Margarida Fernandes was honored today with a L'Oréal Portugal Medal of Honor for Women in Science. The scientist will receive 15 thousand euros to develop a new generation of materials to regenerate bone tissues. The ceremony took place at the Pavilion of Knowledge in Lisbon.
The prize awarded by L'Oréal Portugal, the National Commission of UNESCO and the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) aims to encourage researchers in Portugal, who are already PhDs and up to the age of 35, to pursue original and relevant studies on health and environment. The jury chaired by Alexandre Quintanilha evaluated more than 70 applications and elected four.
Aging of the population and problems such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are becoming more frequent, being the main causes of physical incapacity in the world. Margarida Fernandes wants to develop "a new generation of active materials that respond to physical stimuli for the engineering of bone tissues". The structures based on these multifunctional materials allow the generation of biomimetic microenvironments through the development of a bioreactor that mimics the natural environment of the cells, ensuring a natural stimulation for tissue regeneration, which is essential for treating bone lesions and diseases. By combining the bioreactor and the new active materials, it is intended to create new bone tissue by stimulating the natural ability to regenerate the patient's tissues. This project promises to contribute to the well-being of millions of people.
Margarida Fernandes was born in Braga for 34 years and a PhD in Textile Engineering at UMinho in Biotechnology, with a study that included the use of biological tools in the functionalization of fibers for applications in the area of cosmetics and biomedical. She has a postdoctoral degree from the Universidad Politécnica de Catalunya in Spain under a Marie Curie fellowship and is currently completing a second postdoctoral fellowship with a grant from the FCT at the Physics Center and the Centre of Biological Engineering at UMinho, whose research is the basis of this L'Oréal prize.