Biologics Seminar Series: Next generation of haemoglobin carriers towards the creation of artificial blood substitutes

The Biologics Seminar series is a programme of seminars organised by the Vaccine Design and Delivery group at the Department of Pharmacy. Each time, a different speaker is invited to present their work for one hour.


Dr. Leticia Hosta-Rigau, PhD, Associate Professor, Group Leader, Biomimetics, Biocarriers and Bioimplants Group (The 3Bs), DTU Health Tech, Technical University of Denmark​, will speak about the Next generation of haemoglobin carriers towards the creation of artificial blood substitutes​.


Blood transfusions, which mainly consist in the administration of isolated red blood cells (RBCs), are a crucial and life-saving procedure in several clinical settings such as traumatic injuries, pre-surgical settings or chronic and acute anaemias. While the transfusion of donor blood is a reasonably safe procedure, donor RBCs can only be stored for a maximum of 42 days under refrigerated conditions. Therefore, stockpiles of RBCs for use in acute disasters such as plane crashes, earthquakes or terrorist attacks, do not exist.
As such, the creation of oxygen-carriers with long storage life and compatibility without typing and crossmatching, persists as one of the foremost important challenges in biomedicine.
Haemoglobin-based oxygen carriers, which make use of the main functional component of biological red blood cells, have attracted a great deal of attention. However, achieving a high haemoglobin loading within a welldefined biocompatible and biodegradable structure is still a significant challenge. What is more, native RBCs also contain a multi-enzyme system to prevent the conversion of haemoglobin into non-functional methemoglobin.
Within this talk, I will review our attempts to create haemoglobin carriers that take advantage of the excellent oxygen-carrying capabilities of haemoglobin, while preserving the redox environment of native RBCs thus preventing, or at least minimizing, the conversion of haemoglobin into methaemoglobin.
The talk will end with a discussion of successes, challenges and future trends in this field.

Brief biography

Dr. Leticia Hosta-Rigau received her PhD in Chemistry from the University of Barcelona, Spain, in 2009. After two postdocs at the University of Melbourne (Australia) and iNANO (Aarhus University, Denmark) she was awarded with a Lundbeckfonden Individual Fellowship and a Sapere Aude Starting grant from
the Danish council of independent research which allowed her to start her independent career. She has an H-factor of 25 and has published more than 40 papers.
The research conducted at The 3Bs is intrinsically interdisciplinary laying at the interface of materials science, cell biology and organic chemistry. The aim of The 3Bs is to create advanced, high-performance materials for therapeutic delivery and regenerative medicine using biologically inspired paradigms.
A major research direction of The 3Bs relates to the cell mimicry field. The goal is to create, via bottom-up assembly, naturemimicking entities to address biomedical challenges. The 3Bs are working to create artificial red blood cells working as
synthetic replacement for donor blood.

The seminar will last for 45 min + 10 min questions and is free of charge. Please contact Prof. Camilla Foged ( or +45 35 33 64 02) for further information.