Nanotechnology Spotlight – Latest Articles

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Learning to understand how nanomaterials enter cells and how cells react

cell-imagingEvery cell relies on the uptake (endocytosis) of materials like proteins, cytokines and even synthetic carbon nanomaterials, to perform its required cellular fate functions. Studying this process in detail is an extremely challenging and thus extremely interesting goal in biophysics. Therefore, endocytosis is of interest for bringing therapeutic targets into cells. Studying the pathways of how materials get into the cell can aid in untangling trafficking to design higher efficiency targeted drug and gene delivery therapies.

Jun 20th, 2022

Emerging 4D printing technologies for biomedical applications

3D-printed-structureAlthough 4D printing is considered very promising for various biomedical applications - such as tissue scaffolds, neural scaffolds, grafts and stents, cardiac patches and valves, even bionic constructs - its broad-scale adoption for clinical use and tissue engineering purposes is complicated by a notable limitation of printable smart materials and the simplistic nature of achievable responses possible with current sources of stimulation. Nevertheless, 4D printing may offer a more favorable fabrication approach over 3D printing, as 4D constructs can respond to internal and/or external stimuli.

Jun 7th, 2022

'Self-aware' and self-powered metamaterial implants

3D-printed-structureResearchers propose a first-of-a-kind smart orthopedic implant with both diagnostic and energy harvesting capabilities. This mechanically tunable, multifunctional metamaterial implant can sense and harvest energy from body motions. These implants only use their constituent components to achieve these advanced functionalities - they don't require any external power source or bulky electronics. Furthermore, the implants can be 3D printed and customized for each patient based on the clinical requirements and anatomical matching.

Jun 3rd, 2022

Nanomaterial-enabled bacteriophage therapy for wound infections

bacteriaOne interesting alternative to traditional antibiotics is phage therapy. Bacteriophages are viruses that selectively target and solely kill bacteria, even multi-drug resistant ones. However, scientists don't yet have the full picture of how it works and what the potential risks are. In view of these challenges, researchers have considered an alternative approach where phages are destroyed immediately after use, thus controlling dosage and circumventing undesirable consequences while maintaining the advantages of whole phage as antibacterial delivery vehicle.

May 30th, 2022

Tech firms are making computer chips with human cells - is it ethical?

cellWe are in the early stages of neural computing and have time to think through the ethical issues involved. Among other things, if neural computers become common, we will grapple with tissue donation issues. Scientists have found that human neurons were faster at learning than neurons from mice. Might there also be differences in performance depending on whose neurons are used? Might Apple and Google be able to make lightning-fast computers using neurons from our best and brightest today? Would someone be able to secure tissues from deceased genius's like Albert Einstein to make specialized limited-edition neural computers?

May 24th, 2022

Antibiotic-like boron nitride nanosheets for combating drug resistant bacteria

bacteriaThe antibiotic resistance crisis has been ascribed to the overuse and misuse of these medications, as well as a lack of motivation to develop new drugs. In the field of nanotechnology, a variety of innovative materials are being studied to evaluate their potential applications as antimicrobial agents. Recently, researchers have shown that boron nitride nanosheets as a nano-antibacterial agent displays antibiotic-like activities and BN nanosheets were found to show potent antibacterial efficiency in five multidrug resistant bacteria strains.

May 17th, 2022

Graphdiyne functionalized by silver nanoparticles to combat the threat of antibacterial resistance

bactericideThe two-dimensional carbon allotrope graphdiyne is capable of inhibiting broad-spectrum bacterial growth while exerting moderate cytotoxicity on mammalian cells. Researchers now demonstrate a high-performance bactericid with graphdiyne functionalized by silver nanoparticles. The material killed the bacteria through membrane destruction and reactive oxygen species production. These findings present an avenue to harness 2D materials to stabilize metal nanoparticles as a promising option for combating evolving bacteria.

May 11th, 2022

MXene quantum dots as promising material for immunoengineering

mxene-quantum-dotsResearchers have have reported the synthesis process and biomedical applications of a novel nanomaterial for in vivo treatment of vasculopathy - a general term used to describe any disease affecting blood vessels. Through their innovative approach using rational design and synthesis strategies, the researchers developed intrinsically immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory tantalum carbide MXene quantum dots. The team is confident that this new nanomaterial could reduce or even avoid the need for anti-rejection drugs for heart transplant patients.

May 9th, 2022