Synergy Group – Biomedical Materials Science - Department of Materials Science and Engineering
The biomedical research effort within the Department of Materials Science and Engineering is dedicated to the understanding of interactions of inorganic and organic materials, ranging from single molecules to full scale implants, with biological systems, in particular the human body. We are interested in the interfacial and biological phenomena that are governed by material and medicinal chemistry, electrochemistry, and metallurgy. Our mission is to provide education and research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in biomedical materials science, and to establish strong national and international networks.
The name biomedical materials science has been selected to specify our interest in incorporating any material type (metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, and organic molecules) into biomedical applications and medicines. Our motivation is to contribute to improved patient treatment and care, safety, quality of life, as well as design of biocompatible structures which are durable in a biological environment. Results are obtained by evaluation of the material/molecular – fluid – biological system interactions and the host system response, which is further used as decisional basis for medical device material and medicinal design, improved performance, as well as for appropriate risk management.
The Synergy Group – Biomedical Materials Science is an interdisciplinary team working together to holistically address and shape the future of biomedical applications and medicines.
The group offices and laboratory occupy areas within the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. These facilities permit research and characterization of a diverse range of materials (metals, polymers, ceramics, composites), of a wide range of properties (physical, mechanical, electrochemical, biological, etc.), and at all levels of interest - from atomistic to macroscopic.
The departments shared equipment facility consist of state-of-the-art equipment in material preparation, processing, modification (surface and bulk), characterization, and computer modelling. Learn more here.
Additive Manufacturing of Orthopaedic Implants
Our research includes the processing of novel powder materials for Additive Manufacturing (AM) of implantable medical devices, as well as evaluation of the printed parts chemical, mechanical and biological performance.
- Processing of metal matrix composites by powder metallurgy (gas atomisation and inductively coupled plasma spheroidization (ICPS))
- Influence of feed rate and processing temperature
- Porous and compositionally graded structures
- Characterization of the spherical-shaped morphology, flowability, and packing density
- Powder suitability for AM of complex geometrical shapes
- Improved/tailored mechanical and biological performance of the printed parts
Our research includes the interaction between materials and biological environments from a molecular/atomistic scale, over the nanoscale up to the microscale.
- Antibacterial properties of metal surfaces
- Biocompatible properties of material surfaces in contact with blood (hemocompatibility)
- Physical-chemical basics of metal corrosion in contact with biological environments, including fundamental aspects of microbially influenced corrosion
- Electron transfer between metallic materials and biological materials
- Use of in-situ spectroscopy (Raman, infrared absorption, UV/VIS, ellipsometry,...) to elucidate biomolecular structure in contact with material surfaces
- Coupling electrochemical techniques with in-situ and operando spectroscopy to understand bioelectrochemical processes
- Spectroscopic detection of biomolecules
- Applied multivariant data analysis for spectroscopic applications
- Electrochemical transient techniques (such as electrochemical noise)
Functional Biomedical Materials
Our area of research is the development of functional materials for biomedical applications with focus on piezoelectric/ferroelectric materials.
- Fundamental studies on structure/microstructure-property relationships, chemical stability, and functionality under in-vivo mimicking processes
- Development of processing routines for piezoelectric materials as bulk ceramics, coatings and thin films that meet the requirements for specific application areas e.g., highly porous, certain material combinations, etc.
- Characterization of the different interfaces present (i.e., the interfaces within a composite and between the artificial material and body-like environment)
- Interfacial processes (e.g., induced during processing between substrate and coating, or induced through artificial (in-vitro) aging)
- Chemical/mechanical integrity and piezoelectric performance/stability
- In-vitro cell tests
In-vivo/In-vitro Characterization/Prediction of Material Performance Over Time
Our research includes the characterization of microstructure and material properties of biomedical materials (metals and polymers) and implantable medical devices, as well as their change in engineering/medical performanc, during exposure in the human body (in-vitro aging and in-vivo results).
- Material-fluid/drug-biological system interactions
- In-vitro ageing and characterization of changes in material and implantable medical devices (in-vivo)
- Mapping of degradation profile and evaluation of changes in material/device engineering and medical performance over time
- Development of improved ISO standards for eliminating side effects caused by degradation of medical devices
Our research includes the design, syntheses and ranking of bioactive molecules with focus on "small molecules".
- Novel potential drugs towards osteoporosis, cancers, and neurological diseases (kinase inhibitors)
- Molecular biomarkers (PET tracer) in glioblastoma
- Active antimicrobial agents that do not suffer from developed resistance (antimicrobial resistances (AMR))
Metallic Materials for Biomedical Applications
Our research includes investigating the long-term degradation mechanisms of metallic biomaterials with focus on joint replacements, dental implants, orthopaedic fixations, and stents.
- Processing of metallic biomaterials as engineered systems designed to provide internal support to biological tissues
- Characterization of microstructure and chemical/physical/mechanical properties
- Mapping of degradation mechanisms
- Implant-related complications due to poor implant integration, inflammation, mechanical instability, necrosis, and infections associated with prolonged patient care, pain, and loss of function
- Key existing and emerging strategies for surface and bulk modification used to improve biointegration, mechanical strength and flexibility
- Compatibility with the concept of 3D printing
Thin Film Coating for Implantable Medical Devices
Our research includes the fabrication and characterization of thin film coatings for implantable medical devices (metal and polymer) to promote different surfaces properties, as well as improved long-term engineering and medical performance.
- Identify suitable coatings for improved long-term engineering and medical performance (no degradation)
- Development and deposition of thin film coatings through magnetron sputtering
- Tailoring of surface properties (e.g., anti-corrosive, antimicrobial, chemically inert, thermal stability, extreme hardness, wear resistant, and low friction)
- Characterization of microstructure and chemical/physical/mechanical surface properties
- Mapping of the degradation profile over time
Andreas Erbe - Professor
Research areas include metal pretreatment, conversion coatings, general corrosion, corrosion of recycled materials and durability in energy conversion. Also operando spectrosopy for investigation of electrochemical processes, such as oxide formation, oxygen reduction, oxygen evolution, hydrogen evolution.
Eirik Sundby - Associate professor
Particularly involved in the development of small bioactive organic molecules as potential drugs aimed at cancer, osteoporosis, and possible antibiotic resistance. We do this using organic synthesis of new molecules and biological testing, combined with various forms of computer simulations.
Ida Westermann - Professor
Field of expertise is within physical metallurgy- the interplay between choice of alloy, production method (deformation and/or heat treatments) and the final properties of the component.
Julia Glaum - Professor
Focused on the development of ceramic biomaterials and components. This covers all aspects from the establishment of processing routines, optimization of chemical composition and microstructure, to the characterization of functionality and stability under in-vivo mimicking conditions.
- Processing of ceramics and ceramic composites optimized for biomedical applications
- Development of sample environments mimicking the in-vivo situation
- Interfacial processes relevant during processing or application
- Chemical and mechanical long-term integrity
Ragnhild E. Aune - Professor
With a background in material science and engineering, Dr Aune’s research interests span over various disciplines, including material process science (metallurgy), material chemistry and life sciences. Her current research is focused on the development and microstructural characterisation of materials for biomedical applications and their changes in engineering performance during exposure to the human body. A particular focus is on the relationships between the processing and morphology of the material and its degradation rate, as well as ultimate properties when exposed to the human body environment. In addition, identifying essential criteria for evaluating loss of engineering performance due to material-fluid-biological system interactions based on in-vitro simulations, in-vivo results, and in-silico modelling is also in focus. Her research spans over several material classes and from micro to nanoscale
Dr Aune is also active in improving the ISO standards for the Biological Evaluation of Medical Devices to eliminate side effects caused by the degradation of medical devices.
- Materials process science
- Interfaces, surfaces, and surface modification
- In-vitro and in-vivo testing
- Quasi-static testing and quantification (image analyses)
- Degradation of materials and how degradation affects the chemical and mechanical properties of the implant/devices
- Mechanical testing (crack propagation and fatigue)
- Additive manufacturing of orthopaedic implants
Dr Aune’s research interests also include the study of high-temperature reactions towards the processing, refining, and recycling of different materials. The research strategy is based on understanding the fundamentals of the other processes and the kinetics of the relevant reactions. The development of new process routes towards the synthesis of materials and heat capturing from industrial processes, as well as renewable/environment-friendly energy, is also an essential part of her research.
Dr Aune teaches at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
What is Biomedical Materials Science?
What is Biomedical Materials Science?
The study of the material and biological interactions that substantially govern the outcome of a biomedical devices has traditionally been known as the field of "biomaterials." In recent years, however, the term "biomaterials" has also been used to describe the study of other applications such as cellulose, silk, coral, etc. The name "biomedical materials science" has therefore been selected to specify the groups interest in the study of biomedical materials for implant/prothesis/device applications, as well as small bioactive molecules as drugs and drug systems.