Interview: Professor Henrique Amorim Almeida

Henrique Almeida is a Professor of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the School for Technology and Management from the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria.
He graduated in Mechanical Engineering at the School for Technology and Management. He then went to Superior Institute of Technology of the Technical University of Lisbon to obtain his Master Degree of Science in Engineering Design. Has a PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Aveiro.
At ESTG, he lectures Antropometrics, Ergonomics and Human Factors, Biofabrication and Biomechanical Design.
He is an External Collaborator of the Manchester Biomanufacturing Centre of the University of Manchester, Founding Member of the “International Society on Biofabrication” and Member of the European Biomechanics Society, and Member of the organising committees of the following conferences: 3D Printing Symposium – Additive Manufacturing and Functional Materials, International Conference on Sustainable Smart Manufacturing (S2M), International Conference on Tissue Engineering an ECCOMAS Thematic Conference (ICTE), International Conference on Advanced Research in Virtual and Rapid Prototyping (VRAP), International Conference on Sustainable Intelligent Manufacturing (SIM) and Congresso Nacional de Biomecânica.
Member of the Editorial Board of journals from Springer and Emerald and Member of the Review Editorial Board of several journals from Frontiers.
Participates and participated in several research projects funded by the following agencies: Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, Ciencia Y Tecnologia Para El Desarrollo (CYTED), Portuguese Agency of Inovation (ADI), PRODER, IAPMEI, British Council, European Commission Projects and the People Marie Curie Actions Program of the International Research Staff Exchange Scheme of the European Commission.
Jenny: What inspired you to work in 3D printing/bioprinting field?
Henrique: It began with my master science degree.
Jenny: What is the biggest motivation for your work?
Henrique: Being able to contribute positively to healthcare. With 3D printing/bioprinting, the possibilities are unlimited, except for the capability of producing multi-cell structures for tissue/organ replacement.
Jenny: What is the biggest challenge in your work?
Henrique: The biggest challenge is being able to predict the mechanical and vascular properties of tissue engineering scaffolds during all stages of the process, from production, cell-seeding, bioreactor growth, implantation, degradation and body absorption. The prediction of its properties is a critical issue for the success or failure of the scaffolds.
Jenny: How do you approach working with people with different backgrounds?
Henrique: Always open to other suggestions and open to creating collaborations.
Jenny: How do you plan to conquer this challenge?
Henrique: Hard work and many collaborations in order to fully understand every step of the process.
Jenny: What is your vision on the potential impact of your current work to the future of medicine?
Henrique: By being able to predict the mechanical properties, better and more porous scaffolds may be produced allowing high cell ingrowth and exchange of nutrients along with a higher mechanical strength.
Jenny: What is the biggest change/improvement since last year this time?
Henrique: The new materials and processing conditions of those same materials.
Jenny: What are you passionate about?
Henrique: The global application of 3D printing/bioprinting in the medical field.
Jenny: What is the biggest risk you took in your career?
Henrique: Accepting this topic as my master of science thesis. Before I begin, I didn’t know what I was getting into. Then time passed with no regrets, and when I decided to continue the same work for my doctoral degree.
Jenny: What do you enjoy in your spare time?
Henrique: Time with my family.