Developing in vitro tests to assess medical implant safety
Els first became interested in the intersection of cell biology and materials science while studying for her undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge (UK). She continued this interest during her master’s degree in Biomedicine at Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), completing two research internships in the field of biomaterials in the groups of Prof. My Hedhammar and Prof. Molly Stevens. In 2020 she started her PhD at the RIVM National Institute for Health and the Environment, in collaboration with the Biointerface Science group of Prof. Jan de Boer at TU/e. In her PhD project, she will be developing in vitro tests to assess medical implant safety, focusing on the foreign body response. These tests will assess the effects of not only chemical but also mechanical stimuli, which are not measured by the current standard toxicity tests. To evaluate the predictive value of the tests, she will also examine clinical reference samples of implants removed from patients with complaints.