Inorganic nanoparticles have unique physical properties and, in addition, are highly modifiable, making them versatile platforms for a range of medical applications including within regenerative medicine. This is a rapidly evolving field where their large diversity in terms of content, shape, modifications and morphology allows the development of new generations of biomaterials with changeable features at the nanoscale. In our research we develop inorganic nanoparticles for different applications within regenerative medicine:
Research line 1: using nanoparticles to create organic-inorganic hybrid nanomaterials.
In this work we use inorganic nanoparticles as building blocks to create new types of nanocomposite biomaterials. Such materials are especially well suited for the regeneration of harder tissues like bone or cartilage, as their properties allow for the formulation of harder and stiffer gels compared to purely organic systems. We can use the inorganic nanoparticles to design 3D nanocomposite materials with important properties for tissue regeneration such as self-healing, cell responsive, injectable, controllable drug delivery and moldable properties. We are active within a large consortium (Materials driven regeneration, https://mdrresearch.nl/) to develop responsive and instructive biomaterials for bone and cartilage regeneration based on inorganic nanoparticles.
Research line 2: nanoparticle films to study stem cell biomaterial interactions.
In this work we develop nanoparticle based films as 2D biointerfaces to study the effect of surface chemistry, nanotopography, biochemical cue and static ligand presentation on stem cell behavior. The aim of this work is to increase our understanding on what is happening at the stem cell biomaterial interface, and to provide tools on how we can influence or actively steer stem cell behavior.
Research line 3: development of multimodal nanoparticles to trace (stem) cells.
In this work we develop multimodal imaging probes by combining several nanoparticles commonly used in bioimaging and drug delivery. This enables us to develop a flexible platform of multifunctional nanoparticles capable of tracking stem cells in the body while providing functional information at the (sub)cellular level. These results should enable critical information about the mechanisms of stem cell therapy and tissue regeneration. Part of this work is performed within a consortium (ZonMW grant) where we aim to develop multimodal nanoparticles for in vivo limbal epithelial stem cell tracking in the eye, in collaboration with the ophthalmology department. In addition, we work together in large EU consortia (PREMSTEM and JOINTPROMISE) using these nanoparticles for tissue imaging and stem cell tracing purposes.