Professor Bo Su


  • BS1 2LY


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

The Biomaterials Engineering Group (bioMEG) mainly works in the area of materials processing and surface engineering for biomedical applications. Our focus is on both basic research in scientific understanding of materials fabrication processing and applied research in materials solutions for clinical needs. The broad and multidisciplinary research is aimed at developing novel materials and surfaces for dental and orthopaedic implants, tissue engineering scaffolds and medical devices.

Our current research activities include:

1. Cell-instructive surfaces and materials

The development of novel materials able to control cell activities and direct their fate is pivotal for engineering smart implants, functional biological tissues, and advanced cell culture systems. It is well known that both chemical and physical cues have a great influence on cell functions of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, by triggering specific molecular events at the cell–material interface. Our current research projects are focused on physical control of materials and surfaces (i.e. topography and mechanical stiffness) to modulate cells and bacteria. We have been developing new micro/nanopatterning techniques for clinically relevant materials e.g. titanium metals, polymers, ceramics and composites, including anodisation through mask and template, hydrothermal growth, controlled thermal oxidation, electrochemical micromachining, colloidal lithography and hot embossing. We work with stem cell biologists and microbiologists to study how cells and bacteria response to different topographies and to understand the mechanisms which regulate cellular and bacterial attachment, spreading and differentiation or colonisation. We also produce ECM-mimicking nanofibre networks with variable mechanical stiffness to direct stem cell differentiation for tissue engineering scaffolds, cell culture substrates and smart implants.

2. Biomimetic and bio-inspired materials

Natural materials such as seashell nacre, human teeth and bones have remarkable mechanical properties of high strength and toughness. However, nature grows theses materials from the bottom-up approach using the biologically controlled self-assembly. We explore the top-down approach from colloidal powder processing routes for the fabrication of hierarchically structured ceramics and composites to offer cost-effective engineering solutions for dentistry, orthopaedics and regenerative medicine.

The design and fabrication of ceramics with tunable porosity, pore structure and gradient are based on colloidal chemistry principle. We have been developing a range of processing techniques e.g. direct protein foaming, freeze casting and 3D printing to control the hierarchical structure and properties of ceramics and composites. The potential applications include tissue-matching implants and restoratives, load-bearing tissue engineering scaffolds.

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Research Output

  • 100 Article (Academic Journal)
  • 4 Conference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)
  • 3 Review article (Academic Journal)
  • 1 Chapter in a book

Novel Anodization Technique Using a Block Copolymer Template for Nanopatterning of Titanium Implant Surfaces

Sjöström, T., McNamara, L. E., Yang, L., Dalby, M. J. & Su, B., Nov 2012, In : ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. 4, 11, p. 6354-6361 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

21 Citations (Scopus)

Fabrication of pillar-like titania nanostructures on titanium and their interactions with human skeletal stem cells

Sjostrom, T., Dalby, M. J., Hart, A., Tare, R., Oreffo, R. OC. & Su, B., 2009, In : Acta Biomaterialia. 5, p. 1433 - 1441 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

189 Citations (Scopus)

Antibacterial effects of nanopillar surfaces are mediated by cell impedance, penetration and induction of oxidative stress

Jenkins, J. J., Mantell, J. M., Neal, C. R., Gholinia, A., Verkade, P., Nobbs, A. H. & Su, B., 2 Apr 2020, In : Nature Communications. 14 p., 1626 (2020) .

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Open Access
  • 40 Downloads (Pure)

    Supervised Work

    An Alternative Approach to Combat Antimicrobial Resistant Infections of Medical Implants and Devices

    Author: Jenkins, J. J., 28 Nov 2019

    Supervisor: Nobbs, A. (Supervisor), Su, B. (Supervisor) & Verkade, P. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


    Biomimetic Gelatin Nanofibrous Scaffolds for the Mechanical Modulation of Cardiac Pericyte Fate

    Author: Naduthottathil, M. R., 1 Oct 2019

    Supervisor: Davis, S. (Supervisor), Su, B. (Supervisor) & Madeddu, P. R. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


    Developing antimicrobial polymeric nanostructured surfaces to combat biomaterial associated infections

    Author: Ishak, M. I., 12 May 2020

    Supervisor: Su, B. (Supervisor), Briscoe, W. (Supervisor) & Nobbs, A. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)