Research Research groups Bone biochemistry

About this research group

This research group focuses on the mechanisms of bone biomineralization in both physiological and pathological situations. The group combines advanced imaging and spectroscopy to study the chemistry and structure of the extracellular matrix, in particular the processes underlying the assembly, crosslinking and mineralization of collagen.

Research group leader

prof. dr. Nico Sommerdijk

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Aims

The group aims to understand the mechanisms of collagen mineralization in bone, where the growth of inorganic carbonated hydroxyapatite (cHAP) is directed by the dynamic interaction with collagen and non-collagenous proteins (NCPs) over different hierarchical levels, from the nanometer to the multi-micron scale.

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Aims

The group aims to understand the mechanisms of collagen mineralization in bone, where the growth of inorganic carbonated hydroxyapatite (cHAP) is directed by the dynamic interaction with collagen and non-collagenous proteins (NCPs) over different hierarchical levels, from the nanometer to the multi-micron scale. Understanding these processes not only builds our fundamental understanding of bone formation, but is also crucial for the development of treatments for bone defects and mineralization-related diseases.

We use a combination of advanced electron microscopy and spectroscopy to understand the structure and composition of healthy and affected bone, down to the molecular level. To capture the dynamics of the bone formation processes we are building a bone-on-a-chip 3D model system using genetically engineered stem cells, aiming for live imaging with nanoscale resolution.

To achieve our goals, we bring together many disciplines, including chemical biology, biochemistry, materials chemistry, spectroscopy and advanced electron microscopy. Our research also involves collaborations with (inter)national top experts in various areas, with companies to push the limits of our imaging capabilities, and with clinicians to apply our knowledge in future patient care.