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From science fiction to research breakthrough
Date:4/1/2011

Focusing on interdisciplinary research is now leading to breakthroughs in bio nanotechnology research. A new method for drug development has become a reality.

Four years ago, the biologist Karen Martinez almost didn't believe in the research project herself when she started with her team working on it, but now it has been proven. Together with colleagues at the Nano-Science Center, her team has been able to combine nanoscale materials and technologies that are traditionally used for electronic devices with individual living cells. The researchers have shown that cells can grow and function on a carpet of small upright needles made of semiconductors so-called nanowires.

"We have developed a new method that makes it possible for us to see how the cells function when they are impaled on carpets of nanowires. We think that the technique has great potential and that it could be used in laboratories within a couple of years to develop. For example, it could be used by the pharmaceutical industry to test new drugs for a variety of diseases including neurological problems, cancer and heart disease," explains Karen Martinez, who is group leader of the BioNano group, Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology at the University of Copenhagen.

With this breakthrough, the Danish research group is now at the top of international research in this interdisciplinary field of research, together with a few groups from Harvard, Berkeley (USA), and Lund (Sweden).

"The Nano-Science Center brings together biologists, physicists, pharmacologists and chemists who are working together across traditional research boundaries and this breakthrough at the Nano-Science Center is a direct result of the cultivation of this interdisciplinarity in the long-term strategic focus at the Nano-Science Center," explains the new director of the Nano-Science Center Professor Morten Meldal.

Nanoscience in focus

Nanophysicists Jesper Nyg
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Contact: Karen Martinez
martinez@nano.ku.dk
0045-303-00475
University of Copenhagen
Source:Eurekalert

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