Our inability to predict and control biological phenomena, such as protein adsorption and cellular interactions with artificial interfaces, often result in an inappropriate host response to the biomaterials. In addition, contemporary advances in the biomaterials field are starting to shift focus ...
Our inability to predict and control biological phenomena, such as protein adsorption and cellular interactions with artificial interfaces, often result in an inappropriate host response to the biomaterials. In addition, contemporary advances in the biomaterials field are starting to shift focus towards personalized medicine, in particular with the advent of high-throughput and microfluidic methodologies for cell sorting, as well as gene and protein expression profiling. Therefore, with the growing interest in using new biomaterials in regenerative-/nano-/personalized medicine, the development of viable biointerfaces, as well as fundamental understanding and control of biointerfacial properties are becoming the main factors driving the investigation and development of new biomaterials.
The design and development of novel interfaces for improved interactions with biologics is the overall objective of my research. Of particular importance are techniques that permit in-situ and real-time analysis of the dynamics of surface processes, such as biomolecule adsorption, specific antibody-antigen recognition, and cell-surface interactions. Examples include: 1) Development of multifunctional nanoscale interfaces via self-assembly of polysaccharide (sugar), where our laboratory is one of the global leaders in this field. Our pioneer work was highlighted in Nature, New Scientist, and Angewandte Chemie, resulting in many original and high impact papers over the past 10 years. We demonstrated – for the first time – the direct deposition of sugar-based nanocoatings onto damaged arteries not only to protect against thrombogenesis, but also enhance the healing process and prevent restenosis. Another relevant outcome of this work was the successful application of our approach as a simple and effective method to enhance the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast and develop biocompatible sugar-based nanoparticles that can penetrate 3X deeper in biological tissue than other reported counterparts. The sugar-based nanocoatings were also used for the development of universal red blood cells (highlighted in The Economist). Moreover, our expertise in developing integrated microfluidics platforms for proteomics and genomics resulted in successful implementation of many generations of microfluidics systems for real-time, parallel and sandwich immunoassays. The originality of our work involves the use of antibody-conjugated magnetic beads as substrates to reduce non-specific adsorption as well as the use of quantum dots with a well-designed biointerface to achieve a sensitivity of the detection in the range of 100 femtomolar for biomolecular detection. Further, we developed biointerfaces compatible with a label-free Surface Plasmon Resonance Imaging (SPRi) for the detection of biomolecular interactions on fully automated digital microfluidic platforms. In addition to a patent, many papers published underline the novelty of our approach applied to the detection of disease-specific biomarkers, as well as pathogen and bio-weapons identification.
The main and common approach in the research axes described above is the utilization of various surface modification technologies including physical techniques, microfabrication, or chemisorption such as LbL assembly on various templates. Interdisciplinary teamwork is essential for fulfilling the aforementioned research activities. As a rational outgrowth for the oncoming years, we will address new challenges based on the recent development in materials processing and control of nanoscale surface properties to further modulate the biointerfacial properties for their applications in personalized medicine.