Institute of Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Biomaterials and Drug Delivery

The BADD group is concerned with the design, synthesis and biomedical applications of biomaterials, biosensors, drugs and drug delivery systems, and the science that underpins these technologies. Research ranges from the development of methodologies for the analysis of biological fluids to the design and fabrication of biosensors and other biocompatible devices. Current and future applications include the development of: biomaterials with inherent resistance to bacterial colonisation; bioadhesive materials for therapeutic use in the eye, mouth, stomach, nose and vagina; polymeric vehicles for targeted drug delivery to the colon; and, boron-containing materials for neutron-capture therapy. We hold a number of patents for this work.

We increasingly use computational chemistry techniques (from ab initio calculations to classical molecular dynamics simulations) to investigate current problems in biology, medicinal chemistry and materials research. The group also develops novel methods for predicting biological activity and molecular properties based on semi-empirical molecular orbital theory.

Our Current Research

Controlled and targeted drug delivery

Controlled and targeted drug delivery

  • Design and development of specific retentive delivery systems aimed at mucosal surfaces (eye, mouth and gastrointestinal tract).
  • Enhancement of percutaneous absorption by chemical modification of therapeutic agents; development of quantitative structure-permeability models and prodrug strategies for percutaneous absorption.
  • Intracellular delivery and gene therapy - development of synthetic polymer-DNA conjugates that are designed to cross cellular barriers and respond to external stimuli enabling release of therapeutic genes into the nucleus.
  • Low-surface-energy materials.
  • Synthesis, surface characterisation and various applications of polymeric materials with ultra-low-surface-energy characteristics.
Bioadhesion/mucoadhesion

Bioadhesion and mucoadhesion

  • Synthesis, characterisation and evaluation of bioadhesive materials for therapeutic use in the eye, mouth, stomach, colon, nose and vagina.
  • Molecular imprinting.
  • Synthesis of imprinted polymers and regioselective organic synthesis at imprinted polymer binding sites. 
Biomolecular recognition

Biomolecular recognition

  • Synthesis and characterisation of new polymerizable receptor molecules with potential applications as either binding agents or controlled release systems.
  • Support matrices for in vitro toxicology.
  • Novel therapeutic agents for targeting cancer tumours.
Bioadhesion control

Bioadhesion control

  • Development of materials that inhibit bacterial binding to biological surfaces and biomaterials.
  • Use of responsive ('smart') polymers displaying hydrophilic-hydrophobic transitions as a potential means of controlling cell adhesion.
  • The use of contact angle goniometry, atomic force microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy and other analytical techniques as means of quantifying surface heterogeneity in Biomedical Materials.