In biotechnology, biomaterials with nanoscale organizations are of high interest as artificial materials for tissue engineering applications to mimic natural extracellular matrix (ECM) and to study cell-materials interactions. Such nanobiomaterials can be generated by assembly of nanoparticles (NPs) on surfaces [self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of NPs] or by the incorporation of e.g. inorganic (porous) NPs with organic polymers [nanocomposite (NC) hydrogels of NPs]. Furthermore, advanced biotechnological approaches often use nanoscale topography together with suitable surface functionalization to influence cell functions such as proliferation, viability, differentiation, cell-cell communication, cell morphology and tissue formation.
In this field we synthesize and functionalize porous NPs with bioactive molecules, we prepared their SAMs and NC hydrogels as nanobiomaterials to study cell-materials interactions. Additionally, we utilize bifunctionalized NPs as nanocontaines for drug delivery and specific targeting applications.
The research activities are based on the syntheses and spatial controlled functionalizations of porous nanoparticles, preparation of their self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) and nanocomposite (NC) hydrogels as 2D and 3D biomaterials for biotechnological applications.
Synthesis and spatial controlled functionalization of porous nanoparticles (NPs):
We are particularly interested in the synthesis of silica based porous NPs. The external and internal surfaces of NPs are functionalized selectively with fluorescence dye molecules, bioactive molecules, or with another nanoparticles using different techniques e.g. microcontact printing. These bi- or multi-functionalized NPs have potential applications in the field of sensing, drug delivery, specific targeting etc.
SAMs of functional porous nanoparticles as 2D biomaterials:
In biotechnology, functionalized nanostructured materials, such as SAMs of NPs, have been used as artificial materials to mimic extracellular matrix (ECM) and to study cell-material interactions. Therefore one of the focuses of our research is to prepare SAMs of functionalized porous NPs. SAMs of NPs are used for the controlled cell growth, cellular patterning and cell-cell separation. Additionally, fluorescence dye loaded NPs are applied as nanocontainers to stain adhered cells on SAMs of NPs by release of fluorescence dye molecules as a proof-of-principle for drug delivery.
NC hydrogels of functional porous nanoparticles as 3D biomaterials:
NC hydrogels are organic-inorganic hybrid nanocomposites which are used as 3D-scaffolds for tissue engineering applications due to their extraordinary mechanical strength, hydrophilic, biocompatible, and viscoeleastic properties that can closely mimic ECM. In this respect we prepare new NC alginate hydrogels with multiple-functionalized porous NPs. The biomolecule functionalized porous NPs enhance the mechanical and biological properties of the hydrogel. Moreover, as proof-of-principle, the use of the porous functionalized NPs as nanocontainers resulted in the release of dye molecules from the pores of NPs to stain cells inside of the 3D NC hydrogel network.