Funded by the Horizon 2020 program (Twinning project) of the European Union and coordinated by the Jožef Stefan Institute, Slovenia, the SurfBio project is aiming to contribute to understanding of the interaction mechanisms of microorganisms, bacteria, and biomolecules with the surfaces, which will help to uncover the growth of biofilms, fight infectious diseases, and design new drug delivery carriers.

Project description

Microbial cells are special sort of colloids that combine physicochemical properties of particles with the biological properties such as division, growth, change of surface characteristics and others. Moreover, microbial cells can be modified by using nanoparticles, polymers, biomolecules etc. which result in new emergent properties of each part separated. Understanding the interaction of these new bio-colloid particles or just individual cells with biomolecules and inanimate materials in order to form bio-colloids as well as understanding their interactions with surfaces is a key factor that can lead to advancement in several fields, including biotechnology, coating technologies and development of novel drug delivery carriers. In fact, these subjects are relevant to many materials, which will end-up in an environmental setting. The project is dedicated to studying these interactions using advanced microscopy techniques and approaches and will contribute to finding sustainable solutions to processing of industrial products and materials in a way to support green and circular development of industries. Essential part of the project activities is focused on training, developing joint research capabilities, and facilitating cooperation with research partners from the Southern and Eastern regions of EU.


Studying the interaction of microorganisms and biomolecules between themselves and with the surfaces is main objective of the SurfBio project. Other specific objectives include:

  • Training in state-of-art analytical methods for studying microbial cell-surface and microbial cell-colloid interactions and facilitate their future implementation.
  • Improving capabilities in iterative wet-dry methodology applied to decipher complex cell-surface and cell-cell interactions through systems biology techniques (Cell Physiology).
  • Facilitate knowledge exchange, assessment and policy recommendations in the area of cell- and cell-surface interaction.

Role of Ghent University

The role of Ghent University is to investigate bio-colloids – surfaces interaction and provide training to the partners using advanced microscopy characterization techniques, including Raman microscopy and atomic force microscopy (AFM).




Prof. A. Skirtach
Department Biotechnology
Phone number: +32 92645969