CNMB Focus Research Areas

Specifically, the Center for Nanoscale Materials and Biointegration has identified several Grand Materials Challenges that can be most effectively addressed through interdisciplinary efforts by involving the expertise of faculty members from six different academic disciplines:

    • To create the next generation of polymeric and ceramic biomaterials that mimic natural extracellular matrix and hierarchical architectures of bone and blood vessels.
    • To design nanostructured functionally graded metalloceramic and super-lattice ceramic thin film materials that can provide ultra smooth wear resistance surfaces in biomedical implants and double the life expectancy of these implants.
    • To understand the basic mechanisms of cell/biomaterial interaction and integration at different length scales and develop new techniques and methodologies for the characterization of the cellular response to biomaterials and biomaterial behavior in a bioenvironment.
    • To provide a new paradigm for research training at the interfaces of physics, chemistry, cell biology, materials, mechanical, and biomedical engineering to undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and high school teachers.
    • To accelerate the deployment of promising biomaterials, bioimaging and biosensor technologies through collaborative partnerships with leading manufacturers of biomedical implants and devices.

On the basis of these grand challenges, CNMB has three interconnected Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRG’s) as outlined below.

IRG-1: Nanostructured Polymeric Biomaterials

This IRG addresses major challenges in polymeric fibrous biomaterials including endowment of bioactive properties, improvement of mechanical integrity, ability of delivering therapeutic bio-molecules, and capability to form spatially organized layered structures. Several innovative methods utilizing electrospinning technology are proposed for the development of nanostructured, three-dimensional porous polymeric scaffolds with controlled architecture for bone tissue engineering, functionally graded vascular grafts, and drug releasing coatings for cardiovascular stents.

IRG-2: Ceramic and Metalloceramic Biomaterials

This IRG focuses on the basic and applied studies of bioceramic materials in the form of nanoparticles, nanostructured metalloceramic and ceramic super-lattice thin films, and 3-D scaffolds with the goal to better understand the physio-chemical phenomena underlying the bioceramic performance and to develop materials that would provide in a more predictable, improved, and controlled mechanical functionality in the bioenvironment, enhanced tissue integration, and application specific cell function. IRG-2 will also team with IRG-1 in the development of the novel polymer/ceramic composite biomaterials, and with IRG-3 in the development of multifunctional ceramic nanostructures for biosensoring and bioimaging applications.

IRG-3: Biomaterial-Cell Interfaces and Interactions

The principal goal of IRG-3 is to evaluate and understand cellular and physiological responses to the polymeric, ceramic, metalloceramic, and composite biomaterials developed in IRG-1 and IRG-2. This IRG will also address current challenges in biorelevant material property analysis through the development and application of new spectroscopic capabilities for characterization of biomaterials and their interactions with a bioenvironment.