Prof. dr. ir. T.H. Smit

Main activities
Tissue Engineering; Mechanobiology of development and disease
Focus of research

Development of the spine

Disc degeneration and osteo-arthritis

Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine

Degradable polymers


Key publications
  • Ghazanfari S, Khademhosseini A, Smit TH, Mechanisms of lamellar collagen formation in connective tissues. BIOMATERIALS 2016;97:74-84 [PubMed]
  • Vergroesen PPA, Kingma I, Emanuel KS, Hoogendoorn RJW, Welting TJ, van Royen BJ, van Dieën JH, Smit TH, Mechanics and biology in intervertebral disc degeneration: a vicious circle. OSTEOARTHR CARTILAGE 2015;23 (7):1057-1070 [PubMed]
  • Emanuel KS, Vergroesen PPA, Peeters M, Holewijn RM, Kingma I, Smit TH, Poroelastic behaviour of the degenerating human intervertebral disc: a ten-day study in a loaded disc culture system. EUR CELLS MATER 2015;29:330-40; discussion 340-1 [PubMed]
  • Klumpers DD, Zhao X, Mooney DJ, Smit TH, Cell mediated contraction in 3D cell-matrix constructs leads to spatially regulated osteogenic differentiation. INTEGR BIOL-UK 2013;5 (9):1174-1183 [PubMed]
  • Vashaghian M, Zandieh-Doulabi B, Roovers JP, Smit TH, Electrospun Matrices for Pelvic Floor Repair: Effect of Fiber Diameter on Mechanical Properties and Cell Behavior. TISSUE ENG 2016;22 (23-24):1305-1316 [PubMed]
All Publications
Curriculum Vitae

1989: MSc (ir) in Mechanical Engineering at Technical University Delft

1990: Research fellow at M.E. Mueller Institute for Biomechanics, University of Berne, Switzerland

1996: PhD (Dr.-Ing) in Biomechanics at Technical University Hamburg-Harburg (D)

          Thesis: the mechanical significance of the trabecular bone structure in the human lumbar vertebra

1996: Research fellow Academic Hospital Vrije Universiteit

1999: Assistant professor biomechanics and tissue engineering at AZVU/VUmc

2007: Associate professior of Skeletal Physics and Tissue Engineering, VU University medical centre

2011: Visiting scholar at Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, Boston MA

2012: Professor of Translational Regenerative Medicine, VU University medical centre

2016: Professor of Translational Regenerative Medicine, Academic Medical Centre

Research programmes

Mechanobiology of development and disease

Mechanical stress is a key factor in morphogenesis (the origin of morphological form) as well as the onset and development of disease. This most clearly observed in skeletal tissues, which reflect the loads born by them and skeletal diseases like osteo-arthritis and osteoporosis. Mechanical stress on cells also induces the onset of katabolic and inflammatory gene expression, thereby affecting the extracellular matrix and inducing pain experience. Mechanobiology is studied on living embryos, organs or tissue constructs, subjected to well defined loading conditions. Tissue regeneration is supported by the use of instructive biomaterials.

Prof. dr. ir. T.H. Smit

PhD Students
R.P. Blom
C.M.E. Rustenburg
K.S. Emanuel MSc (VU)
S. Fazaeli MSc (Vrije Universiteit / ACTA)
B.K.A. Nelemans MSc (VU)
K.P. Paul MD (Vrije Universiteit)
M. Peeters MSc (Vrije Universiteit)
C. Rustenburg MD (VUmc)
M. Schmitz MSc (VU)