The biomaterials section conducts research in the interdisciplinary field of bionanomaterials. This includes the following: natural and synthetic biomaterials, hybrid biological – polymeric materials, osteoinductive biomaterials and their in vitro biological testing, intracellular macromolecule trafficking, mitochondria targeting, metabolism and biogenesis. One new recruit as Associate Professor (Dr. Chronis, University of Michigan) focuses on development of microfluidics technologies for lab-on-chip applications, the analysis of neural networks at the level of the whole organism and development of novel implantable sensors for HIV-monitoring.
Laboratory of Natural Biomaterials
Peptide fibers covered with gold nanoparticles. (The bar has length 250nm) The Laboratory of Natural Biomaterials (Prof. Mitraki) focuses on natural biological fibers as models for the design of new materials. They have been involved in the past in the rational design, synthesis and characterization of self-assembling proteins and peptides following identification of building blocks in natural fibrous proteins such as viral fibers. Of particular interest is the possibility of using these peptide nanofibers and nanotubes as templates for the growth of inorganic materials (metals, semiconductors, silica, etc), templates for biomineralization and tissue engineering, and scaffolds for the production of overexpressed proteins in cell factories. Besides their collaboration with the Laser group at the Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser (IESL) at FORTH the lab is also currently engaged in other collaborations with colleagues that develop techniques to manipulate, assemble and position these materials in a controlled manner, in view of their eventual integration in future generations of nanoscale devices.
Laboratory of Biomaterials in Bioengineering
Osteoblastic cell attachment on a composite biomaterial surface shown by Scanning Electron Microscopy The Laboratory of Biomaterials in Bioengineering (Prof. Chatzinikolaidou) focuses on in vitro studies of biomaterials and scaffolds for bone tissue engineering applications. These biological testing investigations such as the initial cell attachment introduce a significant biocompatibility criterion of biomaterials while used as implants in living organism. Particularly, the lab research projects include the viability, proliferation, differentiation and morphology of various mammalian cell lines cultured on two- and three-dimensional biomaterials substrates. A part of the investigations focuses on the cellular response by addition of osteogenic media and bone morphogenetic growth factors. The lab is currently engaged in collaborations aiming to develop bio-inspired and bio-mimetic biomaterials and scaffolds with complex architectures suitable for tissue engineering, with immobilized osteoinductive biomolecules as well as injectable biomaterials with immobilized mesenchymal stem cells.