Recent Activities

List the most recent reports

BiCMat Activity Summary 2019 (link to pdf that is attached)

We had 46 peer-reviewed journal publications for the year. Among them being the contribution of Dr. Blaise Tardy in the paper titled Biofabrication of multifunctional nanocellulosic 3D structures: a facile and customizable route, which was published in the cover of Materials Horizons (Vol.5, No.3). BiCMat members were also given many awards and grants such as the Anselme Payen Award to Prof. Orlando Rojas. Like every year, we had members whom graduated to achieve their PhD and MSc degrees. This year we had 12 graduates in total. We also welcomed 14 new members and hosted many visiting scholars from various universities around the world.

Let us go a bit more in-depth and start with the research highlights of the year.

BiCMat Activity Summary 2018 (link to pdf that is attached)

We highlight a few works to show the broad scope of our research:

Biofabrication of multifunctional nanocelullosic 3D structures

The biofabrication of multifunctional nanocelullosic 3D structures is a novel approach to integrate biofilms in the development of advanced materials. This is achieved when the cellulose-producing micro-organisms form membranes inside designed shapes that follow the “liquid marble” framework. Some possible applications for this research could be in biomedical tissue engineering; organ (bio)printing; capsule-in-capsule solutions; multi-compartmentalization; food

Greca, Lehtonen, Tardy, Guo, Rojas, Materials Horizons (2018), DOI: 10.1039/C7MH01139C

High axial ratio nanochitins for ultra-strong and shape-recoverable hydrogels and cryogels

Our next research highlight is into high axial ratio nanochitins for producing ultra-strong and shape-recoverable hydrogels and cryogels, which in turn can be used for antibacterial and antifungal systems for thermal insulation and air filtration, as well as drug delivery. In this particular research nanochitin is produced at low energy and high yield (~90%) to produce elastic hydrogels and cryogels. This is done by following hydrolysis for partial deacetylation of chitin, thereby producing ultra-high axial size (500) nanofibrils. Ice templating upon freezing and thawing is performed with simultaneous crosslinking.

Liu, Bai, Tripathi, Yu, Wang, Borghei, Fan, Rojas, ACS Nano, (2019)

CNC for structural color and coffee rings effects via drying flux inhomogeneities

The third area of research concerns the use of cellulose nanocrystals for structural color and coffee rings effects via drying flux inhomogeneities. This research of exploiting coffee ring effects to produce visual designs was a cross-disciplinary work. Some future applications can be envisioned in the areas of non-fading coatings in textiles; future design of materials for photonics application using reflection from nano-scaled architectures.

Klockars, Yau, Tardy, Majoinen, Kämäräinen, Miettunen, Boutonnet, Borghei, Beidler, Rojas, Cellulose, (2019). DOI: 10.1007/s10570-018- 

Micro- and nanocelluloses for the synthesis of highly-stretchable, tough and water-resistant co-continuous filaments

The weakening of interfibrillar hydrogen bonding is achieved by heterogeneous acetylation of wood fibers, which facilitates microfluidization and formation of continues filaments. This is done by a suspension, which forms a co-continuous assembly with a matrix that interacts strongly with the micro- and nanofibrils in the dispersed phase. This facilitates uninterrupted and defect-free wet-spinning. By the way of this research, advanced filaments can be produced that are water resistant, with remarkable stretchability (30 %) and ultra-high toughness.

Tripathi, Ago, Khan, Rojas, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces (2019)

Short and long nanochitin for oil/water interfacial super-stabilization and 3D printing

In the last research highlight nanochitins of various aspect ratio are produced and used to achieve super-stable emulsions that can possible used in 3D printing and advanced materials technologies, as well as in making structural-food.

Bai, Huan, Xiang, Nugroho, Rojas et al., Green Chemistry, 20, 1571(2018). DOI: 10.1039/C8GC00134KBiomacromolecules, 19, 1674 (2018). DOI: 10.1021/acs.biomac.8b00233ACS Sustainable Chem & Eng (2019)

Awards & Achievements

In 2018 we were given various awards and grants. One such highlight was Prof. Orlando Rojas receiving the Anselme Payen Award, which is one the highest honor in the area of Cellulose and Renewable Materials. Prof. Rojas, also received the EU Commission ERC Advanced grant, which is the most competitive project awarded in the EU for established scientists.

We also had Annamari Jukkola starting Mö Foods Oy, Luiz Greca receiving his second term in the Fellowship Doctoral Program and Jiaqi Guo receiving the Alexander von Humboldt fellowship.

Internal Activities

This past year also saw many BiCMat members graduate, but we also hosted new members to our fold. Amongst the graduates, seven achieved their doctoral degrees (PhD) and five got their master’s degrees (MSc). We would like to congratulate them all on their achievement.

Meri Lundahl (Aalto University, now with TeraLoop)
Ahsan Uddin (Aalto University, now with Tampere University)
Sanna Virtanen – Ph.D. (Aalto University)
Anurodh Tripathi (NCSU, USA now with LORD Corp)
Joe Lavoie (NCSU, USA now with Glen Raven, USA)
Prajesh Adhikari (NCSU, USA now with Intel, USA)

Amal Ishfaq
Sonja Päärnilä
Katariina Solin
Klockars Konrad
Riikka Virtanen

As some of graduates pursue their career in various other research facilities, we also welcome new members each year. This past year we had 14 new full-time members and 4 temporary researchers join us. Amongst them 5 joined us as senior and post doc researchers, 7 as PhD students, and 2 as MSc and Licentiate students. Like every year, not only do we welcome new members but we also host visiting scholar in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems. The 21 scholars whom visited us this year were from China, Brazil, Chile, France, Canada, Spain, and South Korea. A full list of new members and visiting scholar for the past year can be found in the attached pdf at the end of this article.

Contribution to the greater biomaterials community

In his capacity as the head of the BiCMat group, Prof. Rojas was asked to contribute to the greater biomaterials community. The year 2018 was quite busy in this front. He served in various committees, such as the Materials Platform (chair) and Tappi Research Committee for Nanotechnology of Renewable Materials (co-chair). In addition to serving in various PhD committees, he also performed duties as an opponent to doctoral candidates, and was part of evaluation teams for promotion and tenure. Along with being a distinguished researcher also comes opportunities to participates in editorial activities. In 2018, these new opportunities were to serve as editor-in-chief of Journal of Dispersion Science and Technology, co-editor of Bioresources and Bioproducts and as part of the editorial board of ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

Publishing Activities

As the result of various research activity at BiCMat, many of our members have been published in various publications. Being published in peer-reviewed journals is not only an achievement for the author but also serves as means of contributing to the scientific community and the body of research in order to help others in their work. In 2018, BiCMat members published 46 articles in journals such as Advanced Materials, Green Chemistry, Materials Horizons, and many others. Some of the research areas have already been highlighted at the beginning of this article. Please refer to the pdf at the end of this article for a more comprehensive look at the sources of the published works.

In order to share the research at BiCMat, our members also participated in many conferences and were invited to seminars across the world.

In Summary

As another year full of activity has come to an end, it is pertinent for us to take a look back to contextualize our work, both in terms of our individual research paths, but also as a group. In 2018, BiCMat members have done much to contribute towards understanding how lignocellulose, proteins and other biopolymers might be used as renewable resources. We hope that we will continue in this path while supporting each other, our colleagues at Aalto University, University of British Columbia, and our external partners.