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Personal profile


'The ‘smartest’ biomaterials are the natural tissues in our bodies. If only we could unlock their secrets and bioengineer smart biomimetic biomaterials that help our tissues to heal, responding to their cues.'

Research profile

Keita Ito chairs the research group Orthopaedic Biomechanics, where engineering and biology are combined to expand our understanding of the biomechanical function of musculoskeletal tissues as well as their adaptive developmental and physiological nature. This knowledge is then applied to explore and develop regenerative treatment strategies. Currently the research focuses on four musculoskeletal tissues: bone; articular cartilage; intervertebral disc; and tendons/ligaments.

He personally leads the research effort on the topic of the intervertebral discs. Degenerative disc disease is one of the most prevalent causes of back/neck pain that often leads to disability for individuals of working age. The goal of the research is to understand the basic mechanisms of disc degeneration and to develop long-term functional treatments for this condition.

The strategy focuses on: exploring deficient nutrition, loss of high tissue tonicity and mechanical loading as mechanotransduction mechanisms of cellular stimulated degeneration; how these degenerative changes may cause failure of disc function; and then using this understanding to explore tissue engineering approaches towards disc regeneration. The approach is to combine numerical simulations with tissue explant ex vivo experiments in bioreactors where the physical environment can be controlled.

Academic background

Keita Ito studied Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA) where he received his MSc degree in 1987. In 1994 he obtained his ScD in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics from MIT. The next year he graduated as MD from Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA, USA). From 1995-1996 he was a post-doctoral Research Fellow at the AO Research Institute (Davos, Switzerland), to become group head of the Cartilage Biomechanics Group from 1996-2003 and Vice Director and leader of the Mechanobiology Program from 2003-2007. From 1997-1998 he was a Research Fellow at the department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Inselspital University Hospital Bern (Switzerland). In 2002 and 2003 he was Visiting Scientist at the department of Biomedical Engineering of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e, The Netherlands), where he was appointed Professor of Mechano-biology and Musculoskeletal Tissue Differentiation in 2004. In 2007 he became Full Professor of Orthopaedic Biomechanics at TU/e. In 2013 Ito was appointed as Professor of Mechanobiology in Orthopaedic Regenerative Medicine at the University Medical Center Utrecht (The Netherlands), in collaboration with TU/e.

Affiliated with

  • Institute for Complex Molecular Systems, TU/e
  • Regenerative Medicine Across Borders
  • Materials Driven Regeneration, NWO Gravitation Program

 Partners in (semi-)industry

  • DSM Biomedical BV, Geleen, NL
  • AO Foundation, Davos, CH
  • Fujifilm, Tilburg, NL

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1991 2019

26 Citations (Scopus)

Alterations to the subchondral bone architecture during osteoarthritis : bone adaptation versus endochondral bone formation

Cox, L. G. E., Donkelaar, van, C. C., Rietbergen, van, B., Emans, P. J. & Ito, K., 2013, In : Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. 21, 2, p. 331-338 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Bone and Bones
22 Citations (Scopus)

Long-term culture of bovine nucleus pulposus explants in a native environment

Dijk, van, B. G. M., Potier, E. & Ito, K., 2013, In : The Spine Journal. 13, 4, p. 454-463

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Osmolar Concentration
65 Citations (Scopus)

Bone remodelling in humans is load-driven but not lazy

Christen, P., Ito, K., Ellouz, R., Boutroy, S., Sornay-Rendu, E., Chapurlat, R. & Rietbergen, van, B., 2014, In : Nature Communications. 5, p. 4855-1/5 5 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Bone Remodeling
Bone and Bones
7 Citations (Scopus)

Soluble and pelletable factors in porcine, canine and human notochordal cell-conditioned medium: implications for IVD regeneration

Bach, F. C., de Vries, S. A. H., Riemers, F. M., Boere, J., van Heel, F. W. M., van Doeselaar, M., Goerdayal, S. S., Nikkels, P. G. J., Benz, K., Creemers, L. B., Altelaar, A. F. M., Meij, B. P., Ito, K. & Tryfonidou, M. A., 2016, In : European Cells and Materials. 32, p. 163-180

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Intervertebral Disc
Conditioned Culture Medium
Open Access
Tissue Scaffolds
Tissue Engineering


Database of femur samples

Hazrati Marangalou, J. (Creator), Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, 2013



Basic tissue engineering

1/09/13 → …


DBL Functional tissue repair

1/09/12 → …


DBL Functional tissue repair

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The kidney



Student theses

3D laxity assessment in ACL-patients

Author: Kruis, N., 1 Jan 2016

Supervisor: Ito, K. (Supervisor 1), van Rietbergen, B. (Supervisor 2), Verdonschot, N. J. (External person) (External coach) & Sprengers, A. (Supervisor 1)

Student thesis: Master

3D quantification of lumbar spinal dynamics at the time of surgery

Author: Vugts, C., 31 Dec 2008

Supervisor: Ito, K. (Supervisor 1)

Student thesis: Master

A method for the determination of the human muscular PCSA based on diffusion tensor imaging

Author: Kierkels, T., 31 Aug 2015

Supervisor: Ito, K. (Supervisor 1), van Rietbergen, B. (Supervisor 2), Meijer, K. (External coach), Drost, M. (External coach) & Oomen, P. (External coach)

Student thesis: Master

Analysis of total disc replacement failure mechanisms

Author: van Rijsbergen, M., 31 Aug 2011

Supervisor: Punt, I. (External person) (External coach), Willems, P. C. (External person) (External coach), van Rietbergen, B. (Supervisor 1) & Ito, K. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master

A new method to measure hindfoot stiffness in children with clubfeet

Author: Koopmans, P., 1 Jan 2016

Supervisor: van Rietbergen, B. (Supervisor 1), Reijman, M. (External person) (External coach), van der Steen, M. (External person) (External coach), Bovendeerd, P. (Supervisor 2), Ito, K. (Supervisor 2) & Besselaar, A. (External person) (External coach)

Student thesis: Master