Biological Identity of Nanoparticles Dispersed in Biological Media. Very small objects, of sizes of tens of nanometers, can now be engineered to have different sizes, shapes and surfaces. Because they are of a similar size to proteins in living organisms it is possible for them to take the same routes as they do, crossing barriers usually difficult for other larger particles or smaller molecules. Thereby they reach parts of the body not usually reached by man-made objects. By understanding and engineering their surface coating (in situ) we can control and predict these events, thereby ensuring safety of nanomaterials, as well as creating new more targeted drugs.
The purpose of this project is to advance a new platform that is emerging from our SFI PI program in bionanoscience. The most recent outcome from that research has just been published in Nature Nanotechnology. We are now in a position to fabricate new types of bio interfaces ('biomolecular corona') on the nanoparticle surface that are capable of a high degree of specificity in biological targeting. We now seek to translate this into a scalable process that could lead to a novel effective theraputic approach. This is directly applicable to drug delivery, which is a priority area for SFI. This also ensures that our more SFI PI basic research can be further developed to a commercializable output. This exemplifies the concept of scientific excellence, with impact.