Hierarchical 3D-structured nanocellulose aerogels and networks for use in biomedical applications
We will use theoretical and experimental methods to develop functional and hierarchical 3-dimensional nanocellulose structures for use as ultrafiltration membranes or adsorbents to broaden our fundamental knowledge of nanocellulose and its surface modifications for separation and isolation of biological exosomes, viruses or bacteria in medical uses. We will use two different processing approaches 1) 3D printing of nanocellulose gels followed by lyophilisation to ultra-light and porous membranes with desired structure, functionality, thickness and form, and 2) electrospinning of nanofiber networks which are further functionalized using surface modified nanocelluloses. The fabrication processes, micro- and nano-structural behaviour and adsorption/separation mechanisms with biological samples will be studied and their effectiveness will be tested as well as theoretically modelled. The results will generate new knowledge on the use of cellulose in biomedical applications and contribute to Swedish and Finnish bioeconomy. The proposed project will also help develop novel and high-value forest products and further strengthen the synergistic collaboration and partnership between the two universities in North.
The research focuses are:
to utilize cellulose as novel functional material for ultrafiltration or adsorption of exosomes, bacteria and viruses and;
to develop new processing methods, 3D printing of highly porous aerogels and electrospinning of robust nanofiber networks.
This project is conducted as a collaboration between Prof. Kristiina Oksman, LTU and Assoc. Prof. Henrikki Liimatainen, University of Oulu.