The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) will support Dr. Mirko Nitschke over the next three years through his project „3D structure and dynamics of plasma-treated polymer materials“.

Low pressure plasma techniques are versatile tools for surface modification of polymeric materials. A wide range of physical and chemical effects can be achieved in the near-surface region. However, actual depth profiles of material properties are often neither known quantitatively nor utilized to full capacity. The research project sets out to overcome this limitation by looking in detail at exemplary and application-relevant cases. A range of complementary and partly new surface diagnostic techniques, capable of depth profiling on a sub-micron scale, is employed to demonstrate additional degrees of freedom for surface and interface engineering of polymeric materials.

A frontispiece was published in the current issue of Advanced Functional Materials (volume 30, issue 26) featuring the article Cell-instructive Multiphasic Gel-in-Gel Materials; by Sebastian Kühn, Jana Sievers, Aukha Stoppa, Nicole Träber, Ralf Zimmermann, Petra Welzel and Carsten Werner. The article summarizes current design concepts and methods for the fabrication of gel-in-gel materials and highlights the potential of this emerging class of biomaterials.
The new paper Sperm Micromotors for Cargo Delivery through Flowing Blood by Haifeng Xu, Mariana Medina-Sánchez, Manfred F. Maitz, Carsten Werner and Oliver G. Schmidt presents a hybrid sperm micromotor that can actively swim against flowing blood (continuous and pulsatile) and perform the function of heparin cargo delivery. In this biohybrid system, the sperm flagellum provides a high propulsion force while the synthetic microstructure serves for magnetic guidance and cargo transport. Moreover, single sperm micromotors can assemble into a train-like carrier after magnetization, allowing the transport of multiple sperm or medical cargoes to the area of interest, serving as potential anticoagulant agents to treat blood clots or other diseases in the circulatory system. The paper was published in ACS Nano.
Congratulations to Ruchika Gahane on winning the Best Poster Award at the DIATECH 2020 conference in Leuven, Belgium, January 27th-29th, 2020, for her poster titled “Functional Gold Nanoparticle based Lab-on-Chip Diagnostics” about the detection of pg/ml concentration of inflammation biomarkers using gold nanoparticle clusters.
A Review was published in the prestigious journal Advanced Functional Materials with an Impact Factor of over 15 in 2018. The article titled "Cell-instructive Multiphasic Gel-in-Gel Materials" by Sebastian Kühn, Jana Sievers, Aukha Stoppa, Nicole Träber, Ralf Zimmermann, Petra Welzel and Carsten Werner recapitulates approaches of engineering cell-instructive materials including the assembly of distinct gel phases, the embedding of gels in other gel materials and the patterning of preformed gel materials for therapeutic applications.
The new paper by Lucas Schirmer, Karolina Chwalek and other team members demonstrates in a mouse model that foreign body reactions to in situ-assembling starPEG-glycosaminoglycan hydrogels can be effectively controlled by defined adjustments of the modular materials, suggesting the system as safe and effective for in vivo tissue engineering applications.
Carsten Werner presented a keynote Cell-instructive biohybrid hydrogels at Life Science Technology Day 2019 – Workshop on Biological Materials at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, on December 11th, 2019. The KTH Life Science Technology day is an annual event to gather and inspire researchers at KTH in selected specific fields of biotechnology. Previous workshops have attracted several outstanding scholars, including the Nobel laureates like Stefan Hell and Kurt Wütrich.
Dr. Philipp Seib
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland
Title: "Silk: Discovery thread for healthcare applications"
December, 13, 2019, 14:00, MBC Seminar Room
Congratulations to Prof. Dr. Katrin Salchert on her election to be the new rector of the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Dresden (HTW Dresden / University of Applied Sciences Dresden) on December 10th. Katrin Salchert worked as a postdoc in the period of 2000 to 2007 at the IPF/Max Bergmann Center in the team of Carsten Werner before she was appointed Associate Professor for Biopolymers at the University of Applied Science Lausitz (BTU Cottbus – Senftenberg). In 2015, Katrin Salchert was appointed vice president for Knowledge- and Technology Transfer and Structure at BTU Cottbus – Senftenberg. – We wish her the best of success with her new leading position!
A cover was published in the current issue of ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (volume 11, issue 45) featuring the article Temperature-Induced Mechanomodulation of Interpenetrating Networks of Star Poly(ethylene glycol)Heparin and Poly(Nisopropylacrylamide) by Jana Sievers, Stefan Zschoche, Ron Dockhorn, Jens Friedrichs, Carsten Werner and Uwe Freudenberg. The cover illustrates their approach to modulate the physical and biomolecular network properties of growth factor affine starPEG-heparin hydrogels by sequential interpenetrating network (seq-IPNs) formation with P(NIPAAm). The obtained thermoresponsive seq-IPNs showed an up to 50-fold amplified elastic modulus and increased release of growth factors upon temperature change from 22 to 37 °C.