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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 leads the ImmunoRegeneration group in the Soft Tissue Engineering and Mechanolobiology section, headed by prof. Carlijn Bouten. The research is centered around the question of how can we modulate the immune response using biomaterials in order to induce functional, homeostatic tissue regeneration? Knowledge on the responsible mechanisms of inflammation in wound healing and tissue regeneration and the intrinsic potential for regenerative medicine and cardiovascular tissue engineering strategies is only scarcely available. To fully explore and apply this potential, Smits’ research is dedicated to gaining a mechanistic understanding of the interactions between immune cell behaviour, biomaterial design, and biomechanical loads, in conditions of health and disease. The main 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 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 takes place in the Young Investigator Council of the Tissue Engineering Parts A, B, C editorial board and he is a board member of Young@Heart.

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Research Output

Differential leaflet remodeling of bone marrow cell pre-seeded versus nonseeded bioresorbable transcatheter pulmonary valve replacements

Fioretta, E., Lintas, V., Mallone, A., Motta, S. E., von Boehmer, L., Dijkman, P. E., Cesarovic, N., Caliskan, E., Rodriguez Cetina Biefer, H., Lipiski, M., Sauer, M., Putti, M., Janssen, H. M., Söntjens, S. H. M., Smits, A. I. P. M., Bouten, C. V. C., Emmert, M. Y. & Hoerstrup, S. P., 1 Jan 2020, In : JACC: Basic to Translational Science. 5, 1, p. 15-31 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
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  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    6 Downloads (Pure)
    Open Access
    File
  • 15 Downloads (Pure)

    Layer-specific cell differentiation in bi-layered vascular grafts under flow perfusion

    Pennings, I., van Haaften, E. E., Juengst, T., Bulsink, J. A., Rosenberg, A. J. W. P., Groll, J., Bouten, C. V. C., Kurniawan, N. A., Smits, A. I. P. M. & Gawlitta, D., 1 Jan 2020, In : Biofabrication. 12, 1, 13 p., 015009.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  • 2 Citations (Scopus)
    5 Downloads (Pure)

    Cyclic strain affects macrophage cytokine secretion and ECM turnover in electrospun scaffolds

    Bonito, V., de Kort, B., Bouten, C. & Smits, A. I. P. M., 1 Sep 2019, In : Tissue engineering. Part A. 25, 17-18, p. 1310-1325 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  • 3 Citations (Scopus)
    11 Downloads (Pure)

    Design of an affinity based cytokine release system to temporally control macrophage behavior

    Lurier, E., Smits, A., Bouten, C. V. C. & Spiller, K. L., 1 Jan 2019, Society for Biomaterials Annual Meeting and Exposition 2019: The Pinnacle of Biomaterials Innovation and Excellence - Transactions of the 42nd Annual Meeting. Muttenz: Swiss Society for Biomaterials, p. 49 1 p. (Transactions of the Annual Meeting of the Society for Biomaterials and the Annual International Biomaterials Symposium; vol. 40).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

  • Activities

    • 3 Editorial activity
    • 1 Membership of board
    • 1 Membership of committee

    Young@Heart Institute (External organisation)

    Anthal I.P.M. Smits (Contributor)
    Sep 2018 → …

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of committeeProfessional

    Young@Heart Institute (External organisation)

    Anthal I.P.M. Smits (Chair)
    Sep 2018 → …

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of boardScientific

    Tissue Engineering Part C: Methods (Journal)

    Anthal Smits (Editorial board member)
    Feb 2016 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activityScientific

    Tissue Engineering. Part B, reviews (Journal)

    Anthal Smits (Editorial board member)
    Feb 2016 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activityScientific

    Tissue engineering. Part A (Journal)

    Anthal Smits (Editorial board member)
    Feb 2016 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activityScientific

    Courses

    Host response to biomaterials

    1/09/1631/08/20

    Course

    Project Tissue engineering

    1/09/14 → …

    Course

    Regeneration

    1/09/13 → …

    Course

    Press / Media

    Student theses

    Combined biochemical and electrical stimulation of human cardiomyocyte progenitor cells

    Author: Smits, A., 31 Aug 2008

    Supervisor: Baaijens, F. (Supervisor 1), Bartunek, J. (Supervisor 2), Faber, B. (Supervisor 2), Sluijter, J. (External person) (Supervisor 2) & Bouten, C. (Supervisor 2)

    Student thesis: Master

    Macrophage-induced myofibroblasts migration via paracrine signaling using 3D scaffolds with variable fiber alignment and cyclic stretch"

    Author: Sparla, J., 19 Dec 2019

    Supervisor: Bouten, C. V. (Supervisor 1), Smits, A. I. (Supervisor 2), Kurniawan, N. A. (Supervisor 2), Gawlitta, D. (Supervisor 2) & van Haaften, E. E. (Supervisor 2)

    Student thesis: Master

    The influence of strain on macrophage polarization

    Author: de Vries, S., 30 Mar 2017

    Supervisor: Bouten, C. (Supervisor 1), Smits, A. (Supervisor 2), van Donkelaar, C. (Supervisor 2) & Wissing, T. (Supervisor 2)

    Student thesis: Master