Biomaterials and diagnostics

Biotechnology is a collective term for technologies used to map, utilise or mimic biological structures and processes. This area is highly multidisciplinary, ranging from molecular biology and biomedicine (e. g. genetic engineering, proteomics, drug discovery) via biomedical engineering (diagnostics, implants, tissue engineering) to various types of industrial processes (fermentation, mineral extraction, purification processes).

In the fields of biomaterials and diagnostics, we are developing new technologies and knowledge, often in collaboration with biological/medical researchers in both academia and industry. Projects within these areas are mainly focused on biocompatible materials (implants and their interfaces to biological systems), as well as on the development of new analytical methods for biological systems, with potential applications in e.g. early disease diagnostics. The field also encompasses projects bordering on biotechnology, e. g. in geobiology and biomineralisation.

Examples of ongoing projects:
  • NANOBIOMAPS. Three-dimensional chemical maps provide new knowledge about human cells (Download PDF). By combining two advanced chemical analysis methods, researchers from Sweden, Germany and the UK hope to be able to create three-dimensional chemical maps of human cells with nanometer resolution. If they succeed, it will open new possibilities in fundamental cellular biology as well as in clinical research. The NANOBIOMAPS project, which forms part of the 6th EU Framework Programme, is led by researchers at SP.
  • BIOMATCELL, Biomaterials and Cell Therapy, is a VINNOVA Centre of Excellence hosted by Göteborg University, as well as a ten-year research programme focused on the development of new clinical treatment methods based on novel biomaterials (implants) and cell therapy. SP’s role within the programme is to participate in its management, as well as to contribute know-how in the fields of material characterisation and surface analysis. The programme was launched in the spring of 2007, and will be fully-developed by 2009.
  • Analysis of particles in exhaled air. In collaboration with the Section of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Sahlgrenska University Hospital at Göteborg University, and the Section of Environmental Inorganic Chemistry, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology, the chemical composition of particles in exhaled air is studied. Knowledge of the chemical composition of such particles may in the future lead to new diagnostic methods for respiratory diseases.
  • “Single fluid inclusion extraction and TOF-SIMS analysis of organic phases – Implications for ancient Earth biodiversity studies.” is a doctoral project focusing on the development of a new method of analysing the chemical composition of the material within so-called confinements in geological material. Such small (Ø < 10 µm) confinements contain biomarkers, a type of organic molecules, expected to provide information on the living organisms present at the time the geological material was formed.
  • Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry in organic biomarker research. Here, we study organic phases in geological material and biomineralising bacteria, in collaboration with Professor Volker Thiel at the University of Göttingen, Germany. Imaging mass spectrometry is one of the main methodologies used in this work.

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