Talk by Ralf Richter – Glycosaminoglycans at the biointerface

generalDr Ralf Richter visited the University of Glasgow last Tuesday and delivered a talk at our weekly Biomaterials Seminar. He presented his work over the years with extracellular matrix polysaccharides and soft biological hydrogels, trying to understand how they function in health and disease.

Extracellular matrix polysaccharides such as hyaluronan (HA) and other glycosaminoglycans are vital to the communication of cells in multicellular organisms, and are involved in many physiological and pathological processes including inflammation, fertilization, neuronal plasticity, tumor development and atherosclerosis. How these molecules work remains largely elusive because they do not obey classical structure-function relationships and are challenging to study with conventional structural and biological techniques. They lack a well-defined secondary structure and much of their functions rely on the formation of dynamic and disordered supramolecular assemblies (hydrogel-like materials).

richterTo study these molecules and materials, Richter’s lab has developed in vitro model systems with tunable complexity, like in vitro reconstituted HA matrices, or self-assembly of purified biomolecules on solid supports. These model systems are amenable to quantitative analysis, and allow a better understanding of how the properties of the individual molecules and interactions translate into supslideramolecular assemblies with distinct physico-chemical properties, and how new phenomena emerge from multivalent interactions. For instance with this models the Richter Lab have also shown that matrix-bound chemokines can promote cell adhesion even in the absence of any established cell adhesion ligand, and potentiate cell adhesion when such ligands are presented.

Dr Richter is a Associate Professor at University of Leeds. He has been to several European countries in his career. From his MSc in Sweden, PhD in France in 2004, to research done in Germany and Spain. More information on his research interests and projects can be found here.

A doodle summary of the presentation by Dr Mathis Riehle can be found here.

Biointerfaces 2017 – FEBS Workshop

A FEBS Workshop with the title “Biological Surfaces and Interfaces: Interface Dynamics” will take place from the 2nd July to 7th July 2017 in Hotel Eden Roc, Sant Feliu de Guixols, Catalonia, Spain.

Prof Manuel Salmerón-Sánchez (University of Glasgow, UK) and Ilya Reviakine (University of Washington, USA) will chair the event.

Find all the information – programme, abstract submission and registration instructions – in this link.


This conference covers research into the dynamics of biological interfaces. The goal of the meeting is to bring together researchers from diverse disciplines who are actively working on this topic and to engage young scientists at the doctoral and postdoctoral level, nucleating new ideas and new directions.


Thomas BARKER – Dynamic molecular complexes in cell interaction with the ECM
Timo BETZ – Activity at the border: How active cytoskeleton-membrane interaction control cell mechanics
Matthew J. DALBY – Nanoscale control of stem cell differentiation
Aranzazu DEL CAMPO – Light-triggered dynamic biointerfaces
Reinhard FÄSSLER – Mechanosensing via cell-matrix adhesions
Andres J. GARCIA – Biofunctional dynamic hydrogels for tissue repair
Delphine GOURDON – Fibronectin mechanobiology regulates tumorigenesis
Pamela HABIBOVIC – Design-driven biomaterials development: decoupling and recombining individual material properties
Viola VOGEL – Mechanobiology: the art of forming and forcing bonds to break
Peter JÖNSSON – Studying intermolecular interactions between membrane-anchored proteins using hydrodynamic forces
Laura MACHESKYIUBMB Lecturer – Role of the actin cytoskeleton, matrix and stiffness in cancer invasion and metastasis
Yukiko MATSUNAGA – Actin cytoskeleton and cell migration in cancer
Catherine PICART  – Engineered biomaterials coatings for the control of cell fate: from molecular mechanisms to regenerative medicine
Ralf RICHTER –  Many weak interactions make a difference – from superselective targeting of cells to macromolecular transport across the nuclear envelope
Kevin SHAKESHEFF – Thermoresponsive materials as injectable matrices for regenerative medicine
Molly STEVENS – Exploring and engineering the cell/material interface
Masaru TANAKA – Interfacial water at the cell/protein/material interface
Xavier TREPAT– Collective guidance of cell migration and invasion
Tobias WEIDNER – Protein control of hard and soft tissue – a molecular view


Thinking of doing a PhD? Information Event tomorrow.

posterThe UofG Engineering Undergraduate Course and PhD information Event will take place this Wednesday 11th January in rooms 427A and B of the James Watt (South) Building. Doors open 3pm – 6pm. Several of our PhD students and Research Associates will be around. We have prepared two new posters that present the current research activity of MiMe.

Keynote presentation at the 7th RSC Biomaterials Chemistry Special Interest Group Annual Conference

rsc-logoProfessors Matt Dalby and Manuel Salmeron-Sanchez will be giving a Joint Keynote Presentation titled “Working together – growth factor and nanovibrational technologies” this next Thursday 12th January at the 7th RSC Biomaterials Chemistry Special Interest Group Annual Conference at Ulster University, Northern Ireland. More info about the event here.

Prof Salmeron-Sanchez interviewed on BBC Radio this morning

fabw-technlogiesProf Salmeron-Sanchez was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service this morning. He talked about our recently awarded Find A Better Way grant. This is a five year long regenerative medicine project based in Glasgow to develop bone tissue grafts, grown in-vitro in the lab, ready to be delivered to the surgeon. The ultimate goal is to allow treatment of landmine and blast injuries and reconstruction of lost tissue beyond what is possible now.

Listen to the 4-5 minutes interviews in these links:

Radio 4:
World Service:

Open Postdoctoral and Project Manager positions in EPSRC Programme Grant

challenges-and-projectsTwo Postdoctoral and a Project Manager position are now open with deadline for applications 08/01/2017, to work based in the Division of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Glasgow. These jobs are part of our five year cross-disciplinary EPSRC Programme Grant with partners in the Universities of Glasgow, Nottingham and Imperial College.

Links to the job alerts and application instructions below:

Programme Grant Project Manager ref 015131

Programme Grant Research Assistant / Associate ref 015129

Programme Grant Research Assistant / Associate ref 015128

New growth factor synergistic systems. Feature article and cover. ChemComm, Issue 91, 2016.

coverA feature article has been published by Professors Manuel Salmerón-Sánchez and Matthew J. Dalby in the journal ChemComm (Chemical Communications).

The paper – Synergistic growth factor microenvironments. Chem. Commun., 2016, 52, 13327-13336 – is also accompanied by a contribution to the cover of ChemComm, Issue 91, 2016, thanks to the art skills of Dr. Aleixandre Rodrigo-Navarro.

The paper describes current advances with the presentation of growth factors (GF) bound to surfaces from a solid-phase state rather than in soluble form, recapitulating the way the extracellular matrix (ECM) binds GFs. This more effective presentation allows GFs to work in cooperation with integrins and enhance GF signalling due to the crosstalk between both receptors. This knowledge has been used to engineer microenvironments that target simultaneous integrin and GF receptor engagement seeking to maximise GF effects in vitro (e.g. in terms of stem cell differentiation) but also tissue repair in vivo (e.g. bone regeneration and wound healing).


Bioengineering for Cancer – Workshop at the CRUK Beatson Institute 28th November

“Bioengineering for Cancer: Microenvironment, Modelling and New Approaches” it’s a 1-day Centre Workshop happening at the CRUK Beatson Institute, Garscube Estate, next Monday 28th of November. Co‐organisers are Manuel Salmeron­‐Sanchez and Laura M. Machesky.

Registration is free and there’s still time to register abstracts. Deadline is 1st of November. 

The aim of this event is to provide interactions and ideas for collaboration among local bioengineers and cancer biologists.

The worshop includes:

  • Confirmed keynote speakers Robert Insall (CRUK Beatson Institute), Manuel Salmeron­‐Sanchez (Biomedical Engineering, University of Glasgow) and Alan Murray (Bioengineering, University of Edinburgh)
  • 6 short talks chosen from abstracts
  • Multiple flash poster talks
  • Poster session

More info and registration links here.