Tina Vermonden

Biomaterials for Regenerative Medicine and Drug Delivery

Dr. 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.

Within the Future Medicine Programme (UIPS/NWO), we develop and evaluate injectable tissue-specific cell-filled biodegradable microhydrogels made from biopolymers for use in regeneration of damaged tissue using cell-friendly microfluidic encapsulation methods. (https://www.uu.nl/en/research/utrecht-institute-for-pharmaceutical-sciences-uips/education/phd-programme/nwo-graduate-programme)

  • Carl Schuurmans, PhD-student
  • Martina Viola, PhD student in collaboration with prof. J. Malda (UMCU)

Within the OcuTher consortium, we design and develop injectable hydrogels for ocular drug delivery. (www.ocuther.eu)

  • Blessing Ilochonwu, PhD-student
  • Christie Ayitoe Obiang, BSc-student

  • Ada Annala, PhD-student

Within the RegMed XB project we develop glycosaminoglycan based hydrogels for the preparation of cell-loaded 3D constructs for cartilage regeneration applications. (https://regmedxb.com/)

  • Dr. Marko Mihajlovic, postdoc
  • Fady Mina, MSc student

Native Chemical Ligation as Drug Ligation Strategy 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 tumour tissue, enabling precision medicine. However, current production techniques are not suitable for all drugs, in particularly not for biologicals. Native Chemical Ligation is a crosslinking technique that is envisioned to enable encapsulation of biological drugs in the nanoparticles.  

  • Erik Hebels, PhD student
  • Felix Bindt, MSc student

Hydrogels that Release Drug Loaded Micelles for Tumor Therapy (Vidi-project)

This project aims to prepare a hydrogel that continuously releases drug containing nanoparticles to tackle current problems in dosing of chemotherapeutics. Hydrogels based on self-assembling triblock copolymers that upon hydrolytic or enzymatic degradation releases drug-loaded micelles will be developed. These micelles protect the drug from rapid clearance and enable the drug to reach the tumor.

  • Marzieh Najafi, PhD-student
  • Lies Fliervoet, PhD-student
  • Cristina Casadidio, PhD-student in collaboration with Camerino University


List of recent key publications

  1. 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 (Open Acces) 

  2. M. Hembury, N. Beztsinna, H. Asadi, J.B. van den Dikkenberg, J.D. Meeldijk, W.E. Hennink, T. Vermonden. Luminescent Gold Nanocluster-Decorated Polymeric Hybrid Particles with Assembly-Induced Emission Biomacromolecules (2018) 19, 2841−2848. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.biomac.8b00414?af=R 

  3. C.C.L. Schuurmans, A. Abbadessa, M.A. Bengtson, G. Pletikapic, H.B. Eral, G. Koenderink, R. Masereeuw, W.E. Hennink, T. Vermonden. Complex coacervation-based loading and tunable release of a cationic protein from monodisperse glycosaminoglycan microgels. Soft Matter (2018),14, 6327. https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2018/sm/c8sm00686e/unauth...

  4. L. Fliervoet, M. Najafi, M. Hembury, T. Vermonden. Hetero-functional Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) Macroinitiator enabling Controlled Synthesis of ABC triblock copolymers. Macromolecules (2017) 50 (21) pp 8390–8397

  5. D. Li, Y. Chen, E. Mastrobattista, CF. van Nostrum, W E. Hennink, T Vermonden. Reduction-Sensitive Polymer-Shell-Coated Nanogels for Intracellular Delivery of Antigens ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering 2017, 3 (1), 42–48.                                                                    

  6. K.W.M. Boere, M.M. Blokzijl, J. Visser, J.E.A Linssen, J. Malda, W.E. Hennink, T. Vermonden. Biofabrication of reinforced 3D-scaffolds using two-component hydrogels. J. Mater. Chem. B, 3, 9067-9078 (2015)