Within the program of materials for diagnostics and biotechnology processes, we focus on the design, synthesis and characterization of regular spherical polymer materials, such as composite particles, combining a synthetic or a natural polymer and an inorganic component.
Our interest shifts to magnetic and/or upconverting nanoparticles, which are recently much in demand. Using a magnet, such particles are easily separated from media containing various heterogeneous components or targeted to the desired place, where they release a payload (drug). Preferably, they are used in biochemistry for isolation of enzymes, proteins and cells, labeling of cells and their monitoring by magnetic resonance imaging after transplantation, as well as for removal of toxic inorganic ions from waste water. Magnetic components, such as iron oxides (magnetite, maghemite, ferrites), are completely encapsulated by polymers to avoid adverse interactions.
Moreover, for separation or drug delivery purposes, polymer composite particles containing chemical functional groups are prepared. Upconverting particles then emit UV-vis light after near infrared irradiation to activate a photosensitizer and produce singlet oxygen to kill cancer cells in so called photodynamic therapy. If the particles are radiolabeled, they are suitable for multimodal PET or SPECT/CT imaging of living tissues. We are also engaged in the development of bidodegradable 3-D scaffolds for cell cultures.