Materials in Health Technology

Our research focus is in understanding the interface of materials in biomedical applications.

One of the main focus areas is developing sensor technologies for health care. Improved sensor technologies will be a crucial modulator in changing disease-focused health care to preventive health care. To this aim, sensitivity, selectivity, temporal resolution, stability and biocompatibility of the sensors need to be improved. Moreover, the clinical success of an implantable medical device is determined by the interaction between the implanted material and the human body. Therefore we need to develop implant surfaces that generate the most beneficial cellular or tissue response in the specific application. We strive to understand how the properties of the materials could be assigned to their performance. Fundamental characterization of the materials and in situ measurements of interfacial phenomena provide novel essential information about materials and their reactivity.


Biohybrid carbon nanomaterials for the detection of female hormones BIO-CAFE

Biohybrid carbon nanomaterials for the detection of female hormones BIO-CAFE is funded by the Academy of Finland (2022-2026).

Women remain underrepresented in clinical trials, and the impact of the menstrual cycle on pharmacology is not tested. Menstrual cycle impacts have been reported for several medications, meaning that dosages can sometimes be too high or too low, and drug-induced arrhythmias are more likely. This project focuses on the development of an electrochemical sensor for the detection of female hormones. The sensor is based on biohybrid carbon nanomaterials. The measurement of hormones is helpful in clinical trials and, for example, in wastewaters, where estrogen pollution is a problem.

Carbon Interface Connecting Living and Artificial Worlds CICLAW

Carbon Interface Connecting Living and Artificial Worlds CICLAW is funded by the Academy of Finland (2019-2025).

The population of the European Union is ageing rapidly, which will impose a heavy burden on the health care systems. New groundbreaking diagnostic and therapeutic methods must be realized to tackle this challenge. The biological environment sets significant challenges for measurements, and biofouling has been proposed as the main reason for sensor failure in vivo. Fouling involves the passivation of the implant by proteins and lipids (and sometimes by the analyte itself) and by uncontrolled host response that results in the formation of a scar-like capsule around sensors. In this project, we will utilize the novel concept of structured carbon nanomaterial electrodes to solve the above-mentioned problems and outperform conventional structures. The project outcome will result in applications of personal diagnostic devices and benefit neuroscience research.

Climate-smart health technologies CLISHEAT

CLISHEAT is a consortium project funded by Academy of Finland (2023-2025). The project is led by the Materials in Health Technology group and other partners are Ari Nissinen (Finnish Environment Institute), Matti Kaisti (University of Turku/Department of Computing), Pekka Marttinen (Aalto University/Department of Computer Science) and Kari Tikkinen (University of Helsinki/Faculty of Medicine).

The health care industry is among the most carbon-intensive service sectors in the industrialized world. 60-80% of the carbon footprint of healthcare is due to clinical care, while current actions on carbon-neutral healthcare aim largely on greening buildings, electricity and gas. CLISHEAT will obtain a detailed breakdown of the footprint of clinical care. With this knowledge, we can focus the development of new health technologies to reduce the carbon footprint. Critically, it is estimated that harmful and low-value treatments compose 32% of the carbon footprint of the health care sector, and increased data may add overdiagnosis. CLISHEAT brings this point to the attention of health technology developers and provide insight how artificial intelligence could be used to prevent overdiagnosis. Finally, climate change is damaging human health. CLISHEAT focuses on developing technologies that will help the healthcare to adapt to the increasing burden caused by the climate change.

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