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.
Research Webinar: Spring 2022.
Latest hydrogel work published in Chemical Communications
17 June, 2020
Our latest collaborative work on entitled “Tuning the antimicrobial activity of low molecular weight hydrogels using dopamine autoxidation,” has been accepted within Chemical Communications. This work was led by Emily Cross and represents a collaboration with Prof Dave Adams’ Group at the School of Chemistry University of Glasgow and is freely available here. Thanks again […]
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 […]
Our peptide hydrogel research wins Controlled Release Society’s 2020 People’s Choice Award
06 July, 2020
We are excited to hear our research on the use of peptide hydrogels for HIV/AIDs drug delivery won the overall CRS People’s Choice Award at the recent CRS virtual meeting. The presentation, as well as our other work, is available to conference participants by clicking the relevant title below. Poster: Poster number 63. Peptide-like […]
Latest publication: Pharmaceutical formulation and characterization of dipeptide nanotubes for drug delivery applications
03 June, 2020
Our latest paper has been published in the journal Macromolecular Bioscience focusing on formulating peptide nanotubes using mild techniques to improve potential for pharmaceutical upscale. Paper can be accessed here: https://doi.org/10.1002/mabi.202000115 Abstract Peptide nanotubes are promising materials for a variety of biomedical applications with ultrashort (≤7 amino acids) forms providing particular promise for clinical translation. […]
Our book, Hydrogels: Design, synthesis & application in drug delivery & regenerative medicine, available now!
01 October, 2018
If you are interested in knowing more about the potential applications of our hydrogels, remember to check out our recent book “Hydrogels: Design, synthesis & application in drug delivery & regenerative medicine,” co-edited alongside Dr Raj Thakur and Prof Ryan Donnelly. Thanks to all those who contributed.
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 […]