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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The Promise of Nanotechnology

“The use of nanotechnology in consumer products and industrial applications is growing rapidly, with the products listed in the inventory showing just the tip of the iceberg.  How consumers respond to these early products — in food, electronics, health care, clothing and cars — will be a litmus test for broader market acceptance of nanotechnologies in the future.”

–Andrew D. Maynard
Chief Science Advisor, Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars