What do we do...

We aim to direct cellular behavior by means of material properties. In order to achieve this, a fundamental understanding needs to be created how cells respond to materials, in particular towards several parameters simultaneously. Parameters such as stiffness, chemical composition (charge, polarity, non-covalent interactions, hydrophobicity etc.), and topography are parameters known to drastically influence cellular behaviors. When the single parameters influence the behavior of cells then combined parameters do this as well and not necessarily in a predictive fashion. We study this using complex multiparameter interfaces and nanomaterials.

Why do we do it...

By combining various disciplines ranging from chemistry (organic/polymer/physical) to biology and medicine in an environment as diverse as the University Medical Center Groningen, a more translational approach towards functional systems is envisioned to be reached. This is facilitated by close collaborations between the W.J. Kolff Institute for BioMedical Engineering and Materials Science, the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, Engineering Institute Groningen, and Stratingh Institute for Chemistry. In the end it is expected that the created fundamental understanding how materials influence cellular behavior, combined with a multidisciplinary approach for translation, novel applications and actual implementation clinical uses will be achieved.

How do we do it...

We use various approaches to tailor properties of (nano)materials. This can be structural features on surfaces such as surface topography or mechanical properties or chemical properties altering surface chemistry of materials or chemical composition of nanostructures. The major tools that we use are:

1. Complex surface gradients

2. Nanogels, hydrogel nanoparticles

The above systems allow us to alter the properties and combine them with various cell types including mesenchymal stem cells, macrophages, fibroblasts, muscle sattelite cells (muscle stem cells), and many others for understanding how we can enhance or direct processes such as differentiation behavior, tissue/cell morphology, migration, cellular uptake, foreign body response (fibrosis), and cell training/memory implantation. For studying many of these aspects, we collaborate with experts in the field and thereby combining materials science and chemistry with engineering and expert biological and medical experience.

In what are we interested?

Below there are a few keywords that best described our research focus and interests on various matters.


Polymeric Microgels


Proteins / Viruses


Biodegradable Polymers

Inorganic (Nano)Biomaterials


Stem Cell Differentiation

Cell Adhesion - Morphology



Cell Migration

Complex Cell Co-cultures


Tissue Engineering

Regenerative Medicine



Implant Technology

Material-Driven Solutions


High-Throughput Screening

Coatings & Biointerface Technology


Added Manufactering

Clinical Translation

Biomedical Engineering