Lipid Bilayer Interactions with Nanoneedles


Alexis Belessiotis-Richards


Alexis Belessiotis-Richards (1), Molly M Stevens (1), Alfredo Alexander-Katz (2)

Author Affiliation: 

(1) Departments of Materials and Bioengineering and Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Imperial College London, London, UK. (2) Department of Materials Science & Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA


High aspect-ratio nanostructures have recently become very versatile tools in the field of cell biology. Indeed, nanowire and nanoneedle arrays have been successfully exploited for direct cellular manipulation with application including intracellular sensing and highly efficient drug delivery among others. A particular class of these nanomaterials are porous silicon nanoneedles (NNs) developed by in the Stevens Group. These NNs were shown to be extremely efficient drug delivery vectors whilst being fully biodegradable and sustaining cell function and viability. However, the nature of the interactions between these NNs and the cellular membrane is unknown. Indeed, drug delivery results suggest direct access to the cytosol whilst high resolution imaging reveals intact cellular membranes and tight wrapping around the needle. With the use of large-scale coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations, we intend to investigate the mechanisms behind needle-mediated drug delivery and the potential for membrane penetration.