Clemens van Blitterswijk

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Clemens van Blitterswijk
Clemens van Blitterswijk
Born The Hague, Netherlands
Nationality Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands
Alma mater University of Leiden

Jean Leray award; The Marie Parijs award; The Klein award;

George Winter award; Huibregtsen Prize; Career Achievement Award;
Scientific career
Fields Biomedical Engineering, Biomaterials, Tissue Engineering
Institutions University of Maastricht

Clemens A. van Blitterswijk (1957, The Hague) is a Dutch scientist who is internationally known for his pioneering work in the field of tissue engineering, which aims to replace or regenerate diseased or damaged tissues through a combination of biology and engineering. In the past decades, he has led teams that have contributed to several scientific breakthroughs in the field, one of which is using synthetic biomaterials to heal bone injuries by triggering the body’s cells to regenerate. He also led the application of high-throughput techniques to deal with the complexity of designing biomaterials, termed “materiomics.” Van Blitterswijk has contributed more than 430 peer-reviewed published papers (>18,000 citations, h-index 88; Web of Science).[1]


Clemens van Blitterswijk graduated as cell biologist at Leiden University in 1982. He defended his PhD thesis in 1985 at the same university on artificial ceramic middle ear implants, for which he was awarded the Jean Leray young scientist award of the European Society for Biomaterials for outstanding research contribution.

In his research through the 1990s and 2000s, van Blitterswijk worked on novel biomaterials to heal bone injuries. He proved in a seminal paper with Joost de Bruijn and Huipin Yuan that some synthetic materials can trigger stem cells to generate entirely new bone tissue, a phenomenon called “osteoinductivity.”[2] In 1997, he became professor at University of Twente, where he founded and directed the MIRA institute. There, he led efforts to shift tissue engineering towards more systematic and high-throughput approaches, which resulted in the TopoChip[3][4] His leadership in and commitment to academic, scientific research continues, exemplified by the award of prestigious funding, including the ERC Advanced grant in 2015 and the NWO Gravitation grant in 2017[5].

Since 2014, van Blitterswijk is the institute director, department chair and professor at the MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine at Maastricht University (UM). He is one of only four distinguished professors at UM.[6] Additionally, he founded and is leading an international consortium (Regenerative Medicine Crossing Borders; RegMed XB) that aims to bring multiple cures for chronic diseases to market in the next ten years. He is recognized as a fellow of the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering. Van Blitterswijk has been a member of the Netherlands Academy of Technology and Innovation (AcTI) since 2003, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) since 2012, and the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW) since 2016. He currently holds editorial roles at Regenerative Biomaterials and the Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine.


Since the 1990s, van Blitterswijk has translated multiple technologies and scientific findings to commercial products that benefit patients worldwide. To date, over 100 patents have been filed under his name, 15 clinical evaluations have been initiated and seven EC and/or FDA approvals awarded. As a result, over 100,000 patients have had products resulting from van Blitterswijk’s research implanted to heal bone injuries.

To date, van Blitterswijk has founded 10 companies and served as CEO (from 1996–2002) of IsoTis, a publicly traded life sciences company.

He has been awarded for his valorization activities, being named the most entrepreneurial scientist in the Netherlands in 2012[7] and receiving the prestigious Huibregtsen award for ground-breaking science with societal impact in 2015. He is a founding partner of the Health Economics Funds (HEF) of the European health care investment group Life Sciences Partners (LSP), one of the largest healthcare investment firms in Europe. The two HEF funds have raised close to €400 million for technologies that will improve the quality of health care while lowering the cost of it, focused specifically on medical devices, diagnostics, and digital health. HEF2, at €280 million, is currently the largest fund in Europe dedicated to medical technology.


Over his 30-year career, van Blitterswijk has supervised >70 PhD candidates through to their dissertation, and has edited four textbooks, including the first dedicated to tissue engineering.


Van Blitterswijk has won most of the prestigious awards in his field, including:

Ten Major Publications[edit]


  1. ^ "Web of Science". Retrieved February 1, 2018. 
  2. ^ Yuan H, Fernandes H, Habibovic P, de Boer J, Barradas AM, de Ruiter A, Walsh WR, van Blitterswijk CA, de Bruijn JD (August 2010). "Osteoinductive ceramics as a synthetic alternative to autologous bone grafting". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 107 (31): 13614–9. doi:10.1073/pnas.1003600107. PMC 2922269Freely accessible. PMID 20643969. 
  3. ^ Unadkat HV, Hulsman M, Cornelissen K, Papenburg BJ, Truckenmüller RK, Carpenter AE, Wessling M, Post GF, Uetz M, Reinders MJ, Stamatialis D, van Blitterswijk CA, de Boer J (October 2011). "An algorithm-based topographical biomaterials library to instruct cell fate". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 108 (40): 16565–70. doi:10.1073/pnas.1109861108. PMID 21949368. 
  4. ^ Baker M (November 2011). "Trying out topographies". Nature Methods. 8 (11): 900. doi:10.1038/nmeth.1760. PMID 22167818. 
  5. ^ Karolien. "More than 100 million euros for Dutch top science". Retrieved 2018-02-01. 
  6. ^ "Distinguished university professors - Research - Maastricht University". Retrieved 2018-02-01. 
  7. ^ "News_van Blitterswijk most entrepreneurial scientist in 2012". Retrieved February 1, 2018. 

External Links[edit]