The scientific interests of the Biomolecule Design Group balance between the disciplines of (bio)polymer chemistry, biochemistry and biotechnological engineering, the meeting place of materials science and life sciences.
The main focus of the group lies on the use and development of methods to chemically or biologically modify proteins, inspired by strategies found in nature. By manipulating the biological machinery of living cells, our group aims to site-specifically introduce bio-orthogonal chemical functionalities at the amino acid level.
One of the current goals is to ‘click’ these newly designed biomolecules covalently and uniquely oriented onto functionalized solid substrates (diamond or conjugated polymers) in order to develop hybrid materials with improved, novel or well-defined biological functionality, reactivity and/or activity.
A second research line is directed at the application of NMR-based techniques to identify altered metabolic pathways in cancer patients. This approach has already been shown to diagnose certain cancer types based on blood samples.
Recently, a new research line has been initiated in the BDG research group. Thermoresponsive proteins will be designed and produced for use in biomaterial applications as part of a new collaboration with the biomedical research institute (BIOMED).
Besides playing a role in the development of bio-sensing systems and novel bio-inspired materials, our research projects can be central to numerous other applications including bio-imaging, peptide/polymer hybrids, proteomic analysis, improving biocompatibility of biomedical implants, targeted drug delivery systems.