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New strategies for smart biointerfaces

This symposium will bring together the diverse community of materials scientists, chemists, biologists and bioengineers focused on synthesis, characterization and design of smart biointerfaces. The most recent advances in fundamental studies, nano-bio material synthesis and biodevice design will be presented, offering unique opportunities for dissemination and synergy development.


Interfacial interactions between solid surfaces and biomolecules and cells underpin function and performance of materials in wide ranging applications, from implantable biodevices, to sensors, bioreactors and theranostic agents. Frontier research in this field focuses on achieving a deeper understanding of fundamental solid-bio interactions, while also on developing novel strategies for eliciting desirable bioresponses. Therefore, research in biointerfaces is cross-cutting and integrates multifaceted expertise in materials synthesis and modification, heterogeneous reactivity and charge transfer, nanoengineering, biochemistry, cell adhesion and biofilm regulation among others.

This symposium will bring together this diverse community of researchers to share progress on novel methodologies for the creation of smart biointerfaces with specific functionality and to disseminate the latest advances on our understanding of the solid-bio interface. Advanced methods for nanomaterial synthesis and modification have enabled new tools for regulating biomolecule conformation and cell adhesion at surfaces with nanoscale resolution through the control of topography, chemistry and morphology. Recent progress in selective surface modification of nanostructures, such as hot-spot functionalization, as well as the integration of tools from synthetic biology and electrochemistry have further contributed to our toolkit for the creation of tailor-made biointerfaces. Such progress in turn opens the door to the development of novel model systems for probing interactions of biomolecules, cells and tissues with solid materials, which are amenable to modelling via computational approaches, thus bridging the gap between theory and experiment. This symposium will explore synergies among these focal areas of research bringing together the latest advances in synthetic, device and modelling aspects of biointerfaces with the aim of catalysing the advent of the next generation of smart biomaterials.

Hot topics to be covered by the symposium:

The symposium will focus on the following themes in the area of biointerfaces:

  1. Nanostructured biointerfaces: including nano-bio, nanomedicine, nanoinstrumental characterization, nanoplasmonics
  2. Surface-cell interfaces and biofilms: including biofilm regulation, cell-electrode interfaces, bioelectrocatalysis, cell adhesion and proliferation at surfaces, smart antibacterial surfaces.
  3. Adaptive and responsive biomaterials: including smart polymers, stimuli responsive materials, controlled release, biosensing.
  4. Bioinspired materials: including functional biopolymer surfaces, supported biomimetic membranes, nano-biomolecule interface.
  5. Novel fabrication strategies for smart biointerfaces: including wetting modulation, bioconjugation, biosensing, bioactive functionality, array surface design.

List of invited speakers:

  • Matthew R. Lockett (Department of Chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA; confirmed): Healthy tissue to tumor models: using cellulose-based materials as scaffolds for 3D cell cultures
  • Nicolas Brun (Institut Charles Gerhardt Montpellier, France; confirmed): Enzymes at carbon electrodes: when porosity matters
  • Seiya Tsujimura (Division of Materials Science, Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences; Univ. of Tsukuba, Japan; confirmed): Enzyme-based bioelectrocatalysis and its application to enzymatic biofuel.
  • Klaus Jandt (Institute of Materials Science and Technology (IMT); Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany, confirmed): Towards multifunctional and smart biointerfaces.
  • Lia Addadi (Department of Structural Biology; Weitzmann Inst. Israel, confirmed): Pending title.
  • Paolo Netti (Center for Advanced Biomaterials for Health Care; IIT - Istituto Italiano di Technologia, Italy, confirmed): Pending title.
  • Henk Busscher (Faculty of Medicine; University of Groningen, Netherlands, confirmed): Pending title


Selected papers will be published in the journal "Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces" (Elsevier).

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Authors : Klaus Jandt
Affiliations : Institute of Materials Science and Technology (IMT); Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany

Resume : Temporary text here.

Authors : Benjamin A. Palmer, Dvir Gur, Anna Hirsch, Gan Zhang, Dan Oron, Leeor Kronik, Leslie Leiserowitz, Steve Weiner, Lia Addadi
Affiliations : BA Palmer, D Gur, G Zhang, S Weiner, L Addadi, Dept. of Structural Biology, Weizmann Institute of Science; A Hirsch, L Kronik, L Leiserowitz, Dept. of Materials and Interfaces, Weizmann Institute of Science; D Oron, Physics of Complex Systems, Weizmann Institute of Science;

Resume : Organisms build complex and efficient optical devices including diffuse scatterers, broadband and narrow-band reflectors, tunable photonic crystals and concave segmented microscopic mirrors, and this is all about nano-interfaces. In the multilayer reflectors, light is reflected at periodic interfaces between specific organic crystals with high refractive index and cytoplasm, assembled inside specialized cells, the iridophores. The crystal constituent molecules that we know of are mostly limited to purines and pteridines. The crystal structure, the size, the morphology and the organization of the crystals are controlled from the nanoscale to the millimeter level. These devices perform a variety of optical functions, generating the white color of certain spiders, the metallic silvery reflectance of fish scales, the brilliant iridescent colors of some copepods, and mirrors used for vision in the eyes of scallops, crustaceans and fish. We are just starting to understand and rationalize the biogenic crystal structures and the superstructures in terms of the materials properties and the optical performance of the devices.


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Authors : Prof. Paolo Netti
Affiliations : Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Biomaterials (CRIB); University of Naples Federico II and Centre for Advanced Biomaterials for Health Care; Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Napoli, Italy

Resume : In their native environment cells are constantly exposed to biochemical and biophysical signals that guide and regulate complex biological phenomena. Many of these signals impact on the adhesion properties of cells, which define morphology, cytoskeleton arrangements and cell mechanics. Adhesion signals are far from being static, but change in time and space according to specific programmes. Non-correct display of signals may result in catastrophic events. Yet, our understanding on the effects of the dynamics of signal presentation on cell functions and fates is limited. Here we present our recent developments in the engineering of light-responsive platforms to enable the dynamic presentation of patterns of adhesion signals whose features can be controlled in space and time. Irradiation of azobenzene based substrates can alter surface topography in the time frame of few tens of seconds, allowing formation of submicron features, a scale that interferes with focal adhesion formation. We show the potency of these substrates in stimulating individual cells with topographic patterns over varying lengths and timescales, and how dynamic patterns alter cytoskeleton arrangements and cell mechanics. Development of platforms for dynamic signal display would provide valuable insights into cell-biophysical signal interactions and into mechanotransduction phenomena, paving the way to novel systems that mimic physiologic or pathologic extracellular environments for in vitro cell stimulation.

Authors : Henk J. Busscher
Affiliations : University of Groningen and University Medical Center Groningen Antonius Deusinglaan 1, 9713AV Groningen, The Netherlands

Resume : Nanostructured surfaces are called “promising” to control bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation. Initial adhesion is followed by emergence of surface-programmed bacterial properties and biofilm growth. A distinction between nanostructured surfaces can be made based on periodic- or random-occurrence of features, although often nanostructured surfaces are microstructured due to merging of their nanofeatures. Characterization of such surfaces is not trivial due to the myriad of different nanoscaled morphologies. Both superhydrophobic and hydrophilic, nanostructured surfaces generally yield low bacterial adhesion. On smooth surfaces, bacteria deform when adhering, causing membrane surface tension changes and responses yielding emergent properties. Adhesion to nanostructured surfaces, causes multiple cell wall deformation sites when adhering in valleys, while for hill-top adhesion, highly localized cell wall deformation occurs. Accordingly, adhesion to nanostructured surfaces yields emergent responses ranging from pressure-induced EPS production to cell wall rupture and death. Other promising features are increased antibiotic housing, thermal effects and photo-induced ROS production, but the latter two promises are based on properties of suspended nanoparticles and may not hold in nanostructured coatings or materials. To bring nanostructured coatings and materials to application, experiments are needed that go beyond the current limit of the laboratory bench.


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Symposium organizers
Frédéric BARRIEREUniversité de Rennes 1

Institut des Sciences Chimiques de Rennes, Campus de Beaulieu, 35042 Rennes, France

+33 2 23 23 59 43
Giovanni MARLETTAUniversity of Catania

Laboratory for Molecular Surfaces and Nanotechnology V.le A.Doria 6 Catania Italy

+39 95 7385130
Mathieu ETIENNEUniversité de Lorraine

Laboratoire de Chimie Physique et Microbiologie pour les Matériaux et l'Environnement, CNRS - LCPME, 405, rue de Vandoeuvre, F-54600 Villers-lès-Nancy, France

+33 3 72 74 73 82
Paula COLAVITATrinity College Dublin

School of Chemistry, CRANN and AMBER Research Centres - School of Chemistry, College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland

+353 1 8963562