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Distinguished iNANO Lecture by Associate Professor Jenny Malmström, University of Auckland

Engineered biointerfaces - for applications from biology to magnonics

Info about event


Friday 8 December 2023,  at 10:15 - 11:00


iNANO Auditorium (1593-012)


Professor Duncan Sutherland (duncan@inano.au.dk)

Associate Professor Jenny Malmström, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Auckland

Engineered biointerfaces - for applications from biology to magnonics

In our research group, we use materials engineering to understand biology better, and to create advanced materials. This seminar will cover topics from self-assembly to pattern polyoxometalates (POMs) at surfaces to how we engineer hydrogels to better understand how mammalian cells sense their surroundings. While these topics appear disparate, they are linked by the materials engineering approaches used.

Mammalian cells sense and adapt to forces and physical constraints imposed by the surrounding extra cellular matrix. Such mechanotransduction plays a crucial role in cell function, differentiation, and cancer. Our hydrogel research stems from a need for better experimental systems to understand these intricate phenomena. For example, we have developed a projection method to pattern the elastic modulus of GelMA hydrogels, and we have developed viscoelastic gels where the mechanical properties of polyacrylamide gels are tailored by polymerizing a second network within the polyacrylamide gel.  We have also developed conductive hydrogels, that provide tools for both electrical and mechanical stimulation of cells. Our data also demonstrate that conductive hydrogels can be used to encapsulate and release drugs with excellent control.

I will also show how we have created nanoscale patterns of magnetic POMs at interfaces, with an aim to create self-assembled magnonic crystals. We have seen intriguing effects when thin films of weakly antiferromagnetic POMs are arrayed on a ferromagnetic material.

Jenny Malmström is an Associate Professor at the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Auckland, a PI of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology and a co-director of the centre of Innovative Materials for Health. Currently, she is on research and study leave at Ångströmslaboratoriet, Uppsala University.

She received her MSc degree in Bioengineering from Chalmers and a Ph.D. in Nanoscience from iNANO at the University of Århus. From Denmark she moved to Auckland, NZ, where she initially joined the School of Chemical Sciences as a post-doctoral research fellow.

Her research focusses on creating functional biointerfaces to understand and control biological systems and she is also interested in the non-classical properties of biological molecules, such as piezoelectricity, and the use self-assembly to create advanced materials.