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Paul Ducheyne – University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioactive Materials and Tissue Engineering

Among the various research thrusts in the Center for Bioactive Materials and Tissue Engineering several have distinctive nano-material goals.

 

The interaction in vivo between bioactive materials and tissues is modeled using self assembled monolayer chemistry, and surfaces are functionalized in order to achieve specific biological goals.  Thus, the development of methods for the synthesis of multifunctional nanomaterials for use in diagnosis and controlled release of therapeutics is underway.  A better understanding of cells’ complex machinery and the ability to engineer cells are likely to lead to breakthroughs in biology and medicine, facilitate disease detection, and advance the development of new drugs.  To realize this goal, we have designed novel strategies to functionalize carbon nanopipettes for cell probing, sending, and engineering and use these novel tools to better our understanding of cell physiology and pathophysiology.

 

Another goal is the study of targeted, conrolled release of growth factors and drugs using novel, silica based sol gel nanostructured materials.  The release properties of these materials are the result of exquisite control of the nanopores created by modifying sol gel synthesis conditions of these materials.  Breakthrough treatments for osteomyelitis and percutaneous pin tract infections are being pursued.  With a database of fundamental data in place, other applications are related to the device, tissue engineering, pharmaceutics and biotechnology fields.

 

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Why Is Small So Big?

Nanotechnology deals with products and processes that are measured in almost unbelievably small increments called “nanometers”—one billionth of a meter.

At the nanoscale, materials differ from larger objects in their physical, chemical and biological properties; therefore, they lend themselves to new and improved materials, systems and devices. Nanotechnology is behind the development of such diverse advancements as:

  1. Drug Delivery
  2. Biofiltration and Separation sciences
  3. Improved coatings for medical devices

Thanks to rapid advances in this exciting new field, we now have the tools and talents to manipulate materials on the molecular scale—a technology literally changing the world as we know it.


The NTI is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.