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Day 1 // Breakout 1:

New developments in

Chair: Thomas Schmitz-Rode, RWTH Aachen, DE

Thomas Schmitz-Rode

Thomas Schmitz-Rode (Chairman)

Helmholtz Institute, RWTH Aachen University, DE

Director, AME - Institute of Applied Medical Engineering

Curriculum vitae

Professor Thomas Schmitz-Rode studied Mechanical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University and received a Dipl.-Ing. degree in 1982. After working as an engineer at Symbion GmbH/Inc from 1984-1986, he finished a subsequent study of Human Medicine at RWTH Aachen University with a medical degree in 1988. From 1989 to 2003 he worked successively as resident, senior consultant, chief consultant of the Clinic for Diagnostic Radiology, RWTH Aachen University Hospital. After receiving habilitation in 1996 and associate professorship in 1999, he was appointed as a Full Professor (C3) for Experimental Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology of the Medical Faculty of RWTH Aachen University in 2003.  Since 2005 he is Full Professor (C4) and director of the Institute of Applied Medical Engineering, which is part of the Helmholtz Institute of RWTH Aachen University.
Professor Schmitz-Rode is a member of the steering committee of the Health Technologies Network, German Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech), member of the steering committee of the National Strategy Process on Innovation in Medical Technology and vice chairman of the German Society for Biomedical Engineering.
Professor Schmitz-Rode is author or co-author of 232 peer-reviewed journal articles listed in NCBI/PubMed/U.S. National Library of Medicine, 10 book chapters and more than 190 patent applications and patents listed in DEPATISnet.de.

Carlijn Bouten

13:30 - In situ cardiovascular tissue engineering using polymeric materials

Carlijn Bouten

Eindhoven University of Technology, NL

Professor of Cell-Matrix Interaction

Curriculum vitae

Carlijn Bouten is full professor of Cell-Matrix Interaction in Cardiovascular Regeneration in the Department of Biomedical Engineering of the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). Her research concentrates on new engineering approaches to regenerate the tissues of the human heart. A particular example is the development of a synthetic, bio-degradable heart valve prosthesis that ‘seduces’ the body to create a new, living heart valve at the site of implantation. The research is performed in close collaboration with material scientists, life scientists, and clinicians, and mainly executed within public-private partnerships.

Prof Bouten is theme-leader ‘Regenerative Medicine’ of the strategic area Health at TU/e and jointly established CREATE, the Center for Regenerative Engineering at Eindhoven. She is recipient of the prestigious Aspasia and VICI career development awards of the Dutch National Science Foundation. She is founding fellow of the European Alliance for Medical and Biological Engineering and Science (EAMBES), member of the board of directors of the Heart Valve Society, and member of AcademiaNet for Outstanding Female Scientists and Scholars in Europe. She published over 150 publications on ISI journals and 16 book chapters on biomedical and tissue engineering.


In situ tissue engineering using biodegradable scaffolds is an emerging approach to create living heart valve replacements inside the human body. This breakthrough technology entails the implantation of a cell-free scaffold that gradually transforms into a living valve at the site of implantation.

Our approach is based on the notion that the natural inflammatory response to a scaffold can be harnessed to induce physiological healing and neo-tissue formation. The challenge is to develop instructive scaffolds capable of host cell repopulation and that provide biochemical and/or biophysical cues for a stable cellular phenotype and load-bearing extracellular matrix formation. We use electrospun scaffolds consisting of supramolecular polymers that can be functionalized with bioactive moieties to elicit specific responses of host cells, typically recruited from the blood stream. Biomimetic in vitro models and computational analyses are being used in direct comparison with in vivo experiments to optimize scaffold biochemical, biophysical, and degradation properties. Using in vitro models we demonstrated the modulation of inflammatory responses via the release of bioactive moieties to favor the recruitment of beneficial macrophage subpopulations. This modulation resulted in functional vessel formation by circulating cells only, as demonstrated in preclinical studies. Subsequent optimization of scaffold structural-mechanical properties resulted in the creation of heart valve scaffolds that gradually transform into living heart valves and maintain mechanical and biological function during long-term follow up in large animal studies.   


(This project was made possible by the research program of the BioMedical Materials institute, co-funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. Financial contribution of Netherlands Heart Foundation is gratefully acknowledged.)

13:50 - Pitches:

Oliver Marseille

Hemovent GmbH, DE

Eric de Groot

Imagelabonline & Cardiovascular, NL

Thomas Finocchiaro

ReinHeart TAH GmbH, DE

Paul Simons

TSG Group, NL

Alexander Vos

14:05 - Developing supply chain solutions for cell therapy products

Alexander Vos

PharmaCell B.V., NL


Curriculum vitae

Alexander Vos (1962) has 20 years of leadership experience in the pharma and biotech industry. Following his graduate studies of pharmacy and pharmacology in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and at the Mayo Clinic in the United States, he obtained a MBA from Stanford University in the United States (1989). After completing his studies, Alexander Vos spent five years as a strategy consultant working for the international pharmaceutical practice of McKinsey & Co.
He subsequently worked at Genzyme Therapeutics Europe, holding several executive positions such as European Marketing Director and Director of Business Development, before assuming global responsibility for the joint venture between Genzyme Corporation and Pharming NV, which pursued the goal of developing an innovative therapy for a genetic muscular disease.
From 2000 to 2004, Mr. Vos served as Chief Executive Officer of MediService AG (Switzerland), one of the leading specialty pharmacy service companies in Europe, which was successfully sold to Galenica AG. Before joining PharmaCell, he worked for PAION AG, where he was a Member of the Management Board (“Vorstand”) and Chief Operating Officer.  PAION is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company based in Aachen (Germany) and Cambridge (UK) that is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

14:25 - Pitches:

Hatim Hemeda

PL BioScience GmbH, DE

Birgit Teunissen

Chemelot Innovation and Learning Labs (CHILL), NL

14:40 - Biohybrid implants - the golden cut?

Stefan Jockenhövel

Helmholtz-Institut RWTH Aachen, Maastricht University, DE/NL

15:00 - Pitches:

Arantza Narváez

Ibersens Innova, ES

Didier Argentin


Alexandra Plessa

Valuepack, NL

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