Nanotechnology Spotlight – Latest Articles

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Small but mighty - the vast potential of RNA nanotechnology

rnaRNA nanotechnology is an emerging field that combines the unique properties of RNA with the principles of nanotechnology to create new and innovative applications in medicine, biotechnology, and materials science. Here we give an overview of RNA's potential in drug delivery, diagnostics, vaccine development and gene therapy.

Mar 15th, 2023

A (South) African perspective on nanomedicine development

South-AfricaNanotechnology has the ability to completely transform the health care sector, particularly in developing countries like South Africa, where access to effective healthcare is still a challenge for millions of people living in poverty-stricken environments. Many African countries, despite having policies and strategies in place, struggle to allocate sufficient resources for research in nanomedicine. Most of the research conducted on the subject in Africa is focused on academic interests, rather than practical applications.

Jan 15th, 2023

Incongruent results from proteomics core facilities compromise nanoparticle protein corona research

heatmapIts significance of the protein corona for biomedical applications lies in its role of imparting a unique biological identity to the nanoparticle, which could be very different from the pristine nanoparticle surface. Robust characterization of the identity and abundance of the protein corona is entirely dependent on liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectroscopy. Unfortunately, the variability of this technique for the purpose of protein corona characterization remains poorly understood.

Nov 3rd, 2022

Identifying favorable immunological profiles suitable for personalized treatments with RNA nanoparticles

nucleic-acid-nanoparticleTherapeutic nucleic acids (TNAs) and nucleic acid nanoparticles (NANPs) are designed to enact specific intracellular responses beneficial for various biomedical applications. TNAs become especially attractive to researchers and clinicians since their functional versatility, programmability and modularity show great promise for treating disorders such as viral infections, cancers, and genetic disorders. Scientists explore how the immune responses to NANPs change with various factors such as dimensionality (3D vs. 2D), composition (DNA vs. RNA), and functionalization with TNAs.

Aug 15th, 2022

Nanobiomimetic strategies for medicine

tumor-cellThe defenses of the body's immune system tend to destroy synthetic nanoparticles and frequently they are captured and removed from the body within few minutes. This, of course, is a major barrier to the use of nanotechnology in medicine. In order to evade the host immune response, researchers are demonstrating that the combination of nanomaterials and biomimetic strategies can change diverse nanomaterials from 'distinguishable state' to 'camouflage state' and thereby improving technologies for nanomedicine applications.

Aug 9th, 2022

Novel platform allows five types of programmable optothermal manipulation of micro- and nanoparticles

round-particleResearchers have developed an optothermal platform with five manipulation modes - printing, tweezing, rotating, rolling, and shooting - using a single Gaussian laser beam. Switching between the different modes is achieved by simply tuning the optical power or the distance between laser and object, and can be automated through software programming. This novel multimodal manipulation technique relies on the coordination of multiple thermal forces instead of light-matter interactions, i.e., the mechanism of traditional optical tweezers.

Jul 25th, 2022

Engineering living hydrogels

hydrogelInspired by living biological systems, which can sense, process information, and actuate in response to changing environmental conditions, researchers are exploring engineered living hydrogels. The convergence of engineering, biology, and materials science over the past 20 years is providing unprecedented opportunities to integrate living cells into these hydrogels. This integration yields engineered living hydrogels with the capabilities of self-replication, self-regulation, and environmental responsiveness.

Jul 11th, 2022

Investigating water/oil interfaces with opto-thermophoretic tweezers

oil-bubblesSpontaneous charging of interfaces between water and hydrophobic media is a mysterious feature whose nature and origin - despite many efforts to explain them - are still not fully understood. Many spectroscopic results and interpretations along with computational work are not consistent with one another and a consensus on the nature and origin of interfacial charging has not been reached. A clear understanding of this puzzling phenomenon needs a variety of approaches from diverse perspectives, which, hopefully will all add up and be pieced together towards a complete description of the full picture.

Jul 7th, 2022