Synergy Group

Synergy Group

– Biomedical Materials Science


Collage. materials, and biomedical uses.

Tema tabs

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.


Picture. Clasped hands with inspirational message


Research Facilities

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.



Illustration of orthopaedic implant material.

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.


Relevant Topics

  • 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


Illustration. Material interfaces.

Biological-Material Interfaces

Our research includes the interaction between materials and biological environments from a molecular/atomistic scale, over the nanoscale up to the microscale.


Relevant Topics

  • 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)


Ilustration. functional biomedical materials


Functional Biomedical Materials

Our area of research is the development of functional materials for biomedical applications with focus on piezoelectric/ferroelectric materials.


Relevant Topics

  • 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


Photo. Medical procedure.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).

Relevant Topics

  • 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


Illustration. molecules


Medicinal Chemistry

Our research includes the design, syntheses and ranking of bioactive molecules with focus on "small molecules".


Relevant Topics

Development of:

  • 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))


Microscopic photo. Metallic microstructure

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.


Relevant Topics

  • 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


Illustration. Thin film coating

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.


Relevant Topics

  • 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. PhotoAndreas 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. PhotoEirik 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. PhotoIda 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. PhotoJulia 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.

Research Interests

  • 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 Aune. PhotoRagnhild E. Aune - Professor

Dedicated to understanding the material-interfacial-biological phenomena that govern the outcome of biomedical implants and devices by pursuing innovative research directed towards the material response during exposure in the human body. The focus is on gaining in-vitro results that can explain in-vivo engineering performance.

Research Interests

  • Material-fluid/drug-biological system interactions
  • Modification of implant materials to promote bioactive and antimicrobial surfaces
  • Microstructure and chemistry/properties/failure relationships
  • Evaluation of engineering performance as a function of time
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Image analyses
  • Development and standardisation of metallic/polymeric implant materials


NTNU Health

In association with

Illustration. NTNU Health

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.