The excitement about using biological and biomimetic components as well as biological principles in future information systems stems from the ability of such systems to selfassemble and organise at near-atomic precision into structures with useful and predictable properties, as well as the ability of certain biological systems to handle enormous amounts of data and compute at high speeds.
The research is being performed by the Division for Physical Chemistry at the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.
The research performed in the group uses and develops methods in chemistry, nano-technology, and biotechnology with the overall aim of understanding complex chemical and physical phenomena in biological systems at previously unattainable levels of detail. The aim in particular is to understand the fluxes of chemical information in biological systems on the time-and-space scales that they actually occur. By using this know-ledge and by studying various solutions to hard engineering problems in biological systems, we also create new ultra-small-scale technologies by combining biological, and biomimetic materials with solid-state structures. Such devices include biosensors, biological and chemical computers, microrobots and chemical analysis systems, along with devices for drug and gene delivery and cell design.
Nanoparticle interactions at biomimetic membranes
The research is being performed by the Division for Biological Physics at the Department of Applied Physics.
Research on nanoparticles in biological systems have several motivations, including, on the one hand, the development of nano-drugs and nano-sized dug carriers for improved treatment of diseases, and, on the other hand, toxicity and safety issues of nanoparticles that we are exposed to, e.g. , in the work environment, or in the form of nanosized wear products from implants. For some few types of nanoparticles biological effects are known, because of accidental or deliberate exposures (SiO2, TiO2), or because of recent high attention (carbon nanotubes). However, even for these nanoparticles the detailed understanding of the biological effects is limited, and for many nanoparticles that will emerge from modern nanotechnology the effects are totally unknown, e.g., the ones which will be contained in future nano-electronics, nano-materials, or new energy devices, just to mention a few. Both the nano-drug area and the nanosafety/-toxicity area call for reliable screening methods to meet the demands of the future regarding safety and risk/benefit analysis. It is likely that such analyses will actually be incorporated into existing frameworks for safety on chemicals, drug, work environment, food, e.t.c. The anticipated “screening hierarchy” is composed of several levels starting with physical and chemical characterization, several levels of in vitro characterization and ditto in vivo.