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Education and Teaching

6EMA54 Physical chemistry of Soft Matter (Teaching Assistant)


Collagen and silica are an ideal match to produce scaffolds for biomedial applications.

Academic background

Paula Vena is a PhD student at the Laboratory of Materials and Interface Chemistry at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). She was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She studied at the University of Buenos Aires where she received her degree in chemistry in 2013. After graduation, she worked for two years at the Institute of Chemical Physics for Materials, Environment and Energy (Buenos Aires, Argentina) in the biosynthesis of semiconductor nanoparticles mediated by microorganisms. In September 2016 she joined the ITN MULTIMAT as an Early Stage Researcher. The aim of this project is to understand and steer the bottom-up construction of silica-based materials with complex hierarchical pore structures.


Research profile

Type I collagen is the most abundant component of the extracellular matrix. Its biocompatibility makes it ideal for synthesis of biomaterials, but its lack of mechanical resistance is a drawback. Silica seems to be an ideal partner to collagen to overcome this problem. Silica-collagen scaffolds are promising materials for the development of biomedical devices for tissue engineering, as silicon has a stimulating effect on osteogenesis.

The mineralization of collagen with silica has been studied for many years and silica-collagen scaffolds have already been used for the growth of fibroblasts and osteoblasts.  However, very little is known on how these two materials interact and how the intrafibrillar infilatrion can be achieved.

Understanding this would allow us to design materials with tunable mechanical properties and biocompatibility. Moreover, the possibility to use collagen for 3D printing opens the way construct hybrid materials with multiple hierarchical levels, just as we find in biological materials.


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