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NovoThelium is a startup biotechnology company working on nipple regeneration after mastectomy.

One in eight women will have breast cancer in her lifetime. In the United States alone, there are approximately 2.8 million breast cancer survivors with 180,535 breast reconstruction procedures in 2016.


Modern nipple areola reconstruction procedures typically involve creating and using local skin flaps from skin on the reconstructed breast to recreate the appearance of a nipple. After healing, the reconstructed nipple can be tattooed for desired pigmentation. Unfortunately, this method creates a nipple with little to no sensation that loses projection due to retraction forces of the underlying tissue and contraction of scar tissue.


NovoThelium is developing a bioengineered matrix that enables patients to regenerate a nipple made from their own cells that maintains projection, has natural pigmentation, and improved sensation.

Bianca Cerqueira completed her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio/University of Texas at San Antonio. She also holds a certificate in Translational Science from UT Health San Antonio. She has a Bachelor of Science in Physiology and Neurobiology from University of Maryland.  Bianca began her career in science at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in the Department of Casualty Research studying blood additive solutions. While in graduate school, she researched the ability of melatonin to ameliorate effects of chronic intermittent hypoxia (a model of sleep apnea) on stroke in rodents utilizing multimodal MRI, behavioral tests, and histology.  Dr. Cerqueira has many years of experience in cell culture, nucleic acid testing, medical imaging, small animal surgery, IACUC and IRB protocols, Good Laboratory Practice, project management, and experimental design with a focus on translational research.





Lauren Cornell is a Ph.D. student in the joint Translational Science program with the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, University of Texas at San Antonio, and University of Texas at Austin. She holds a Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University Of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. She has a Bachelor of Science in Genetics from Texas A&M University. Lauren began her career in science at the University of Oxford in the Zoology department studying the origin of mankind and later moved on to focus on tissue engineering in the areas of materials development, nanoparticles, and guided nerve growth. She is currently participating in a post-graduate fellowship at the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research in the Department of Ocular Trauma where she is principal investigator on a corneal graft replacement research project. For the past 5 years, her research has focused on tissue engineering methods, with focus on stem cells, decellularization and sterilization methods of multiple tissue types, animal models and surgical techniques.

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