Fink Group

Advanced Particles

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University of Fribourg
Department of Chemistry
Chemin du Musée 9
1700 Fribourg
Switzerland
+41 (0)26 300 87 86
+41 (0)26 300 97 39

Current openings

07 Feb 2013
Currently, there are no open positions.

Latest news

22 Apr 2013
Vera Hirsch's work is selected as the cover picture of Nanoscale. more
07 Feb 2013
Calum Kinnear's work is selected as the cover picture of the research section in Angewandte Chemie. more

ResearchParticles in Biological Environments

Investigation of particles in biological environments

If nanoparticles are to be used in medical applications, especially if they are administered systemically, the requirements are particularly severe. The particle hydrodynamic size must be as small as possible and the particle surface has to be modified in order to ensure colloidal stability in the blood compartment and long plasma half-lives by minimizing or delaying the opsonization processes. In recent years, it has become clear that our understanding of the interaction of nanoscale objects with living matter, even at the level of single cells, has not kept pace with the explosive development of nanoscience in the past. In general, material surfaces are modified by the adsorption of biomolecules such as proteins in a biological environment, and it is hypothesized that cellular responses to materials in a biological medium reflect the adsorbed biomolecule layer, rather than the material itself.

It is our goal to obtain a better understanding of the biological effects of nanoparticles. This requires not only the identification of adsorbed molecules but a better knowledge of binding properties of proteins (and other molecules) that associate with the particles as a function of the particle properties such as size and/or surface.

Project 1

Molecular and nanoparticles organelle targeting in live cells is generating widespread interest because of the prospect of developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. Therefore, the development of new novel materials and tools at the nanoscale range for the targeting and identification of specific biomolecular interactions within living systems is not only of great interest, but also a major challenge in the fields of systems biology, target and drug identification, drug delivery, and diagnostics.

In this project, we have successfully developed highly multifunctional SPIONs for organelle targeting. Subsequently, interaction partners have been identified using ESI+ LC-MS/MS.

Particle targeting nucleus
Magnetic nanoparticles targeting cell nucleus.

Collaboration

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Heinrich Hofmann - Ecole Polytechnique Fédéral Lausanne (EPFL), Powder Technology Laboratory Materials Science and Engineering, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.
  • Dr. M. Moniatte - Ecole Polytechnique Fédéral Lausanne (EPFL), Proteomics Core Facility, School of Life Sciences, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.

Project

Swiss National Science Foundation (205321-111908) - “Advanced magnetic nanoparticles for biomedical application”.

Project 2

The project, which is about to start, will investigate many aspects ranging from model particle synthesis, colloidal properties investigations and protein profiling in environments of varying complexity, to kinetic adsorption studies and possible future applications. The project demonstrates that the challenge is ultimately to determine the final surface of a particle in a complex biological environment. In the future it seems that nanoparticles will have to be classified in part by the manner in which they interact with proteins. The need to understand this new surface is gradually accepted and constitutes a serious, maybe even the most serious, limitation in the field. More information available soon!

Collaboration

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Heinrich Hofmann , Ecole Polytechnique Fédéral Lausanne (EPFL), Powder Technology Laboratory Materials Science and Engineering, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.
  • Dr. M. Moniatte , Ecole Polytechnique Fédéral Lausanne (EPFL), Proteomics Core Facility, School of Life Sciences, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.
  • Dr. H. Knapp , Section Head Microfluidics & Microhandling, CSEM (Centre Suisse d'Electronique et de Microtechnique SA), Alpnach, Switzerland.
  • Dr. habil. H. Coelfen , Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Colloid Chemistry Department, Research Campus Golm, Am Mühlenberg, D-14424 Potsdam, Germany.
  • University of Fribourg, Adolphe Merkle Institute and Fribourg Center for Nanomaterials , CH-1723 Marly 1, Switzerland.

Project

Swiss National Science Foundation (PP00P2_123373/1) - “Advances in Nanoparticle Engineering with a focus on stability, surface, and particle-cell interaction”.