We are interested in exploring innovative solutions to scientific challenges in biology and medicine, as well as in basic research in materials with interesting new properties (e.g., nanoMOFs, perovskites, inorganic nanomaterials, etc.). In particular, we are focussed on designing composite materials with applications in therapy, diagnostics and imaging. See in the following lines a brief description of our current research lines:
Synthesis of Inorganic Nanoparticles (NPs): We develop, optimize and adapt bottom-up synthetic routes for the production of NPs made of different inorganic materials, such as QDs, plasmonic NPs (Au, Ag, Cu), and magnetic NPs (iron oxides, FePt, Mn/Co/Zn Fe-substituted ferrites). We can easily adjust the size, shape and coatings, which allow us to produce colloidally stable, robust NPs for a variety of bio-applications. Currently, we also work on the production of nanocomposites based on inorganic NPs and MOF (metal-organic frameworks), as well as other exciting, new materials, such as NPs made of perovskite semiconductors.
Synthesis of stimuli-responsive drug carriers: We develop multifunctional, composite carriers based on layer-by-layer polymer nanocapsules and plasmonic/magnetic NPs, which upon interaction with external stimuli, such as light or alternating magnetic fields (AMF), release their content into the cytosol of cells. We can encapsulate a variety of macromolecules of bio-medical relevance, including siRNA, miRNA, proteins, small hydrophobic drugs, etc.
Nanoheating (Thermoplasmonics & magnetic nanoheating): Interaction of light or AMF with inorganic NPs is orders of magnitude stronger than with organic molecules, in particular due to their larger absorption cross-sections. Therefore inorganic NPs offer a convenient platform for remotely controlled heating via light or AMF. We develop very efficient multifunctional nanoheaters based on plasmonic or magnetic NPs for a variety of bioapplications, such as photothermal therapy, magnetic hyperthermia, optoacoustic imaging and thermal biosensing.
Nanobiointeractions: We are interested in characterizing the interaction of “our” materials with biologically relevant entities, such as proteins (protein corona), cells and animals. Therefore, we use and develop methods (e.g., colloidal stability, nanotoxicology, internalization, etc.) to assess the impact of our materials in living entities, as well as to characterize what happens to “our materials” in biologically relevant environments (e.g., cell cultures, animals, etc.).