Designer Biointerfaces: Bridging the Gap Between Man-Made Materials and Biological Systems

Joerg Lahann
University of Michigan
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Schiciano A | 4:30pm

Our improved understanding of molecular biology, microfabrication, and materials chemistry has stimulated cross-fertilization of two fields that had little overlap even a few decades ago: biology and materials engineering. In my presentation, I will discuss current advances in the design of multifunctional materials and biointerfaces including three distinct examples under research in the Lahann group: (i) The development of novel synthesis concepts for functional polymers. (ii) Biphasic particles that exhibit a wide range of sizes, shapes and compartmentalization have been prepared using electrified co-jetting. The individual phases can be independently loaded with different biomolecules or selectively surface-modified. Appropriate design of compartment materials and particle loadings can render biphasic particles to be stimulus-responsive. (iii) Reactive coatings with one or multiple advanced functions can be synthesized by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) polymerization as well as CVD co-polymerization.

Prof. Lahann’s research group is a part of the Biointerfaces Institute (BI) at the University of Michigan. BI represents a truly new approach to interdisciplinary research that fosters cross-disciplinary technological breakthroughs and rapid translation in advanced materials, nanotechnology, microfluidics and cell engineering. At the BI, translationally oriented research groups have teamed up with researchers from the Medical School and Industry to work on important biomedical questions, such as integrated microfluidic devices for early cancer detection, novel delivery systems for brain cancer, or the development of extremely small neuronal implants for brain-machine interfacing. It is the mission of this new institute to redefine and accelerate the path to preclinical outcomes based on a flexible intellectual framework that will enable (i) matching novel technologies with important medical problems; (ii) scale-up of materials and devices for larger scale preclinical and clinical testing; (iii) proof-of-concept demonstrations through in vivo studies; and (iv) efficient projection of the outcomes against unmet clinical needs.