portrait of Dr FerreiraISSF Springboard Fellowships 

Harnessing stem cell-macrophage interplay to promote effective regeneration

How hydrogels can control immune-stem cell communication to improve tissue healing

Cells sense, interact with and modify their surrounding environment to suit their needs, adapt their response accordingly and send out signals to communicate with other cells. I have been using soft and stiff hydrogels (like ‘jelly’) to mimic specific environments, to investigate the way that matrix stiffness may differently control how injected stem cells communicate with the immune system, to then articulate an appropriate and coordinated response that leads to improved tissue healing. My research in rodent models will form the basis for a simple and cost-effective strategy to improve tissue healing either following an injury or in the context of inflammatory diseases.


Dr Silvia A. Ferreira is a biomedical engineer (PhD 2012, University of Minho, Portugal) with expertise in pharmaceutical sciences, nanomedicine and regenerative medicine. She has been recently awarded an ISSF Springboard Fellowship following her postdoctoral training at King’s College London and Imperial College London. She is highly collaborative and her interdisciplinary research has focused on understanding how biomaterials features modulate stem cell behaviour and control the host immune response, to improve tissue regeneration. Her work has resulted in 20 peer-reviewed publications including Nature Protocols, Nature Communications and Biomaterials.