Jorge Coelho receives the J. Norberto Pires Innovation Award

with the biodegradable guide tube design for peripheral nerve regeneration

The NerveGen project, for the production (by 3D printing) of biodegradable medical devices for peripheral nerve regeneration, is the winner of the 1st edition of the J. Norberto Pires Innovation Award, awarded by the University of Coimbra (UC).

The award was given this Wednesday, the 9th, to Jorge Coelho, professor and researcher at the Department of Chemical Engineering of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the UC, responsible for the project, during the event Inovação@UC, held at Convento São Francisco ( Coimbra).

The NerveGen project seeks to respond to the problem of loss of sensory and motor functions in people who have suffered peripheral nerve injuries (due, for example, to road or work accidents, tumours or viral infections), with a great impact on their quality of life and productivity. The team led by Jorge Coelho developed a revolutionary formulation (however patented) for the production – by 3D printing – of small guide tubes, of adaptable size, that make the connection and allow the reconnection of the two ends of an injured [cut] nerve.

This proposal for a guide tube, which has already been tested on animals, has clear advantages over existing solutions to respond to such nerve injuries: it has the structural strength to suture, does not produce toxic by-products, is flexible and has excellent structural integrity, transparency, permeability, easy storage at room temperature, and can be produced according to the specific needs of each patient.

The NerveGen project is a clear example of what the scientific production of the University of Coimbra should be: innovative, distinctive and oriented towards the common good. Despite the richness, variety and quality of the many contest applications, we could hardly find a more appropriate winner to remember and honour the scientific legacy that Professor Doctor Norberto Pires left us”, declares UC Rector Amílcar Falcão, who chaired the jury. who gave the award.

This award is a reason of great pride and satisfaction for the UC General Council, which proposed its creation in honour of Professor and Councilor Norberto Pires as a tribute and a tribute to someone who led the UC’s affirmation in the field of innovation. It is, at the same time, a tribute to Professor and Counselor Norberto Pires, who left us early, but left an indelible mark on the UC in terms of innovation, and a stimulus to entrepreneurship and innovation, recognizing the merit and impact of innovation initiatives at the University of Coimbra”, says the President of the General Council of the UC (the entity that proposed the creation of the distinction) and vice-president of the jury, Gabriela Figueiredo Dias.

It is a great pride for the research group to receive this recognition from the University of Coimbra, which reflects the work of a group of researchers over several years. The development of innovative projects with social impact is a decisive pillar for the affirmation of the University”, says, in turn, Jorge Coelho.

The J. Norberto Pires Innovation Award aims to encourage and recognize innovative initiatives conceived and developed by students, employees, professors or researchers at the University of Coimbra (or who have any type of academic or functional link to this institution), as a tribute to Professor Doutor Joaquim Norberto Pires, for his exceptional contribution to innovation at the University of Coimbra. The award, delivered annually, includes the award of a diploma and a reward in the amount of 6,000 euros.

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