Biomaterial implants are an indispensible tool for restoring function after trauma or natural decline. In an increasingly ageing population, implants are of great importance to promote active and healthy aging. However, the surface of biomaterials implants in the human body are prone to infection impairing their effectiveness and causing major complications.

In the MBM research programme we study all aspects of the translation of biomaterials to the clinic focusing on infection prevention and treatment.

Our research includes:

  • fundamental research on bacterial infections and biofilm formation relating to biomaterials;
  • model development to study complex interactions of mammalian cells and bacteria;
  • in vivo experiments en route to clinical translation of biomaterials and coatings.

Solving Clinical Issues with Fundamental Science

Numerous permanent biomaterials implants or temporary devices are available for the restoration or support of function, e.g. artificial hearts, prosthetic joints, dental implants and surgical meshes. Yet, all these biomaterials attract bacteria causing infections which may result in severe clinical issues that can even be lethal (sepsis). Current treatment based on antimicrobials is not sustainable, as antimicrobial resistance is developing fast, and the number of effective antimicrobials may reach a critical point within this century.

In our research programme, we bring together clinicians and fundamental scientists aiming to solve these clinical issues through fundamental research. We develop and apply advanced models to study the mechanisms of bacterial and mammalian cells adhesion to the biomaterial surfaces and their complex competing interactions. These insights help us:

  • improve our understanding of the cause of biomaterial associated infections;
  • find new solution to improve current biomaterial treatment or develop novel biomaterials;
  • test and validate new or improved biomaterial treatments to facilitate clinical translation;
  • improve the functioning and quality of life of our patients today and prepare for the future.
  • We work closely with:

    • NANOBIOMAT (another programme of the KOLFF Institute) and the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, for biomaterials;
    • clinicians within the UMCG to support their most urgent needs.
  • We focus on:

    • development of non-antibiotic biomaterials;
    • fundamental research on bacterial adhesion and biofilm development.
  • Our research includes:

    • development of specialized pre-clinical models to mimic the target tissue;
    • preliminary biocompatibility testing as support for in vivo experiment proposals.
  • We aim to:

    • proof safety and efficacy of biomaterials through testing in animal studies;
    • enable the translation from animal studies to clinical trials for successful biomaterials by building a new facility at the UMCG.