Dr Paul Molino
Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, AIIM Faculty
University of Wollongong
BSc (Hons) Marine Zoology and Environmental Science, University of Melbourne
PhD Botany, University of Melbourne
Dr Paul Molino completed his PhD in Botany at the University of Melbourne, Australia in 2008. He is currently a Vice Chancellor Research Fellow at the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute (IPRI), ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, at the University of Wollongong, Australia. His research interests include studying fundamental biomolecular and cellular interactions with nanostructured materials using a range of microscopy techniques and microgravimetric surface sensing techniques. He is interested in the design of biomaterials to promote beneficial protein and cellular interactions, as well as developing ultra-low fouling materials and coatings for both biomedical and environmental applications.
Protein Interactions with Nanostructured Conducting Biomaterials
We are employing Quartz Crystal Microgravimetry with Dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) to study the fundamental interactions between proteins and conductive biomaterial polymers. QCM-D allows the study of the direct interaction between the protein and the substratum, providing information relating to the kinetics, mass and molecular conformation of the surface bound protein which are all critical to subsequent tissue and cellular interactions with the biomaterial surface. This technique allows us to study changes in protein binding as a function of a number of variables, including polymer chemistry, surface nanostructure and electrical stimulation.
Cellular Interactions with Nanostructured Conducting Biomaterials
QCM-D is currently being applied to study the nature of cellular interactions with biomaterials. This technique allows a direct measurement of the degree of interaction between the cell membrane and the surface, as well as the viscoelastic, or mechanical properties, of the cell at the material interface. Real-time measurement of the contact, adhesion and spreading of cells can provide insights into cellular processes during adhesion, as well as an understanding of the influence of material properties on fundamental cell – material interactions, in turn assisting in the design of biomaterial interfaces, and tailoring of surface modification or electrical stimulation protocols that will benefit ultimate material performance.
Ultra-low Biofouling Materials
The unwanted accumulation of proteins, cells, or microbial organisms on man-made surfaces is termed biofouling, and is a major problem for a range of industries, including the biomedical field, potable water production, shipping, maritime engineering, water transport, construction and aquaculture. We are currently developing a range of diverse materials that are designed to resist interactions with organics and microbial organisms, preventing the development of biological layers on the material surface that are detrimental to the functionality of the material or coating. Our approach is to design nanostructured materials that are tailored for specific applications, where a range of material properties including nano- and micro-topography, surface chemistry, wettability, surface charge and electrochemical properties are modified to produce materials that strongly resist interactions with a range of biomolecules, cells and inorganic fouling compounds. The biological interactions with these materials are probed using a range of state-of the-art techniques, including QCM-D, Bio-AFM and Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy.
Tel: +61 2 4298 1449