Our research is centered around biopolymers (mostly mucin glycoproteins) with a focus on harnessing their properties for biomedical applications. Our experimental approach involves the purification of biological macromolecules and their reconstitution into solutions and hydrogels that serve as model systems for complex biological gels. With those model systems, we then study the permeability properties of hydrogel barriers and how they are compromised by, e.g., environmental pollutants 1. Moreover, we use purified macromolecules to develop functional coatings on medical devices (e.g., contact lenses, catheters, endotracheal tubes) 2,3 that reduce biofouling and tissue damage created by tribological stress. Finally, we develop materials for controlled drug delivery 4-6. Here, we also make use of DNA nanotechnology to create responsive drug depots that release their cargo upon contact with physiological triggers, e.g., cellular micro-RNA. Our activities in the Munich Biofabrication network focus on this last research area: we engineer nano- and microparticles to encapsulate molecules and probiotics such that we achieve spatio-temporal control over their release.
- M. Marczynski et al., Contamination with Black Carbon Nanoparticles Alters the Selective Permeability of Mucin Hydrogels: Implications for Molecular Transport across Mucosal Barriers. ACS Applied Nano Materials 2022, 5.<
- B. Winkeljann et al., Covalent Mucin Coatings Form Stable Anti‐Biofouling Layers on a Broad Range of Medical Polymer Materials. Advanced Materials Interfaces 2020, 7.
- C. A. Rickert et al., Highly transparent covalent mucin coatings improve the wettability and tribology of hydrophobic contact lenses. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2020, 12.
- C. Kimna et al. DNA strands trigger the intracellular release of drugs from mucin-based nanocarriers. ACS Nano 2020, 15.
- C. Kimna et al., Smart Biopolymer‐Based Multi‐Layers Enable Consecutive Drug Release Events on Demand. Advanced Materials Interfaces 2020, 7.
- C. Kimna et al., Biopolymer-based nanoparticles with tunable mucoadhesivity efficiently deliver therapeutics across the corneal barrier. Materials Science and Engineering: C 2021, 121.