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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

 

The Bionano Engineering Group use expertise from different research areas such as synthetic chemistry, materials science, molecular biology, physics and analytical sciences to design sensing devices and hybrid materials for artificial enzymes and artificial tissue design. 

As we work towards applications, we continue developing new molecules (linkers, light sensitive molecules), nanostructured elements (nanoparticles, bio-nano hybrids) and tools (direct laser writing strategies, bioconjugation methods), which end up in our 'nano tool box' for future use. 

Projects are roughly divided into:

Chemical tools for materials engineering

We are designing various multifunctional linkers that act as a chemical glue at the interface of inorganic and biomolecular. Linkers contain surface anchoring group, which has specificity for binding onto certain materials and can be employed for modification of nanostructured or planar surfaces, and additional functional group(s) for further addition of different molecules (clickable groups, which can be covalently attached without the use of additional catalysts and in aqueous solutions are our favourite).

Functional hybrid materials

A range of materials that combine two or more different elements such as TiO2-Au composite, which can be used as potent photocatalysts, or biopolymer nanocomposites with covalently embedded nanoparticles for drug delivery and tissue engineering. 

Photo-encoded interfaces

Within this sub-project we are using chemical strategies to design light controllable interfaces for material science and surface structuring. We use either photo-cleavage to change surface properties (make them more hydrophilic or hydrophobic) or  photo-click chemistry to covalently link different species and materials. Particularly fruitful collaboration with Christopher Barner–Kowollik group from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany, has resulted in a number of new light triggered click strategies for application in nanoengineering. 

Biomolecular conjugation and structuring

This sub-project is focused on development of strategies to prepare DNA and protein conjugates for applications in DNA directed immobilisation and structuring, and use of natural DNA for design optoelectronic devices. ​

For more information, visit the Bionano Engineering Group website