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Hybrid Nano-Bio Interfaces

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Research in nano-biointerfaces develops and exploits hybrid nanomaterials that are not found in nature, but often are inspired by nature’s principles. The goal is to build new and more complex materials, with tailored functionalities, in order understand, predict, and design physical and chemical interactions ...

Research in nano-biointerfaces develops and exploits hybrid nanomaterials that are not found in nature, but often are inspired by nature’s principles. The goal is to build new and more complex materials, with tailored functionalities, in order understand, predict, and design physical and chemical interactions at the interface with biomolecular systems (including cells, membranes, proteins, peptides, oligonucleotides, and small organic molecules).

The interactions of nanomaterials with biological systems may change their properties; this in turn affects their biological responses. Therefore, studies on the cutting edge of nanomaterial preparations, innovative methodologies in surface chemistry, unique mechanisms of the nano-biointerface, and relevant biological applications are of great importance. The ability to modulate biomolecular activity, protein immobilization, and cell adhesion at the liquid-solid interface is significant in a variety of applications in the biomedical field. For instance, non-specific biomolecular adsorption using enzymes, growth factors, or peptides onto nano-biointerfaces may be used to obtain biomedical cues; this process will generally alter the biological interactions and functions of (nano)material interfaces. On the other hand, specific biomolecule immobilization processes like bioconjugation, or the use of click chemistry to maintain molecule biofunction, aim to create a high-performance nano-biointerface with highly controlled quantitative functions.

For applications in nanomedicine, an increasing requirement is the design of switchable biointerfaces triggered by the fine control of surface topography and chemical functionality on a nanometer scale. One paradigm for achieving the control of interfacial processes via nano-biointerfaces is the design and preparation of well-defined biomimetic (e.g. lipid bilayers) and smart (e.g. brush polymers, stimuli-responsive systems) nanoplatforms that exhibit tunable functional moieties and allow for a better understanding and control of the protein/material as well as cell/material interactions at the molecular level.

Similarly, there is a drive to control the function of nanoscale interfaces by controlling the structure of molecules and colloids at the interface through external or environmental means in analogue to structure-function relationships in biological systems. It is possible to develop desired functionality that cannot be achieved in perfect isotropic materials by controlling the order and interactions in engineered nanomaterials, e.g. introducing structural, compositional, and interfacial inhomogeneity that evolves. Better solutions can be obtained this way not only for medical therapies but also for catalysis, solar energy conversion, and energy storage.

All of these developments require the further development of ultrasensitive and highly specific detection technologies, with advanced capabilities like real-time monitoring or high-resolution imaging, to analyze such hybrid nano-biointerfaces. Conversely, more advanced tailored interfaces can improve biosensing and imaging techniques to truly tackle the dynamically evolving complexity of biological systems.

Tailoring nanostructures to attain controlled biological interfaces is thus expected to bring substantial improvements of current technologies as well as innovations in biology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, biosensors and medicine.

This Research Topic welcomes contributions (original research and review articles) on themes including, but not limited to, surface modification and characterization of biomaterials, hybrid bio-inorganic nanoassembly, stimuli-responsive interfaces, nanotoxicity, protein corona, nanomechanics, nanoparticle engineering, regenerative medicine, biosensors, drug delivery, biomimetic surfaces, cells and bacteria interfaces, and theranostics.


Keywords: Nanomaterials, protein adsorption, cell response, lipid membranes, theranostics


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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