Bionanotechnology and biomaterials
We apply a broad range of techniques to study important phenomena in biology, nanotechnology and biomaterial science. We do that by employing advanced experimental methods including optical and electron microscopy, spectroscopy, micro and nano-fabrication.
We complement experimental research with numerical methods and modelling to aid data analysis and data interpretation. Throughput and compatibility with other research techniques and research fields is an important factor in the design of experiments in our laboratory.
Our group focuses research efforts on 3 main themes:
- Novel hydrogel-based materials and composites for tissue engineering application
- Nanofabrication for biomedical research
- Investigations of bio-catalytic dissolution and precipitation of calcium carbonate for applications in biocementation
Novel hydrogel-based materials and composites for tissue engineering application
Within this research theme, we seek to develop and characterize novel, hydrogel-based composites. We focus on composites that are made by controlled mineralization of hydrogels with various forms of calcium phosphate (CaP). We investigate material properties, crystallization and transformations of CaP within the gel matrix. We apply these materials to study cell induced mineralization, ECM formation and other tissue engineering concepts.
- A correlative spatiotemporal microscale study of calcium phosphate formation and transformation within an alginate hydrogel matrix
- Stabilisation of amorphous calcium phosphate in polyethylene glycol hydrogels
- Gelling kinetics and in situ mineralization of alginate hydrogels: A correlative spatiotemporal characterization toolbox
Nanofabrication for biomedical research
Our group has substantial experience in micro- and nano-fabrication for applications in cell biology research and characterization of cellular responses. We employ novel fabrication techniques to make nanostructured surfaces that are compatible with the typical work flow of cell biology research. We have recently demonstrated that high aspect ratio polymer nanostructures are effective and convenient tools to study cellular responses such adherence, spreading, plasma membrane conformation and actin organization. Our fabrication approach has unprecedented spatial resolution at the same time allowing for rapid prototyping of of large-area, high aspect ratio nanostructured surfaces.
- Tunable high aspect ratio polymer nanostructures for cell interfaces
- Influence of nanopillar arrays on fibroblast motility, adhesion and migration mechanisms
Investigations of bio-catalytic dissolution and precipitation of calcium carbonate for applications in biocementation[ in collaboration with UiO, SINTEF and other partners - example Centre for Digital Life Norway - BioZEment 2.0 ]
The production of concrete accounts for more than 5% of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions, and new, disruptive technology in the field is needed to make a large-scale impact. Among the alternative avenues currently pursued is the use of naturally occurring mineral-microbe interactions in the production of construction materials. Our concept is to employ bacteria to produce acid to partially dissolve crushed limestone, and subsequently induce an increase in pH by biocatalysis to initiate re-precipitation of calcium carbonate to bind sand grains together, forming a solid, concrete-like construction material. We focus on development of experimental methods to study this consolidation process at the microscale with both spatial and temporal resolution.
- Towards a low CO2 emission building material employing bacterial metabolism (1/2): The bacterial system and prototype production