Helena Pereira, MIT Portugal student from the PhD Program Leaders for Technical Industries at the University of Minho (UMinho) awarded the third prize in the VI Research Pitches Contest, a competition of scientific video presentations, promoted by the Compostela Group of Universities. The prize was awarded, yesterday, September 8th, during the General Assembly of the Compostela Group of Universities at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland).
In her pitch the Guided Absorption Bone Substitutes, Helena presented a new bone substitute that can be absorbed by the body allowing the natural phase of bone regeneration which will contribute to a better quality of life for patients with bone diseases.
Helena says that bone is the second most transplanted tissue in the world and bone substitutes failure is a concern. Each year an estimated 1.5 million individuals suffer a fracture due to bone disease with enormous costs for the healthcare system. Through her research, she shows that by using degradable calcium phosphates it is possible to obtain a substitute with controlled dissolution compatible with the rate of bone regeneration, avoiding the complications, such as immunoreactions and disease transmissions of the standard treatments. “The goal is to create a product that dissolves over the years based on bioactive material. At the same time that the bone regenerates, the product dissolves” she explains.
The project is at a very early stage with some in vitro tests developed at the University of Minho. Helena is doing her research under the supervision of Prof. Filipe Silva and Prof. Georgina Miranda from the University of Aveiro.
Helena is graduated in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Beira Interior (UBI) and a Master in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Minho. She is a problem solver and passionate about research that’s why she applied for the PhD under the MIT Portugal Program – Leaders for Technological Industries at Escola de Engenharia da Universidade do Minho.
“This program gave me knowledge and experience in product development, on how to get from the idea to the final product. I’m glad to be part of this program”, says Helena.
About the awarded prize Helena admitted that she wasn’t expecting it but “it gave me great motivation for the work that I’m developing. I’m very happy”. In the future, she hopes to continue her work on research in Portugal.