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Doctoral defence of M.Sc. Hedar Al-Terke

Welcome to the public doctoral defence of Hedar Al-Terke on Monday May 10th at Aalto University.

Title of the thesis: Functional Liquid-Fluid Interfaces Based on Hydrophobin Proteins: An Experimental Study for Medical Applications

Opponent: Assistant Professor Outi Supponen, ETH Zurich

Supervisor: Professor Robin Ras, Aalto University, Department of Applied Physics

Date: Friday 10.5.2024 at 12

Location: Aalto University, Kemistintie 1, Lecture hall KE1 and online.

Summary of the thesis: Interfaces are everywhere in our daily lives, from placing objects on surfaces to taking medication. They occur when two phases meet directly, and functional interfaces play a crucial role in many everyday tasks. This dissertation explores how functional interfaces can help solve specific medical challenges. 

The first part of the dissertation looked at how hydrophobin proteins form droplets, and how the protein behaves at the droplet interface. The results showed that the protein forms a rigid layer at a certain concentration, which changes the shape of droplets. This discovery could be important for engineering and medical purposes, as it offers a way to control droplet shapes in different environments. Innovative techniques were also introduced to extract antibodies using functional interfaces. By breaking down an oil-based ferrofluid into smaller droplets with a magnetic field, the surface area of liquid-liquid interfaces was increased, enabling the functionalization of these interfaces for antibody extraction. 

The second part of the dissertation investigated the properties of protein-coated gas bubbles. These bubbles could be useful as contrast agents in medical imaging and in delivering drugs to specific parts of the body. In addition, a novel approach involving protein-coated bubbles was explored for developing an advanced ultrasound molecular imaging probe capable of targeting specific cells, such as cancer cells. This method shows potential for enhancing the precision and sensitivity of molecular imaging techniques for early disease detection and precise disease targeting. 

This dissertation shows that functional interfaces have great potential in solving medical challenges. It provides insights into creating new materials and methods that can improve medical diagnostics and treatments. 

The electronic version of the thesis can be found at: 


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