Biointerfaces Institute

Redefining collaboration in the physical and life sciences

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Nanostructured materials represent the one of the four technological pillars of the Biointerfaces Institute. The focus of this work is on simulating nanomaterial self-assembly and developing the different kinds of nanotubes, nanoprobes, nanocatalysts and nanostructures for applications in medicine, energy conversion, and electronics. Biointerfaces Institute researchers use nanostructured materials in drug delivery, neural interface, rare cell detection, different imaging modalities, and microfluidics organ replicas.

Research groups from UM Medical School or Biomedical Engineering department focusing on the end-use therapeutics or diagnostics utilize nanoparticles developed by BI research groups specializing in particle synthesis. Some of the nanomaterials that developed in BI are unique to UM.  They include “janus” biodegradable nanoparticles, iron sulfide (FeS2) nanoparticles, aramid nanofibers (ANFs), and biomimetic composites.  Examples of ongoing projects taking advantage of unique properties of nanomaterials developed at the Biointerface Institute include selective targeting of breast cancer cells, long-term implants for brain recording, artificial bone marrow, single cell metabolism monitoring with SERS-active nanoparticle assemblies, and others.  Basic research on nanomaterials that is expected to advance the field of biointerfaces in the next 5-10 years includes replication of protein functions by inorganic nanostructures, theory and practice of nanoparticle self-organization phenomena, DNA mechanics, high-speed computer simulations of nanoparticle dynamics, membrane-particle interactions, and wetting at nanoscale interfaces. Considerable effort is also invested in understanding the challenges for scaled up manufacturing nanoscale materials and devices by bridging nanotechnologies with different types of high-throughput lithography and microelectromechanical devices.

We are developing nanotubes, nanoprobes, nanomaterials, nanocatalysts and nanostructures for a variety of applications in energy conversion, medicine and electronics.