The unprecedented level of technological development that occurred in the mid-20th century has allowed for the development of substances that interact with biological systems. This area of study is called biomaterials research and focuses on creating interfaces between living matter for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes. It combines various fields of research such as medicine, biology, chemistry and materials science. It has applications in a variety of fields such as structural engineering, architecture and biomedical design.
Currently, there is an epidemic of hospital acquired infections causing the death and illness of many patients. The root cause is often found in the formation of bacterial biofilms in different components of patient-contacting devices, such as various tubes and instruments. The use of materials, derived from biofilm-resistant sources, could help save lives and reduce global infection risks with a cheap and effective alternative to currently used devices.
The derivation of new materials from biological sources is a goal of our research group, which is being conducted in collaboration with the architecture department, thus combining biochemical expertise with structural and architectural mastery. Our research objectives include creating structurally sound materials by the use of biochemical processes, and applying those materials to therapeutic and diagnostic objectives. Our approach includes undergraduate students, thus allowing them to gain experience, and fostering a culture of collaboration with different departments within the faculty. Our hopes are to come up with new material improvements that could lead to commercially applicable products.