Alke Fink & Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser Group
Bio-Nanomaterials

Prof. Alke Fink

Leads the materials science aspect of the group

Prof. Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser

Investigates the interaction of nanoparticles with biological systems
“We focus on the synthesis and characterisation of novel multifunctional and/or hybrid nanoparticles, as well as materials for a range of applications, including both biology and medicine. Our current research focus is directed towards (i) the development of reactors for reliable, fast, and efficient surface derivatisation of nanoparticles, (ii) the interaction of nanoparticles with cells and their colloidal behavior in biological and physiological environments, and (iii) the development of nanoparticle suspensions with tuneable optical properties (through controlled self-assembly) for biological and materials applications. While addressing fundamental problems, our research efforts are also highly relevant to important societal issues such as environment or human health.” “The aim of our current projects is to study nanoparticle-cell interactions, particularly in relation to the lung. We are intending to relay this knowledge to promote the sate us of engineered nanoparticles by considering possible health risks of such new bio(nano)materials. Our current applied projects foci are (I) optimization of cell culture models and aerosol deposition, (ii) visualisation and detection of nanoparticles at high resolution (Light and transmission electron microscopy) by means of stereology, (iii) risk assessment of inhaled bio(nano)materials, and (iv) delivery of new drug systems to the lung”

The strength of the interdisciplinary nature within the Bionanomaterials research group is further personified by the varying scientific backgrounds of its members, which includes (bio)chemistry, biology, chemical and biological engineering, as well as material science. In addition, the group consists of many different nationalities and cultures. Currently, the group comprises 17 people from 8 different countries, speaking 7 different languages, and the group is continuing to expand.

In addition to receiving funding from both national and international funding bodies, numerous national and international collaborations are evident within the ongoing research activities.

By encompassing the afore mentioned interdisciplinary background with first-class technology and apparatus and sophisticated in vitro culturing techniques, the Bionanomaterials group at the Adolphe Merkle Institute at the University of Fribourg are able to provide and gain a clear understanding of how to produce bio(nano)materials of all different types, and furthermore, how such different physico-chemical characteristics may influence the interaction of nanoparticles with biological systems.