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The research group of Smart Biomaterials and Biofabrication Technologies is part of the KU Leuven, which you can find in the center of Belgium and the heart of Europe. Our group consists of 2 professors, 1 post-doc and 5 PhD students.
Our group aims at developing innovative solutions for biomedical applications. It combines the world of (bio)chemical and biomedical engineering to create smart polymeric materials and cell based implants.
The project fits perfectly within the group. The student can benefit from the complementary expertises of the different supervisors.
Chronic wounds are nowadays still a serious concern in healthcare and require new and improved treatments. Chronic wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers could lead to amputations, which causes an elevated mortality rate, putting them in the same league as some forms of cancer. There already exist treatments such as specific wound dressings for chronic wounds, application of topical growth factors, autologous skin grafts, negative pressure wound therapy or low level light therapy. This latter technique induces the release of endogeneous NO in a wound. NO is a signal molecule which regulates angiogenesis and has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. However, diabetes patients suffer from a depleted reservoir of this endogeneous nitric oxide (NO). A solution to help heal their chronic wounds is by applying exogenous NO through a NO-donor. Up till now, only a few commercial NO-donors are available and all suffer from a limited stability in the presence of body fluids and heat.The aim of this project is to develop a new polymer based NO-donor with a higher stability than the current commercial donors and thus a more controllable and prolonged release.
We expect the PhD-candidate to hold a master's degree in engineering, bioscience engineering or equivalent and graduated with distinction. A profound interest and knowledge in polymer synthesis and processing and chemical & biological characterization of these polymers is a must.
Additionally, the candidate should: