Mater is a Fomento de las Artes y del Diseño (FAD) project for the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade, born from the increasing importance of materials in the development of our society. It starts with the exhibition “Mater in progress. New materials, new industry”, which revolves around innovation and technological development through materials, and is on show at the Sala de Exposiciones FAD (plaça dels Àngels 5-6), from February 8 until April 28, 2008.
The Institut de Bioenginyeria de Catalunya has taken part in the project by contributing projects, that is, materials, as well as taking part in the redaction of the homonymous book, specifically the tome “Mater. Tesis”, a compilation of texts written by well-known experts in each of the economical sectors and materials groups represented in Mater.
Also, the director of the centre, Josep A. Planell, is part of the Mater Expert Group, who have made their knowledge available by making an assessment of the projects and analyzing in deep the economical sectors and materials groups.
IBEC participates in Mater with the project “Connection of materials to life through nanotechnology”. This project deals with artificial nanostructured materials as an active support for cell culture and tissue engineering. The materials used are biocompatible thermoplastic polymers, the surface of which can be modified to create controlled nanoroughness, and can have active biomolecules added to it. These materials are able to signal and stimulate activity in cells already existing in the surrounding tissues and, therefore, can be of great utility for the development of regenerative medicine (regeneration of damaged tissue or organs) and to improve the disease diagnosis systems. In the next few yeras, this will allow for great advances in the diagnosis and treatment of the main diseases that current society faces: degenerative diseases, cancer or cardiovascular diseases.
On the other side, the Biomaterials, Biomechanics and Tissue Engineering group of the Technical University of Catalonia, associated to IBEC, has participated with the project “Mimetic dental implant with calcium phosphate”.
This project works in the improvement of traditional dental implants, in order to diminish the waiting period until they can be used. These implants’ surface is made with calcium phosphate (which has similar properties to bone), which accelerates bone formation and allows the implant to fix more quickly, so that it is possible to chew normally again in a very short time.