Kevin Braeckmans - NANOBUBBLE
Having obtained a Licentiate degree in Physics at Ghent University (Belgium) in 1999, Kevin Braeckmans joined the Laboratory of General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy (Ghent University) to perform research on advanced optical microscopy methods for pharmaceutical applications. During his Ph.D. he was involved in the development of a new type of encoded microcarriers for diagnostic applications, for which he received the first price for Young Biotechnology Researchers from the Funds of Biotechnology (FBBF, Belgium) in 2005. In 2004 he received a post-doctoral fellowship from the Fund for Scientific Research – Flanders, focusing on single particle tracking microscopy. During this time he joined the group of prof. Braüchle (Lehrstuhl für Physikalische Chemie I) at the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München where he was involved in the development of algorithms and software for single particle tracking analysis. In 2008 he was appointed as professor at Ghent University where he is currently leading the Bio-Photonic Imaging Group in close collaboration with the Ghent Research Group on Nanomedicines (prof. Stefaan De Smedt). His research involves the development and application of microscopy-based methods for studying the interaction of nanomaterials with biological barriers. In 2015 he was awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant (2015-2020) to continue his recent work on light-enabled drug and nanoparticle delivery.
Laser-induced vapour nanobubbles for intracellular delivery of nanomaterials and treatment of biofilm infections (NANOBUBBLE)
Lasers have found widespread application in medicine, such as for anti-cancer photothermal therapy. Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs), are often used as enhancers of the photothermal effect since they can efficiently absorb laser light and convert it into thermal energy. When absorbing intense nano- or picosecond laser pulses, AuNPs can become extremely hot and water vapor nanobubbles can emerge around these particles in tissue. These nanobubbles will expand up to several hundred nm until the thermal energy from the AuNP is consumed, after which the bubble violently collapses, causing mechanical damage to neighbouring structures. In this project the aim is to make use of the disruptive mechanical force of vapor nanobubbles to enable highly controlled and efficient delivery of macromolecules and nanoparticles in mammalian cells and microbial biofilms. Applications will range from anti-cancer immuno cell therapy, over improved labelling and visualization of cells, to the treatment of chronic wound infections.