Nanotechnology is a highly interdisciplinary research area that is applied to many different industries, including medicine at the UMCG. It is based on the interplay of contributions from chemistry, physics, biology, pharmacology, materials science, medicine, and engineering.

The integration of these disciplines is exploited to generate structures with dimensions on the nanometer scale originating from various synthetic components such as metal, metal oxide, polymers or are of biological/bioinspired origin such as oligonucleotides, proteins, other (bio) polymers, viruses and cellular components.

This diverse set of tunable nanomaterials can be tailored to meet specific demands and functions and can even be combined to create hybrid nanosturctures.

Relevance

Fabricate powerful drug carrier systems and nanoscale surface coatings

In our programme we employ tools and materials from nanobiotechnology to fabricate powerful drug carrier systems and nanoscale surface coatings. These systems will be composed to a large extent on oligonucleotide and peptide scaffolds or their hybrids with other materials like synthetic polymers since these materials optimally allow the design of nano-objects with respect to size, shape and functionality.

  • Fabrication of multifunctional nanostructures to facilitate targeted delivery, imaging, and understanding the biophysical principle that are associated with these processes.
  • Delivery of highly potent pharmaceutical components of synthetic and biological origin for therapeutic applications.
  • Development of new in vitro and in vivo methods to investigate and prove the efficacy of (targeted) drug delivery systems with an emphasis on spatial resolution in the nanometer regime.
  • Employ biophysical approaches and knowledge to understand the key parameters involved in the interaction between nanomaterials and biological systems, which includes membrane interactions, cellular uptake mechanisms, and in vivo alterations of nanomaterials in circulation.
  • Delivering the medicine at the right place inside the body, it also needs to be at the right location at the right time, pass the correct barriers, and pharmaceutical components need to keep their activity.

    While targeting is often associated with having the nanocarriers modified with the right recognition peptides or sequences, still tuning the translocation of these carriers across cellular membranes, biological barriers from the bloodstream to the actual tissue such as the blood brain barrier amongst others, are of great importance.