Background and activities

Institutional responsibilities

  • Deputy head of research at Department of Biotechnology and Food Science (2016 - )
  • Leader of division for Biopolymers and Biomaterials (2019 - )
  • Leader for PhD program in Biotechnology (2016 - )
  • Responsible for course TBT4170 Biotechnology (2014 -)

Research

My research interest is focused on basic understanding of biopolymers, in particular alginates, and on the functional properties depending on composition and sequence. I have particular interest in the interface of biomaterials and biological systems and to tailor biopolymer materials for biomedical applications. 

Alginate can be modified with enzymes (epimerases, lyases) or chemically. We have a unique set of enzymes (epimerases) that allow the tailoring of sequence, and chemical modifications add properties different than ion binding and gelation. Hydrogel properties can also be tailored via the selection of gelling ions and via composite gels of alginate and other materials (e.g. cellulose, calcium crystals). 

We have worked extensively on the use of alginates in cell therapy, where the alginate hydrogel act as a protective barrier between the transplant and the host. Alginate capsules from NTNU has been in clinical trials both in 1994 and in 2015 for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. Although promising, the function of the graft is limited due to host cells adhering to the hydrogel surface. We work with researchers at IKOM, NTNU, to understand how the immune system sees the alginate using proteomics and human whole blood, to tailor new materials with reduced inflammatory potential.

Alginate hydrogels are also attractive in tissue engineering applications. We use chemical modification to induce specific biological interactions, e.g. grafting with bioactive peptides to induce cell adhesion. The research is focused on understanding cell responses to materials in order to build tissue relevant for both in vitro systems (e.g. tissue/organs-on chip) and in vivo applications. We collaborate with SINTEF Industry and also IKOM, NTNU, for robotic screening and detailed cell analyses (e.g. transcriptomics), respectively.

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Scientific, academic and artistic work

A selection of recent journal publications, artistic productions, books, including book and report excerpts. See all publications in the database

Journal publications