Ongoing PhD Projects
2010-03-LF Biological multi-functionalization and surface micropatterning of biomaterials (UB1, UCL)
Cells in tissues are arranged in distinct patterns; the orientation and the position of the cells with respect to each other are dictated by the tissue type. During the reconstruction of an organ, different types of cells have to be aligned correctly with respect to each other, and the whole complex of tissue cells, blood vessels and sensory cells has to work correctly in unison. Microfabrication technology of today offers the capability to control cell–surface, cell–cell, and cell–medium interactions on a micro- or nano-meter scale.
From a material engineering standpoint, patterning approaches have greatly profited by combining microfabrication technologies, such as photolithography, with biochemical functionalization to present to the cells biological cues in spatially controlled regions where the background is rendered non-adhesive (‘‘non-fouling’’) by suitable chemical modification. The focus of our research program is on the surface engineering aspects of biologically motivated functionalization of two-dimensional (flat) surfaces with the aim to (i) control the densities of bioactive ligands grafted onto the surface of biomaterials and to study the behaviour of cells onto these surfaces, (ii) distribute in a controlled way bioactive ligands in the form of micro- or nano-domains aiming at promoting cellular colonization of the biomaterials for tissue engineering.
Various active principles likely to induce cell response will be used: BMP mimetic peptides, more specific peptides of endothelial cells (REDV, YIGSR, SVVYGLR),..), peptidomimetic molecules designed to bind selectively to integrins, an important class of cell receptors involved in all adhesion phenomena (cell-support, cell-cell).
UB1 - CBMN (Chimie et Biologie des Membranes et des Nanoobjets, Bordeaux)
UCL - ICMN (Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences, Louvain la Neuve)