University Researcher

Paula Vena

Biomedical Engineering
Chemical Engineering and Chemistry


Type I collagen is the most abundant component of the extracellular matrix. Its biocompatibility makes it ideal for synthesis of biomaterials, but its lack of mechanical resistance is a drawback. Silica seems to be an ideal partner to collagen to overcome this problem. Silica-collagen scaffolds are promising materials for the development of biomedical devices for tissue engineering, as silicon has a stimulating effect on osteogenesis. The mineralization of collagen with silica has been studied for many years and silica-collagen scaffolds have already been used for the growth of fibroblasts and osteoblasts.  However, very little is known on how these two materials interact and how the intrafibrillar infilatrion can be achieved. Understanding this would allow us to design materials with tunable mechanical properties and biocompatibility. Moreover, the possibility to use collagen for 3D printing opens the way construct hybrid materials with multiple hierarchical levels, just as we find in biological materials.


Paula Vena received her PhD degree in Chemistry from the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), following her undergraduate studies at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. During her PhD, she studied the self-assembly of synthetic and natural polymers and the formation of hybrid polymer-silica structures. She used advanced electron microscopy techniques, such as (cryo)-transmission electron microscopy and (cryo)-electron tomography to study the complex nanostructures. She is now a postdoctoral researcher in the Orthopedics department of the UMCU and a guest researcher in the Biomedical Engineering department of the TU/e. Her research focuses on the development and biofabrication of materials for bone tissue engineering.

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