My group studies a wide variety of nanoscale systems in biological materials by electron microscopy (TEM). My particular interest is in applying these techniques to study interfaces between nano or biomaterials and biological tissues using techniques such as energy filtered TEM and 3-D electron tomography. My ongoing research projects include:
Nanotoxicology. We use multi scale imaging and analysis techniques to characterise mechanisms by which the physicochemical properties of nanomaterials change in various biological milieu (i.e. relevant proteins, lipids and other molecules, and biofluids), and monitor how these processes affect subsequent interactions with and within cells, in the lung and brain, to elucidate a safety window for their commercial use.
Bone grafting, bone disease and therapy. We are characterising how diseases, such as osteogenesis imperfecta, alter the chemistry and organisation of bone at the nanoscale and corrleating any modifications to the mechanics of the tissue. We are also investigating fundemental mechanisms of bone formation.
Tissue engineering and stem cell therapy. We are studying the biocompatibility and failure of orthopaedic implants, and also the evaluation of new materials and implant surfaces for tissue engineering applications. Specifically we aim to characterise the interface between the implant and tissues to understand fundemental mechanisms of bioactivity and the structure and chemistry of the bone around the implant surface.
Cell penetrating nanoparticles for diagnostic and therapeutic applications We are designing new nanoparticles which target the blood brain barrier and cancer cells.