Josep Anton Planell, rector of the Open University of Catalonia and full academician of the Royal European Academy of Doctors-Barcelona 1914 (RAED), gave on April 26 at the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona, the conference “De la bioenginyeria per a la medicina regenerativa als algoritmes regeneratius?” (From bioengineering for regenerative medicine to regenerative algorithms?). The session was held at the headquarters of this historic corporation (La Rambla, 115, Barcelona).
“Probably one of the biggest challenges in the field of biomaterials for regenerative medicine is to develop scaffolds that can release signals in the biological environment and that have the ability to trigger cellular responses that guide tissue regeneration in a controlled manner -the academician reflects in the presentation of his work-. The question that arises is whether its biological functionality depends mainly on the properties of the constitutive biomaterials of this scaffold or also on its geometric, structural and mechanical properties. On the other hand, the ability to produce signals and stimuli that control the fate of cells is what is generally known as the role of intelligent biomaterials”.
In his presentation, Planell raises how knowledge of the physico-chemical properties of biomaterials, together with the appropriate development of manufacturing techniques, allow obtaining a type of scaffolding that is really effective in bone and skin regeneration. “The question may be whether in the near future we will approach regenerative medicine under the same paradigm. The idea that biology is governed by algorithms brings new points of view on regeneration. The so-called Machine Learning can provide cellular engineering, as well as anticipate the appearance and destination of stem cells and become an integral part of life sciences research. These tools should allow researchers in regenerative medicine to develop their work faster, more informed and more accurately”, he concludes.
Doctor in Materials Science from the University of London, Planell has been professor of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, director of the Biomedical Engineering Research Centre of the same university, director of the Reference Centre in Bioengineering of Catalonia, later Bioengineering Institute of Catalonia and, since 2013, rector of the Open University of Catalonia. His long career as a researcher has focused on the synthesis and study of biomaterials.