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Research Interests and Competencies

Core Competencies at ICBT

Our interdisciplinary research priorities and core competencies.

At ICBT we are working on very interdisciplinary fields from nanotechnology and functional materials, organic and medicinal chemistry to biomaterials and tissue engineering, biochemistry, chemical and biochemical engineering, industrial chemistry and analytical chemistry.

Find more information on our website or contact Dr. Agnes Zoller.

Competencies Life Sciences

In the area of life sciences at ICBT we have excellent competencies in broad range of research fields such as:


We put our knowledge into practice in projects with life science companies, the pharmaceutical industry as well as in education courses and general teaching. Our core competencies are:

  • recombinant protein expression
  • downstream processing
  • protein analytics
  • bioinformatics

Cell Culture Technology and TEDD

Organ-like human tissue models are an important tool for drug development and evaluation of active substances. The focus of our research is the construction of three-dimensional tissue cultures using human primary cells. We have been applying the methods of tissue engineering for over 10 years to various tissue types such as bone, cartilage and intervertebral discs, connective tissue and skin, the liver and the pancreas. These in vitro tissues and the use of various technologies provide the basis for many diverse objectives and applications. Our developments are used in areas such as:

  • Cell culture technology: automated processes, consideration of biomechanical aspects and bioprinting
  • Biomaterials and implants: development, characterisation, surface modification and in vitro studies
  • Medicine: regenerative, cell-based therapies and clinical trials
  • Drug development: Cultivation and use of organotypic models for substance evaluation 

Medicinal Chemistry and Organic Chemistry

The research activities are focused on the organic synthesis and analyses of small novel and complex molecules at the interface between chemistry and biology. Medicinal Chemistry collaboration with research based pharmaceutical companies according to our complete set of medicinal chemistry capacities (from structure based design to organic synthesis) consulting in the area of medicinal chemistry and process management for start-up as well as small and mid-sized pharmaceutical companies (computational drug design, establishing screening concepts, development of structure activity relationships, development of clinical candidates, process optimization employing SixSigma process management tools).

The following core areas outline our main research activities:

  • Medicinal chemistry
  • Organic synthesis
  • Organic analysis
  • Synthetic methodology
  • Cheminformatics

Microbiology and Biofilms

In collaboration with the industry and our project partners, we develop and check case-specific solutions for challenges such as how existing biofilms can be tackled and their formation controlled and reduced.

With the help of existing test systems as well as customer-specific modifications and developments, we can observe and analyze biofilm formation.

  • Cultivation of biofilms on different surfaces
  • Screening of measures for preventing biofilm formation in various technical systems such as drinking water pipelines, paper machines, cooling lubricants, etc.
  • Analysis and inspection of measures for preventing biofilm formation on various systems such as medical technology implants
  • Checking of germ reduction strategies

The analysis of biofilms is carried out by means of traditional microbiology, biochemistry and chemistry methods such as:

  • Enrichment, isolation, cultivation and characterisation of microorganisms
  • Quantification of bacteria using various methods (classical methods and Flow Cytometry)
  • Identification of bacteria using mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF)
  • Imaging techniques such as light and fluorescent microscopy, confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM)

Competencies Materials Science

The focus of the Centre for Nanotechnology and Functional Materials are the modification and analysis of surfaces and the development of applications in the following areas of chemistry and biology:

Functional- and biomaterials, nanotechnology

Materials: nano and mesoporous silicates with adjustable pore size (1 – 10 nm) and shape containing gated channels, tailor made nanofibrous carriers from volatile payloads to large biomolecules such as phages, and surfactant free polymeric nanocarriers with amphiphilic surface properties.

  • development of new modified surfaces using nanotechnology (e.g. Langmuir Blodgett technology, layer-by-layer coating)
  • development of nanofibers based membranes for filtration applications
  • application development in the field of nanotubes and meso porous silica
  • MIPs (Molecularly Imprinted Polymers) for customized absorption and sensory applications
  • encapsulation and controlled release of pharmaceutical actives using nano fibers
  • stabilization of molecules by encapsulation in nano porous materials
  • materials for light management (e.g. light collectors for solar cells)
  • development of new column materials for chromatography
  • synthesis of Janus particles and investigation of their properties

Surface analysis

  • analysis and assessment of surfaces using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM)
  • analysis of surfaces using confocal Raman microscopy
  • measurement of surface charge (zeta potential) of powder, fibers, membranes, woven and non-woven fabrics using streaming potential measurements
  • in vivo/in vitro skin penetration studies of actives

Filtration methods

  • consulting on the selection of appropriate  filtration systems and filter  aid
  • systematic analysis and selection of filter aids
  • depth filter sheets development - use of new fibers and / or inorganic materials
  • tailor-made filtration products for the specific removal of contaminations
  • services for optimizing industrial filtration processes

Special equipment

  • field emission scanning electron microscope (SEM) with EDXatomic force microscope (AFM)
  • zeta potential meter
  • BET surface measurement
  • Pore size analysis
  • X-ray fluorescence spectrometer
  • confocal Raman microscopy (532, 671, 785, 1064 nm)
  • confocal Fluorescence microscopy
  • River Diagnostics Model 3510 Raman Skin Composition Analyzer
  • laboratory filtration plant
  • Jetlab system for rapid prototyping
  • electrospinning equipment for technical scale applications
  • Langmuir Blodgett technology for molecular monolayers
  • dynamic contact angle measurement