Irina Neves Simões

PhD Candidate
(MIT|Portugal Program)


M.Sc. in Biotechnology, IST, 2011
Degree in Biology, FCUL, 2009

Research Activities

I am interested in the isolation and ex-vivo expansion of human mesenchymal stem cells (or MSCs) from the umbilical cord matrix (UCM), mainly, but also bone marrow and adipose tissue. These cells would be later applied in cellular therapy due to their features (immunosuppressive capacities, hypoimmunogenicity, and others). UCM is a promising alternative source of MSCs because it is widely available and the collection method is easy and non-invasive when compared with others sources. Because the MSCs isolated from UCM are neonatal cells they are expected to have a higher proliferative capacity and differentiation potential. The characterization of these isolated cells is performed based on proliferative capacity, multilineage differentiation ability, clonogenic potential, hematopoietic supportive capacity in vitro and immunophenotypic and secretome profile analysis. Apart from their promising features and potential, the number of MSCs isolated from UCM is low and so it is necessary to expand these cells ex-vivo. The ultimate goal is to develop large-scale expansion systems able to accelerate MSCs expansion.

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