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Livia Rocha Dos Santos

Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)


Dr. Lívia Santos is a Senior Lecturer based at the School of Science and Technology. She leads research in mechanobiology and tissue engineering and contributes to teaching Nutrition and Metabolism in undergraduate courses in Sport Science. She currently supervises 5 postgraduate researchers. Dr. Santos is a Marie Curie alumni after a 2-year Intra-European Marie Curie Fellowship at Imperial College London, UK.

Career overview

Dr. Santos joined NTU in 2016 as Independent Research Fellow and was promoted to Senior Independent Research Fellow in early 2019. In 2021, she was appointed as Senior Lecturer.

Prior to her current position, Dr Santos conducted research at the 3Bs Research Group, University of Minho & European Headquarters for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, Portugal (2014-2006) and the Stevens Group, Imperial College London (2012-2014). She joined Imperial College London after receiving a highly prestigious Intra-European Marie Curie Fellowship (Marie Curie actions FP7) to investigate bone angiogenesis. In this period she also characterised the genetic cargo of microvesicles shed by bone cells using miRNA PCR arrays. While an active member, the Stevens group received the prizes Research Group of the Year 2014 and Best European Research Group Led by PI Under 40s. Before this position, Dr Santos received a Post-Doctoral Fellowship by the FCT (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) to conduct research at Biosckin - Molecular and Cellular Therapies SA & Faculty of Engineering of Porto (2008-20012). In this period, she developed and tested an injectable bone substitute to fill critical size bone defects and invented an artificial cornea fringe made of reinforced calcium phosphate aiming to restore vision in patients with corneal blindness. Dr. Santos obtained a PhD in Chemical and Biological Engineering in 2008 from the University of Minho, Portugal. She was supervised by Joana Azeredo, Associate Professor of the MIT-Portugal Program.

Research areas

Dr. Livia Santos is a member of SHAPE.

Current research is being carried out in the following areas:

Mechanobiology -  This is an emerging research field which addresses the effect of forces on cells. This can help us understand and mitigate age-related diseases like osteoporosis and cancer. At our lab, we can fabricate hydrogels of different elasticities, apply shear stress using microfluidics devices and tension/compression using a bioreactor.

Bone regeneration - Exercise is beneficial to bone regeneration by increasing the blood supply and encouraging osteoblast differentiation and osteocyte viability. However, the underpinning molecular mechanisms remain to be elucidated. Making use of a computer-controlled bioreactor and omics approaches we can successfully map the transcriptome and secretome of mechanically stimulated cells.

Current PhD students:

Miss Janelle Tarum (Dos)

Miss Hanna Manley (supervisor)

Miss Rita Civil (supervisor)

Mr Joe Matthew (supervisor)

Mr  Aaron  Owen

Opportunities exist to carry out postgraduate research toward a PhD in the areas identified above. Further information may be obtained on the NTU Research Degrees website.

External activity

Dr Santos is a review editor of the journal Frontier Biomaterials.

Recent talks:

Exercise and biomaterials in tissue regeneration, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, the University of Sheffield

Exercise and bone health, Pint of Science 2022, University of Nottingham

Acellular biomaterials in tissue regeneration, Seminar Series, Orthopaedics, Trauma and Sports Medicine, Medical School, QMC, Nottingham

Biological assessment of magnetically actuated biomaterials, 1st International Symposium for Women Researchers on Advanced Science and Technology, Kyushu Institute for Technology, Fukuoka, Japan

Sponsors and collaborators


  • NTU (£35,000).  An innervated tissue-engineered for regenerative medicine, ageing research and drug discovery (PI), Nottingham, UK
  • Preclinical assessment of osteoarthritic joints at micro and nano-structure level, funded by Anglia Ruskin University (Co-I), UK
  • DTA/COFUND PhD Studentship (Director of Studies), Nottingham UK.
  • 3 NTU Vice-chancellor PhD Studentships (Supervisor), Nottingham, UK
  • NTU (£35,000). Modelling and emulating 3D multi-tissue interactions by microfluidic chip technology (PI), Nottingham, UK
  • NTU (£14,000). New Biomaterials in Tendon Healing (Co-Investigator), Nottingham, UK
  • Marie Curie Actions, FP7 (€209,000). Individual Intra-European Marie Curie Fellowship. Imperial College London, London UK


Selected  publications

- Santos L, et al. Multiomic analysis of stretched osteocytes reveal processes and signalling linked to bone regeneration and cancer. npj Regenerative Medicine 2021:6;32. DOI:10.1038/s41536-021-00141-3

- Santos L, et al. Insulin stimulates β-alanine uptake in skeletal muscle cells in vitro. Amino Acids. 2021;53:1763–1766. DOI:

- Goncalves L, et al. Insulin does not stimulate β-alanine transport into human skeletal muscle. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2020;318:C777-C786. DOI:10.1152/ajpcell.00550.2019

- Santos L, et al. In vitro and in vivo assessment of magnetically actuated biomaterials and prospects in tendon healing. Nanomedicine 2016;11;1107-1122. DOI:10.2217/nnm-2015-0014

- Santos L, et al. Extracellular stiffness modulates the expression of functional proteins and growth factors in endothelial cells. Advanced Healthcare Materials 2015;4:2056–2063. DOI:10.1002/adhm.201500338

- Santos L et al. Harnessing magnetic-mechano actuation in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. Trends in Biotechnology 2015;33:41-49 (IF: 19.5) DOI:10.1016/j.tibtech.2015.06.006

-  Pedro S, et al. Platelet Lysate-Loaded Photocrosslinkable Hyaluronic Acid Hydrogels for Periodontal Endogenous Regenerative Technology
ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering 2017 3 (7), 1359-1369. DOI: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.6b00508

- Nair R, et al. Extracellular vesicles derived from preosteoblasts influence embryonic stem cell differentiation. Stem Cells Dev. 2014 Jul 15;23(14):1625-35. DOI: 10.1089/scd.2013.0633.

See all of Livia Santos's publications...

Press expertise

  • Regenerative medicine
  • Exercise and stem/ bone cells
  • Bone ageing

Course(s) I teach on