Our Biofunctional Nanomaterials group research the design and development of self-assembling nanostructures/platforms for biomedical applications based on the building blocks of life, namely peptide and their unnatural variants (peptide-mimetics).
These structures have the ability to form nanofibrous hydrogels or nanotubular structures with high surface to volume ratios in the presence of specific physiological stimuli (e.g. pH, temperature, enzymes). They have huge potential within the fields of drug delivery and biomaterials with the group’s focus primarily on the development of antimicrobial and anticancer technologies, sustained release drug delivery systems (injectable implants) and molecules with the ability to transverse the biological barriers (e.g. blood-brain barrier, outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria).
Our most recent work relates to the development of self-assembling peptide-based hydrogel materials for use against infection and as long releasing implants for diseases with medication adherence issues (e.g. HIV/AIDs).
Harnessing a “bottom-up” approach, variation of the primary amino acid sequence of peptides allows structures to spontaneously assemble into ordered nanostructures upon exposure to varying environmental factors/stimuli. The peptide backbone provides a unique primer for tailoring biocompatibility, biodegradability and functionality.
We have interest in developing these technologies with the ultimate goal of translating them into healthcare products for patient benefit, working closely with our academic partners, funding agencies, charities, industry, clinicians and the public.
Group receive major funding from EPSRC to develop peptide-like hydrogels for combined HIV-contraceptive therapy
03 September, 2019
We are excited to announce support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to develop of peptide-like hydrogels for use as a long-acting injectable delivery platform for combined HIV-contraceptive drug delivery. Total support (£766,542) will allow further development of our peptide-mimetic platforms in a key healthcare area in collaboration with our co-investigators at […]
Latest paper from group: Investigating the In Vivo Antimicrobial Activity of a Self-Assembling Peptide Hydrogel Using a Galleria mellonella Infection Model
07 February, 2019
Our latest research paper is now freely available via the journal ACS Omega, whereby we use an innovative waxworm (Galleria mellonella) model as an alternative to mammalian/vertebrate testing. The following assay can be very simply performed without any specific ethical approval or animal licenses. We successfully employed the methods outlined to study the antimicrobial efficacy […]
Summer Studentships 2019
18 January, 2019
There are two positions for an 8 week undergraduate summer studentship in our lab this year. The positions are dependent on successful funding from either the Wellcome Trust and/or Society for Applied Microbiology. The deadline for application to both these funders is the 14th February, so if you are interested email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) letting me […]
New website launch!!
24 September, 2018
Welcome to our new and improved website! We hope this provides an accessible means to which we can communicate our research to a wider audience. Please check back regularly for important updates from our group. We’d like to thank Artisan Web Design Belfast for their help in constructing the site and the Royal Society for providing […]