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Our research


Specific adhesion of soft materials

Using an interferometric method, we determine the adhesion of bio-functionalized polymer particles (Soft Colloidal Probes, SCPs). Using this method, we can determine the overall adhesion energy, specificity of the interaction and adhesion kinetics as a function of material parameters, e.g.

  • ligand / receptor type
  • ligand density
  • matrix stiffnes
  • binding cooperativity at interfaces
  • matrix hydrophobicity and charge
  •  ligand density
  • matrix stiffness
  • binding cooperativity at interfaces
  • matrix hydrophobicity and charge

Drug screening, SCP inhibition-competition-assay

The adhesion of bio functionalized hydrogel particles is extremely sensitive towards the presence of competitively binding molecules in solution. We use this phenomenon as a means to determine the binding affinity of analyte molecules in an inhibition-competition format.

Colloidal- and single molecule force spectroscopy

In order to study the interactions of polymer gels directly on living cells or bacteria we developed am AFM based technique that employs soft bio-functionalized hydrogels particles as force probes. The advantage of using hydrogel particles as AFM probes instead of the hard, inorganic standard probes is that we can quantify interactions close to a cell-biological context.

Apart from colloidal scale adhesion, we are also interested in the specific interaction of single polymer chains, in particular multivalent carbohydrate presenting polymers. We aim at unrevealing the structure-function relationship such of multivalent carbohydrate constructs

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