Prof. Jean-Paul (Moshe) Lellouche is a member of the Department of Chemistry and the Nano Materials Center at the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA). Lellouche’s main research interests include the chemical design, fabrication, and characterization of a wide range of functional nanomaterials for various energy, biomedicine, and (bio) sensing-driven applications.
Lellouche’s group has successfully performed multi-step chemical synthesis of various pyrrole (Pyr), thiophene (Th), and carbazole (Cbz)-containing (electro) oxidizable monomers, which has led to the development of different nanosized materials such as polyPyr/polyTh/polyCbz-multi-walled carbon nanotubes. These materials are useful for (i) surface nano-structuration in sensing devices and sensors, (ii) mechanical re-enforcement of polymeric matrices, and (iii) securing conductivity features in polymeric matrices (PMMA, epoxies, PCs). This work is primarily based on an innovative, patented process they developed, called “CP polymer growth from surface.” This process has solved the major limiting issue of phase separation, and has recently been adapted for the development of highly hydrophobic scratch-resistant polymeric coatings.
Lellouche and his team also developed an original co-hydrolysis method using variously modified bifunctional silicate species for the development of a number of hybrid silica (SiO2) nanoparticles. These particles possess very useful features, such as simultaneous hybrid FT-IR and fluorescence imaging capabilities, and photoreactivity for covalent attachment/surface modification. As a result, they are currently implementing R&D applications that deal with in vitro and in vivo bi-modal cancer cell/tissue imaging as well as the development of a new generation of catalytic metallic nanosized conductive inorganic/organic nanoparticulate systems for fuel cell technology.
In addition, they are working on the surface modification/nanostructuration of non-functional biocompatible parylene C-D polymers (biocompatible implant technology), and the surface nanostructuration/chemical engineering of QCM sensing resonating crystals/electrodes for early cancer detection using an acoustic non-contact methodology.
The fabrication of high quality, non-aggregated iron oxide-based nanoparticles is useful for major biomedicine applications such as cell sorting, magnetism-mediated drug delivery, cancer hyperthermia, and magnetic resonance imaging.
However, nanoparticle aggregation has been a major obstacle for the success of these applications. In this context, Lellouche’s laboratory team has developed an innovative process towards non-toxic hydrophilic maghemite (ã-Fe2O3) nanoparticles that demonstrate complete control of the NP aggregation level. Rather than involving surface-passivating bifunctional ligands or routinely used physically adsorbed natural/non-natural polymers, the process makes use of a new concept of surface doping using Ce3+ cations for electrostatic stabilization of resulting Ce3+-doped particles.
Lellouche and his team are currently developing various polymeric and inorganic nanosized formulations in order to effectively deliver biologically significant cargos into diseased cells. Examples of these include gene silencing RNA sequences and FDA-approved antimicrobial agents.
Polymeric polyethyleneimine nanoparticles fabricated by the group using an innovative “intra-chain collapse” method have achieved significant cell penetration and total RNA delivery, illustrating their great potential for gene silencing.
In addition, they have demonstrated that “trojan horse”-like silica (SiO2) and polyacrylate (PAs) nanosized formulations of typical FDA-approved antimicrobial agents have bacteria killing capabilities that are greater by a 105/6 factor, as compared to free agents (triclosan case). Current studies aim at further developing this nanotechnology-mediated approach to hybrid/multipotent antimicrobial particles as a potentially useful solution to human health-threatening bacterial diseases.