Dr. Maikel Rheinstädter is a Professor of biophysics and University Scholar in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at McMaster University. His research focuses on the field of membrane biophysics and the role of membranes in infectious and neurodegenerative diseases. He is also Director of the Origins of Life Laboratory at McMaster and an Associate Director of the Origins Institute, where his group investigates the formation of RNA and proto cells under prebiotic, early Earth, and early planetary conditions. Current research also includes work to develop blood-based vaccines and antibiotics. He is a founder of Synth-Med, a spinoff company that develops membrane-based sensors to detect bacteria in food and water.
Synthesis of hydroxyapatite and other bioceramics. Fabrication of nanoparticles and nanofibers. Electrodeposition of polymers, bioceramics, bioglass and composites. Electropolymerization. Electrophoretic deposition. Investigation of fundamental adhesion mechanisms. Electrodeposition of composite polymer films, containing proteins, enzymes, antimicrobial agents. Fabrication of biomedical implants. Surface modification of implants with coatings, containing anticoagulants. Surface modification techniques. Investigation of corrosion protection. Anodization. Electrochemical biosensors. Porous scaffolds. Materials for drug delivery.
Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering
My research interests are centered on the design of highly ordered and structured materials to elucidate the role of biomaterials in the extracellular environment to improve human health by advancing the field of tissue engineering. We are particularly interested how cells communicate with extracellular structures and how these interactions evolve over time. To this end, we are designing tools to probe the effects of the 3D extracellular environment on cellular activities such as proliferation, migration and differentiation. We have previously developed a hydrogel patterning where proteins are simultaneously immobilized with high spatial resolution (~50 um) to mimic the natural environment. We are currently expanding developing methods to control the chemical properties of hydrogels over time to mimic the dynamic natural environment, as well as methods to rapidly screen the effects of chemical environments on cellular activities. Our group particularly relies on photochemistry, biophysical interactions and click chemistry in the synthesis of biomaterials. We are particularly interested in using these tools to elucidate the role of biomaterials on stem cells and cancer cell migration.
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
Our research at McMaster University is focused on development of radiolabelled, ultrasound, and fluorescence molecular imaging probes, for use in medical imaging. We develop both small molecule and large biomolecule agents that target radionuclides, novel fluorescent compounds and microbubbles to tumors or metabolically active tissues, providing medical or research applications by PET, SPECT and ultrasound technologies. The development and translation of these agents benefits from several of the advanced instrumentation and specialized services of the Biointerfaces Institute, including bright-field and fluorescence microscopy, and the MALDI and small compound mass spectroscopy. As our work progresses we expect expanded use of BI facilities including Chemidoc Imaging. The Valliant Research Group (http://www.johnvalliant.ca) offers collaborative expertise and technical resource in radionuclide chemistry for development of radiolabelled probes, used in both biological and biomedical research to members and users of the BI.
Professor, CEO, Centre for Probe Development & Commercialization (CPDC)
Our research is focused on developing new materials and integrating these into biosensing platforms using rapid and benchtop methods. We combine methods such as electrodeposition, craft cutting, polymer-induced wrinkling, screen printing and electrospinning to create multiscale materials that are tunable in morphology and in a wide range of lengthscales. We are interested in translating this structural tunability to functional tunability for creating low voltage lysis devices, low current on-chip magnetic separation devices, and ultra-sensitive bioanalytical sensors.
My research interests focus upon cancer cellular mechanotransduction, tissue microenvironment, and the complex interplay between autophagy and mechanotransduction during breast cancer metastasis. The lab discoveries of my research group in Biointerfaces Institute are driven by the application of biotechnology via microfluidic device fabrication, pharmacological and genetic screening, cancer organoid development, fluorescent imaging and proteomic profiling. In our group we tailor the research to precision medicine and achieve the discovery and validation of biomarker panels for a given disease at the genomic and proteomic levels.
Assistant Professor, School of Engineering Technology
The Higgins group focuses on addressing sustainability challenges through the development, understanding and integration of new nanomaterials into electrochemical energy conversion and storage technologies, including electrolyzers, fuel cells, supercapacitors and batteries. A key factor that dictates the performance of these nanomaterials is the properties of their surface — particularly how their surfaces interact with inorganic and organic species. The facilities at the Biointerfaces Institute are utilized by the Higgins team for preparing and processing unique nanomaterial structures, and for understanding the surface structure and properties that can provide fundamental insight into performance capabilities.
Our research is aimed at achieving a deeper understanding of the mechanisms involved in protein and cell interactions at material surfaces for the development of advanced devices. Chemical, biological and topographical surface modification strategies are used to control and analyze surface properties. Through the Biointerfaces Institute we use a variety of surface characterization instruments, biological techniques and other tools to advance our research. Our main focus is on improving polymeric materials for blood contacting devices, along with immunomodulatory materials development. Our work on protein-material interfaces impacts a breadth of areas including tissue engineering, drug delivery, nanomaterials, membranes and biosensors.
Assistant Professor, Materials Science and Engineering
My research involves the application of electrochemical techniques (conventional and scanning) in combination with site-specific surface analytic techniques to establish links between the corrosion performance of structure engineering alloys and their corresponding surface films and underlying microstructures to elucidate the controlling anodic and cathodic processes in play. The end game is to develop corrosion control schemes that target the controlling anodic and/or cathodic processes: the emphasis being placed on microstructure development and protective coating schemes. My targeted areas of research include lightweight Mg and Al alloys for the transportation industry, corrosion-resistant alloy for energy generation and pipeline steels for the oil and gas distribution industry. I consider XPS to be a critical ex-situ surface analytical instrument in my research tool box as it yields both composition (element) and structure (oxidation state) information, as a function of depth, which is key to our augment our understanding and to provide a physical description of the corrosion processes.
Jeremy Hirota is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Respirology and a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Respiratory Mucosal Immunology at McMaster University. His extensive research and understanding of in vivo, in vitro, and clinical exposure models guide the research strategy of the Hirota Lab, where he is developing an internationally recognized research program in respiratory mucosal immunology focused on lung health and disease. Jeremy is interested in studying chronic respiratory diseases and the impact of exterior factors, such as cigarette and cannabis smoke. He has received infrastructure funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to advance his work on The Tissue Engineering for Advanced Medicine (TEAM) Lab: a Platform for Precision, Prevention, Diagnosis, and Medicine. Operational support includes grants from CIHR, NSERC, and the Ontario Government. Jeremy is Co-Founder of Infinotype Inc. a health solutions company merging data sciences and biomedical research to create software solutions for disease and infection diagnosis/monitoring.