Prize for excellence in research on biomaterials

Damien Lacroix, group leader  in research on Biomechanics and Mecanobiology at IBEC (Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia) has been awarded a prize by the European Society for Biomaterials (ESB) for his innovative contributions in the field of biomaterials.

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Lacroix is distinguished by his studies of the interactions between mechanical stimuli and biomaterials for the improvement of medical devices in the field of tissue engineering. In particular, he develops models in silico to calculate these mechanical stimuli and to predict how tissues will form.

The ESB presents the Jean Leray Award anually, to recognize and stimulate young scientists who have made excellent contributions to research on biomaterials. Damien Lacroix will receive the 2010 prize during the ESB conference, to be held in Finland in September this year.

“ For the formation of tissues in biomaterials, mechanical stimuli are essential”, says Lacroix, “since they guide cell proliferation and differentiation”.  These stimuli cannot be measured experimentally. However, with computational models it is possible to calculate and predict which mechanical stimuli will act on the cells, as a function of the architecture of the biomaterial scaffolds used. Lacroix is one of the first researchers to have developed models for this purpose.

With the computational model, the scaling of data allows prediction in time of how the tissues will form in the scaffolds. The models allow us to improve the design of biomaterials and thus reduce the number of assays to be performed in vitro and in vivo.

The aim of the research in these models in silico is to be able to predict the biological response of biomaterials used for tissue regeneration in clinical applications before they are marketed.