Carlijn Bouten is professor of Cell-Matrix Interactions in Cardiovascular Regeneration and heads the research group 'Soft Tissue Engineering & Mechanobiology' at the department of Biomedical Engineering. Her research group investigates the interplay between living cells and the mechanobiological cues originating from the extracellular environment under conditions of tissue growth, adaptation, degeneration and regeneration. The group uses ‘living’ model systems at different length scales (cell, cell-matrix, engineered tissue, native tissue) to quantify these aspects, preferably in real-time.

The obtained knowledge is applied in engineering approaches to regenerate living tissues, in particular for the human heart. A prominent example is the development of a synthetic, biodegradable heart valve prosthesis that seduces the body to create a new, living heart valve at the site of implantation. Bouten performs her multidisciplinary research in close collaboration with material scientists, life scientists, clinicians, and medtech spin-offs. She leads several national and international public-private-patient research consortia in the field of Regenerative Medicine and Tissue Engineering.

The intriguing capacity of living cells to shape and adapt their own environment teaches us how to engineer new tissues for the heart.”

Seducing the body to repair itself

Carlijn Bouten leads the Research Center for Materials-Driven Regeneration (MDR). This is a partnership between Eindhoven University of Technology, Maastricht University and Utrecht University, University Medical Center Utrecht and the Hubrecht Institute. This consortium was brought together to advance tissue and organ regeneration approaches with the use of instructive biomaterials. The interdisciplinary team of researchers within the MDR consortium aims to focus on the research and development of new, intelligent materials that stimulate the regeneration of damaged or diseased tissues and organs.


Carlijn Bouten was trained in functional anatomy and biomechanics as well as muscle physiology at the department of Human Movement Sciences of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, where she received her MSc degree in 1991. In 1995, she obtained her PhD degree from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e, the Netherlands). She performed postdoctoral research at the Université Laval (Quebec), University of London, and at TU/e. In 1998, she was appointed assistant professor in Cellular Biomechanics in the department of Mechanical Engineering at TU/e, and in 2002 she became associate professor of Tissue Engineering in the department of Biomedical Engineering at the same university. In 2010, Carlijn Bouten was appointed full professor of Cell-Matrix Interaction in Cardiovascular Regeneration at TU/e. She is a recipient of the Aspasia Career Development award of the Dutch Science Foundation NWO (2002), which awarded her the prestigious VICI grant for established researchers in 2003, only eight years after defending her PhD. From 2005-2010 Bouten was member of The Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). Since 2017, she leads the national gravitation program Materials-Driven Regeneration. In that same year she was elected member of the KNAW. In 2022 Bouten received an ERC Advanced grant from the Eurpean Research Council for her research on restoring cardiac tissue organization.

Prof. Bouten participates in several international societies and is founding fellow of the European Alliance for Medical and Biological Engineering and Science (EAMBES), president elect of the Heart Valve Society, and member of AcademiaNet for Outstanding Female Scientists and Scholars in Europe. She (co)authored over 180 publications on ISI journals and 16 book chapters on biomedical and tissue engineering.

Ancillary Activities

  • Member Scientific Advisory Board, Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), Barcelona
  • lid, KNAW
  • lid, KHMW
  • lid, Raad voor Medische Wetenschappen, KNAW