Berit Løkensgard Strand
Background and activities
- 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 -)
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.
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
- (2022) Alginate and tunicate nanocellulose composite microbeads – Preparation, characterization and cell encapsulation. Carbohydrate Polymers. vol. 286.
- (2022) Sulfated alginate reduces pericapsular fibrotic overgrowth on encapsulated cGMP-compliant hPSC-hepatocytes in mice. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. vol. 9.
- (2021) High resolution imaging of soft alginate hydrogels by atomic force microscopy. Carbohydrate Polymers. vol. 276.
- (2021) Pericapsular fibrotic overgrowth mitigated in immunocompetent mice through microbead formulations based on sulfated or intermediate G alginates. Acta Biomaterialia. vol. 137.
- (2021) Alginate hydrogels functionalized with β-cyclodextrin as a local paclitaxel delivery system. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research. Part A. vol. 109 (12).
- (2021) Carbohydr Polym Special Issue Invited contribution: Click chemistry for block polysaccharides with dihydrazide and dioxyamine linkers - A review. Carbohydrate Polymers.
- (2020) Encapsulation boosts islet-cell signature in differentiating human induced pluripotent stem cells via integrin signalling. Scientific Reports. vol. 10.
- (2020) Injectable Gel Form of a Decellularized Bladder Induces Adipose-Derived Stem Cell Differentiation into Smooth Muscle Cells In Vitro. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. vol. 21.
- (2019) Mechanical Properties of Ca-Saturated Hydrogels with Functionalized Alginate. Gels. vol. 5 (2).
- (2019) Viscoelastic properties of nanocellulose based inks for 3D printing and mechanical properties of CNF/alginate biocomposite gels. Cellulose. vol. 26 (1).
- (2019) Efficient Grafting of Cyclodextrin to Alginate and Performance of the Hydrogel for Release of Model Drug. Scientific Reports. vol. 9 (1).
- (2019) Formation of Hydroxyapatite via Transformation of Amorphous Calcium Phosphate in the Presence of Alginate Additives. Crystal Growth & Design. vol. 19 (12).
- (2019) Encapsulation boosts islet-cell signature in differentiating human induced pluripotent stem cells via integrin signalling. bioRxiv - the preprint server for biology.
- (2018) Alginate encapsulation as long-term immune protection of allogeneic pancreatic islet cells transplanted into the omental bursa of macaques. Nature Biomedical Engineering. vol. 2.
- (2017) Mechanical Properties of Composite Hydrogels of Alginate and Cellulose Nanofibrils. Polymers. vol. 9 (8).
- (2017) Current and Future Perspectives on Alginate Encapsulated Pancreatic Islet. Stem Cells Translational Medicine. vol. 6 (4).
- (2017) Transformation of brushite to hydroxyapatite and effects of alginate additives. Journal of Crystal Growth. vol. 468.
- (2016) A correlative spatiotemporal microscale study of calcium phosphate formation and transformation within an alginate hydrogel matrix. Acta Biomaterialia. vol. 44.
- (2016) Gelling kinetics and in situ mineralization of alginate hydrogels: A correlative spatiotemporal characterization toolbox. Acta Biomaterialia. vol. 44.
- (2016) Efficient functionalization of alginate biomaterials. Biomaterials. vol. 80.