Paulina Núñez Bernal, alumnus of the Master's in Regenerative Medicine and Technology

Portrait photo of Paulina Núñez Bernal

"The Master’s Regenerative Medicine and Technology (RMT) is highly oriented towards hands-on experience of the research process which, for me, was invaluable. I learned how to plan and conduct experiments in an organised way and with a strong theoretical foundation. I developed a wide range of skills and knowledge that is still very useful for my PhD track, including strong skills in problem-solving, outside-the-box thinking, effective communication and teamwork, and the initiative to try new things. The interdisciplinary nature of the programme has also given me an important foundation for working in a multidisciplinary team, where knowledge of many different fields is essential.

After my Bachelor’s I wanted to pursue a degree in the biomedical sciences but didn’t yet know which area to specialise in. The breadth of the curriculum of the RMT programme – with subjects ranging from molecular biology and the study of whole organ systems, to technology-focused subjects – was my opportunity to explore different topics within my area of interest, and to explore them from both theoretical and practical perspectives.

My time studying for the regenerative medicine and technology Master’s was hugely rewarding. The programme gives you access to state-of the art facilities and expertise. I worked on two very different research projects both at a prestigious research group within the UMC Utrecht, where I worked with amazing supervisors who changed my perspective of academia and inspired me to pursue a PhD in regenerative medicine.

My PhD project encompasses the fabrication of biologically active meniscus implants and the development of complex 3D joint in vitro models to test the implants we create – all using various tissue engineering and bioprinting strategies.

The most exciting aspect of this field is knowing that most of the work we are doing has a promising link to the clinic. Our goal at the biofabrication lab is to prepare the amazing technology that we work with for clinical applications that can have an impact on patient care in the near future. All our work is very innovative and it’s an honour to be at the forefront of developments in this field. RMT was a great choice and one that I would undoubtedly make again."

Luuk van Dijk, alumnus of the Master's in Regenerative Medicine and Technology

Alumni Luuk van Dijk photographed in Utrecht Science Park

"The reason I chose this Master’s programme is because the field of regenerative medicine really excited me – and it still does. In my position as a PhD student in this field I’m involved in many different aspects of biomedical research: I get to experience working in an academic hospital setting, in research laboratories, and in an emerging medical device company. Regenerative medicine and technology is a revolutionary and highly innovative field with a very ambitious goal: to cure patients by means of tissue regeneration, which I believe is the future of medicine.

My PhD project is part of a cooperation between the UMCU – the department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery – and a local biotech company called Kuros Biosciences. My research involves the evaluation of advanced biomaterials as bone graft substitutes for surgery in maxillofacial areas, but also in orthopaedic surgery. My tasks range from in vitro experiments with human cells in the laboratory (culturing cells on biomaterials) to performing pre-clinical and even clinical studies. I am currently involved in a clinical study with these materials at the department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery of the UMC Utrecht.

Regenerative medicine is both a very broad and a very specialised subject. This Master’s programme did a very good job of teaching this complex subject matter. I gained an excellent overview of all the different aspects of regenerative medicine across the board, including biomaterials, tissue engineering, imaging modalities and more – without which I could not have gone on to pursue research in this field. The subject of my research fits precisely within the scope of regenerative medicine and in an area I find fascinating. The RMT Master’s programme made this career choice possible."