We are researching and developing the application of micro- and nanotechnologies for the screening of interactions between cells and biomaterials in two and three dimensions. The cell-material interactions are based on explicitly designed structural (e.g., surface-topographical) or chemical variations of the materials. The results of these efforts are intended to on the one hand increase the fundamental understanding at the interface of cells and materials for advanced respective designs in tomorrow’s material(s)-based tissue regeneration.
On the other hand, confirmed/consolidated findings or ‘hits’ can be directly employed on surfaces of biomedical devices in general, and particularly of tissue engineering scaffolds. There, identified material structures or chemistries shall help to improve the integration of the device or material into tissues at the implantation site or to support the regeneration or de novo formation of functional tissue. The screening is conducted in miniaturized, chip-type biomaterial libraries comprising of hundreds or even thousands of arrayed material variations and allowing for the evaluation of the corresponding library entries in high-throughput settings. The creation of the libraries in turn occurs using micro- and nanofabrication and –fluidics technologies also developed to be throughput-capable.
Throughput both in the creation and screening of miniaturized biomaterials finally allows us to apply evolutionary or genetic bioinformatics approaches in the systematic development and optimization of a next generation of more effective and potentially even personalized biomaterials.