Back Baumgartner, Laura


Departament de Tecnologies de la Informació i les Comunicacions
Biomechanics & Mechanobiology, SIMBIOsys
Postdoctoral researcher

I graduated from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland with a Bachelor in Human Movement Sciences and a Master in Biomechanics. Focusing on a career in injury biomechanics, I wrote my Master thesis about consequences of blunt head impacts, where I investigated the risk of bridging vein ruptures (and consequent intracranial hemorrhages) caused by hits against the face and subsequent falls on the back of the head. Out of this, I published my first paper together with Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Schmitt:

 - Baumgartner L, Schmitt K-U: Computer simulations to investigate the consequence of blunt head impact, J Forensic Sciences, 59(5):1191-7, doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.12458 (Q2)

My first research experience in the field of Trauma Biomechanics followed, as I got a temporary job at AXA Winterthur in Winterthur, Switzerland. In the “Accident Research & Prevention” team, led by Bettina Zahnd, I was able to gather – amongst others – valuable insights in preparing and conducting automotive crash tests (Crashtests Wildhaus). Subsequently, I worked for the working group on accident mechanics (AGU) in Zurich, Switzerland, led by Dr. Markus Muser, where I was in charge of analyzing road traffic and sports accidents and writing corresponding expert opinions. Additionally, I participated in national and international projects related to road traffic safety. This work confirmed my deep interest and dedication to the field of Trauma Biomechanics and it rose my curiosity in amplifying my knowledge from “macro” Trauma Biomechanics to “micro” Trauma Biomechanics, as the expert opinions I was writing for accident victims often underlie an individual “borderland”, which required more information about the processes of trauma developments from a lower (i.e. tissue/cellular) scale.

This curiosity and my interest in gathering research experience in a non-German speaking country assured my decision to move to Barcelona, Spain, where I applied as a PhD candidate in the Biomechanics and Mechanobiology (BMMB) research group led by Dr. Jérôme Noailly. I was glad to be accepted as a PhD candidate in the late 2016. The thesis focuses on coupling biomechanics and mechanobiology to investigate microtrauma-processes within the human intervertebral disc on a multiscale level. The core of my PhD work reflected the development of a novel, high-level top-down network modelling approach called "PNt-Methodology". The PNt-Methodology allows to simulate the effect of a multifactorial cell environment (as found in native tissue) on cell behavior, including time-dependent effects, whilst being based on experimental evidence. This work was awarded with seven awards/recognitions of distinguished international research societies. So far, four peer-reviewed Journal paper articles and three indexed short communications were published related with my PhD work:

Journal articles:

- Bermudez-Lekerika, P, Crump K B, Tseranidou S, Nüesch A, Kanelis E, Alminnawi A, Baumgartner L, Muñoz-Moya E, Boixader Compte R, Gualdi F, Alexopoulos L G, Geris L,  Wuertz-Kozak K, Le Maitre C L, Noailly J, Gantenbein B (2022): Immuno-Modulatory Effects of Intervertebral Disc Cells, Front. Cell Dev. Biol., 10:924692 doi: 10.3389/fcell.2022.924692 (Q1)

Baumgartner L, Sadowska A, Tío L, González Ballester M A, Wuertz-Kozak K and Noailly J (2021): Evidence-Based Network Modelling to Simulate Nucleus Pulposus Multicellular Activity in different Nutritional and pro-Inflammatory Environments, Front. bioeng. biotechnol, doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2021.734258 (Q1)

Baumgartner L, Wuertz-Kozak K, Le Maitre C L, Wignall F, Richardson S M, Hoyland J, Ruiz Wills C, González Ballester M A, Neidlin M, Alexopoulos L G, Noailly J (2021): Multiscale regulation of the intervertebral disc: achievements in experimental, in silico and regenerative research, Int. J. Mol. Sci. 22:703, doi: 10.3390/ijms22020703 (Q1)

- Baumgartner L, Reagh J J, González Ballester M A, Noailly J (2020): Simulating intervertebral disc cell behaviour within 3D multifactorial Environments, Bioinformatics, online ahead of print, doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btaa939 (Q1)

Short communications:

- ​Baumgartner L, González Ballester M A, Noailly J (2020): Revealing Interactions of Load Magnitude, Frequency and Exposure Time in Intervertebral Disc Microtrauma Accumulation, Proc. Ircobi, Conf., Paper no. IRC-20-91

Baumgartner L, González Ballester M A, Noailly J (2019): Simulation of the Multifactorial Cellular Environment within the Intervertebral Disc to better understand Microtrauma Emergence, Proc. Ircobi, Conf., Paper no. IRC-19-67

Baumgartner L, González Ballester M A, Noailly J (2018): The Role of Indirect Mechanotransduction Phenomena in Microtrauma Development within Intervertebral Discs – A Computational Biophysical Analysis, Proc. Ircobi, Conf., Paper no. IRC-18-97

I eventually successfully defended my PhD in 2021, and continue my work in the BMMB research area as a postdoctoral researcher.