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MolES Seminar: Helmut Thissen (CSIRO, Australia)
WhenTuesday, May 24, 2016, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Campus locationJohnson Hall (JHN)
Campus room075
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsMolecular Engineering & Sciences Institute

Advanced coatings for the effective control of biointerfacial interactions

The effective control of biointerfacial interactions provides the key to a broad range of new and improved medical devices used in vitro and in vivo, such as cell culture tools, biosensors and implantable medical devices. However, current coating strategies often have limited effectiveness and are restricted to a narrow range of substrate materials and geometries. Therefore, our aim is to develop robust, easily transferable coating platforms that lead to highly effective control over biointerfacial interactions.

In the context of biomedical device coatings, the reduction of non-specific interactions is often required. Here we have developed platform technologies for the deposition of high-density graft polymer coatings. These coatings, which have been based on either the grafting of polymers from solution or the grafting of polymers from surface immobilized RAFT, ATRP or Iniferter agents, have been demonstrated to be effective at reducing protein fouling, cell and tissue adhesion and biofilm formation in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, we have been able to provide controlled densities of bioactive signals, such as cell adhesion mediator peptides and mimetics as well as antimicrobial compounds using the same platform technologies. Moreover, we have been able to combine this control over the surface chemistry with control over the surface topography. Applications for these advanced coatings have ranged from cell culture substrates for the expansion of stem cells to bone contacting implantable devices.

Most recently, we have introduced prebiotic chemistry inspired polymers as a novel coating platform for biomedical applications. Prebiotic chemistry is the study of the molecules associated with the origin of life. We found that the polymerization of aminomalononitrile, carried out at room temperature in simple aqueous buffer solutions, can be used to coat a wide range of organic and inorganic substrate materials, and that the resulting coatings are suitable for biomedical applications, including antimicrobial coatings.

About the presenter
Dr Helmut Thesen, CSIRO Manufacturing (Australia)

Helmut Thissen obtained his PhD in Chemistry from RWTH Aachen University (Germany), where he also started to translate biomedical research into the clinic while working at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Clinical Research. He moved to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Melbourne, Australia in 1998, where he is now leading a Team that is focused on the interdisciplinary fields of biomaterials and regenerative medicine and here in particular on the control of biointerfacial interactions. In addition he is a Program Leader at the CRC for Polymers in Melbourne, Australia. His academic achievements are reflected by >100 peer-reviewed journal publications and book chapters while his industry focus is reflected by 7 patent families and the translation of research results into successful commercial biomedical products. His service to the fields of biomaterials and regenerative medicine is reflected by his position as President of the Australasian Society for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering and frequent engagements as conference and symposium organiser and chair. Prestigious awards for his interdisciplinary research include the CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement and the Newton Turner Award.

Molecular Engineering and Sciences Seminar Series

This weekly seminar brings together students, faculty and invited guests from various disciplines across campus to explore current trends in molecular engineering and nanotechnology. It is a  forum for active interdisciplinary discussions.  These talks are open to the public and attract a diverse audience of students and faculty.
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