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Bio-Inspired Materials for Sensing and Regenerative Medicine

Final Report Summary - NATURALE (Bio-Inspired Materials for Sensing and Regenerative Medicine)

The Stevens Group research focuses on the design and development of bio-inspired materials for regenerative medicine, tissue engineering and biosensing. The major aims of this programme, which have been made attainable through the NATURALE grant, are to generate new and important scientific insights in these areas. We have focussed on the optimisation of an array of high potential biosensing systems based on nanoparticles that form sensitive assays capable of detecting biomarkers corresponding to disease states, which we have published on in Nature Materials and Nature Nanotechnology, amongst others. The high selectivity and specificity of these interactions have been exploited to detect the presence of biomarkers such as proteases, which are prominent in diseases such as cancer. We achieved all of our targeted milestones and objectives set forth in NATURALE, which was recognised by numerous major awards, such as the EU-40 Prize for best materials scientist under the age of 40 and 2014 European Life Sciences Research Group of the Year. In addition to our significant progress in developing assays for biosensing systems, we have also made advances in our understanding of protein adsorption on gold nanoparticles, which has important implications in their use for applications in nanotechnology. This comprehensive understanding of nanoscaled components is the basis of potential use for any future translation of technologies. We have achieved all milestones set forth in the original proposal as well as generated a number of additional unforeseen and very exciting high impact results. We have also applied materials-based characterisation techniques to analyse biological phenomena, such as biomineralisation and newly engineered tissue constructs. These materials-based characterisation techniques have been very successful in informing and extracting further information on the cell-material interface. In summary, NATURALE has led to outstanding research outcomes in the development of biomaterials for the biosensing and tissue engineering fields.