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Personal profile


Bone cells are the engineers of bone. They build new bone or break it down in reaction to their environment, keeping the bone healthy or causing a disease. But how exactly do they interact with each other?

Research profile

Sandra Hofmann is an Associate Professor in Bioengineering Bone at the Orthopaedic Biomechanics research group. Her current research focuses on bioengineering skeletal tissues, in particular bone. A special focus lies on visualization and understanding of how cells react to environmental and influential parameters (chemical, mechanical, other cells) in tissue-engineered in vitro models of bone tissue. 

Bone diseases are multifaceted and can have a highly deleterious impact on life and society. Moreover, ageing of the population imposes us with increasing numbers of persons suffering from skeletal issues. It is well known that a varying environment (cellular, chemical, mechanical environment) can have substantial effects on bone cells. The goal of her research is to develop a human cell-based, functional, 3D in vitro model of bone. It should allow studying interactions between the various cell types within bone, but also the differences between cells from various (human) donors (healthy vs diseased, young vs aged). To address this, bioreactors have been developed for longitudinal imaging of the mineralized extracellular matrix development by cells, using micro-computed tomography. Computational approaches are used to describe these environments and to predict tissue formation in vitro. 

Academic background

Sandra Hofmann obtained her MSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Basel, Switzerland in 2002. After a scientific visit to Prof. David Kaplan’s lab at Tufts University in Boston, she completed her PhD (with distinction) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich in 2007, working on 'Silk fibroin as a biomaterial for drug delivery and tissue engineering'. Subsequently, she moved to the Group of Prof. Ralph Müller at the ETH's Institute for Biomechanics to focus her studies on imaging methods and bioreactor design. In 2010 Hofmann became group leader of the Skeletal Tissue Engineering Group as a Senior Research Associate. She became an assistant professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in 2013 and obtained tenure in 2016. Currently, she is an associate professor in Bioengineering Bone at the Orthopaedic Biomechanics Group and a core member of the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems (ICMS) at the TU/e. 

Among others, Sandra Hofmann has obtained an ERC starting grant (2013), a Marie Curie Career integration grant (2013), a Women in Science Grant (2014) and recently she was awarded an NWO Vidi grant (2018).

Affiliated with

· Orthopaedic Biomechanics Group (Biomedical Engineering Department, TU/e)

· Institute for Complex Molecular Systems (ICMS) 


Partners in (semi-)industry

· BonAlive

· Osteo-Pharma 

External positions

ETH Zurich

1 Oct 200731 Aug 2017

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Sandra Hofmann is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 28 Similar Profiles
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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2004 2020

16 Citations (Scopus)
135 Downloads (Pure)

Flow velocity-driven differentiation of human mesenchymal stromal cells in silk fibroin scaffolds: A combined experimental and computational approach

Vetsch, J. R., Betts, D. C., Müller, R. & Hofmann, S., 1 Jul 2017, In : PLoS ONE. 12, 7, 17 p., e0180781.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Fracture Healing
stromal cells
32 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)

Remodeling of tissue-engineered bone structures in vivo

Hofmann, S., Hilbe, M., Fajardo, R., Hagenmüller, H., Nuss, K., Arras, M., Müller, R., Rechenberg, von, B., Kaplan, D. L., Merkle, H. P. & Meinel, L., 2013, In : European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics. 85, 1, p. 119-129

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Bone and Bones
Mesenchymal Stromal Cells
Bone Regeneration
263 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)

Control of in vitro tissue-engineered bone-like structures using human mesenchymal stem cells and porous silk scaffolds

Hofmann, S., Hagenmüller, H., Koch, A. M., Müller, R., Vunjak-Novakovic, G., Kaplan, D. L., Merkle, H. P. & Meinel, L., 2007, In : Biomaterials. 28, 6, p. 1152-1162 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Stem cells
Mesenchymal Stromal Cells
43 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Non-invasive time-lapsed monitoring and quantification of engineered bone-like tissue

Hagenmüller, H., Hofmann, S., Kohler, T., Merkle, H. P., Kaplan, D. L., Vunjak-Novakovic, G., Müller, R. & Meinel, L., 2007, In : Annals of Biomedical Engineering. 35, 10, p. 1657-1667 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

557 Citations (Scopus)

The inflammatory responses to silk films in vitro and in vivo

Meinel, L., Hofmann, S., Karageorgiou, V., Kirker-Head, C., McCool, J., Gronowicz, G., Zichner, L., Langer, R., Vunjak-Novakovic, G. & Kaplan, D. L., 2005, In : Biomaterials. 26, 2, p. 147-155

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Stem cells
Mesenchymal Stromal Cells


Intentional control of mineralized ECM deposition in bone tissue engineering

Sandra Hofmann (Recipient), 1 Sep 2013

Prize: OtherCareer, activity or publication related prizes (lifetime, best paper, poster etc.)Scientific

Tissue Engineering
Bone and Bones

NWO Vidi Award : A miniature bone model

S. Hofmann (Recipient), 29 May 2018

Prize: NWOVidiScientific

Bone and Bones
Bone Remodeling
Bone Diseases
Drug Therapy

Real-time monitoring of load induced remodeling in tissue-engineered bone

S. Hofmann (Recipient), 2013

Prize: ERCStartingScientific

Bone and Bones
Tissue Engineering
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Regenerative Medicine
Bone Remodeling


Basic tissue engineering

1/09/13 → …



1/09/15 → …


Bone structure and function

1/09/14 → …


Press / Media

Student theses

Gas plasma modification for in situ tissue engineering

Author: Driessen, R., 31 Mar 2015

Supervisor: Bouten, C. (Supervisor 1), Sahlgren, C. (Supervisor 2), Hofmann Boss, S. (Supervisor 2), Smits, P. (Supervisor 2) & Stevens, A. (External person) (External coach)

Student thesis: Master

Preparation of a 3D vascularized in vitro bone model using cell sheet engineering and a pre-seeded silk fibroin microtube vessel

Author: Vis, M., 28 Mar 2019

Supervisor: Melke, J. (Supervisor 1) & Hofmann, S. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master

The effect of acidosis on osteoclastic bone resorption in 3D in vitro

Author: Sleddens, M., 31 Aug 2017

Supervisor: Ito, K. (Supervisor 1), Hofmann Boss, S. (Supervisor 2), Tel, J. (Supervisor 2) & Remmers, S. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master

The effect of testosterone and alendronate on bone formation in a 3D in vitro system

Author: van den Broek, E., 30 Aug 2018

Supervisor: Ito, K. (Supervisor 1), Hofmann, S. (Supervisor 2), Melke, J. (Supervisor 2) & Kurniawan, N. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master