Protein and cell interactions with nanostructured biomaterials
In my research I study how proteins and cells interact with nanostructured surfaces. When a biomaterial is implanted it is immediately covered by proteins present in the blood or interstitial fluid. Cells that colonize the surface will therefore sense this protein layer rather than the material itself. Recently it has been shown that cells respond to the surface nanotopography of a biomaterial. However, it is not yet fully understood whether this response is due to that the surface chemistry or nanotopography is influencing the adsorbed proteins, or if the cells are directly influenced by the nanotopography per se. By using model surfaces where both surface nanotopography and chemistry can be tailored and controlled in a gradient I hope to increase the knowledge of how cells and proteins interact on biomaterials. This knowledge can then be used to improve tissue compatibility and implant success rate.
To study physicochemical properties of the nanostructured surfaces I use different surface sensitive methods such as Quartz crystal microbalance (QCM-D), Circular dichroism (CD), X-ray photon spectroscopy (XPS), and Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), along with fluorescence and microscopy techniques to study cells and their behavior on nanostructured materials.