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"The body's immune system is an incredibly versatile entity, equally capable of tissue destruction and construction. The potential of harnessing this duality for tissue regeneration is tremendously fascinating and challenging.”

Research profile

Anthal Smits is Assistant Professor of ImmunoRegeneration at the Department of Biomedical Engineeering (section Soft Tissue Engineering & Mechanobiology) and the Insitute for Complex Molecular Systems at Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands. He leads the ImmunoRegeneration Group, which specializes in immunomodulation to induce in situ tissue regeneration. The main research goal is to gain a mechanistic understanding of the interactions between human immune cell behavior, biomaterial design, and biomechanical loads, in conditions of health and disease. Smits’ main clinical target applications are cardiovascular replacements (e.g. heart valves and blood vessels), yet, the research is curiosity-driven, and applicable to a wide variety of clinical applications.

Smits' research has an interdisciplinary nature, bridging the fields of tissue engineering, mechanobiology, materials science, and immunology. Topics of investigation range from the fundamentals of patient-specific macrophage-biomaterial interactions using dynamic in vitro platforms, to the development of regenerative scaffolds for heart valve and blood vessel tissue engineering.

Academic background

Anthal Smits holds a BSc degree in Mechanical Engineering (2004) and a MSc degree in Biomedical Engineering (2008), both from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e, The Netherlands). In 2014 he earned his PhD under the supervision of prof. Frank Baaijens, in close collaboration with the University Medical Center Utrecht. After having spent two years working as a Project Engineer at LifeTec Group BV, Smits joined the group of prof. Carlijn Bouten at TU/e as a post-doc in 2015. In July 2016 he was appointed Assistant Professor, leading the ImmunoRegeneration research group. He is a core member of the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems (ICMS) at TU/e, member of the Netherlands Society for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering (NBTE), the TERMIS EU Chapter, and the Heart Valve Society. He is board member of the International Conference of Tissue-Engineered Heart Valves (ICTEHV), and an Editorial Board Member of Tissue Engineering Parts A, B, C, and previous board member (now scientific council) of Young@Heart.

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