Our research areas:
Lignin valorization with a focus on lignin nanoparticles
Surface functionalization and understanding surface interactions
Living cells and biomaterials
Smart assembly of wood polymers for high-performance biobased materials
1. Lignin valorization
An important part of our research is devoted to the transformation of waste lignin from biorefineries and pulp industries into high-added-value products. The preparation, modification and utilization of lignin nanoparticles are at the core of this research line.
Bio-based coatings, adhesives, and composites are some examples of commercial applications of colloidal lignin particles we are working on.
2. Lignocellulosic nanomaterials
Aiming for more sustainable use of natural resources, we work on the development of new value-added materials based on cellulose nanofibrils, hemicelluloses, and colloidal lignin particles to replace fossil-oil-based materials in areas ranging from packaging and coatings to tissue engineering. Components from bark extracts are also studied as biocolorants and for packaging and other added-value applications.
3. Surface functionalization and understanding surface interactions
We explore different green approaches for surface modification. Our main aim is to develop bio-based dyes and pigments to replace synthetic dyes commonly used in the textile industry.
In addition, nontoxic approaches for protective coating solutions with controlled breathability for surfaces like wood, textiles and paper are explored.
4. Living cells and biomaterials
Our approach to developing materials is through a fundamental understanding of interfacial interactions. Hence, the interaction forces and adhesion between living cells and different biomaterials (including cellulose nanofibril hydrogels) are studied in our group. Analyses on cell mechanics have also been carried out. The results of these studies are relevant for advanced cell cultures, wound treatment, and drug testing and tissue engineering, among other biomedical applications.
We also work on the development of 3D printed scaffolds made of hydrogel materials based on wood polymers for cell culturing and other biomedical applications.
5. Smart assembly of wood polymers for high-performance biobased materials
Answering the call for sustainability, we aim to create new functional materials based on smart combinations of fully renewable and biodegradable components and avoiding chemical modification, which allows us to harness the maximum benefits of each individual constituent’s inherent functionality and surface properties.
The key tool of our research is unraveling the interfacial properties of wood-based resources and renewable polymers as well as their colloidal assembly, addressing the important scientific challenges in colloid and interface science.
FinnCERES - Flagship for boosting bioeconomy
Boosting the world’s bioeconomy by developing new bio-based materials with Aalto University and VTT, companies, and research organizations through a shared passion to create a sustainable future and a belief in innovations based on solid scientific foundations.
Research group members:
Student summer projects provide insights into bioproduct chemistry research
Three summer students contributed to research projects in the Bioproduct Chemistry group in 2022, gaining experience and skills in research techniques, and materials identification and characterization.
A fast and energy-efficient manufacturing process results in a strong, non-toxic and fire-resistant adhesive—and a great opportunity for the Finnish bioeconomy.
Researchers turn a non-toxic residue into wood coating that resists abrasion-, stain-, and sunlight.
The world’s leading startup event is back and Aalto University is again along for the ride.
Academic co-operation on the boreal forest belt launched to accelerate innovation and adoption of bio-based solutions
University of British Columbia (UBC), Aalto University and VTT are joining their strong expertise on bio-based materials by launching the Boreal Alliance. The collaboration is realized via the Finnish FinnCERES Flagship and the BioProducts Institute at UBC.
Professor Monika Österberg has been nominated as the Head of Department at the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems (BIO2), starting January 1, 2021. Her term is for three years. She has acted as Vice Head of Department since the beginning of the year 2020.
Ball-like lignin particles developed by researchers open up completely new possibilities for the utilisation of lignin.
Lignin, a pulp industry by-product, could replace fossil materials.
Associate Professor of Bioproduct Chemistry Monika Österberg wants to see her innovations change the world.