GROUP LEADER/PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
Full Professor (email@example.com)
(Docent Pharm. Nanotechnol.; D.Sc. Tech., Chem. Eng.; Lic. Chem. Eng.; Lic. Chem.)
- Member of the Finnish Union of University Professors; 2017-current
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Visiting Professor, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, China (2021–2023)
Visiting Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy, Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Italy (2020–2021)
Visiting Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy, Università degli studi “G. d’Annunzio” Chieti-Pescara, Italy (2019–2020)
Co-founder and Chairman of Capsamedix Oy start-up company (2019–current)
Associate professor in pharmaceutical nanotechnology (2017–2020)
Director of the FinPharmaNet - The Network of Drug Research Doctoral Programmes in Finland (2020–2022)
Chair of the Focus Group in Nanomedicine and Nanoscale Drug Delivery (NNDD), Controlled Release Society (2019–2021)
Adjunct professor (docent) in pharmaceutical nanotechnology / principal investigator / group leader (2009–2016)
Dr. Hélder A. Santos is a physical chemist specialized in electrochemistry, biological mimetic models and soft interfaces. In 2003, he obtained his MSc in Chemistry from the Department of Chemistry, University of Porto (Portugal). In 2007, he obtained his DSc in Chem. Eng. from the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry, Helsinki University of Technology (Finland, now named Aalto University). In 2007, Dr. Santos joined the University of Helsinki, Division of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology, as a Postdoctoral Fellow. In 2009, he was appointed Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Research Fellow.
Currently, he is a Full Professor in Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology, Principal Investigator/Group Leader, Head of the Nanomedicine and Biomedical Engineering Group, former Head of the Division of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology, and former Head of the Preclinical Drug Formulation and Analysis Group at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki. He is also the Director of the Doctoral Programme in Drug Research at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki, and the Director of the FinPharmaNet. In 2012, Dr. Santos received the ERC starting grant for 2013-2017 worth of 1.5 M€.
Dr. Santos' research is focused on nanobiomaterials, including nanoporous silica/silicon materials and polymeric-based nanoparticles for controlled drug delivery, diagnostics and therapy. The research interests include the development of nanoparticles/nanomedicines for biomedical and healthcare applications. His current work makes the bridge between engineering, pharmaceutical and medical research. His main research focus is in the use of biodegradable and biocompatible nanoporous silicon nanomaterials, polymers, the application of microfluidics technology for nanoparticle production for simultaneous controlled drug delivery, diagnostic and treatment of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, and further translation of these nanotechnologies into the clinic.
He is the author of more than 300 publications (> 10342 citations, h-index = 61) in prestigious high impact, peer-reviewed publications, such as Advanced Materials, ACS Nano, Advanced Functional Materials, Chemistry of Materials, Biomaterials, Small, etc. He is also author of more than 21 book chapters and more than 200 conference proceedings/abstracts, in a total of more than 366 publications, He has supervised several undergraduate students and more than 50 MSc students. He supervised/co-supervised more than 30 PhD students, mentor of 20 post-docs, and is currently the supervisor of 12 PhD students and mentor of 7 post-doctoral researchers. He has also given more than 120 invited/selected talks in national/international meetings/conferences/lectures.
In 2010, he received the "Talent Prize in Science" awarded by the Portuguese Government (TV-broadcasted for more than 15 million people), in 2013 and 2014 he received the Young Researcher Award 2013 and was distinguished by the exceptional scientific productivity, respectively, by the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Helsinki, and in 2016 he was awarded the Academy of Finland Award for Social Impact. He was among the Top 4 Nominees for the USERN Prize in Biological Sciences. He has several national and international research collaborations in the areas of biomedical nano/micro-technology, controlled drug delivery, nanomedicine and cancer therapy, and innovative therapeutic modalities. He has acted as invited Guest Editor for Current Drug Discovery Technologies, Current Drug Metabolism and Biomatter journals. He is also an active referee for more than 100 international journals and evaluator for 18 international research foundations). Dr. Santos is also an Editorial Board Member for the journals of Drug Delivery Letters, Biomatter, International Journal of Nanotechnology and Nanoscience, Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology, World Journal of Pharmacology, and Journal of Biopharmaceutics and Biotechnology. He is also the Editor of the Mesoporous Biomaterials journal, Academic Editor of BioMed Research International, Journal of Healthcare Engineering, and PLOS ONE. He is also the Editor of the book entitled "Porous Silicon for Biomedical Applications" (published), Woodhead Publishing/Elsevier, 2014.
Dr. Santos’ research career and development portfolio since 2009 totals over 10 M€ (European Research Council, H2020-MSCA-ITN-IJD, Academy of Finland, Tekes/Business Finland, CIMO, Biocentrum Helsinki, Finish Cultural Foundation, University of Helsinki Research Funds, H2020-MSCA, etc.).
Dr. Santos’ has also been the chair and coordinator of the courses Nanomedicines for Biomedical Applications, Microfluidics in Pharmaceutical Applications and Analysis, and Laboratory Experience within a Research Group.
Scientific expert positions
Vice-chair of the Focus Group in Nanomedicine and Nanoscale Drug Delivery (NNDD), Controlled Release Society (2018-Current)
Board Member of the Leadership Group, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki (2017–2021).
Board Member of the Drug Research Program, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki (2018–2021).
Director of the Doctoral Programme in Drug Research, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki (2018–2021).
Board Member of the Doctoral Science in Health Sciences, University of Helsinki (2018–2021).
FinPharmaNet Steering Group member, Finland (2018–2021).
Helsinki Institute of Life Science Fellow, 2017-2020, University of Helsinki.
Expert panel member, Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) of Canada, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, 2018.
Novo Nordisk Foundation Challenge Programme Expert Committee (January–December 2016)
Drug Research Programme scientific committee, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki, Finland (January 2016–current)
World Portuguese Network Adviser for Science (December 2014–current)
Mesoporous Biomaterials (LinkedIn Journal's page)
JOURNAL ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Editor and Editorial Advisory Board Member
PARTICIPATION IN RESEARCH PROJECTS (34)
1.1.2021–31.12.2024: H2020 EU MSCA-ITN-EJD-2020: Perspectives for future innovation in tendon repair (Project #955685), Coordinator: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki).
1.9.2020–31.8.2024: Academy of Finland: Robotic magnetic needle characterization of single nanoparticle uptake in cells (Project # 331151), Co-P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 423 436 €
1.6.2020–31.5.2022: Business Finland: Microneedle skin patch for enhanced drug delivery (grant intended for researcher commercialization) (Project # 1179/31/2020), P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 945 000€
1.6.2020–31.5.2021: Instrumentariumin tiedesäätiö: Drug delivery device for long-term oral administration of drugs and other active ingredients, Capsamedix Oy (grant intended for researchers and entrepreneurs with innovative projects that promote new business), Co-P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 50 000€
1.5.2019–30.4.2022: Sigrid Jusélius Foundation: Towards Personalized Nanomedicines for Infarcted Myocardium Regeneration and Repair, P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 165 000€
1.9.2018–31.3.2022: Bayer Oy: Development of polymer based nano drug delivery system for targeted therapy to brain, P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 350 000 €.
1.1.2019–31.5.2020: European Research Council (Proof of concept grant): Biohybrid and biodegradable nanovaccines for cancer immunotherapy (grant no. 825020). Total fund: 150 000 €
1.9.2018–31.8.2021: Academy of Finland: Towards personalized nanomedicines for targeted drug delivery and imaging for ischemic myocardial injury (Project # 317042), P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 300 000 €
1.1.2017–31.12.2018: Norwegian Research Council: Consortium together with Nacamed AS (Norway) company. NANO CARRIER - Porous Silicon Nano particles will be produced and studied, in vitro and in vivo for cancer diagnostics, therapy and imaging. Total fund: ~600 000 €. Dr. Santos’ team share: ~200 000 €
1.7.2017–31.7.2020: HiLIFE Membership, University of Helsinki, P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 180 000€
1.1.2017–31.12.2018: Academy of Finland: Consortium together with Aalto University: Autonomous Microrobotics for Studying Cell-Particle Interactions and Responses (AUROCH, Project #1304844). Total fund: 546 990 €. Dr. Santos’ team share: 279 495 €
1.5.2016–30.4.2019: Sigrid Jusélius Foundation: Development of Nanovaccines for Cancer Therapy (Decision no. 9-3-2016), P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 159 000€
1.1.2016–30.6.2016: Centre for International Mobility, CIMO: Neonatal Fc Receptor-mediated transcytosis of bioengineered nanoparticles towards systemic delivery of antidiabetic drugs and proteins (Decision no. TM-15-9802), P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 9 000€
1.1.2015–30.4.2015: Centre for International Mobility, CIMO: Advanced multifunctional platforms for bone regeneration (Decision no. TM-14-9353), P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 6 000€
1.1.2015–31.8.2016: Academy of Finland (additional research costs): Porous silicon nanodelivery systems for enhanced targeted cancer therapy (NANOPSi-CAN, Project #281300), P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 183 333 €
1.3.2014–28.2.2019: TEKES: 3i - Innovative Induction Initiative. Consortium between University of Helsinki, Helsinki University Central Hospital, and Aalto University. Total fund: 7 512 363 €. Dr. Santos’ team share: ~300 000 €.
1.3.2014–30.11.2014: Centre for International Mobility, CIMO: GLP-1 and GLP-1 analogues nanotechnology based systems for prevention and therapy of diabetes (Decision no. TM-13-9048), P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 10 800€
1.1.2014–31.12.2017: Drug research doctoral programme (DRDP), Faculty of Pharmacy (University of Helsinki): Targeted drug delivery into injured myocardium with porous silicon nanoparticles: myocardial remodelling and repair. P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 159 290€.
1.1.2014–31.12.2016: Biocentrum Helsinki Membership (2014–2016), University of Helsinki: (Decision no. 429/51/2013), P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 105 000€
1.9.2013–31.3.2014: Centre for International Mobility, CIMO: Targeted drug delivery into injured myocardium with porous silicon nanoparticles: myocardial remodelling and repair (Decision no. KM-13-8622), P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 8400€
1.1.2013–31.12.2017: University of Helsinki Research Funds, P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 125 000 €
1.1.2013–31.12.2017: European Research Council: Multistage–multifunctional porous silicon nanovectors for directed Theranostics (grant no. 310892), P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 1499603€
1.8.2012–31.3.2013: Centre for International Mobility, CIMO: Nanoporous silicon for targeted immunotherapy (Decision no. TM-12-8201), P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 9 600€
1.9.2011–31.12.2014: Academy of Finland (additional research costs): Porous silicon nanodelivery systems for enhanced targeted cancer therapy (NANOPSi-CAN, Project #256394), P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 366 665 €
1.9.2011–31.8.2016: Academy of Finland: Porous silicon nanodelivery systems for enhanced targeted cancer therapy (NANOPSi-CAN, Project #252215), P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 391 478 €
1.2.2011–31.12.2013: The National Doctoral Programme in Nanoscience (NGS-NANO): Biofunctionalization of porous silicon nanoparticles for brain cancer therapy, P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 69 000 €
1.1.2009–31.12.2011: University of Helsinki Research Funds: Biodistribution and biofunctionalization of nanoporous silicon particles (BioNanoPSi-Project #490039), P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 120 000 €
1.1.2009–31.12.2011: Academy of Finland: In vitro/in vivo toxicity and bioavailability of mesoporous silica/silicon based materials (VIVOTOXSi-Project #127099), P.I.: Dr. Hélder A. Santos (University of Helsinki). Total fund: 195 450 €
1.1.2008–31.12.2011: Academy of Finland: Mesoporous silicon based composite materials as oral drug delivery systems (ComPSi-Project #122314), P.I.: Prof. Jouni Hirvonen (University of Helsinki).
1.1.2008–31.12.2011: Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH (Germany): Towards enhanced bioavailability of poorly soluble drugs utilizing PSi (ENBIPSi project, 2008-2011), P.I.: Prof. Jouni Hirvonen (University of Helsinki).
1.4.2007–31.12.2007: Academy of Finland: Mesohuokoiset materiaalit oraalisessa lääkeannostelussa (HUMALA-Project #211048), P.I.: Prof. Jouni Hirvonen (University of Helsinki).
1.3.2006–31.3.2007: Academy of Finland: ESPOM graduate school, P.I.: Prof. Kyösti Kontturi (Helsinki University of Technology).
22.9.2003–28.2.2006: Training and Mobility Research EU network: Supramolecular Self-Assembly of Interfacial Nanostructures (SUSANA), RTN, IHP programme of the EU, contract number HPRN-CT-2002-00185. P.I.: Prof. Kyösti Kontturi (Helsinki University of Technology); Network Coord.: Prof. Han J. Vos (Dublin City University).
Important research reports:
Hélder A. Santos, Scientific report for the chemical Finish company KEMIRA, January 2006, Helsinki, Finland.
Hélder A. Santos, Annual scientific report for the research and training EU commision – SUSANA network, August 2005, European Commission.
Hélder A. Santos, Annual scientific report for the research and training EU commision – SUSANA network, April 2004, European Commission.
Academy of Finland Research Fellow, Division of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy (2011–2016)
Academy of Finland Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Division of Pharmaceutical Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy (2009–2011)
Post-doctoral Researcher, Division of Pharmaceutical Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy (2007–2009)
Doctor of Science in Technology (October 2007), Department of Chemical Technology, Laboratory of Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry, Helsinki University of Technology (2005–2007). Final Grade: cum laude.
Licentiate of Science in Technology (November 2005), Department of Chemical Technology, Laboratory of Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry, Helsinki University of Technology (2003–2005). Final Grade: cum laude.
Graduated in Chemistry (Licentiate Degree; July 2003), Department of Chemistry, Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry and Electrochemistry, University of Porto, Faculty of Sciences (1999–2003). Final Grade: 15 (Good, 0–20 scale).
IMPORTANT NATIONAL / INTERNATIONAL ACADEMIC ACTIVITIES
Harvard University, Experimental Soft Condensed Matter Group, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences/Department of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA visiting researcher, February–March 2008, Germany (Group leader: Prof. David A. Weitz).
Saarland University, Department of Biopharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy, visiting researcher, February–March 2008, Germany (Group leader: Prof. Claus-Michael Lehr).
Univeristy of Porto, Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry and Electrochemistry, Department of Chemistry, EU SUSANA project: General Meeting (through the EU Training and Mobility programme), June 2005, Portugal (Group leader: Prof. Eng. Antonio F. Silva).
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Laboratory of Electrochemical Physics and Analytical, EU SUSANA project: Young Researchers Meeting (through the EU Training and Mobility programme), March 2005, Switzerland (Group leader: Prof. Hubert Girault).
Univeristy of Warwick, Division of Electrochemistry and Interfaces, Department of Chemistry, EU SUSANA project: Scientific Mid-Term Meeting (through the EU Training and Mobility programme , June 2004, England (Group leader: Prof. Patrick Unwin).
Univeristy of Liverpool, Laboratory of Electrochemistry and Nanochemistry, Department of Chemistry, EU SUSANA project: Young Researchers Meeting (through the EU Training and Mobility programme), February 2004, England (Research group leader: Prof. David Schiffrin).
AREAS OF SPECIALIZATION / EXPERTISE
Analytical Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Bio-electrochemistry, Nanotechnology, Pharmaceutics, Biomaterials, Porous Silica / Silicon
Structure of complex interfaces (amphiphiles, peptides, proteins, polymers, clusters, nanoparticles glycosaminoglycans)
Ion and drug transfer across model membranes
Chemistry and Physics in Confined Space
Air/liquid and liquid/liquid interfacial systems
Physicochemical processes at surfaces of model membranes
Synthesis and electrochemical characterization of glycosaminoglycans-functionalised nanoparticles
Thermodynamic parameters of glycosaminoglycans binding to drug molecules
Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology and Nanotoxicology
Controlled and targeted drug delivery: nanoporous silica / silicon micro- and nanoparticles for biomedical applications
Analytical analysis (e.g., HPLC, etc), flourescent- and luminescent-based in vitro assays, cell culturing for in vitro tests (Caco-2, RAW 264.7 macrophages, etc), cellular uptake and toxicity assays, etc.
Techniques/Instrumentation of Expertise (among others)
Langmuir–Blodgett, ac impedance/voltammetry, cyclic voltammetry, transmission electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared, isothermal titration calorimetry, UV-Vis, GC, HPLC, TEM, SEM, SECM, confocal microscopy, flow cytometry, cell culturing, dissolution and permeation methods, ELISA assays, etc.
REVIEWER IN INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS / RESEARCH FOUNDATIONS (+133)
Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces , Langmuir, Journal of Physical Chemistry B, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Bioconjugate Chemistry, Chemistry - A European Journal, Journal of Controlled Release, Drug Delivery Letters, European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, Molecular Pharmaceutics, Pharmaceutical Research, Current Drug Discovery Technologies, Journal Biomedical Chromatography, Journal of Chromatography B, Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery, Expert Opinion On Drug Metabolism and Toxicology, Drug Discovery Today, WIREs Nanomedicine & Nanobiotechnology, Journal of Nano Research, Journal of Materials Research, Acta Biomaterialia, Nanotoxicology, Toxicology Research, Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology, Particle and Fibre Toxicology, Small, Clinica Chimica Acta, Current Medicinal Chemistry, Journal of Nanopharmaceutics and Drug Delivery, Therapeutic Delivery, RSC Advances, Chemical Reviews, Macromolecular Bioscience, Biomaterials Science, Journal of Materials Chemistry B, Dalton Transactions, Chemical Research in Toxicology, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part B, Current Drug Delivery, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine, Nitric Oxide: Biology and Chemistry, Biomaterials, Nanomedicine, Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy, Journal of Tissue Engineering, ACS Nano, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - General Subjects, Nanoscale Research Letters, Chemical Communications, Biomacromolecules, Current Drug Targets, Advanced Materials, Advanced Functional Materials, Advanced Health Materials, Advanced Therapeutics, Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, Journal of Drug Delivery Science and Technology, Chemical Engineering Journal, Biotechnology Advances, Scientific Reports, Enzyme and Microbial Technology, Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology, International Journal of Nanomedicine, Macromolecular Rapid Communications, European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, PLOS ONE, Journal of Membrane Science, Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, Silicon, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, Lab on a Chip, Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, Molecular Therapy, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Nano Today, Chemical Sciences, Pharmaceutical Patent Analyst, Chemical Society Reviews, Materials today, Oncotarget, Molecules, Particle & Particle Systems Characterization, NPG Asia Materials, JOVE, Theranostics, ACS Applied Nano Materials, Materials Horizons, International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, Nature Communications, Science Advances, Cardiovascular Research, ACS Infectious Diseases, Nature Nanotechnology, Advanced Materials Technologies, Bioactive Materials, Drug Delivery and Translational Research, Drug Delivery
Evaluator for international research projects (154) from 41 international research foundations/institutions:
The Leverhulme Trust, UK; Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), Belgium; The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), Switzerland; The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), The Netherlands; Slovenian Research Agency, Slovenia; ARC French Foundation for Cancer Research, France; European Research Council (ERC) Starting, consolidator and Synergy Grants, 2014, 2015, and 2019 (European Commission); European Science Foundation; Diabetes UK; Dutch Arthritis Foundation, Netherlands; The Research Institute for Medicines, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lisbon, Portugal; Dutch Arthritis Foundation, The Nerthlands; Wellcome Trust, UK; Medical Research Council, UK; Canada Council for the Arts–Killam; CÚRAM MedTrain Marie Sklodowska-Curie COFUND Fellowships, Ireland; Lister Institute, UK; University of Macau, Multi-Year Research Grant, Macau; Swiss Cancer League, Switzerland; U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation, Israel, “la Caixa” Foundation, The LEaDing Fellows Post-docs programme, Foundation for Polish Science, Poland; H2020 FETOPEN-01-2018-2019-2020 (RIA), H2020 FET-OPEN 2016–2017, EU; Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) of Canada; Auckland Medical Research Foundation New Zealand; The Icelandic Research Fund Iceland; Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca, Italy; Cancer Research Trust, New Zealand; Portugal Ventures; German Research Foundation; Breast Cancer Now, UK; The Czech Science Foundation; Fund for Scientific Research – FNRS, Belgic; Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR), Italy, The Slovak Research and Development Agency
The Finnish Association of Pharmacy Teachers and Researchers (FOTY ry)