A*STAR Outstanding Publications Award
2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016
A*STAR Patent Power Award
2009 and 2010
Singapore HEALTH Award
(Platinum) 2012, (Gold) 2008 and 2010
Nanotechnology Providing the Tools to Clean Up Oil Spills
A*STAR researchers are using the power of nanoscience to clean the Earth’s waters
Porous nanoparticles can remove toxic heavy metals from contaminated water to trace amounts within seconds.
© 2016 A*STAR Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
October 11, 2016 – Oceanic oil spills are tough to clean up. They dye feathers a syrupy sepia and tan fish eggs a toxic tint. The more turbulent the waters, the farther the slick spreads, with inky droplets descending into the briny deep.
Now technology may be able to succeed where hard-working volunteers have failed in the past. Researchers at the A*STAR Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) are using nanoscience to turn an oil spill into a floating mass of brown jelly that can be scooped up before it can make its way into the food chain.
“Nanoscience makes it possible to tailor the essential structures of materials at the nanometer scale to achieve specific properties,” says chemist Yugen Zhang at IBN, who is developing some of the technologies. “Structures and materials in the nanometer size range often take on distinctive properties that are not seen in other size ranges,” adds Huaqiang Zeng, another chemist at IBN.
Ringing the Changes
Subtle variations in size, shape and electronic properties of ring-shaped molecules, known as macrocycles, lead to changes in ion-selectivity
From left: Dr Jie Shen, Dr Huaqiang Zeng and Dr Changliang Ren from IBN.
August 10, 2016 – Selective ion transport is the foundation of water purification technology, as well as underpinning a range of biological effects — such as the function of nerves — and diagnostic technologies that use ion-sensitive electrodes to detect abnormalities in biological fluids. Now A*STAR researchers have invented a new synthetic ion recognition system and found a way to fine-tune the selectivity of the system that will benefit many applications.
The ability to pick out one type among many metal ions is vital in many fields. Ring-shaped molecules — known as macrocycles — have long been used as synthetic ion recognition systems. The ion binding properties of the macrocycles are defined by the size and shape of their internal cavity and how well this matches with the desired metal ion.
Now, Dr Huaqiang Zeng from the A*STAR Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, and colleagues from China, have designed a series of macrocycles assembled from five building blocks.
A New Way of Looking at Cancer
The IBN researchers who discovered that the circulating cell clusters commonly found in cancer patients come from the blood vessels that line the tumor rather than from the tumor itself. Front row (left to right): Dr Min-Han Tan, Dr Nur-Afidah Mohamed Suhaimi, Ms Jess Vo, Dr Poh Koon Koh and Prof Jackie Y. Ying. Back row (left to right): Dr Ciprian Iliescu, Dr Wai Min Phyo, Dr Min Hu and Mr Daniel Lee. © Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
July 8, 2016 – Clusters of circulating cells commonly found in the blood of cancer patients have long been the subject of research on cancer. These clusters have been regarded for more than 50 years as malignant cells that have broken off from the primary tumor, spreading cancer to other parts of the body. Now, researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) of A*STAR have reported that these clusters are unlike what others have assumed previously, potentially opening up new ways to detect and inhibit the spread of cancer.
Due to the technical challenges of separating these clusters from normal blood cells, limited research has been performed on these clusters. The working assumption was that these cell clusters are malignant cells from the tumor.
A national research team led by Dr Min-Han Tan, Team Leader and Principal Research Scientist at IBN, has shown that these cell clusters come from the blood vessels that line the tumor rather than from the tumor itself. The team includes researchers from IBN, A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore, Concord Cancer Hospital, National University of Singapore, National Cancer Centre Singapore, and Singapore General Hospital.
IBN in the News
Taking the Fight to the Enemy with Lab-Grown Tumours
The Straits Times, 24 Aug 2016
How the Body Makes Pipes
A*STAR Research, 10 Aug 2016
The Search of the Perfect Antiviral Has Taken A New Step Forward
Popular Science, 09 Aug 2016
NEW! Facile and Phase-Defined Determination of HLA Alleles with Morpholino-Functionalized Nanoparticle Probes
(IF: 5.671) article
Electrospun Polystyrene Scaffolds as a Synthetic Substrate for Xeno-Free Expansion and Differentiation of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
Acta Biomaterialia, (2016)
(IF: 6.025) article
Facile Carbohydrate-Mimetic Modifications of Poly(ethylene imine) Carriers for Gene Delivery Applications
Polymer Chemistry, 7 (2016) 5862-5872.
(IF: 5.687) article