among them scaffolds, cardiac patches, and hydrogels by immunomodulation to promote the secretion of anti-inflammatory cytokines and healing biomolecules to expand regenerative responses in the damaged heart.
  • Accelerated wound repair: Skin wounds represent a major healthcare problem owing to an increasing number of trauma and pathophysiological conditions. High risk of infection and chronic damage of skin in diabetic patients or those suffering from proper immunity have prompted us to find a huge demand from the healthcare system in developing wound dressing materials or the mimic the skin microenvironment through cutting edge technologies. In the forms of injectable hydrogels and patches, our formulations can stop bleeding at early stage, kill bacteria in the damaged skin, prevent the penetration of pathogens to blood circulation, and induce cell proliferation for accelerated wound healing.


Our team

Group photo of research group Translational Bionanomicro Theragenerative Medicine


Small profile photo of H.A. Santos
Hélder Santos Professor / Head of department Biomaterials & Biomedical Technology (BBT)

University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Postbus 30.001
9700 RB Groningen
The Netherlands

Visiting address
University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
Department of Biomedical Engineering
A. Deusinglaan 1
9713 AV Groningen