Nerea García de Albéniz wins the Best TFM Award, granted by SocieMat
Source: SocieMat

Nerea García de Albéniz wins the Best TFM Award, granted by SocieMat

BBT PhD student, Nerea García de Albéniz, has been awarded the SocieMat 2021 prize for Best TFM in Materials Science, in the 2021 edition, with her TFM on "Laser-assisted surface modification of zirconia- materials based on enhancing osteoblast response for dental applications ".

Nerea García de Albéniz, BBT PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Carles Mas-Moruno and Dr. Emilio Jiménez  (CIEFMA), has been the winner of SocieMat award for Best TFM in Materials Science 2021.

The student has won with her work on "Laser-assisted surface modification of zirconia-based materials to enhance osteoblast response for dental applications", under the direction of Dr. Carles Mas-Moruno (BBT) and Dr. Joan Josep Roa (CIEFMA), during her studies on the Master in Advanced Materials Science and Engineering - AMASE at UPC, where she researched how to improve the osseointegration of zirconia dental implants.

The process of osseointegration, which consists of the direct, structural and functional connection between the surface of the implant and the patient's natural bone, depends on both the material and the characteristics of the implant, among which, the topography. In this sense, it has been shown that increasing the roughness of the surface at different scales promotes certain cellular responses such as adhesion, migration or differentiation, among others, which is associated with a more solid and lasting integration between the surface of the implant and the surrounding bone.

Based on this, the aim of the thesis was to modify the surface of the zirconia to create a topography that would control the adhesion of bone cells. Specifically, a nanosecond laser was used to create lines parallel to the zirconia surface, and it was studied how these patterns affected the behavior of cells. In addition, different characterization techniques were used to examine the topographies created with the laser and to evaluate changes in the microstructure and mechanical properties of the material.

Nerea will represent SocieMat in the competition European Master Thesis Award, to be held during the JR EUROMAT 2022 (Coimbra, Portugal).