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A bioinspired mucociliary clearance system based on mucin-mimetic supramolecular glycopolymers and artificial magnetic cilia for human airway stents

Grant number: 22/14809-5
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: December 01, 2023 - November 30, 2027
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Physical-Chemistry
Convênio/Acordo: Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
Principal Investigator:Watson Loh
Grantee:Watson Loh
Principal researcher abroad: Roxanne Kieltyka
Institution abroad: Universiteit Leiden, Netherlands
Host Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:Caio Gomide Otoni ; Cristiane Yumi Koga Ito ; Fabio Gava Aoki ; Jeroen Codee ; Leon Abelmann ; Massimo Mastrangeli ; Paulo Francisco Guerreiro Cardoso


The major innate defence system of the airways is mucociliary clearance. To move mucus unidirectionally out of the airways, the cilia, micrometre-long hair-like projections on airway epithelial cells, embedded in the periciliary layer, a dense mucin glycopolymer network, beat in a metachronal manner. Inspired by this biological example, we will develop synthetic mimics of the functional components involved in mucociliary clearance based on mucin-inspired supramolecular glycopolymers and artificial magnetic cilia that can be activated by an external magnetic field. We will explore the synergy between these synthetic components on the movement of mucus out of a tubular configuration for its eventual use in tracheal stents that consist solely of silicone-based tubings. The upgrade of these medical devices to an active, biomimetic platform is anticipated to reduce biofilm formation and infection due to the regenerable surfaces provided by the supramolecular polymers and beating of the artificial cilia through their magnetic actuation. The highly interdisciplinary nature of the proposal and matched expertise of the consortium on the Brazilian and Dutch sides with support from medical centres and a non-profit organization will facilitate the development of this bioinspired platform for mucociliary clearance from the molecular to the macroscale for tracheal health. (AU)

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