We offer an easy access in vitro platform for testing novel materials for biomedical applications. We have extensive experience in biocompatibility experiments with several cell types. Our facilities at Micronova include biosafety-level 2 cabinet and two incubators (the other one enabling “dirty” trials) for cell cultures and analysis tools such as fully automatized high-end fluorescence microscopy, plate reader and PCR enabling most common cell culture analysis methods. We are open for new collaboration on materials in biological applications. For more information, please contact D.Sc., Research Fellow, Emilia Peltola ([email protected]).
Research on bioelectric interfaces
Biological environment sets significant challenges for the measurements. Electrode fouling and uncontrolled host response have been proposed to be the main reasons for sensor failure in vivo. The research on bioelectric interfaces focuses on approaches to solve the above–mentioned problems and to outperform the conventional structures. We are developing means to control both the electrode fouling as well as the host response directly with just the electrode material by utilizing structured carbon–based nanomaterials. This approach will maintain the performance level of the electrode, while typical approaches, namely different coatings, result in reduced analyte diffusion and perfusion to implanted sensors.
Our research focuses on implantable brain electrodes and investigating the interaction of neural cells and carbon nanomaterials. Ideally, a material would support the growth of neural cells, hinder glial cells, consequently improving tissue integration, and prevent the glial scar formation. With functionalized nanodiamond, we have achieved this kind of cellular response. Moreover, the dimensions of carbon nanomaterials are interesting from the point of view of biocompatibility. For example, nanodiamonds match the dimensions and curvature of proteins and carbon nanofiber dimensions are comparable cell adhesion. We have shown, for example, that carbon nanofiber dimensions affect the formation of focal adhesions and morphology of cells.
Biofouling is an issue for any sensor in contact with biological fluids. Fouling involves the passivation of the implant by proteins and lipids (and sometimes by the analyte itself). There is need for enhancing our understanding of fouling pathways and the precise mechanism in resistance to fouling to develop more effective and versatile antifouling strategies. Improved strategies towards reduced fouling would benefit all in vitro and in vivo sensor. Currently, it is not unambiguously known how protein adsorption correlates with electrochemical performance of the electrode.
We have developed novel means for investigating electrode fouling by using scanning electron microscopy. This method allows local, real-time, evaluation of the fouling process. It is possible to observe the growth of the fouling layer.