Module 3. Responsive bio-interfaces and surfaces

The design of stimuli-responsive materials to sense or mimic the highly complex and dynamic cell environment has gathered a lot of momentum in the last decade. Such materials can not only directly influence the cell behavior (extrinsic stimuli) but also change their properties upon interaction with cells (intrinsic stimuli). In addition, the use of such smart materials to monitor highly diluted circulation disease biomarkers in complex biological fluids has emerged as a potential technique for clinical diagnostic devices.

Module 3 aims to advance from the fundamental particle-cell approach to nano-biointerfaces and surfaces with the ultimate goals of (i) using stimuli-responsive materials as substrates to direct cell growth and tissue differentiation, (ii) understanding the interactions of the materials with cells at a fundamental level, (iii) inducing or inhibiting specific cell responses to, for instance, increase intracellular nanoparticle concentration or inhibit viral infections, and (iv) sensing biomarkers in complex and diluted environments, such as circulating tumor DNA. These highly challenging goals require an interdisciplinary approach, which is supported by the wide range of expertise represented in this Module that includes material scientists, cell biologists and medicine researchers.