Academic year
Subject Area
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
2nd Cycle Studies - Mestrado

Recommended Prerequisites

Knowledge of the topics addressed in the course units Biochemistry I, General Biology, General Physiology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Introduction to Physics and Laboratories of Biochemistry I.

Teaching Methods

As this course unit covers areas that are not taught in undergraduate courses, oral presentation is used, employing multimedia aids and allowing and interactive discussion of the student’s difficulties. Summaries for the area of materials, prepared by the teacher, and copy all figures used in the entire course unit are provided before being used in class. Some of the subjects addressed in this course are integrated in a laboratory work and in a small written work.

Learning Outcomes

Develop skills regarding the use in humans of natural and artificial materials and biomedical devices prepared with them. For this, the student will acquire concepts related to: 1. Classes of materials used as biomaterials (polymers, metals and ceramics), including preparation, properties, modification and characterization 2. Major biological effects of the environment on the biomaterial 3. Main biological reactions to biomaterials and their evaluation; 4. Key strategies developed to improve key aspects of the biocompatibility of biomaterials and 5. Selected applications of biomaterials in medicine. Skills related to planning and execution of laboratory work, analysis, discussion and presentation of results, search for scientific information and analysis/synthesis of knowledge, both in the laboratory work and in a small written work will also be developed.

Work Placement(s)



1. Introduction to biomaterials: issues and historical aspects of biomaterials science.

2. Classes of materials used as biomaterials.

2.1. Preparation, characterization and major features of polymers, metals and ceramics used as biomaterials.

2.2. Main methods of surface modification of materials.

3. Biodegradation of biomaterials.

4. Biomedical aspects of biomaterials.

4.1. Biological responses to the introduction and presence of biomaterials.

4.2. Adsorption/adhesion of proteins, cells and bacteria to biomaterials and main strategies to minimize adsorption/adhesion and destruction (in the case of bacteria). Enhancement of cell adhesion to biomaterials.

4.3. Main strategies to minimize activation of the complement system, calcification and thrombogenicity of biomaterials.

4.4. Sterilization.

4.5. Evaluation of the different aspects of biocompatibility and hemocompatibility of biomaterials and medical devices.

5. Some applications of biomaterials in Medicine.

Assessment Methods

Mini Tests: 10.0%
Synthesis work: 15.0%
Laboratory work or Field work: 25.0%
Exam: 50.0%


1. B. D. Ratner, F. J. Schoen, A. S. Hoffman e J. E. Lemons (Eds.), Biomaterials Science: An Introduction to Materials in Medicine, 2nd ed., Academic Press, Inc., San Diego (2004)

2. D. F. Williams, On the Nature of Biomaterials, Biomaterials, 30, 5897-5909 (2009)

3. D. F. Williams, On the Mechanisms of Biocompatibility, Biomaterials, 29, 2941-2953 (2009)

4. J. Black, Biological Performance of Materials, 4.ª ed., CRC Press - Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton (2006)

5. J. B. Park e R. S. Lakes, Biomaterials: An Introduction, 2.ª ed., Plenum Publishing Corporation, Nova Iorque (1992)

6. M. P. Stevens, Polymer Chemistry: An Introduction, 3.ª ed., Oxford University Press, Oxford (1999)

7. W. F. Smith (tradução de M. E. Rosa, M. A. Fortes, L. Guerra–Rosa e M. F. Vaz), Princípios de Ciência e Engenharia dos Materiais, 3.ª Edição, McGraw–Hill, Lisboa (1998)

8. A. W. Adamson e A. P. Gast, Physical Chemistry of Surfaces, 6.ª ed., John Wiley and Sons, Nova Iorque (1997)