Anthal Smits leads the ImmunoRegeneration group in the Soft Tissue Engineering and Mechanolobiology section, headed by prof. Carlijn Bouten. The research is centered around the question of how can we modulate the immune response using biomaterials in order to induce functional, homeostatic tissue regeneration? Knowledge on the responsible mechanisms of inflammation in wound healing and tissue regeneration and the intrinsic potential for regenerative medicine and cardiovascular tissue engineering strategies is only scarcely available. To fully explore and apply this potential, Smits’ research is dedicated to gaining a mechanistic understanding of the interactions between immune cell behaviour, biomaterial design, and biomechanical loads, in conditions of health and disease. The main target applications are cardiovascular replacements (e.g. heart valves and blood vessels), yet the research is curiosity-driven, and applicable to a wide variety of clinical applications. Smits' research has an interdisciplinary nature, bridging the fields of tissue engineering, mechanobiology, materials science, and immunology. Topics of investigation range from the fundamentals of patient-specific macrophage-biomaterial interactions using dynamic in vitro platforms, to the development regenerative scaffolds for heart valve and blood vessel tissue engineering.
Anthal Smits holds a BSc degree in Mechanical Engineering (2004) and a MSc degree in Biomedical Engineering (2008), both from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e, The Netherlands). In 2014 he earned his PhD under the supervision of prof. Frank Baaijens, in close collaboration with the University Medical Center Utrecht. After having spent two years working as a Project Engineer at LifeTec Group BV, Smits joined the group of prof. Carlijn Bouten at TU/e as a post-doc in 2015. In July 2016 he was appointed Assistant Professor, leading the ImmunoRegeneration research group. He is a core member of the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems (ICMS) at TU/e, member of the Netherlands Society for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering (NBTE), the TERMIS EU Chapter, and the Heart Valve Society. He takes place in the Young Investigator Council of the Tissue Engineering Parts A, B, C editorial board and he is a board member of Young@Heart.
Tissue-engineered heart valvesPrinciples of Heart Valve Tissue Engineering (2019)
Cyclic strain affects macrophage cytokine secretion and ECM turnover in electrospun scaffoldsTissue engineering. Part A (2019)
Elastin in vascular graftsTissue-Engineered Vascular Grafts (2019)
The degradation and performance of electrospun supramolecular vascular scaffolds examined upon in vitro enzymatic exposureActa Biomaterialia (2019)
Macrophage-driven biomaterial degradation depends on scaffold microarchitectureFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology (2019)