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Université de Fribourg

Not just fundamental research: education, equal opportunities, knowledge and technology transfer, and communication at the nccr bio-inspired materials

Capper, Scott ; Haskal, Eliav ; Kilbinger, Andreas ; Montero de Espinosa, Lucas ; Rothen-Rutishauser, Barbara ; Rüegg, Curzio ; Weder, Christoph

In: CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry, 2019, vol. 73, no. 1, p. 86–89

Besides conducting excellent fundamental research in domains of strategic importance, the National Centers of Competence in Research (NCCRs) also aim to become centers of reference for education, equal opportunities, and knowledge and technology transfer. These activities are supported by a communication strategy focused on specific target groups. This article describes some of the main...

Université de Fribourg

Magneto-responsive cell culture substrates that can be modulated in situ

Crippa, Federica ; Rothen-Rutishauser, Barbara ; Petri-Fink, Alke

In: CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry, 2019, vol. 73, no. 1, p. 51–54

Understanding the interaction between cells and their environment is fundamental for mechanobiology. To mimic the behavior of cells in physiological and pathological conditions, synthetic substrates must have topographical and/or mechanical properties that evolve in time. Dynamic substrates mainly rely on stimuli-responsive materials where an external stimulus induces controlled variations in...

Université de Fribourg

A bio-inspired amplification cascade for the detection of rare cancer cells

Rüegg, Curzio ; Reis, Corine ; Rafiee, Sarah ; Rodriguez-Lorenzoa, Laura ; List, Jonathan ; Rothen-Rutishauser, Barbara ; Mayer, Michael ; Petri-Fink, Alke

In: CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry, 2019, vol. 73, no. 1, p. 63–68

The main cause of cancer-related death is due to cancer cell spreading and formation of secondary tumors in distant organs, the so-called metastases. Metastatic cancer cells are detectable in the blood of cancer patients as circulating tumor cells (CTC) and may be exploited for prognostic and monitoring purposes, including in breast cancer. Due to their very low frequency, however, their...

Université de Fribourg

Artificial lysosomal platform to study nanoparticle long-term stability

Milosevic, Ana ; Bourquin, Joël ; Burnand, David ; Lemal, Philipp ; Crippa, Federica ; Monnier, Christophe A. ; Rodriguez-Lorenzo, Laura ; Petri-Fink, Alke ; Rothen-Rutishauser, Barbara

In: CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry, 2019, vol. 73, no. 1, p. 55–58

Nanoparticles (NPs) possess unique properties useful for designing specific functionalities for biomedi- cal applications. A prerequisite of a safe-by-design and effective use in any biomedical application is to study NP–cell interactions to gain a better understanding of cellular consequences upon exposure. Cellular uptake of NPs results mainly in the localization of NPs in the complex...

Université de Fribourg

Functional polymers through mechanochemistry

Schrettl, Stephen ; Balkenendea, Diederik W. R. ; Calvino, Céline ; Karman, Marc ; Lavrenova, Anna ; Neumann, Laura N. ; Sagaraa, Yoshimitsu ; Verde-Sestoa, Ester ; Giannantonio, Michela di ; Simon, Yoan C. ; Fromm, Katharina M. ; Lattuada, Marco ; Weder, Christoph

In: CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry, 2019, vol. 73, no. 1, p. 7–11

While coupling mechanical and chemical processes is widespread in living organisms, the idea to harness the mechanically induced dissociation of weak covalent and non- covalent bonds to create artificial materials that respond to mechanical stimulation has only recently gained attention. Here we summarize our activities that mainly revolve around the exploitation of non-covalent interactions...

Université de Fribourg

Towards polymers with molecular auxeticity

Alizadeh, Mahshid ; Tennie, Iris K. ; Steiner, Ullrich ; Kilbinger, Andreas F. M.

In: CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry, 2019, vol. 73, no. 1, p. 25–28

For many decades, it has been challenging to synthesize auxetic materials at the molecular level. Auxetic materials exhibit counterintuitive behavior; they expand perpendicularly to the direction in which they are stretched. An aromatic macrocycle containing a sequence of N-substituted and N-unsubstituted amides was designed to resemble the re-entrant structure found in macromolecular auxetic...

Université de Fribourg

An atomistic look into bio-inspired nanoparticles and their molecular interactions with cells

Petretto, Emanuele ; Campomanes, Pablo ; Stellacci, Francesco ; Rothen-Rutishauser, Barbara ; Petri-Fink, Alke ; Vanni, Stefano

In: CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry, 2019, vol. 73, no. 1, p. 78–80

Nanoparticles (NPs) have sizes that approach those of pathogens and they can interact with the membranes of eukaryotic cells in an analogous fashion. Typically, NPs are taken up by the cell via the plasma membrane by receptor-mediated processes and subsequently interact with various endomembranes. Unlike pathogens, however, NPs lack the remarkable specificity gained during the evolutionary...

Université de Fribourg

Templated assembly of pore-forming peptides in lipid membranes

Fennouri, Aziz ; List, Jonathan ; Dupasquier, Jessica ; Haeni, Laetitia ; Vanni, Stefano ; Rothen-Rutishauser, Barbara ; Mayer, Michael

In: CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry, 2019, vol. 73, no. 1, p. 59–62

Pore-forming peptides are of interest due to their antimicrobial activity and ability to form gateways through lipid membranes. Chemical modification of these peptides makes it possible to arrange several peptide monomers into well-defined pore-forming structures using various templating strategies. These templated super-structures can exert antimicrobial activity at significantly lower total...

Université de Fribourg

Hemozoin-catalyzed precipitation polymerization as an assay for malaria diagnosis

Rifaie-Graham, Omar ; Pollard, Jonas ; Raccio, Samuel ; Balog, Sandor ; Rusch, Sebastian ; Hernández-Castañeda, María Andrea ; Mantel, Pierre-Yves ; Beck, Hans-Peter ; Bruns, Nico

In: Nature Communications, 2019, vol. 10, no. 1, p. 1369

Methods to diagnose malaria are of paramount interest to eradicate the disease. Current methods have severe limitations, as they are either costly or not sensitive enough to detect low levels of parasitemia. Here we report an ultrasensitive, yet low- resource chemical assay for the detection and quantification of hemozoin, a biomarker of all Plasmodium species. Solubilized hemozoin catalyzes...

Université de Fribourg

Heating behavior of magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles at clinically relevant concentration

Lemal, Philipp ; Balog, Sandor ; Geers, Christoph ; Taladriz-Blanco, Patricia ; Palumbo, Andrea ; M.Hirt, Ann ; Rothen-Rutishauser, Barbara ; Petri-Fink, Alke

In: Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, 2019, vol. 474, p. 637–642

Magnetic hyperthermia for cancer treatment has gained significant attention in recent years, due to its biocompatibility of applied nanoparticles and the possibility for spatially localized heating in deep tissues. Clinical treatments use nanoparticle concentrations of 112 mg Fe/mL, while the concentrations experimental studies have addressed are considerably smaller, usually between 0.1...