Filipe VARGAS FERREIRA (Brazil)

Filipe works on the development of strategies to reduce contamination of the environment caused by non-biodegradable polymers. He is exploring environmentally friendly high-performance nanomaterials for active packaging and tissue engineering.

PhD Student in Chemical Engineering, University of Campinas, Brazil

Research focus: environmentally friendly high-performance nanomaterials for active packaging and tissue engineering

Non-biodegradable polymers play a key role in the various areas of our lives and can be found in several applications, ranging from household items to materials for spaceship parts. Due to such wide-ranging use combined with their recalcitrant nature, these polymers are currently one of the most hazardous materials to the ecosystem. Severe environmental problems have been identified connected to their disposal into the environment.

The replacement of non-biodegradable polymers with biodegradable ones is urgently needed. However, the replacement is difficult since the overall properties of the sustainable materials are often inferior when compared to commonly used polymers. There is a strong need for developing environmentally friendly polymer materials with improved performance for different sectors.

In his research, Filipe has developed high-performance biodegradable materials to be used in regenerative medicine and active packaging. Non-biodegradable polymers are widely used in these sectors and recycling is not recommended as some drugs or active compounds are not removed during the process.

Filipe developed a highly interconnected, not toxic cellulose nanofibers-based cryogel synthesized with a scalable, environmentally friendly, and facile method. This cryogel may be used for implants for the treatment of bone defects in regenerative medicine.

In addition to this, cellulose nanocrystals isolated from sugarcane bagasse waste were assembled into a biodegradable polymer matrix to prepare nanocomposites with synergistic integration of mechanical performance and antibacterial effect. The proposed versatile material has potential for innovative approaches, including biodegradable active packaging.

The jury especially valued Filipe’s excellent work in the field of packaging and tissue engineering and his interdisciplinary approach, joining natural sciences with social aspects.