The control of infection and rising prevalence of non-communicable disease are major global healthcare challenges for the 21st Century.  Within this global healthcare context a consortium of material, biomedical and environmental scientists, at the University of Brighton (UK), Drexel University (USA) and Northwestern Polytechnical University (China), have launched a knowledge transfer scheme to develop a range of nanostructured smart materials.

Graphene nanoparticles, aerogels, carbide derived carbons, soft polymer and carbon composites will be developed with the potential to control biological toxins, microbial contaminants and persistent organic pollutants.  The goal of the project is to utilise the combined expertise of the partners to progress technology around newly emerging nanostructured materials, establishing a global centre of excellence and a training environment for researchers developing further applications related to healthcare.


About the Partnership

The project partners have combined expertise in nanostructured materials and in testing models to assess such materials for medical haemoperfusion and microbial, organic chemical and heavy metal decontamination applications. The partnership combines these skills with access to specialist equipment, knowledge and mentorship opportunities.

University of Brighton (UoB) Biomaterials and Medical Devices (BioMed) Research project team

Led by Dr Susan Sandeman.

Dr Sandeman’s research expertise is in biomedical applications for nanosorbent materials and she currently leads an NIHR i4i funded project developing an adsorbent device to promote toxin removal during haemodialysis, an EU FP IAPP project investigating adsorbent carbons for the removal of biologically active toxins and is co-investigator on other UK and internationally funded research projects.

Other members of the research team with input into the project include group leader Prof Sergey Mikhalovsky (Professor of Materials Chemistry), Dr Irina Savina (cryogelation, water remediation), Dr Carol Howell (antimicrobial and biological properties of activated carbons), Dr Yishan Zheng (biological properties of carbon composites, Dr Ganesh Ingalve (polymer chemistry) Iain Allan (quorum sensing, antimicrobial loading strategies), Dr Matt Illsley (sorbent dressings and tissue constructs), Dr Cressida Bowyer (cellular and microbial models), Dr Ray Whitby (carbon nanotubes, graphenes, nanomatierials for environmental remediation, Brighton lead on Global Education Outreach in Science, Engineering and Technology initiative GEOSET), Dr Peter Fearon (polymer chemistry, international business innovation), Prof Andy Cundy (nanomaterials in soil and water remediation).


The Drexel Nanomaterials research group (USA)

Led by Prof Yury Gogotsi (Distinguished University Professor and Trustee Chair of Materials Science and Engineering; Director of the A.J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute – expertise in carbon materials).
Other members of the team include Dr Vadym Mochalin (surface chemistry and modelling of carbon nanostructures, adsorption and drug delivery) and Amanda Pentecost (sorption of biomolecules on carbon). The group have expertise in the synthesis, characterisation and application of CDCs and worked on the synthesis and characterisation of ultralight aerogels.

Yuri Gogotsi

The NWPU team (China)

Led by Prof Li Hejun.
Other team members include Zhang Lei Lei (carbon foams, carbon nanotubes, cell interactions with coated C/C composites), Zheng Shougyang (carbon/carbon composite fabrication by chemical vapour infiltration), Xiao Hui Guo (graphine based materials, novel nanostructured catalysts for environmental treatment), Qian-GangFu (coating technology for C/C composites). The group brings expertise in antioxidant and bioactive coatings, large-scale production of graphene and in the design and physical characterisation of carbon composites.


About the funder

The Global Innovation Initiative (GII) is a shared commitment of the United Kingdom and the United States to strengthen research collaboration between universities in the UK, US, and selected countries. Consistent with the vision set by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barak Obama in joint statements signed in 2011 and 2012, the Global Innovation Initiative was created to support multilateral research collaboration to address global challenges.  The GII award is funded by the British Council, the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the U.S. Department of State.

GII award grants to university consortia focusing on interdisciplinary science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-related issues of global significance that foster cutting-edge multinational research and strengthen international partnerships. The grants are intended to bring mutual benefit to higher education institutions in the UK, US and selected countries with emerging economies through the enhancement of institutional ties and the development of multilateral relationships.

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide.  The British Council helps citizens and institutions contribute to a more inclusive, open and prosperous world and connects local issues to global themes, ranging from social action to diversity and youth issues.