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Prolonged in-vitro culturing and functional assessment of arteries.


There is a large need for core facility services providing vascular bioreactors, allowing the study of novel technology, tissue engineering approaches, new drugs and biologicals and their long-term effects. Such a facility requires incorporation and combination of state-of-the-art knowledge and skills, provided by SmArteR academic partners, expertise on cardiovascular in vitro systems provided by HML and new knowledge on culturing as well as environmental effects to promote prolonged in-vitro viability and tissue functionality.



1. To collect information and expertise from the partners on vascular function and remodelling, as regards culture protocols, acute effects of pressure and flow and in vivo remodelling interventions. Based on this, culturing protocols need to be developed and tested to keep tissue quality, functionality and responses at physiological levels for prolonged periods, aiming at more than 8 weeks.

2. To test the role of biophysical parameters, such as pressure, pulsatility, and flow on vascular function and remodelling during prolonged culture.


Training: 1. The ER will receive training from the network partners regarding vascular function and remodelling. The host will teach the ER to develop bioreactor technology and implement this in the cardiovascular field, including technological, management and commercial aspects.


Campagnolo, P., Tsai, T., Kirton, J.P., Margariti, A., Di Bernardini, E., Wong, M., Hu, Y., & Xu, Q. (2015). c-Kit+ Progenitors Generate Vascular Cells for Tissue-Engineered Grafts through Modulation of the Wnt/Klf4 Pathway‏. Biomaterials, 60, 53-61.


Campagnolo, P., Hong, X., Di Bernardini, E., Smyrnias, I., Hu, Y., & Xu, Q. (2015). Resveratrol-Induced Vascular Progenitor Differentiation towards Endothelial Lineage via MiR-21/Akt/β-Catenin Is Protective in Vessel Graft Models. PLoS One, 10. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0125122.


Wong, M.M., Yin, X., Potter, C., Yu, B., Cai, H., Di Bernardini, E., & Xu, Q. (2014). Over-expression of HSP47 augments mouse embryonic stem cell smooth muscle differentiation and chemotaxis. PLoS One, 9. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086118.


Di Bernardini, E., Campagnolo, P., Margariti, A., Zampetaki, A., Hu, Y., & Xu, Q. (2014). Endothelial lineage differentiation from iPS cells is regulated by miRNA-21/AKT and TGF-β2 pathways. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 289, 3383-3393.


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Ph.D student / post-doc

Elisabetta Di Bernardini

Principal Investigator

Dr. Marco Stijnen / Jurgen de Hart