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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.

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Anthal I.P.M. Smits is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Tissue Engineering Medicine & Life Sciences
Scaffolds Engineering & Materials Science
Tissue engineering Engineering & Materials Science
Blood Vessels Medicine & Life Sciences
Scaffolds (biology) Engineering & Materials Science
Grafts Engineering & Materials Science
Heart Valves Medicine & Life Sciences
Macrophages Engineering & Materials Science

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Research Output 2008 2020

8 Downloads (Pure)
Open Access
Biocompatible Materials
Tissue engineering
2 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., Jan 2020, In : Biofabrication. 12, 1, 13 p., 015009.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Blood Vessels
Cell Differentiation
2 Citations (Scopus)
3 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

Military electronic countermeasures
Scaffolds (biology)
Tissue Engineering

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

Behavior Control

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., 11 Dec 2019, In : JACC: Basic to Translational Science.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Pulmonary Valve
Heart Valves
Bone Marrow Cells

Activities 2016 2018

  • 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 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

Tissue Engineering Part C: Methods (Journal)

Anthal Smits (Editorial board member)
Feb 2016 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activityScientific


Host response to biomaterials



Project Tissue engineering

1/09/14 → …



1/09/13 → …


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

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

The in vitro degradation of the hydroxyapatite layer on S53P4 bioactive glass by osteoclasts

Author: Schuiringa, R., 30 Apr 2018

Supervisor: Ito, K. (Supervisor 1), Hofmann, S. (Supervisor 2), Arts, C. (Supervisor 2), Smits, A. (Supervisor 2) & van Gestel, N. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master