Tina Vermonden

Biomaterials for Drug Delivery and Regenerative Medicine

Prof. dr. ir. Tina Vermonden

Biomaterials science is a multidisciplinary field of research, which encompasses elements of medicine, biology, chemistry, and materials science. In the Department of Pharmaceutics, we focus mainly on the development of polymeric materials that are suitable as either protein or drug delivery matrices or as scaffolds for regenerative medicine. Important parameters are biocompatibility, degradability and stability in time under physiological conditions.

Hydrogels for drug delivery and regenerative medicine

Hydrogels are three-dimensional physically and/or chemically cross linked insoluble networks of hydrophilic polymers, which are able to absorb large amounts of water. This high water content makes hydrogels suitable materials for incorporating and protecting cells. Injectable hydrogels can be prepared by using thermosensitive self-assembling polymers that yield liquid aqueous solutions at room temperature and solidify at body temperature. Given the mild and spontaneous crosslinking mechanism, these gels are very useful for encapsulation of living cells for regenerative medicine applications. To stabilize these physically crosslinked gels, we developed technology to covalently crosslink the different hydrogel building blocks using ‘biofriendly’ chemical methods such as native chemical ligation.

    Functional materials for high resolution 3D bioprinting in kidney engineering (3D-Shrink), (NWO VICI)

    In the 3D-Shrink program, we aim to develop new functional biomaterials for high resolution 3D bioprinting. These novel biomaterials should enable fabrication of living tubular structures in which cells can be easily deposited in specified locations that can be subsequently shrunk to biologically relevant sizes with diameters in the range of 10-50 μm without compromising viability and functionality of the tissue forming cells. Finally, we will test the applicability of 3D-Shrink for a highly complex tissue: the kidney.

    • Dmitrii Iudin, PhD-student
    • Greta di Marco, PhD-student
    • Matej Dzurov, exchange PhD-student
    • Jaimie Hak, technician
    • Myriam Neumann, postdoc

    Functional materials for Additive Manufacturing Techniques

    Within the RegMed XB, Materials Driven Regeneration (Gravitation Programme) and Rescue project we develop biomaterials for the preparation of cell-loaded 3D constructs for cartilage regeneration applications. 

    • Martina Viola, PhD student in collaboration with prof. J. Malda (UMCU) and dr. Miguel Dias Castilho (TU/e)

    Injectable Hydrogels for Ocular Drug Delivery

    • You Lin Stiemsma

    Drug Ligation Strategies in CriPec® Nanoparticles for Cancer Therapy (NWO Industrial Doctorates)

    In this project, we closely collaborate with Cristal Therapeutics in Maastricht. The aim of this project is to develop novel production techniques for micellar nanoparticles. These nanoparticles aim to deliver drugs with high accuracy to tumor tissue, enabling precision medicine. However, current production techniques are not suitable for all drugs, in particularly not for biologicals. Novel crosslinking techniques are designed to enable encapsulation of biological therapeutics in the nanoparticles.  

    • Erik Hebels, PhD-student
    • Matt Timmers, PhD-student

    3D-Printing of Pharmaceuticals

    This project focusses on the development of printed formulations of drugs for personalized medicine. 

    • Levent Kocabas, PhD-student

    List of recent key publications

    1. Marko Mihajlovic, M. Rikkers, Milos Mihajlovic, M. Viola, G. Schuiringa, B.C. Ilochonwu, R. Masereeuw, L. Vonk, J. Malda, K. Ito, T. Vermonden. Viscoelastic Chondroitin Sulfate and Hyaluronic Acid Double-Network Hydrogels with Reversible Cross-Links. Biomacromolecules (2022), 3, 1350-1365.  https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/acs.biomac.1c01583 (open access). 

    2. S.M. van de Looij, E.R. Hebels, M. Viola, M. Hembury, S. Oliveira, T. Vermonden. Gold nanoclusters: imaging, therapy, and theranostic roles in biomedical applications. Bioconjugate Chemistry (2022), 33, 4-23. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.1c00475 (open access).

    3. M. Mihajlovic, L. Fermin, K. Ito, C.F. van Nostrum, T. Vermonden; Hyaluronic acid-based supramolecular hydrogels for biomedical applications. Multifunctional Materials (2021)4 032001, https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/2399-7532/ac1c8a (open access).

    4. J Gong, CCL Schuurmans, AM van Genderen, W Li, X Cao, F Cheng, J Jialu He, A López, V Huerta, J Manríquez, R Li, H. Li, C Delavaux, S Sebastian, P Capendale, H Wang, J Xie, M Yu, R Masereeuw, T Vermonden*, YS Zhang* Complexation-Induced Resolution Enhancement of 3D-Printed Hydrogel Constructs. Nature Communications, (2020), 11, 1267. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-14997-4 

    5. L A L Fliervoet, CF van Nostrum, WE Hennink, T Vermonden. Balancing hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions in thermosensitive polyplexes for nucleic acid delivery. Multifunct. Mater. (2019) 2 024002. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/2399-7532/ab12ee