Pratt Hosts International Symposium on Biointerface Science

Duke's Pratt School of Engineering hosted the first International Symposium on Biointerface Science in New Bern on May 12-14.

The conference focused on the challenges that researchers face in the silicon electronics industry when pairing soft, wet biological substances with hard, dry materials to create nanoscale "biohybrids."

Biointerface science explores the interaction between biological and artificial materials at a molecular level. Such research crosses the traditional boundaries of materials and surface science, molecular and cell biology, engineering and medicine.

"This is the first international conference on biointerface science -- an interdisciplinary area of research of increasing importance as we seek to capitalize on the fruits of the genomic revolution in designing cheaper and better DNA and protein chips, biosensors, clinical diagnostics and biomedical implants," said Ashutosh Chilkoti, associate professor in biomedical engineering and co-director of the Center for Biologically Inspired Materials and Materials Systems (CBIMMS) at Duke. "This symposium sets the stage on the evolution of an international network of researchers that are collaboratively working on different aspects of biointerface science."

The conference featured talks on three themes: synthesis and processing of nanoscale biohybrid materials; the science of biointerfaces; and the challenges associated with integrating and manufacturing biohybrid materials.

"Our hope is that this conference will strengthen international collaboration in biointerface research and development, and bring academic and industry research teams together," said Robert Clark, senior associate dean at the Pratt School and CBIMMS co-director.

More than 85 researchers attended the conference, coming from as far away as Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The symposium was sponsored by the Army Research Office, the Pratt School of Engineering and Duke's Office of the Provost.