A new consortium, led by John Harding at
Sheffield and comprising groups from Warwick
, Cambridge and
University College London has been funded by EPSRC under the Materials Modelling Initiative.
Full details can be found on the
consortium website .
The consortium will build advanced models of heterointerfaces in biological and biomimetic materials to address
problems from medical implants to nanodevices and composites. There is a remarkable growth in our ability to
exploit the interface between materials and biology. Bio-material interfaces often determine
biomaterial properties. Molecular recognition of surfaces by proteins is critical for biocompatibility
since the attachment of cells to implants is initiated by protein adsorption The development of biosensors and the
full exploitation of probe microscopies for chemical resolution need detailed models of bio-material interfaces.
Furthermore, the control of biomineralization on organic scaffolds and templates is a key to the directed self-assembly
that is essential if devices based on molecular-scale electronics are to be mass-produced. While recent results
demonstrate clearly that proteins can control the assembly of nanoparticles, further progress requires an understanding
of the specifics of interface recognition. Modelling the energetics and kinetics of bio-material interfaces in realistic
aqueous environments is judged to be the best route to the understanding called for by world-leading experimental
communities working in these areas.