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Joint research day - Tampere University & University of Twente Travel voucher deadline

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Joint Research Day

The Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology (MET) at Tampere University (TAU) and the Technical Medical Centre of the University of Twente (UT) have expressed mutual interest in strengthening the collaboration between the institutions in research, education and innovations activities. Based on a visit of a delegation of the TechMed Centre to the MET faculty in October 2022, initial collaboration areas have been identified and the first plans for deepening the collaboration have been drafted. As the next step, we aim to widen and deepen the collaboration actions.

Both institutions already have experience with internal Research Days. In order to stimulate knowledge exchange and matchmaking, we will organize an online Joint Research Day with selected thematic talks and matchmaking sessions on the 4th of April, 2023. This is aimed to be a start for more in-depth discussions on collaboration areas. 

Furthermore, participants are encouraged to follow up bilaterally after the Joint Research Day. After the online session on the 4th of April, all participants are invited to apply for TAU-UT collaboration vouchers. The vouchers will be applied by using a separate form to be opened later. Five vouchers of € 5.000,- are available at each university, to stimulate visits and short stays of research group members at the other university and to be able to perform some initial joint research experiments, preferably leading to a joint publication or grant application.

Travel vouchers

Travel vouchers are available for stimulating collaboration & research exchang between Tampere and Twente Universities

By providing Travel Vouchers, we aim to support research collaboration between TAU MET faculty – UT TechMed Centre. All researchers and teachers at TAU MET faculty – UT TechMed Centre are eligible.

  • 4 April: Call for Collaboration proposal vouchers online (after the event) 
  • 20 April: Submission deadline for the Collaboration proposals vouchers

View the Travel voucher call here

the online event

  • 4 April 2023
  • (set in dutch times)

12.45 - 1 pm

Online doors open

Plenary room

1 - 1.20 pm 

Seppo Parkkila - Dean, Tampere University - Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology

Introduction of organisations
Pasi Kallio, Vice Dean for Research Tampere University - Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology
Remke Burie, Managing director, University of Twente - TechMed Centre

Plenary room

1.20 - 2.20 pm 

2.20 - 2.25 pm 

Thematic parallel programme - part 1 (moderated by:)

  • Organ-on-a-chip | Katriina Aalto-Setälä (TAU) and Robert Passier (UT)
  • eHealth & Health data science | Mark van Gils (TAU) and Monique Tabak (UT)
  • Oncology | Vesa Hytönen (TAU) and Marcel Heinrich (UT)

Wrap-ups per break-out rooms 

Break-out room 1
Break-out room 2
Break-out room 3

2.25 - 2.40 pm 


2.40 - 3.40 pm 

3.40 - 3.45 pm

Thematic parallel programme - part 2 (moderated by:)

  • Cell, Tissue and biomaterial Engineering | Minna Kellomäki (TAU) and Marcel Karperien (UT)
  • BioMedical Sensors & systems | Leena Ukkonen (TAU) and Loes Segerink (UT)

Wrap-ups per break-out rooms 

Break-out room 1
Break-out room 2

3.45 - 4 pm 

Closing words
Jouke Tamsma, Medical director, University of Twente - TechMed Centre

Plenary room

Speakers & Abstracts

Click on the themes below to open the schedule including speakers with titles and abstracts.

  • 1. Organ-on-a-chip
    • 1.20 - 1.30 pm | José Manuel Rivera Arbelaez

      Versatile and modular approach for engineering and analyzing three-dimensional cardiac tissues

      Current animal models are not reliable enough to predict the cardiac responses in humans and although human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes (hPSC-CMs) offer great promise, their immature fetal-like features may represent a challenge for accurate disease modeling and drug testing. Therefore, there is an urgent need to use advanced human-based models for assessment of organ function. In vitro 3D cardiac models like engineered heart tissues (EHTs) have been shown to recapitulate tissue organization, function and cell-cell interactions of the adult human heart in vitro. Moreover, it has been reported that an increase in maturation of the hPSC-derived EHTs can be achieved by mechanical or electrical stimulation. This is essential to resemble the human heart to study the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics during preclinical studies of drug development. However, determining the appropriate window for electrical stimulation that will promote structural and electrophysiological maturation of CMs still represents a significant hurdle.

      We have analyzed the effect of continuous stimulation of EHTs made in a versatile platform designed to fit into a commercial 12 well plate with 3 technical replicates per well (a total of 36 EHTs per plate). Moreover, the platform is designed to allow electrical stimulation per well, per set of 3 wells or the full well plate. We are using this advanced EHT platform that enables detailed analysis of hallmark physiological features of 3D cardiac tissues, to evaluate the effect of continuous stimulation on cardiac maturation. Nevertheless, we are still working towards finding the right stimulation parameters to induce cardiac maturation and how to integrate on the platform an user friendly stimulation system. This is relevant to achieve the best cardiac performance in vitro which will be beneficial for modeling cardiac disease and will expedite the process of drug discovery.

    • 1.30 - 1.40 pm | Tomi Ryynänen

      Microelectrode arrays - technology jump from 2D to 3D

      Micro-sized electrodes can be used for stimulation and recording functionality of electrically active cells in cell models which are developed e.g. to reduce animal experiments and to understand mechanisms of diseases and traumas. Traditionally these cell models and electrodes have been planar. Because real organs are not two- but three-dimensional (3D), the biologists have started to develop 3D cell models that better mimic the real organs. However, 3D electrodes needed to study the 3D cell models in vitro are not yet commercially available. The aim of my research is to develop 3D microelectrode arrays (MEAs) for studying various 3D cell models currently under development at Tampere University. In the ongoing first phase, inkjet-printed pillar electrodes have been chosen as the primary approach for the 3D electrodes. Inkjet technology allows easy modification of pillar heights and location, i.e. customization for different cell models. My personal interest is to develop novel thin film coatings for the pillar electrodes to improve their biocompatibility and long-term stability. For co-operation, I am especially looking for a Comsol expert to model the 3D MEAs and also new end-user candidates (cell groups) for my 3D MEAs. But also for technological development and characterization co-operation suggestions are welcome.

    • 1.40 - 1.50 pm | Verena Schwach

      Human-engineered organ-on-chip models for modelling disease

      Current models are not able to recapitulate all aspects of disease and have not proven effective in extrapolating experimental findings to patients. Therefore, there is an urgent necessity to develop more predictable disease models. Human engineered models using human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived cells are a great alternative to existing models as they can mimic different facets of disease with the goal to understand the pathogenic mechanisms and develop new therapies.

      We developed such a 3D cardiac tissue model with specific spatial organization to recapitulate onset and progression of arrhythmia. This model mimics the source-to-sink mismatch and thus creates a vulnerable substrate that predisposes to arrhythmia. Optical mapping can be used to visualize the conduction of calcium or voltage wave propagations through the tissue. Interestingly, we could trigger and counteract arrhythmia-like events. We would now like to apply our model by integrating cardiomyocytes differentiated from patient-hPSC-lines harboring mutations associated with arrhythmias, such as long QT-syndrome. We have the expertise to generate isogenic controls for comparison.

      Another big step is to build a multi-organ-on-chip to study inter-organ communication. As it became apparent that heart and brain disease may be interconnected, we recently expanded our heart-on-chip with hPSC-derived brain and nerve. We make use of a specialized organ-on-chip design with three compartments connected via microchannels to model this heart-brain axis. Optical imaging techniques allow evaluation of cardiac function. We now hope to be able to develop readouts for cardiac and brain function by integrating the right sensors, perform advanced 3D imaging and multi-electrode measurements.

      Our next research goals match well with the Finnish Cardiovascular Research Center Tampere and the Centre of Excellence in Body-on-Chip Research and we believe that a collaboration could be beneficial to all parties involved.

    • 1.50 - 2.00 pm | Oskari Kulta

      Axonal guidance in 2D and 3D environment utilizing microfluidic chips, 3D bioprinting and chemotaxis

      Tightly regulated axonal connections between neurons are vital for the organization of brain networks and sustainability of functions of brain circuitry. Specialized structures of the axon, growth cones, express various receptor molecules that sense the environmental cues transforming them into steering decisions and further innervating the target cells. The pivotal role of axon dynamics in neural circuit formation, innervation, development and in neurological diseases has created a large niche for in vitro axonal research. While the field is dominated by microfluidic chip-based studies, 3D bioprinting offers possibilities for more accurate in vivo mimicking 3D neuronal models. First, the effect of chemotactic compounds on human cortical neural network formation and axonal growth was analyzed on conventional 2D cultures and microfluidic chips. Chips have three individual compartments, and the side compartments are connected to the middle compartment via microtunnels. Axonal growth was facilitated with chemoattractants or restricted with chemorepellent towards the middle compartment. 2D platform did not offer significant results regarding the axonal growth but offered valuable information for the creation of the 3D model. Secondly, human cortical neuronal network formation was studied and analyzed in 3D hyaluronic acid (HA)-based hydrogels by supplementing the cultures with NGF, laminin or combination of both resulting in enhanced network formation compared to controls. Furthermore, 3D bioprinted axonal guidance structure utilizing similar biomaterials with varying stiffnesses was created. With further optimization of the microfluidic chips and 3D bioprinted structure, a novel axonal guidance models can be created. Thus, collaboration in these areas with additional functional and molecular level analyses would enhance the organ-on-a-chip research, in vitro disease modelling as well as better the understanding of the multifarious nature of axon pathfinding.

    • 2.00 - 2.10 pm | Eric Safai

      The Translational Organ-on-Chip Platform (TOP): An open platform for modular interfacing of organs-on-chips

      A persistent barrier to wide adoption of organ-on-a-chips (OoCs) within the academic and pharmaceutical realms is poor inter-compatibility between different OoC systems and difficult translatability from one environment to another. End-users (e.g. biologists, companies) often feel constrained to one OoC culture platform after selecting a commercial system; or, OoCs require technical knowledge that inhibits smooth translation from a developer towards an end-user. The Translational Organ-on-Chip Platform (TOP) [1], developed at the Organ-on-Chip Center Twente (OOCCT, www.utwente.nl/oocct), is based on open, publicly available ISO standards [2] which allow for modularity, ultimately encouraging end-users – biologists and model developers – to select from a library of ISO compliant building blocks when developing their experimental OoC system. For example, through a multi-institutional collaboration, a pH sensor from TU Delft, a vessel-on-a-chip from TU Eindhoven, and a commercially available flow sensor were all interfaced through a TOP fluidic circuit board [3]. In this upcoming work, we hope to expand the number and types of ISO compatible chips, particularly ones that are already developed in previous work. Research out of the Kallio Lab matches well with this goal as their chips are already ISO compliant in many aspects and require little modification. As one example, work from 2020 exemplified a modular brain-on-a-chip which could be interfaced to TOP with little effort [4]. The Kallio Lab has other potentially compatibly components, including an oxygen-controlled OoC [5], a microelectrode array OoC with gas supply for neuronal cell culture [6], and a pneumatic cell stretching system for cardiac differentiation and culture [7]. We believe that a collaboration between the Micro- and Nanosystems Research Group within Centre of Excellence in Body on-Chip Research, a sister institution of sorts, would yield a productive and long-lasting connection.

    • 2.10 - 2.20 pm | Hannu Välimäki

      Modulating and measuring oxygen in cell culture platforms

      Organ-on-a-chips (OoC) are microfluidic cell culturing systems that aim to recapitulate in vivo microenvironmental conditions in vitro. OoCs aim to provide physiologically relevant platforms for physiological, pathological, or pharmacological studies. An important microenvironmental parameter is oxygen partial pressure pO2. In vivo, pO2 is highly tissue-specific and strongly dependent on the local cellular activity. Therefore, technologies for localized pO2 control and measurement are needed. In addition, monitoring pO2 give insights to the metabolic status of the system. At Tampere University (TAU), we have developed microfluidic cell culture platforms facilitating spatiotemporal pO2 modulation. Typically, these platforms utilize gas diffusion through polydimethylsiloxane structures separating gas supply channels from cell chambers. The platforms provide physiological pO2 conditions, create pO2 gradients or generate rapid ischemia. The platforms have been utilized together with human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) derived neurons and cardiomyocytes. For oxygen measurements, we have developed various luminescence-based methods. These include tailored front-end optics for extremely low-light probing and 2D oxygen imaging in ratiometric and lifetime modalities. In this presentation, we survey our recent research on the oxygen modulation and monitoring technologies. The survey includes ischemic studies of hiPSC- derived cardiomyocytes with in-situ pO2 monitoring, novel chips designs with rapid, compartmentalized pO2 control or oxygen gradient, as well as performance analyses based on ratiometric oxygen imaging. In addition, the latest developments of a 3D oxygen imaging platform based on luminescence light sheet microscopies are reported. We are willing to initiate collaboration on interesting biological or technical questions. Especially, we are interested in ischemic studies where we could further develop our technologies for oxygen modulation and monitoring.

  • 2. eHealth & Health data science
    • 1.20 - 1.30 pm | Stephanie Schouten

      Near, far, wherever you are: pocket sized patient-centered hospital aftercare with the use of eHealth

      Factors such as aging of the population and shortage in medical staff have contributed to a imbalance in healthcare supply and demand. Innovations, for example apps and wearables, offer a potential solution to meet the increasing demand on the healthcare sector. The connected care center (CCC) of the Isala Hospital in Zwolle is determined to make hospital care more efficient and (cost-)effective. Their slogan for the provision of healthcare is ‘to provide care at home if possible, and in hospital if necessary’.

      One of the innovations implemented within the CCC is an app that facilitates the remote delivery of outpatient care for stroke patients. The CVA eCoach was developed in co-creation with stroke patients, health care providers and an industry partner. The app aids patients in the delivery of health education, provides patients the ability to self-monitor symptoms and offers the opportunity to seek contact with healthcare providers. These functionalities contribute to patient empowerment, patient self-management and a more patient-centered aftercare trajectory. In addition, the app enables healthcare providers to monitor their patients from a distance, which holds promise for a decrease in hospital (re)admissions due to timely intervention of healthcare providers if patients deteriorate. Thus, the implementation of technology in the provision of healthcare can help mitigate the current challenges within healthcare and create a more sustainable system.

      The current healthcare challenges exceed all borders and are not inherently unique to the Dutch healthcare system. Therefore, international collaboration is sought to study how promising eHealth technologies can be translated into different care contexts. A diverse range of topics may be further investigated, such as co-creation, technology adoption, implementation, evaluation, (cost-)effectiveness. The research team is open to explore other research avenues than the ones mentioned here.

    • 1.30 - 1.40 pm | Pedro A. Moreno Sanchez

      Decision support system for elderly preventive care

      People worldwide are living longer due to advances in healthcare. As people age, they may experience physical and mental decline, and the healthcare system should address their varied needs. Digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence or internet of things, can help elderly people by providing easy-to-use assisted systems that are accessible and readily available, without requiring advanced technical knowledge to set up and use.

      The research group of Decision Support for Health of Tampere University has ample expertise to extract knowledge from health, social and behavioral data in order to help healthcare professionals as well as citizens by improving the decision-making process. We work with technologies such as artificial intelligence, signal processing, wearable devices, machine learning (ML), or explainable artificial intelligence (AI).

      Concerning the aging society, we propose a preventive care approach to support the elderly through AI/ML by identifying those individuals at risk of adverse healthcare outcomes (including poor Quality of Life – QoL-, disability or dependency, long-term care needs, hospitalization, permanent institutionalization). Therefore, by applying AI/ML techniques to health and behavioral data we aim to achieve early risk detection and to identify those actionable risk indicators that allow reverting or delaying the adverse outcomes onset.

      Therefore, the goals of the proposed joint research collaboration between Tampere and Twente universities are:

      • Explore those adverse healthcare outcomes that occurred when the performance of the activities of daily living of elderly people decreases and define a suitable approach to address their detection through AI/ML algorithms.
      • Design, develop, and validate a risk assessment model, based on AI/ML, to achieve early detection of adverse healthcare outcomes in elderly’s activity of daily living
      • Explore further joint collaborations such as project grants applications where clinical decisio
    • 1.40 - 1.50 pm | Jelmer Wolterink

      AI-Driven Vascular Image Analysis for Precision Medicine

      Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the global leading cause of death. Imaging plays a key role in diagnosis, prognosis, monitoring, and treatment planning of CVD patients. Our research group develops artificial intelligence (AI)-based methods for the analysis of 2D and 3D medical images, with applications in abdominal aortic aneurysms and carotid artery analysis. In this talk I will present some of our recent work in the analysis of cardiovascular images and the relation between morphology and AI-based function estimation.

    • 1.50 - 2.00 pm | Miriana Carla Torquati

      AI-based solutions for Personalized and Adaptive Interventions in Healthcare – applications in short-term and long-term decision making

      Many factors can influence the decisions of how to help improve the health status or minimize health risks for a person. Decisions should be made not only for each individual based on his/her current situation, but adaptive interventions could be applied based on how the situation developed in response to previous interventions. The main point is to improve the health condition of the person with proper interventions. This is valid for both critical-care (short term decision making) and long-term conditions, such as chronic disease management. One way to approach this problem is to use algorithms to transform data into useful information for a clinician or human coach, assisted by Artificial Intelligence (AI)/ Machine Learning (ML) techniques, in supporting individuals, in improving patient outcome (critical care), and improving health behavior (long term). Particularly, an innovative approach could be the applicability of Reinforcement Learning (RL), a subfield of ML, in healthcare domain. In this research, this technique will be applied on data collected from Intensive Care Units (ICUs) for critical care decision making and on occupational health data, from selected companies’ employees, for longer term decision making. Until now, there has been a large application of RL with real-world (non-healthcare) data, but only a theoretical knowledge exists of its use in different healthcare domains and set-ups. RL differs from other AI/ML approaches that suggest a treatment based on the average population response, since it could be able to achieve personalized and adaptive treatment for each individual who could respond differently to the treatments over time based on his/her personal characteristics.

    • 2.00 - 2.10 pm | Carlijn Braem

      Data analysis of lifestyle changes in physical activity, stress, and sleep from raw wearable sensor data

      Introduction research:

      A healthy lifestyle improves the quality of life and prevents the onset of chronic diseases. Changing lifestyle behaviour can be challenging and should be assisted with digital coaching based on monitoring important lifestyle metrics. In an observational longitudinal study, we collect physical activity, stress, and sleep data using a wearable sensor to detect lifestyle changes during a combined lifestyle intervention (CLI).

      Lifestyle data is acquired in subjects approved for CLI ‘Coaching on Lifestyle’ (CooL) in the Netherlands. Research subjects are measured at intake, two weeks after the first meeting of CLI, and at the end of the main program of CLI at 8 months. These measurements are 1 to 2 weeks of continuous monitoring with the IMEC Chill+ wristband, which includes a 3-axial inertial sensor (IMU), photoplethysmography (PPG) and electro dermal activity (EDA) sensor. Next to that, 6 ecological momentary assessments are prompted daily, to gauge perceived stress, sleep quality and physical activity. At the end of the measurement period 5 validated questionnaires are filled in, assessing food intake (DHD-FFQ), sleep quality (PSQI), stress (PSS), physical activity (IPAQ) and quality of life (SF-36). Participant inclusions of this study started in February 2023.

      Possible needs and ideas for collaboration.

      Rich multi-modal data streams are collected during the lifestyle intervention, which need to be processed and fused to interpretable outcomes that are related to lifestyle changes, physical activity, stress, and sleep or other lifestyle-related domains. Main challenges are 1) dealing with varying signal quality, 2) handling missing data and 3) translating signal features into interpretable outcomes.

    • 2.10 - 2.20 pm | Tunc Asuroglu

      Neurodegenerative Disease Tracking Solutions for Elderly in Home Settings

      Due to life expectancy increase, there will be a workforce shortage in elderly care sector in forthcoming years. Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) systems can cope with this issue. A subset of AAL, human activity recognition provides an efficient way to tackle this issue. It can help with evaluating general health and welfare of elderly at home by automatically tracking their activities. Lifelogging and home diary applications for dementia patients can reduce the load on physicians and track the disease state. On the other hand, complex activities like eating, brushing teeth and washing hands play a vital role as they have high level semantic characteristics that truly represent daily life of the user. The main challenge is to track these high-level semantic motions with low-cost single sensor systems with efficient machine learning frameworks.

      Nowadays, machine learning frameworks are leaning towards deep learning side, so training and data processing times for these deep learning architectures can be very high for some cases. In order to compensate these costs, wearable sensor systems that have low dimensionality and high informative capacity can be utilized. Also, in case when there is not enough data to train deep learning classifiers canonical machine learning models can also be considered. If machine learning models will be used, then efficient and representative feature sets need to be established to achieve high prediction capabilities. By establishing a robust framework, elderly care in a home setting can be efficiently done.

      Also, progression of neurological disorders like Parkinson’s Disease (PD) can be tracked using these wearable systems. For example, in PD, IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) based systems can be combined with gait based wearable systems to increase disease tracking performance. A robust framework that has aforementioned capabilities can be utilized in a home setting to quantifiably assess symptoms of PD patients.

  • 3. Oncology
    • 1.20 - 1.30 pm | Nienke van Dongen

      Digital single cancer biomarker detection by CRISPR/Cas-based sensing

      My current research mainly focuses on (microfluidic) techniques to enable early cancer detection in urine. Cancer, as a disease, starts with a genetic change in the genome that results in downregulating genes involved in “normal” cell behavior. This genetic change can either be induced by a change in the DNA code (mutation) or epigenetic alterations, such as cytosine methylation. The hypermethylation of cytosine is a critical hallmark in many cancer cells. More specifically, the loss of expression of genes occurs about 10 times more often by hypermethylation of promoter CpG islands than by (point) mutations.

      For early cancer diagnostics, accurate and rapid detection of these epigenetic CpG methylation mutations involved in tumor development is crucial. Previously, we have presented an amplification-free in vitro diagnostic tool to discriminate single CpG site methylation in DNA by using methylation-sensitive restriction enzymes (MSREs) followed by Cas12a-assisted sensing. While this method showed much potential in terms of specificity, selectivity, and ease of use, the limit of detection presented (100 pM) was still far away from the concentrations of DNA found in liquid biopsies such as urine (low pM - aM concentrations). Therefore, we now work on going “digital,” where micro(fluidic)fabrication techniques are used to create CRISPR-based sensing methods that enable absolute target quantification without external standards.

      Future research will focus on improving these (digital) CRISPR-based sensing methods regarding target specificity and their detection limit. There are many possible areas of improvement, like the CRISPR proteins themselves, the assay format, the read-out method and the data interpretation. Furthermore, I am curious to find new fields/applications where these CRISPR-based sensing methods could be applied.

    • 1.30 - 1.40 pm | Burcu Firatligil-Yildirir

      Modeling bone microenvironment for breast cancer metastasis within lab-on-a-chip platforms

      Bone is one of the most frequently targeted organs in metastatic cancers including the breast. Novel approaches need to be developed for the investigation of cellular and molecular aspects of bone metastasis as well as for better prediction of diagnosis and prognosis for patients, who suffer from devastating consequences of bone metastasis. In our study, we introduce a novel approach to model bone-like environments considering both cellular milieu and mechanical properties to detect invasion and extravasation potentials of breast cancer cells on lab-on-a-chip platforms. We modeled the environment with osteoblasts, bone marrow stromal cells and monocytes embedded into collagen I only, collagen I + agarose or collagen I + chitosan matrices. We tested the model with BoM 1833 and LM2 clones of metastatic breast cancer cell line MDA MB 231, which preferentially metastasize to respectively bone and lung in vivo. On the invasion chip, BoM 1833 cells invaded longer distances than LM2 cells towards the bone-like microenvironment model generated in collagen I with or without chitosan representing moderate stiffnesses, 235 Pa and 296,6 Pa respectively. On the extravasation chip, the number of extravasated cells was higher for BoM 1833 than LM2 cells in all microenvironment models. Our results show that the behaviors of MDA MB 231 breast cancer cells on both LOC models correlate with their in vivo metastatic potential. The platforms we present here provide the basis for the development of novel preclinical and clinical tools for the prediction of bone metastasis risk and the investigation of the underlying molecular mechanisms.

      Having dozens of images at hand for an individual condition requires the development of an algorithm, tool or approach to making the analyses easier. Therefore, any ideas and collaboration related to image analysis would be appreciated.

    • 1.40 - 1.50 pm | Kunal Pednekar

      Simulating the tumor microenvironment in three dimension (3D) models

      The physical and biochemical features of the tumor microenvironment control cancer cell proliferation, invasion, and metastasis. Cells surrounding cancer cells such as cancer-associated fibroblasts, macrophages, and other immune cells secrete factors that interact with cancer cells and stimulate their proliferation and migration. Furthermore, the noncellular component, such as the extracellular matrix (ECM), controls tumorigenesis and metastasis. The 2D cultures are too simple, and the in vivo models are too complex to understand the complexity of the interactions occurring within the tumor microenvironment. It is therefore imperative to develop advanced in vitro models that mimic the tumor microenvironment. Three dimension (3D) in vitro models are widely used because they can incorporate different patient-derived tissues/cells and allow longitudinal readouts, thus permitting a deeper understanding of cell interactions. Therefore, these models are excellent tools to bridge the gap between oversimplified 2D systems and animal models. We have been developing 3D models to mimic various features of the tumor microenvironment using different bioengineering tools. These models were used for evaluating targeted therapeutics in vitro and well correlated with in vivo models. Altogether, our studies show enormous opportunities to develop different 3D models to simulate the tumor microenvironment, which could be used to understand the complex tumor biology and applied to study the effect of novel therapeutics.

      Although currently used matrices offer the feasibility to develop 3D cultures, there is a lack of matrices mimicking the natural ECM in tumors with less variability and high reproducibility. We therefore would like to advance our models with ECM-mimicking materials to create in vivo-like tumor microenvironment.

    • 1.50 - 2.00 pm | Rolle Rahikainen

      Cellular mechanosensing

      Cells receive mechanical signals from their surrounding tissue and those signals are essential for health and failures in cellular mechanosensing are associated with diseases. These signals are transmitted by protein networks, which connect cellular compartments and allow mechanical signals to be transmitted, for example, from cell membrane all the way to nucleus.

      Our work focuses on integrin-mediated cell-matrix adhesions. The protein complexes forming during the cell adhesion process are dynamic and multiple force-sensitive proteins are detected in these structures. Mutations in key proteins, including talin, are associated with diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

      Our group would be interested to collaborate in this research area. For example, we can help to identify suitable reporters to follow cellular mechanoresponse. We have engineered proteins available to manipulate cellular mechanoresponse. Use of computational biology may help to understand the molecular mechanisms involved.

    • 2.00 - 2.10 pm | Kirsten Pondman

      Multi-Organ-on-Chip models for breast cancer research

      We develop multi-Organ-on-Chip technology to create models that mimic breast cancer development, progression, and treatment. Our tumor-on-chip platforms use 3D spheroid models prepared from monocultures or co-cultures with supporting cells such as fibroblasts.

      In our vascularization-on-chip model angiogenesis to understand how it affects tumor growth. We recreate artery-sized cylindrical blood vessels using organ specific endothelial cells in a hydrogel matrix. In a separate channel we introduce a hydrogel with pro-angiogenic factors or tumor spheroids. Endothelial cells migrate into this hydrogel and we analyze the self-assembled vascular bed's morphology and integrity.

      Multi-Organ-on-Chip technology and closed loop medium recirculation allows us to study bi-directional communication between tumor and metastatic niche (bone) organoids. With sensing strategies for molecules, extracellular vesicles, and circulating tumor cells (CTCs), we can track the real-time communication.

      Only an infinitesimal fraction of CTCs is successful in establishing metastasis due to factors such as shear-stress, loss of communication, clearance by the immune system and inability to cross blood vessel walls. CTMs (circulating tumor microemboli), consisting of tumor cells and supporting cells like immune cells, platelets, and fibroblasts, have a higher metastatic potential. However, because CTMs are extremely rare, elucidating mechanisms by which they survive blood flow and possibly benefit from immune cells, is challenging. To overcome this, we use artificial CTMs with tailorable compositions and microfluidic platforms that mimic bone vasculature to investigate the role of each cell type in supporting and protecting CTCs during circulation, interaction with endothelial cells, and extravasation.

      There are numerous opportunities for collaboration, ranging from fundamental cancer research (including but not limited to breast cancer) to researchers investigating biomarkers and drug development.

    • 2.10 - 2.20 pm | Oommen P. Oomen

      Harnessing extracellular matrix mimetic polymer for disease modeling and targeted drug delivery applications

      The recent recommendation by the FDA to support clinical trials without animal experimentation has increased the need for real human tissue models for studying human diseases and their underlying causes. However, creating complex human tissues that accurately mimic the extracellular matrix microenvironment while retaining functional immunological factors is a difficult task. Toovercome this challenge, we looked to nature for inspiration and used the intrinsic biological properties of extracellular matrix (ECM) polymers to engineer immunomodulatory nanomaterials and bulk hydrogels through a supramolecular synthetic strategy. These immunoresponsive scaffolds promote favorable macrophage polarization, suppress oxidative stress, and improve graft integration, making them valuable for developing living 3D scaffolds for cellular delivery and regenerative medicine applications. By grafting gallic acid to hyaluronic acid-based hydrogels, we were able to create an immunoresponsive ECM mimetic scaffold that displayed favorable macrophage polarization and suppressed oxidative stress, thereby enhancing the survival of implanted therapeutic cells. The nanomaterials we engineered using these ECMpolymers have the ability to mitigate the toxic side effects of chemotherapy, such as suppressing hypersensitivity reactions induced by the drug and overcoming multidrug resistance. Recently, we discovered that nanoparticles designed using specific ECM polymers can penetrate the blood-brain barrier and effectively deliver cytotoxic drugs and biologics to the intact brain, opening up opportunities for treating diseases of the central nervous system. In summary, during this meeting, I will present the latest discoveries from my group, where we used GAGs and other polymers to engineer functional materials for diverse bioengineering applications. I look forward to collaborators who are interested in developing in-vitro models such as tumor microenvironments and targeted delivery systems.

  • 4. Cell, Tissue and biomaterial Engineering
    • 2.50 - 3.00 pm | Bas van Bochove

      Poly(trimethylene carbonate) and ascorbic acid 2-phosphate composites for the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse

      Female pelvic organ prolapse (POP) affects over 300 million women worldwide, and approximately 12% end up having surgery. In POP the content of collagen and elastin in the connective tissue is decreased, this weakens the pelvic floor and pelvic organs can descend into or through the vagina.

      In the past, severe- or relapsed POP was treated surgically using non-degradable polypropylene meshes. However, due to high complication rates (mesh exposure, migration, and chronic pain), these meshes have been withdrawn from the market.

      To overcome these problems, we set out to develop a biodegradable membranes that support the pelvic organs and also stimulate the synthesis of collagen by surrounding cells. Poly(trimethylene carbonate) (PTMC) is a biocompatible, biodegradable, flexible polymer with numerous applications in bioengineering. Ascorbic acid and its derivatives enhance the synthesis of collagen by mesenchymal cells and fibroblasts. Therefore, a composite based on PTMC and ascorbic acid 2-phosphate (A2P) should be an ideal material for surgical treatment of POP.

      In preliminary work, PTMC/A2P composite membranes (containing 0-10 wt% A2P) were prepared by co-precipitation of polymer solutions and A2P dispersions in a non-solvent, followed by drying and compression molding. The resulting membranes had good handling characteristics and excellent mechanical properties. Controlled release of A2P from the composites was observed in in vitro release studies. In subsequent cell culturing experiments on the membranes, the viability, proliferation, and collagen production by adipose stem cells (ASCs) was evaluated at 1, 7 and 14 days. The viability cells on all membranes was high. The number of cells was highest for the A2P-containing composites, indicating that release of A2P stimulates ASC proliferation. Furthermore, released A2P was also found to stimulate collagen production.

      We can thus conclude that PTMC/A2P composites are highly attractive materials for POP treatment.

    • 3.00 - 3.10 pm | Nemanja Milicevic

      The circadian modulation of melanin biosynthesis by binding to the RORC regulatory motif in the retinal pigment epithelium

      Albinism is a pigment disorder characterized by a reduction or complete lack of melanin pigment in the eyes, skin and/or hair. The circadian clock is a molecular pacemaker comprised of transcriptional and translation feedback loops involving transcription factors such as BMAL1, CLOCK, PER1-2, CRY1-2. Little is known about the role that the circadian clock plays in melanogenesis. Herein, we investigated this link by bioinformatics, RT-PCR and bright-field microscopy. We found that serum-shock synchronization induces rhythmic mRNA expression of clock genes BMAL1, CLOCK, CRY2, PER1, PER2, REV-ERBα and melanogenesis-related genes TYR, CDH3, DCT and PMEL in 8–12-week-old embryonic stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelium (hESC-RPE). By bioinformatics, we found that melanogenesis-related pathways are enriched in up-regulated genes at night compared to late-afternoon time points in mouse RPE. Using UCSC database with 21 currently known human albinism disease genes, we selected mouse/human/zebrafish conserved promoter regions including peaks of histone marks and analyzed motif enrichment by TF Motif View. We found over-representation of binding sites for negative regulators of transcription and the known clock gene binding site for RORC. Results of bright-field microscopy showed that supplementing culturing medium with the ROR clock gene agonist Nobiletin decreased pigment/field of view area compared to vehicle control in hESC-RPE. Conversely, supplementing medium with the REV-ERBα clock gene agonist SR9009 significantly increased pigmentation in hESC-RPE cells compared to vehicle treated controls. Overall, these results suggest that melanogenesis regulation is complex and affected by the circadian clock. Modulation of the clock could be a potential target for treating albinism.

    • 3.10 - 3.20 pm | Mariel Cano Jorge

      A human engineered cardiac chamber recapitulating the pump function of the heart

      Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide and therapeutic approaches remain limited. Engineered cardiac tissues aim to overcome this problem by providing representative models to understand cardiac disease and accelerate the drug discovery pipeline. However, most models mimic cardiac muscle twitch contraction under static loads. Instead, engineered cardiac chambers have shown to recapitulate the pump function of the heart. Here, we engineered a cardiac chamber using a sacrificial-moulding approach, and evaluated its pump performance in a non-invasive manner.

      Two gelatin bodies were casted and aligned inside a 3D-printed bioreactor to create an ellipsoid shell cavity around a glass capillary. The gap between the gelatin bodies was filled with a fibrin mix loaded with human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes and human cardiac fibroblasts. Next, thermal degradation of gelatin was induced to obtain a single-inlet cardiac chamber. Ejection volumes were quantified based on the displacement of liquid in the glass capillary.

      Our engineered cardiac chambers displayed spontaneous beating and pumping of fluid since day 6 post-fabrication. Ejection volumes, contractile kinetics and electrophysiological parameters were characterized in response to adrenergic compounds. Moreover, we performed live ultrasound imaging to analyse the dimensions of the chamber wall during beating cycles. Finally, we demonstrate the compatibility of our model with cyclic mechanical stimulation to introduce dynamic loads to the chambers.

      We envision that our pumping cardiac chamber will result in a more comprehensive model of the human heart. Possible collaborations with Tampere University include: 1) the incorporation of mutation-specific cardiomyocytes from the Heart-group to study cardiomyopathies, 2) building a cardiac conduction system in our model with the Neuro-group or 3) performing 3D optical imaging with the Computational Biophysics and Imaging Group.

    • 3.20 - 3.30 pm | Janne Koivisto

      Polysaccharide-based hydrogels for in vitro 3D disease modeling

      Disease modeling is currently undergoing a shift from animal-based to cell-based models. Meanwhile, in vitro disease models are simultaneously transitioning from the bottom of 2D well plate to more biomimicking 3D cultures, and the need for better hydrogels as extracellular matrix -mimicking cell culture substrates is ever growing.

      In our research group we have developed several hydrogel compositions for 3D disease modeling applications and constantly optimize them based on user feedback. We have studied several polysaccharides as suitable backbone for formation of the hydrogel network, including gellan gum, hyaluronic acid, alginate, and chitosan. To biofunctionalize these materials, we have combined them with gelatin, laminin, and bioactive glass. In addition to the simple ionic crosslinking, we have shown that chemical crosslinking of gelatin to polysaccharides, using hydrazone chemistry, yields hydrogels with very favorable cell response. The materials have been then tested with cardiomyocytes, neurons, and osteoblasts differentiated from human induced pluripotent stem cells. With cardiomyocytes we have also studied applicability of our 3D model system for cardiotoxicity studies, showing the cardiotoxic effect of several known drug molecules. Furthermore, we have developed physical characterization methods of hydrogels. In mechanical testing we combined digital image correlation with compression. Then to characterize the microstructures of hydrogels in their native, wet state, we developed optical projection tomography as a method for visualizing homogeneity of a hydrogel.

      Next, we are looking for more microscale characterization methods, to fully understand the properties of hydrogels developed in our lab in the cell-relevant scale. Furthermore, we are moving on to combining the 3D hydrogel cell cultures with organ-on-chip technologies and looking for collaborators interested in using the hydrogels we have developed for 3D disease modeling applications.

    • 3.30 - 3.40 pm | Carla Cofiño Fabres

      Novel micro-engineered heart tissue platform on-chip with multiple cell types displays cellular self-organization and improved cardiac performance

      Advanced in vitro models that recapitulate the structural organization and function of the human heart are highly needed for accurate disease modeling, more predictable drug screening and safety pharmacology. 3D Engineered Heart Tissues (EHTs) are attractive models that rely on the incorporation of supportive pillars and enhance cardiomyocyte maturity. Conventional 3D EHTs lack heterotypic cell complexity and culture under flow, whereas microfluidic Heart-on-Chip (HoC) models in general lack the 3D configuration and accurate contractile readouts. We developed an innovative and user-friendly HoC model, featuring four micro-EHTs (μEHTs), where the addition of flow improves contractile performance of the μEHTs. Importantly, culture of human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts results in self-assembled μEHTs, where ECs form a wrapping layer around the tissue, better mimicking the in vivo-like cardiomyocyte-endothelial cell interface while preserving direct cell-cell contact. We found that this combination of cell types under flow enhances contractile force and conduction velocity. In addition, drug responses are delayed in µEHTs with an endothelial layer, suggesting that endothelial cells formed a barrier for drug availability in cardiomyocytes, emulating the in vivo systemic delivery route.

      Further research at the Aalto-Setälä Lab would facilitate the integration of personalized medicine in this model by providing access and expertise into the generation and characterization of human induced PSC-derived cells from different patients to recreate patient-specific diseases. Particularly in this HoC model, diseases caused by multiple cell types could be studied. Additionally, advanced super-resolution 3D imaging at Hyttinen Lab would be of interest to further study the cross-talk signaling between the endothelial layer and the adjacent cardiomyocytes, and to infer on the cardiomyocyte’s maturation.

    • 3.40 - 3.50 pm | Antti Ahola

      Label-free estimation of cardiomyocyte structure and biomechanical function

      Human induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) enable in vitro studies of cardiac disease models and physiological conditions. Myofibrillar structure organization is a key characteristic of hiPSC-CM culture maturity and contractility a measure of their biomechanical functionality. As cell models become more complex, new analysis methods are needed. The continuous evaluation of cell structure remains challenging, as it requires genetic modification of the cells. Video microscopy provides a label-free option for quantifying hiPSC-CM contractility, and their structure can be evaluated from light microscopy images using artificial intelligence (AI) methods. Here, research aiming for comprehensive quantification of hiPSC-CM biomechanics using label-free microscopy is presented.

      In our previous work, we have developed a software tool for video microscopy-based quantification of contractility in hiPSC-CM cultures. Our research revealed abnormal contraction phenotypes in long-QT specific hiPSC-CMs, and we have demonstrated simultaneous measurements of field potential, intracellular calcium and contractility using optogenetic modifications. We have developed estimation of hiPSC-CM myofibrillar orientation by determining nuclei orientation and morphology from light microscopy images.

      Our research combines these models with substrate patterning to study the propagation of contraction in healthy and disease-specific cultures. Developing machine learning models and software tools requires gathering large amounts of data. For studies involving AI-based predictions of myofibrillar orientation, multimodal spatially registered data is essential. We welcome collaboration for developing these analysis methods. The results will provide software tools possible to be used in standard light microscopy studies for continuous evaluation of culture maturation, response to changing physiological conditions and drugs without fluorescent dyes that affect cell function.

  • 5. BioMedical Sensors & systems
    • 2.50 - 3.00 pm | Andrey Vinogradov

      Microelectrode array recordings of neuronal populations: data and analysis

      We present a recently published dataset of microelectrode array (MEA) recordings of human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived and rat embryonic cortical neurons. The data consist of developmental spontaneous activity and pharmacological responses of neuronal cultures recorded extracellularly. The dataset is now openly available for scientific community. Moreover, we created multi-level analysis pipeline for MEA data recorded by different MEA setups. Our pipeline extracts such features as spikes (extracellular action potentials), single channel bursts (dense time series of spikes) and network bursts (bursts synchronously occurring in multiple electrodes).

      We warmly invite you to discuss possible applications of our data analysis approaches, to search for any intersection of analysis methods from other fields and to re-use our openly-available data.

    • 3.00 - 3.10 pm | Lejla Alic

      Medical applications of magnetic sensing

      Recent progress in biomedical nanotechnology has led to development of nanomedicine that bridges physics, chemistry, biology and medicine. This enabled diagnostics and treatment at a cellular level and providing novel approaches for diagnosis and treatment. Nanomagnetism, at a forefront of nanomedicine, utilises magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) for e.g. manipulating biomolecules, targeting drugs and genes. Similarly to nanomedicine, magnetic sensing has emerged as a promising technology for various medical applications: e.g. magnetic resonance/particle imaging, and biosensors. Magnetic sensing has proven to be valuable tool for diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of various conditions, including cancer. MD&I group has developed and tested new sensing devices based upon electromagnetic principles.

      Clinical magnetometer that utilizes the non-linear properties of superparamagnetic iron-oxide nanoparticles (SPION), referred as DiffMag. This medical device is designed for both open and laparoscopic surgery, and is currently being employed in clinical trials for sentinel lymph node biopsy to assess the metastatic status of LNs critical for accurate staging and effective treatment planning.Current clinical research involves breast cancer, H&N cancer, prostate cancer, and melanoma.

      Biohybrid microrobots consisting of sperm cells coated with SPION for wirelessly magnetic actuation and localization. Micro-robots have the potential to deliver drugs to areas of the body that are beyond the reach of traditional surgical techniques, such as constricted capillaries across the body and brain areas that are excessively narrow to access. The key benefit of these biohybrid microrobots is their biocompatibility, flexibility, and ease of cargo loading.

      We are interested in collaborations to to extend our clinical research towards multicentre trials, but also towards additional medical conditions. Furthermore, we are also interested in technical collaborations to downsize our devices.

    • 3.10 - 3.20 pm | Stefanus Wirdatmadja

      Wireless Dopamine Sensing Brain Implant: The Concept and First Results

      The long-term target of the DopamineSense project is to realize a wireless fully implantable device that is intended to enhance the quality of life of patients with neurodegenerative diseases. This device aims to monitor the effects of drug treatment, related to Parkinson’s Disease (PD) patients in the future. Currently there is no fully implantable dopamine sensor which can be integrated seamlessly into daily life. To achieve this, the device should be miniaturized, longevous, reliable, and biocompatible.

      For sensing precision, the front-end sensor element plays a significant role in this device. The sensing element directly affects the sensitivity, selectivity, and size of the implant. Currently, we are testing the prospective electrode materials and structures using the electrochemical method (cyclic voltammetry) which is based on reduction and oxidation reactions of dopamine. These electrodes are commercial carbon fiber micro electrode (CFME) and platinum interdigitated array (IDA) electrode. For miniaturization purpose, the tested IDA electrode has been suitable for this application with the total (four) electrode diameter of 2 mm. Whilst, CFME requires structure modification to achieve the same feature. Even though CFME itself has small dimension (diameter of 11µm), but the experiment setup has separate reference and auxiliary electrodes.

      Based on the experimental data, CFME exhibits more stable and repetitive result than IDA electrode, this factor contributes to more precise data analysis. Moreover, the data from several dopamine concentration (0.5-5 mM), the linearity plot from CFME oxidation current shows more consistent trend compared to IDA electrode.

      The implantable antenna design works on three frequencies (402, 902, and 2400 MHz) facilitate data transmission, power transmission, and sleep mode. The current size is 11x20.5x1.8 mm3.and it has been simulated with ANSYS HFSS simulator on the depth of 13.25 mm in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

    • 3.20 - 3.30 pm | Kim Wijlens

      Holistic monitoring of cancer-related fatigue after breast cancer in daily-life

      Intro: Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is one of the most experienced long-term effects but is still underreported by breast cancer patients. A solution is empowering patients with a more holistic view on CRF, helping them to better understand the impact on their daily functioning. A holistic patient profile makes personalizing care possible. Therefore, the aims of our studies were to develop and test a toolkit for holistic monitoring.

      Methods: The toolkit was developed with a funnel approach were qualitative data and literature set the requirements of the information the toolkit should collect. Questions were selected based on expert judgement and patient advocates. The usability and feasibility of the toolkit were tested with respectively thinking-aloud method and one-month usage.

      Findings: The toolkit consist of 72 questions about the domains CRF dimensions (physical, cognitive, and emotional), social participation (social, relational, and work), day pattern (activity and sleep), and coping style. The toolkit was easy to use by 90% of the patients. During the feasibility study, it appeared challenging for patients to use the toolkit bi-weekly for a month as the mean duration was 45 days, and 16% dropped out.

      Discussion: A toolkit was developed and tested of which the feasibility can be improved. Suggested improvements were an introduction page, reminders for new questionnaires, and remembering of login details.

      Ideas for collaboration: we aim to implement the toolkit into a personal health environment to enable patients to share this information with their healthcare professional. Therefore, it is important to visualize the toolkit questionnaires for patients and healthcare professionals. Which visualisations are understood and preferred? In addition, wearables could objectively provide information about the day pattern domain in daily-life but which wearables are suitable and accurate? Besides, more information data about fatigue after breast cancer is desired.

    • 3.30 - 3.40 pm | Veikko Sariola

      Controlled manipulation of particles and droplets inside microfluidic chips using bulk acoustic waves and machine learning

      We have published several works demonstrating that we can controllably position microparticles and droplets inside microfluidic chips in 2D. Our method is based on ultrasonic bulk acoustic waves and a closed-loop machine-learning-based control algorithm. We have developed several algorithms for this purpose. The common theme in our algorithms is that they have no prior knowledge of the acoustic fields but learn to control the particles on the fly, and complete the manipulation task even on the first try. Using this method, we have demonstrated particle sorting, and 2D transportation & merging of water droplets. With droplets, we performed the chemistry that underlies the basis of a colorimetric glucose assay. We envision that in future, our method enables programmable droplet microfluidic devices, allowing the same chip to be used in multiple different applications, by reprogramming the controller.

      We are looking for experts in microfluidics-based point-of-care devices and assays, which we could try to implement using our programmable microfluidic device. Furthermore, we are looking for people working on slightly more uncommon microfabrication techniques e.g. two-photon lithography or femtosecond machining, which would allow us to integrate more structures and thus functionalities to our microfluidic devices. We can offer expertise in robotic systems, materials characterization, ultrasonics, microfabrication. In addition to the project described here, we have other projects also on soft robotics, and we can offer extensive experience in 3D printing, elastomer casting (soft lithography) and micropneumatics.

    • 3.40 - 3.50 pm | Mohamed Irfan Refai

      Wearable assistive technologies

      Our understanding of movement biomechanics accelerated with the development of movement analysis systems such as motion capture devices. Further technological advances allowed miniaturization of movement sensing systems that allowed us to measure people rapidly in their environment. Additionally, our understanding of force generation by the musculoskeletal system and user intention has also improved over the years. These insights have been used to develop smarter assistive technologies for people with disabilities.

      During my talk, I will highlight my research work that contribute towards the fields of wearable movement sensing and smarter assistive technologies. This includes my Ph.D. thesis on development of algorithms to estimate qualitative movement metrics from a minimal set of wearable sensors for applications in people with stroke. I will also talk about the development of smart musculoskeletal models that anticipate risk of injury and can be used in conjunction with assistive technologies to steer the user away from fatigue or injury.

      I am looking for collaborations where we can explore research opportunities that would benefit from minimal wearable sensing and assistive technologies. This includes researchers who work with novel sensing methodologies, or researchers who work with populations that need wearable movement sensors or assistive technologies such as children, elderly or others.

For whom

The Research Day is organized for the younger researchers of the University of Twente and Tampere University and also to stimulate their international exposure (this event is not intended for researchers of other universities of institutes):

  • PhD students
  • Postdocs
  • Assistant Professors

The timeline 

January 25

Call for proposals & registration form online 

March 8

Submission deadline for the abstracts 

March 20

Communicating assigned slots to applicants

April 4

Joint Research day

April 4

Call for Collaboration proposal vouchers online (after the event)

April 20

Submission deadline for the Collaboration proposals vouchers

May 2

Communicating assigned Collaboration proposals vouchers to applicants


Registration for the online event is closed. More information about the Travel voucher Call can be found here

Selected thematic areas

  • 1. Physiological sensors and systems, medical robotics

    Physiological sensing and systems are important for many domains and have important clinical and consumer health and well-being applications. Increasingly, clinicians often do the diagnosis and classification of diseases based on information collected from several physiological sensor signals. This area as such is skilled in measuring – and influencing – physiological signals of the human body to monitor body functions, measure the impact of (chronic) illness or trauma as well as the effect of treatment or a healthy lifestyle on physiological functions. It provides a deeper understanding of the physical principles of electricity, magnetism, mechanics, and fluids, as well as the anatomy and physiology of human functional systems of interest. These systems include the central nervous system, the cardiopulmonary system, the endocrine system, and the human movement system.

  • 2. eHealth & health data science

    This area focuses on the use of eHealth to empower people to manage health & well-being and bring care to the homes of people around the globe. It uses innovative research methods to develop and evaluate personalized interventions and technologies, thereby combining data science, technology and psychology in an interdisciplinary and participatory approach to develop meaningful and sustainable health-promoting solutions. eHealth also allows targeting this challenge of diversity, for example, by providing personalized solutions adaptable to each user, and also to changes over time. Every individual, dealing with any specific condition presents a distinctly unique case, as such focusing on supporting a personalised eHealth solution. As various data types are becoming increasingly available for medical doctors, researchers, and patients themselves in modern healthcare, methods and practices for efficient data analysis and interpretation are well warranted and they pose a great promise for the future of personalized medicine. Health data science covers aspects of science where data is analysed in order to benefit human health. These data include biomedical and clinical research data from patients, clinical data from hospitals or population registers (Real-World Data), and data from smart consumer devices.

  • 3. Oncology

    Realizing new solutions for cancer patients by connecting medical science with the innovative power of integrated biomedical and technical researchers, that’s what this track is about. This area will consequently focus on different innovations for future oncological care, such as imaging, data technology, liquid biopsies, organoids and other advanced in vitro models, support tools for cancer care and much more. The thematic area covers topics from fundamental to very applied cancer research including fields such as lifestyle data, early diagnostics, minimally invasive techniques, and optimized aftercare. It also covers more social domains in cancer care, such as measuring the quality of care, and the development of psychosocial care and support, such as developing new methods to support cancer patients with tiredness after cancer treatment.

  • 4. Cell and tissue engineering and Organ-on-a-Chip research

    This area focuses on various research activities in cell and tissue engineering. It includes Organ-on-chip research where the aims are to investigate the safety and efficacy of health products and to understand the mechanisms of diseases, for example. Organ-on-Chip technologies are expected to find widespread use in biomedical science and progressively reduce the need for animal models as the mainstay in efficacy and toxicity testing. Topics include but are not limited to materials science including hydrogels, micro- and biofabrication, microfluidics, sensing, imaging, in-silico modelling, stem cell technology and tissue engineering. Called topics to include applications of the technologies, for example in the development of personalized treatments for patients in various disease areas.

  • 5. Biomedical imaging & diagnostics

    This area focuses on enabling healthcare professionals to improve their care for patients by using accurate, quantitative, personalized multimodal and multiscale methods of imaging in screening, diagnosis and evaluation. It also improves their ability to practice precision medicine. Research ranges from development, demonstration and assessment to clinical testing of new technologies and methods. Application areas include anatomic and functional imaging of vesicles, cells, tissues, vasculature and organs to diagnose and characterize disease and health. We work in the fields of applied physics, technology development, mathematics, translational research and clinical practice. Research groups have a focus on ultrasound, optical, photoacoustic, molecular, magnetic and nuclear imaging for precision medicine.

  • 6. Women's Health (due to a lack of abstracts, this topic is not part of the event)

    This area focuses on the specific unmet needs and unresolved problems in various life phases of women. The goal is to gain knowledge on the (changes in) physical and mental health of women, including anatomy, physiology and pathology of the female body as well as to look at well-being throughout their life. This research can support understanding why differences between men and women occur in health and disease manifestation, but also why women often respond differently to a treatment. In doing so, we can develop or adapt technologies, that can be used in both the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases that (primarily) affect women. These diseases are women-specific diseases, such as gynaecological disorders, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer but also diseases that occur more often in women, such as osteoporosis. Here we focus on bringing innovative technologies specific to women’s health to those in need, thereby supporting the personalization of prevention, diagnosis, treatment and aftercare, consequently leading to improved results in Women’s Health. The focus hereby is to improve women’s health and well-being – during different parts of life, such as pregnancy, lactation and (post-)menopause – thereby benefiting both women, their children and loved ones, and thus impacting society as a whole.


Tampere Univesity - Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology 

The Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology (MET) is dedicated to pursuing world-class research and delivering high-quality education in the fields of biomedical engineering, biotechnology, medicine and health technology. We conduct internationally acclaimed basic and applied research. 

  • The Tampere university community’s areas of priority are technology, health and society. Our Faculty brings together research expertise in medicine, biosciences and technology and is committed to generating new knowledge and solutions that promote health and well-being and benefit both individuals and the broader society. Our research interests focus on biomaterials, biosensors, immunology, clinical medicine, tissue engineering, computational systems, imaging, and cell and molecular biology. 
  • MET hosts extensive research infrastructure: MET Core-facilities and Services
  • Our multidisciplinary Faculty provides a state-of-the-art environment for research that encompasses biotechnology, medicine and technology. Our high-quality basic research paves the way for applied research with commercial potential. 
  • Our close collaboration with the healthcare sector enables us to utilise our research findings, such as new diagnostic methods and treatment options, in clinical practice. Our Faculty is also a member of SPARK Finland, a programme that offers commercialisation support for academic researchers and research-based startups and promotes the growth of internationally competitive health tech businesses in Finland.

University of Twente - Technical Medical Centre Institute

Improving healthcare by personalized technology

The Technical Medical Centre (TechMed Centre) is a leading Innovation Hub impacting healthcare by excellent Research, Innovation and Educational programmes. It is equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure, ranging from research labs, preclinical testbeds and simulated hospital environments.

Impact on healthcare

In our mission to impact society, we stimulate entrepreneurship and enable (new) companies to grow within our regional Novel-T ecosystem. We collaborate with industry, hospitals, governments and insurance agencies on the development of new solutions for healthcare.