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Research Zernike (ZIAM) News Seminars

Dr. Christoffer Åberg - Towards the Fundamentals of Nanoparticle-Cell Interactions

When:Mo 26-08-2013 10:00 - 11:00


With the progress in nanotechnology, the nanosafety field investigates the potential for new, serious and unpredictable diseases originating from the presence of nano-sized objects in humans, organisms at large, and the environment. The closely linked area of nanomedicine, on the other hand, aims to utilize nano-sized objects as novel drug carriers for improved and targeted drug delivery. Regardless of application, the fundamental scientific question remains: How do nano-sized objects, nanoparticles, interact with living systems?

The nanoscale is privileged, for the cellular machinery largely acts on the scale of tens of nanometres. Nanoparticles can thereby engage with endogenous biological processes in fundamentally new manners, more akin to proteins and other biomolecules, than typical drugs and other small molecules. This talk will highlight a few novel aspects of how nanoparticles interact with cells in terms of: (i) the formation of a 'corona' of biomolecules around the nanoparticle surface in biological fluids; (ii) nanoparticle-cell membrane interactions, and the importance of the biomolecular 'corona'; (iii) the absence of cellular exit processes for nanoparticles; (iv) the curious effects the cell cycle has on nanoparticle accumulation in cells over time; and (v) the trafficking of nanoparticles inside cells. Empirical studies have been supplemented with mathematical models, in notable cases showing excellent agreement between parameter-free predictions and experimental data. Implications for medicinal applications, as well as for the safety of nanoparticles, are indicated.