Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems

Biohybrid Materials

Biohybrid Materials Group (BiHy) does research at the interface of chemistry, physics and biochemistry. Our long term aim is to integrate biological and synthetic building blocks in a designed manner to combine the versatility of synthetic materials and highly controlled assembly properties of biomolecules. The group is led by Prof. Mauri Kostiainen.
CCMV AuNP lattice

Our research focuses on biohybrid materials, which allow the best features of synthetic and biological material types to be combined. Of special interest are DNA nanostructures, virus particles and other protein cages that can be repurposed for materials science applications. We use advanced nanoparticle, organic and polymer synthesis methods to prepare synthetic building blocks, which are studied in conjunction with biomacromolecules (DNA, proteins, viruses, cellulose). Our goal is to understand the molecular design rules governing their preparation and assembly. The group utilizes high-end characterisation techniques: atomic force microscopy, cryogenic transmission electron microscopy and small angle X-ray scattering to study the systems.

The research topics include:

  • Chemical virology
  • Protein cages
  • Structural DNA nanotechnology
  • Life-inspired materials

The group is well-connected nationally as well as internationally. We collaborate extensively with international research groups and have memberships in prestigious national networks e.g.:

Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in Life-Inspired Hybrid Materials (LIBER, 2022-2029)

Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in Molecular Engineering of Biosynthetic Hybrid Materials (HYBER, 2014-2019)

Biocentrum Helsinki (2014-2016)

Protein cage

Chemical Virology

Virus particles – the old foes of mankind – can do much more than infect living organisms. Viruses can be thought of as chemically addressable protein particles that can be modified using (bio)chemistry-based techniques. Evolution has rendered viruses with highly controlled self-assembly properties, which can be utilized e.g. in protection and delivery applications. 

Our aim is to engineer and repurpose the best features of viruses to benefit biomedical and materials science applications. 

See also:

DNA origami

DNA Origami Nanostructures

DNA origami nanostructures are formed by folding a scaffold strand, i.e. a long single-stranded DNA (ssDNA), into desired shape with the help of a predefined set of oligonucleotides. The folding structures can be programmed into arbitrary two and three-dimensional shapes with nanometer scale precision, which opens numerous attractive opportunities to engineer novel functional materials. All the oligonucleotides in the designed structures are unique in sequence and readily available for modification. Therefore, DNA origami can act as a versatile tool for creating active molecular devices as well as directing spatial arrangement of nanomaterials.

We study DNA origamis as platforms for cascade catalysis, preparation of designer metal nanostructures and active reconfigurable materials. 

See also:


Life-Inspired Materials

The way we make and use materials affects virtually all aspects of our society, such as our health and quality of living. It is anticipated that the future materials production will be influenced by biology in several ways. One way is that we will need to use more biologically derived raw materials to make products in a more sustainable way. Another is that we can draw inspiration from biology for new ways to achieve properties in materials. 

We take inspiration to our material studies from life-like properties such as how living structures form, how cells grow, adapt, and how signals are transmitted and stored. This will allow us to give materials new interactive properties and find new ways to make materials in general. 

See also:


Open Positions at BiHy:

If you are interested in joining the BiHy team, see further information here

Information about BiHy

BiHy Publications


Cover images Biohybrid Materials

People at BiHy

BiHy People

BiHy Group 2024



Flyer 2

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