Nano-Biosystems

A photo of Pu Chen smiling for the camera in the lab.Nano-biosystems is a field that includes both the use of nanotechnology in biological systems and utilization of biological or bio-mimetic techniques in nanotechnology. Nano-biotechnology shows a tremendous promise of improving the quality of life. For example, nano-vehicles might deliver drugs directly to targeted cells, nano-membranesnano-chips that interface neurons with electronics may become common place. Additionally, Nano-Electro­ Mechanical Systems (NEMS) might use sensors and physical controls to stabilize individuals with heart, kidney or liver disease.

Waterloo researchers may also turn to nature for inspiration. As nanotechnology researchers strive to create self-assembling devices, they are beginning to exploit natural self-assemblers: proteins, DNA and viruses.

Projects in Nano-Biosystems and Nano-Medicine

  • Transdermal drug delivery. Gene therapy. And creation of nano-vehicles that mimic the way viruses interact with specific cells. This will facilitate the delivery of drugs directly to targeted cells, and could, for instance, eliminate the toxic side-effects of chemotherapy by directing the therapeutic agents to cancer cells only.
  • Creation of nano-vehicles that mimic the way viruses interact with specific cells. This will facilitate the delivery of drugs directly to targeted cells, and could, for instance, eliminate the toxic side-effects of chemotherapy by directing the therapeutic agents to cancer cells only.
  • Development of nanotechnology methods for therapeutic applications, for example, for replacing faulty DNA or RNA strands with corrected strands.
  • Fundamental and applied research into how certain peptides self-assemble into nano-structures, which will increase understanding of certain neurological diseases, and may subsequently lead to novel treatment methods.
  • Development of polymeric nanostructures from self-assembly block copolymers for delivery of drugs, proteins and DNA.
  • Application of nanotechnology research into flexible electronics to create low-dose, portable, "wrap-around" X-ray machines.
  • Development of nano-techniques for inactivation of microbes: an efficient and cheap method of food sterilization.
  • Creation of "nanowires" based on a chain-link arrangement of ferritin structures (ferritin is a liver protein which can store iron ions or other conductive material in its complex, hollow shell).
  • Interfacing nano-chips to bio-molecules.
  • Using micro-arrays for high-throughput screening and developing printable arrays.

People in Nano-Biosystems