Dr Nuria Oliva Jorge, Visiting Researcher, Bioengineering

I gained a BSc in Organic Chemistry from Ramon Llull University in Barcelona before pursuing a PhD in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics at MIT followed by a postdoc fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Harvard Medical School). To date, my research has focused largely on understanding how the performance of various biomaterials, such as collagen scaffolds or synthetic bioadhesives are affected by different environments (i.e. different patients, organs or diseases). The ultimate goal is to learn how to develop ‘smart biomaterials’ that respond and react to those differences, potentially opening a door to personalised biomaterials.

I am now working on a collaborative project between Imperial and the Chemical Institute of Sarriá in Barcelona – on a TECNIOspring PLUS Post-Doctoral Fellowship (within Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action and ACCIO funding). The project focuses on the development of smart nanomaterials for the controlled delivery of growth factors, which are biomolecules that promote wound healing and repair. Current growth factor therapies use very high doses of these biomolecules, which cause serious side effects for the patient and have very high costs. This technology will enable the use of 1000-fold less growth factor, making this type of therapy safer and cheaper.

My short-term goal in the next two years is to move towards independence and start my own research group at the intersection of biomaterials, nanotechnology and medicine, developing personalised smart materials to improve patients’ lives.

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