Get to know Materials in Medicine’s new Board of Assistant Editors

Dr. Farah Asa’ad

The Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden

ECB Asa'ad

Please tell us briefly about yourself, your background/experience, and research interests.

I’m originally from Jordan, where I earned my Bachelor degree in Dentistry (2006) and a Master’s degree in Periodontology (2010), both from Jordan University of Science & Technology. After obtaining my Master’s degree, I worked in the academic field as a lecturer in Saudi Arabia at Riyadh Elm University from 2010 until 2013. In 2014, I enrolled in the PhD program at the University of Milan, Italy, working on the development of an innovative approach to successfully regenerate alveolar bone for dental implant placement. I have earned my doctorate degree in December of 2017.

During my PhD studies, I was involved in diverse research projects on topics related to tissue regeneration, biomaterials, epigenetics and implant dentistry that have resulted in several publications in peer-reviewed journals. During the last year of the PhD program, I was a visiting scholar at Prof. William Giannobile’s research laboratory, University of Michigan, USA to expand my knowledge on hard tissue regeneration by being involved in an important ongoing research project in regenerative medicine.

In 2018, I moved to Sweden to start a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Department of Oral Biochemistry, Institute of Odontology, The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, to explore the relationship between epigenetic modifications and different titanium implant surfaces. In 2019, I was awarded the Young Researcher Scholarship by the Osteology Foundation (Lucerne, Switzerland), to work for one year at the Department of Biomaterials, The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, to investigate the biological mechanisms in guided bone regeneration (GBR) using e-PTFE membranes. Since 2020, I’ve been appointed as a postdoctoral researcher at the same department, studying the relationship between extracellular vesicles and biomaterials, and also the relationship between epigenetics and peri-implantitis.

What ongoing or recent projects have you been most excited about? Any recent publications?

I was very excited about working on a project titled: “Epigenetic changes of Osteoblasts in Response to Titanium Surface Characteristics”. The findings of this study are very interesting, showing that titanium surface characteristics indeed influence DNA damage and the DNA repair pathway, including epigenetic factors.

Results of this project have been published last year at Journal of Biomedical Materials Research. Part A.

Link to publication: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jbm.a.37014

Why did you decide to join the Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine team? What do you look forward to most as a new member of the journal?

I decided to join the journal due to its great reputation in the field, its editorial board members of distinguished scientists, and its publishing group, Springer Nature. All these factors are very important for my career development as a young scientist. I’m very much looking forward to working on the journal development, its promotion and creating special issues within my area of expertise, alongside such a highly talented & committed group of people.

How would you describe JMSM to fellow researchers and academics? What, in your opinion, sets JMSM apart from other journals in the field?

JMSM is focused on Materials in Medicine. I think this conciseness is what makes the journal stands out, especially in the dental community. Dental studies on biomaterials might be a little bit difficult to publish at a biomaterials journal of a broader spectrum, so I think JMSM offers a great opportunity for publication of studies on biomaterials in dentistry.

Which papers published in JMSM in recent years are of greatest interest to you? 

Papers on 3D-printed scaffolds for bone regeneration and tissue engineering have really captured my interest, due to my previous work in this field when I was a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan.


Dr. Tanya Levingstone

School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Dublin City University, Ireland

ECB Levingstone

Please tell us briefly about yourself, your background/experience, and research interests.  

My background is in the area of biomedical engineering. My research programme lies in the areas of bioengineering, material science, natural and synthetic biomaterials and tissue engineering. I lead a multidisciplinary research group that is focused on the development of new bioengineering approaches to existing healthcare challenges with the overall aim of achieving improvements in population health. This research is focused on the development of new therapeutic biomaterials for orthopaedic applications and novel biomaterial-based 3D model systems to aid in understanding disease progression. My work in this area has a strong translational focus and has led to the successful licencing of a novel scaffold for osteochondral defect repair and demonstration of its safety in a preliminary clinical trial. This research has been developed through strong clinical and industrial collaborations.  

What ongoing or recent projects have you been most excited about? Any recent publications?

I am currently leading a number of exciting projects where we are applying artificial intelligence and machine learning approaches for the optimisation of biomaterials. We recently presented this work at the 31st Conference of the European Society for Biomaterials (ESB2021). We have further publications of this work planned over the coming months.

Why did you decide to join the Early Career Board for the Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine? What do you look forward to most as a new member of the journal?

I hope that membership of the Early Career Board for the Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine will provide new opportunities for networking and the development of new collaborations. I look forward to providing input into the direction of the journal over the coming years and I am keen to promote the work of early career researchers. 

How would you describe JMSM to fellow researchers and academics? What, in your opinion, sets JMSM apart from other journals in the field?

The clinical focus of the journal sets it apart from other journals. Also, the open access nature of the journal is important. The journal also has good review times.

Which papers published in JMSM in recent years are of greatest interest to you? 

The following recent articles are of most interest to my research:

Zhang, Z., Zheng, Y., Zu, J. et al. Stromal cell-derived factor (SDF)-1α and platelet-rich plasma enhance bone regeneration and angiogenesis simultaneously in situ in rabbit calvaria. J Mater Sci: Mater Med 32, 125 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10856-021-06600-z: https://rdcu.be/cznqs

Zhang, X., Yang, J., Cheng, B. et al. Magnetic nanocarriers as a therapeutic drug delivery strategy for promoting pain-related motor functions in a rat model of cartilage transplantation. J Mater Sci: Mater Med 32, 37 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10856-021-06508-8: https://rdcu.be/cznqH


Dr. Khoon S. Lim
Light Activated Biomaterials Group, University of Otago, New Zealand

ECB Lim

Please tell us briefly about yourself, your background/experience, and research interests.

I’m a biomaterial scientist with a focus on photopolymer chemistry. I am very passionate about designing functional biomaterials that can direct cell behavior. I find it extremely fascinating that we are able to grow tissues and organs in the laboratory, that building spare human body parts is no longer science-fiction. My research interest lies at the interface of the convergence of multiple fields, such as Biomaterials, tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and biofabrication, where I believe that greater outcomes can only be achieved by tight collaboration between these cutting-edge fields.

What ongoing or recent projects have you been most excited about? Any recent publications?

My research has been focused on developing functional bioinks for 3D bioprinting, where my group has developed a range of bioinks tailored for a number of applications. One of the few exciting one is designing a bioink that is time sensitive, where the hydrogel microenvironment changes dynamically in response to time, which affect printability https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/adhm.201901544. Another recent work is on developing a smartphone enabled 3D bioprinter which is portable, modular, and easy-to-use, expanding the applications of 3D bioprinting in point-of-care settings not only in biomedicine but also for home and educational purposes https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/adma.202102153 .

Why did you decide to join the Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine team? What do you look forward to most as a new member of the journal?

I am keen to get editorial experience and get a good insight of the editorial process. I am very excited that JMSM established a Board of Assistant Editors, and that reflects on the vision of the journal in terms of encompassing voices of younger scientists and promoting diversity in different career stages. I want to contribute and be part of the journal’s growth, to facilitate greater integration and exposure of the journal within the fields of Biomaterials, Tissue Engineering, Regenerative Medicine and Biofabrication.

How would you describe JMSM to fellow researchers and academics? What, in your opinion, sets JMSM apart from other journals in the field?

A materials science focused journal with an outstanding editorial board. It makes a difference that the editors and editorial advisory board are world renowned experts in the field.

Which papers published in JMSM in recent years are of greatest interest to you? 

I really like this paper showing how sterilization procedures will affect printability of bioinks. The study shows the importance of research translation where scale-up manufacturing process are often neglected during the design phase https://rdcu.be/cyxYP


Dr. Arn Mignon
KU Leuven, Belgium

ECB Mignon

Please tell us briefly about yourself, your background/experience, and research interests.

I used to do my PhD and postdoc at Ghent University, Belgium in the Polymer Chemistry and Biomaterials research group, working on ‘smart’ polymers for different applications going from self-healing concrete to burn wound repair to tendon healing. Since October 2020 I became assistant professor at KU Leuven, Belgium where my main focus is on creating ‘smart’ polymeric biomaterials for a plethora of biomedical applications.

What ongoing or recent projects have you been most excited about? Any recent publications?

Currently there are a few projects running which I am excited about. One is related to the creation of nanoparticles to create a diagnostic and antimicrobial wound dressing for burn wounds. A second one is more related to the use of a small molecule, NO, to create ‘smart’ wound dressings to aid in the healing of diabetic wounds and a third one is linked to the creation of a temperature-responsive tubular polymeric construct to heal ruptured deep flexor tendons.

A few of the most recent publications related to this research are:

  • Ionescu, O. M., Mignon, A., Minsart, M., Van Hoorick, J., Gardikiotis, I., Caruntu, I. D., Giusca, S.E., Van Vlierberghe, S. & Profire, L. (2021). Gelatin‐Based Versus Alginate‐Based Hydrogels: Providing Insight in Wound Healing Potential. Macromolecular Bioscience, 2100230.
  • Pien, N., Peeters, I., Deconinck, L., Van Damme, L., De Wilde, L., Martens, A., Van Vlierberghe, S. Dubruel, P. & Mignon, A. (2021). Design and development of a reinforced tubular electrospun construct for the repair of ruptures of deep flexor tendons. Materials Science and Engineering: C, 119, 111504.
  • Gutierrez Cisneros, C., Bloemen, V., & Mignon, A. (2021). Synthetic, natural, and semisynthetic polymer carriers for controlled nitric oxide release in dermal applications: A review. Polymers, 13(5), 760.
  • Van Vlierberghe, S., & Mignon, A. (Eds.). (2021). Superabsorbent Polymers: Chemical Design, Processing and Applications. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG.
  • Peeters, I., Pien, N., Mignon, A., Van Damme, L., Dubruel, P., Van Vlierberghe, S., Mantovani, D., Vermeulen, V., Creytens, D., Van Tongel, A., Schauvliege, S., Hermans, K., De Wilde, L., & Martens, A. (2021). Flexor tendon repair using a reinforced tubular, medicated electrospun construct. Journal of Orthopaedic Research®.
  • Minsart, M., Mignon, A., Arslan, A., Allan, I. U., Van Vlierberghe, S., & Dubruel, P. (2021). Activated Carbon Containing PEG‐Based Hydrogels as Novel Candidate Dressings for the Treatment of Malodorous Wounds. Macromolecular Materials and Engineering, 306(1), 2000529.

Why did you decide to join the Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine team? What do you look forward to most as a new member of the journal?

Being part of the Early Career Board of this renowned journal gives me the opportunity to be more up to date with the current state of the art in the Materials in Medicine and helps me to learn how the editorial board of such a journal works.

How would you describe JMSM to fellow researchers and academics? What, in your opinion, sets JMSM apart from other journals in the field?

The papers published in this journal give the most state-of-the-art research on biomaterials and tissue engineering constructs in different fields going from orthopaedic, maxillofacial, cardiovascular, neurological, ophthalmic and dental applications.

Which papers published in JMSM in recent years are of greatest interest to you? 

It is difficult to make a choice between all these papers. One which caught my recent attention was: Nour, S., Baheiraei, N., Imani, R., Khodaei, M., Alizadeh, A., Rabiee, N., & Moazzeni, S. M. (2019). A review of accelerated wound healing approaches: biomaterial-assisted tissue remodeling. Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine, 30(10), 1-15: https://rdcu.be/cyxZg


Dr. Valeria Panzetta,

Department of Chemical, Materials, and Industrial Production Engineering, University of Naples Frederico II, Italy

ECB Panzetta

Please tell us briefly about yourself, your background/experience, and research interests.

I am an Assistant professor at the Department of Chemical, Materials and Industrial Production Engineering of the University of Naples Federico II. I have over 10 years of experience in academic and research institutions in developing experimental tools to study cell mechanics and to understand cellular mechanotransduction processes, by which cells detect and recognize different mechanical cues.

What ongoing or recent projects have you been most excited about? Any recent publications?

I am now engaged and highly interested in defining novel strategies and designing advanced smart biomaterials able to administer dynamic biophysical and biochemical signals for the fabrication of in vitro biological tissues. Some papers are in preparation for publication.

Why did you decide to join the Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine team? What do you look forward to most as a new member of the journal?

I strongly believe that joining the Early Career Board for the Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine will give me the opportunity to increase my personal network, to collaborate with a wider group of research colleagues and gain greater perspective about future research directions in the field of materials in medicine.

As a new member of the journal, I look forward to promoting some special topics regarding Mechanobiology Research for Tissue Engineering and to feeling the encouragement towards proposing and preparing review and perspective articles for publication in JMSM.

How would you describe JMSM to fellow researchers and academics? What, in your opinion, sets JMSM apart from other journals in the field?

JMSM is a scholarly journal that covers all technologies and fields related to Bioengineering, Biomedical Engineering and Biophysics. Remarkably, the articles published in JMSM dedicate significant attention to technical/engineering principles of designing and validating the surface and bulk physicochemical properties of materials used in medicine.

Which papers published in JMSM in recent years are of greatest interest to you? 

The papers published in JMSM I read with great interest are those that evaluated both physicochemical and biological principles of designing biomaterials, by evaluating the nature of the interaction established between the biomaterial and the living cells.

Among them are:

  • Perugini, Valeria, and Matteo Santin. "A comparative in vitro study of the effect of biospecific integrin recognition processes and substrate nanostructure on stem cell 3D spheroid formation." Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine 31.4 (2020): 1-9: https://rdcu.be/cyxZq 
  • Hernández, AM Porras, et al. "A simplified approach to control cell adherence on biologically derived in vitro cell culture scaffolds by direct UV-mediated RGD linkage." Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine 31.10 (2020): 1-10: https://rdcu.be/cyxZD 
  • Dozio, Samuele M., et al. "Differences in osteogenic induction of human mesenchymal stem cells between a tailored 3D hybrid scaffold and a 2D standard culture." Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine 30.12 (2019): 1-12: https://rdcu.be/cyxZH


Dr. Xiao Yang

National Engineering Research Center for Biomaterials, Sichuan University, China


ECB Yang

Please tell us briefly about yourself, your background/experience, and research interests.

I received my Ph.D degree in the biomedical engineering department at the National University of Singapore. In 2013, I joined National Engineering Research Center for Biomaterials, Sichuan University. Since then, I have been working on implantable biomaterials for musculoskeletal system, including bioceramics, titanium and polyetheretherketone bone grafts.

What ongoing or recent projects have you been most excited about? Any recent publications?

My recent research focuses on the functionalized implants for diseased bone repair (i.e., osteoporosis, osteosarcoma), and cellular interaction between host and implant. In these areas, I have published more than 30 papers in Science Advances (2019 and 2020), ACS appl mater & int (2020), Nano Research (2020), Biomaterials (2018), Acta biomaterialia (2021 and 2017) et. al.

Why did you decide to join the Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine team? What do you look forward to most as a new member of the journal?

This journal is of old brand and high-quality. It was established since 1990s. I have been reading articles from this journal since I was a final year undergraduate student. Thus, it is an honor to join this journal in my early career as an assistant editor. I look forward to participating the review process. It will be exciting to witness and be involved with new ideas in the field.

How would you describe JMSM to fellow researchers and academics? What, in your opinion, sets JMSM apart from other journals in the field?

This journal covers a wide range of topics from basic science to clinical applications of biomaterials used mainly in orthopaedic, maxillofacial and dental applications. It is an open access journal with a stable impact factor.

Which papers published in JMSM in recent years are of greatest interest to you? 

I am interested in papers which granted traditional calcium phosphate bioceramics with new functions. For example, bioceramics combined with rhBMP-2 and Sr (32, 107 (2021)), incorporated with zinc (32, Article number: 99 (2021)) or niobium pentoxide (31, Article number: 71 (2020)) for a promoted bone formation. In this way, the osteogenic ability of the bioceramics can be largely increased, especially in bone disease condition.


Dr. Sachiro Kakinoki 

Department of Chemistry and Materials Engineering, Kansai University, Japan

ECB Kakinoki

Please tell us briefly about yourself, your background/experience, and research interests.

My research programs are focusing on regulating cellular and tissue responses to biomaterials using surface chemistry.

I have experience in peptide/protein chemistry and tissue engineering including bioactive vascular devices.

What ongoing or recent projects have you been most excited about? Any recent publications?

My research group is recently pursuing ultra anti-fouling surfaces using collagen-inspired small peptides (J. Mat. Chem. B, 8(2020)2233-2237).

Why did you decide to join the Early Career Board for the Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine? What do you look forward to most as a new member of the journal?

JMSM is a historic journal in medical materials. I would like to build a broad relationship with researchers in this field.

How would you describe JMSM to fellow researchers and academics? What, in your opinion, sets JMSM apart from other journals in the field?

JMSM is one of the historic journals in the field of medical materials. JMSM features a professional editorial team led by experienced researchers and provides a constructive and credible review process.

Which papers published in JMSM in recent years are of greatest interest to you?

I recently read a paper reported by Prof. Joaquim Miguel Oliveira's group with great interest. This paper provides us the latest information on "Hydrogels in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis." (https://rdcu.be/cA6hG


Dr. Olivier Guillaume

Institute of Materials Science and Technology, Technical University of Vienna, Austria

ECB Guillaume

Please tell us briefly about yourself, your background/experience, and research interests.

I was always fascinated by how biomaterials can be tuned to endow them with specific biofunctionality, in the direction of healthcare and Medicine. For this reason, I spent my PhD in the field of biopolymers and bioactive implants until end of 2011. I then moved on in different research groups all over Europa (Trinity College in Dublin, AO Research Institute in Davos, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute in Vienna) as postdoc to further develop biomaterials for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. I am now Univ. Assist at the TU Wien, in the group of Prof. Ovsianikov (3D Printing and Biofabrication), where we employ multiphoton polymerization for applications toward medicine and TERM.

What ongoing or recent projects have you been most excited about? Any recent publications?

Multiphoton polymerization brings great perspective in the search of optimal scaffolds with complex and anisotropic design, but its major limitation is the limited size of the constructs which can be printed and the duration requires to fabricate large-size objects. Those are the most important bottlenecks that we are trying to alleviate in our group. I am proud to be part of this endeavour, and in one of the resulting publications, we show last year the largest ever printed scaffold using multiphoton resolution, with still a high resolution hardly achievable using common additive manufacturing technologies. This paper paves the way of exciting work still to be done associating multiphoton lithography and tissue engineering.

DOI: 10.1088/1758-5090/abb539. 3D printing of large-scale and highly porous biodegradable tissue engineering scaffolds from poly(trimethylene-carbonate) using two-photon-polymerization

Why did you decide to join the Early Career Board for the Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine? What do you look forward to most as a new member of the journal?

I remember during my PhD reading papers from this journal. Articles like the one from Taylor et al., in 1998, The influence of substratum topography on bacterial adhesion to polymethyl methacrylate (https://rdcu.be/cBhLz - cited almost 150 times) were amongst the ones I refer to at most. Later on, I was really proud that one of my publications back in Feb 2016 was selected to illustrate the cover page of the Volume 27 of this journal. For me, JMSM is an interdisciplinary journal, highly relevant for my field and, personally, an important stepping stone, which I am honoured to represent now as board member.

How would you describe JMSM to fellow researchers and academics? What, in your opinion, sets JMSM apart from other journals in the field?

The focus of this journal is to bring together basic research in the field of materials on its large scope but with a strong clinical connotation. This is why I like reading articles from JMSM.

Which papers published in JMSM in recent years are of greatest interest to you?

My research interest involves not only 3D printing, but also the development of new materials for abdominal hernia repair for instance. For inspiration, I often look at the output of other strong groups in Europe in this field, like the one from Prof. Pascual Gemma in Madrid, Spain. For instance, they published few years ago an interesting in vivo investigation comparing the biological performance of several “bioglues”, as alternative to typical mesh fixation techniques like suturing.

Gemma Pascual et al., Host tissue response by the expression of collagen to cyanoacrylate adhesives used in implant fixation for abdominal hernia repair (https://rdcu.be/cBhLl).