The Oxford Martin Programme on Nanotechnology was established at the Oxford Martin School in 2008, evolving from a project on nanoscience for medicine. The grant from the School ended in 2013. Although the programme no longer receives funding from the Oxford Martin School, Professor Contera and Dr Trigueros are actively involved in the School's community as Oxford Martin Senior Fellows.
What are we doing?
We are working at the interface of biology, physics, chemistry and engineering to create the tools to facilitate novel strategies for new treatments using nanostructures that target disease and promote healing.
Why is it important?
Nanotechnology has the potential to revolutionise the way we detect and treat trauma and disease. However, much work is needed to establish fundamental design principles and understand potential nano-toxicological effects before effective treatments can be developed.
How are we different?
We provide a catalysing network of expertise for Oxford University researchers who are working to understand the nanoscale effects of biomolecular interactions. We take both experimental and computational approaches in measuring and modelling these interactions to better develop new drug delivery techniques.
Antimicrobial resistance is common. It has developed against every class of antimicrobial drug and appears to be spreading into new clinical niches. We are designing new nanoparticle-based approaches to developing antibiotics. These new methods are expected to overcome the capacity of bacteria to acquire antibiotic resistance. We are developing new imaging methods based on atomic force microscopy (AFM) for high resolution imaging of bacterial cells, DNA and DNA-molecular motors to study the effect of antibiotic drugs at the single molecule level.
Biomaterials and medical devices constitute a $100 billion industry that improves the quality of life for millions of people. Nanotechnology has the potential to transform biomaterials by tuning their properties at the nanoscale to unlock the body's innate powers of organisation and self-repair, harnessing the regenerative capacity of tissues. We aim to understand the basic science of "biocompatibility" and use it to design novel materials tailored for their specific function. We are creating nanostructure-based nano-composites with biopolymers where we control the mechanical properties and the interface with biomolecules and biological fluids. These new surfaces and materials are studied in contact with proteins, DNA, living cells and in vitro tissue cultures.
Drug Delivery Systems
Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are the chief methods for cancer treatments but are highly invasive, damage healthy tissue and induce severe side-effects. The aim of this project is to develop a new multimodal cell-specific drug delivery system that selectively targets cancer cells, improves drug stabilization and avoids damage of healthy tissues.