European Marie Curie grant for D. Stamatialis in the fields of (bio) artificial organs

The grant was established to boost the career opportunities of early-stage researchers.

For the next four years, Dr. Dimitrios Stamatialis, a member of staff of Biomaterials Science and Technology (BST), will be coordinating an international research project in the fields of artificial and bioartificial devices (organs). The project, entitled: “Training network for developing innovative (bio)artificial devices for treatment of kidney and liver disease” (acronym BIOART), is being funded by a European research grant, awarded under the Marie Curie Initial Training Networks (ITN) scheme. The project will give the opportunity to 16 researchers to advance their knowledge by performing research in individual projects as well gaining experience by working abroad in partner academic institutions and companies. They will also be offered various training courses and educational programmes that can help them to further their careers. The BIOART grant agreement will be signed this month and the project will start on December 1, 2012.

The research project will target the development of innovative artificial and bioartificial devices for the treatment of kidney and liver diseases. One line of research will focus on improving the ability of artificial and bioartificial kidney devices to remove uremic toxins from blood. To this end, two prototypes will be developed. A second line of research will focus on developing prototype bio-reactors ensuring viability and functionality of liver cells. The project team is a consortium of eleven universities, research institutes and companies from the Netherlands, France, Italy, Belgium and Germany. The project has a total budget of 3.8 million euros, and the University of Twente’s share amounts to 900,000 euros.

Highly capable researchers

The project team includes eleven PhD students and five postdocs. Dr. Stamatialis, who is both project coordinator and the supervisor of two PhD students, points out that "What makes this project special is that all of the PhD students and postdocs will have the opportunity to spend at least three months abroad, working with one of the other partners. During the four-year term of this project, they will also be offered a variety of courses. These range from scientific courses (e.g. biomaterial – tissue interaction, biomedical membranes, mass transfer, stem cell biology) to training courses in soft skills (e.g. presentation and communication, project management, acquiring funding). After four years, this “training by research” approach will have moulded these individuals into highly capable researchers.”