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About the SuperCol project

Functional colloidal particles for biomedical applications

SuperCol is all about developing highly functional colloidal particles for biomedical applications. The particles are of microscopic or even nanoscopic size and are able to interact with organisms at the cellular level. At their surface, they are equipped with bio-active molecules that enable them to bind pathogens and biomarkers, or to detect membrane receptors and induce targeted drug delivery. These functionalized colloidal particles thus hold the potential for powerful diagnostic and therapeutic systems. Think of super-selective biosensors for dengue and cholera; responsive particles to capture and quantify inflammation markers; or particles that release cancer therapeutics such as doxorubicin on demand.

The full potential of colloidal particles, however, has yet to be fully exploited. Their functionality ultimately depends on the number, distribution and activity of the molecules at their surface. This means that methods are needed to:

  • Accurately visualize individual receptors on colloidal surfaces;
  • Influence the number, distribution, and activity of receptors; and
  • Find out how the surface organization translates to highly desired functionalities such as responsiveness and super-selectivity.

SuperCol aims to develop these methods by taking the ‘closest possible look’ at colloidal surfaces. Both literally, using super-resolution imaging, and with advanced particle surface (receptor) chemistry. Combining this with advanced modeling techniques, we will arrive at a rational design of super-selective and responsive colloidal particle systems. Gaining a tight and quantitative control over their composition and their properties will enable us to advance their biomedical application.

The 15 SuperCol Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) form a close-knit research team that is embedded in leading industrial and academic R&D labs. Their combined efforts will bridge the gap between the various disciplines and solve the challenges. You can meet our ESRs in the video below, and get to know more about them and their projects on their personal ESR pages.

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