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Dr. Martin Wing Cheung MAK


Martin Mak received his degree in chemistry at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2000. Then, he joined Prof. Renneberg research group and received his Ph.D. in Bioengineering at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2004. During his Ph.D. studies, he awarded a grant from Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) as a visiting scientist working with Prof. Scheller at the Potsdam University, and Prof. Caruso at the MPI of colloids and interfaces in Germany, where he start his research on microencapsulated analytical system. He has developed the first controlled permeable microcapsules to perform biochemical reactions and mimic cellular reaction for DNA amplification with patents granted in Europe and China.[1] Following his Ph.D., he worked as a senior research fellow at National University of Singapore in the Division of Bioengineering, where he starts his independent research on the development of different techniques to create polymer microcapsules for biomolecule encapsulation and to manipulate microcapsule interfacial properties.[2],[3],[4] In 2008, he awarded a grant from Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds (FIB) as a visiting scientist collaborating with Prof. Bäumler at the Institute of Transfusion Medicine in Charité University, Berlin. Based on his expertise on biomolecule encapsulation, he has developed a facile aqueous-based technique to fabricate pure protein particles (i.e. pure hemoglobin particles) that can be potentially used for transfusion medicine.[5] In 2008, he moved back to Hong Kong worked as a research associate at the Sino-German Nano Analytical Laboratory (SiGNAL) in The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, where he continue his own research on engineered colloids for various bioanalytical and biomedical applications.[6],[7] One of the highlighted research is the development of engineered nanocrystal as biolabels for signal amplified bioassays. This work is continued in the spin-off company SuperNova Diagnostic Inc., of which he is the consultant and share holder since 2008. In 2009, he awarded a grant from Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), The Germany/Hong Kong joint research scheme to initiate a pioneer research on protein-based particle for transdermal drug delivery with Prof. Lademann at the Center of Experimental & Applied Cutaneous Physiology in Charité University, Berlin and research on is still on-going.[8],[9] In 2011, he joined the Nano and Advanced Materials Institute Limited in The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology as a technical manager, which he initiated and lead R&D projects on biosensors and biomedical devices with local industrial parties through the government innovative and technology commission. In addition, he also provided advices and technical supports to local industrial parties on design and commercialization of biomedical devices.

In March 2012 he moved to the Linköping University in Sweden, where he is currently a research fellow jointly in the “Biosensors and Bioelectronics Centre” of the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM) and the “Integrative Regenerative Medicine (IGEN) Center” of the Faculty of Health Sciences working on independent research focusing on development of biosensing techniques for tracking the well-being of stem cells and/or implants both in vitro in cultures and in vivo.


Current activities

Our Vision:

Design and integrate of novel colloidal materials with unique properties for sensing, diagnostics, pharmaceutics, environmental sciences, tissue engineering and cellular studies.

Research Highlights:

Hybrid Inorganic-Biological Colloidal Materials

Hybrid inorganic-biological materials with combined physiochemical and biological properties have attracted much attention for emerging applications including medical, diagnostics, catalysis, biofuel cells and nano-devices. Inorganic nanomaterials impart unique optical, electrochemical and magnetic characteristic; while biological materials provides specific bio-recognition capability, and offer excellent biocompatibility. Integration of various inorganic and biological materials into a one entity allows intimate contact and enhances the synergistic interactions between the hybrid materials. Our research direction is focus on development of simple, robust and low-cost fabrication technology to design and fabricate hybrid inorganic-biological colloidal particle with tailored functions in a precise and controllable manner, and explore their commercial opportunities in high value added industries such as pharmaceutical, diagnostic, medicine and bio-electronic devices.

Capsule-based Sensing

The development of new biomimetic microcapsules required the development of new biomaterials and fabrication techniques capable of controlling the mimetic microenvironment. This research is driven by a unique and pioneering technology developed in our group on the first controlled permeable microcapsules to perform biochemical reactions and mimic cellular reaction for DNA amplification with patents granted in Europe and China. The significance of this technology has been further demonstrated by its ability to mimic RNA transcription and sequential biochemical reactions, and this has been highly cited in prestigious Journals such as Chem Reviews, Adv. Mater. and Adv, Funct. Mater. A recently published review article in 2011 “A Critical Look at Multilayered Polymer Capsules in Biomedicine: Drug Carriers, Artificial Organelles, and Cell Mimics” comment on the applicant´s work on microcapsule technology as “A significant step towards the latter goal (artificial organelle) is a recent report on a successful polymerase chain reaction conducted within confines of multilayered polymer capsules, an approach to encapsulated PCR which takes full advantage of the mechanical stability and semipermeable nature of polymer capsules. This system clearly holds significant promise as a tool for biotechnology and with due miniaturization and choice of catalytic reactions may significantly contribute to the design and performance of artificial organelles and cell”. Our research direction is focus on development of biomimetic microcapsules for precise study of biochemical reactions in microenvironment.

Wearable Contact Lens Biosensors with Nanoengineered Architecture Interface

This interdisciplinary project is bridging research activity between our Biosensors and Bioelectronics Centre on wearable biosensors for non-invasive ocular diagnostics and Integrative Regenerative Medicine (IGEN) Centre on cornea regenerative medicine for infection-associated cornea transplant rejection. Ocular fluid is an extracellular fluid excreted from the tear gland. With recent advance of proteomic technology, several important biomarkers from ocular fluid have been identified having significant clinical diagnostic value for various diseases. Contact lens is disposable, relatively cheap and serves as a platform to obtain direct intimate contact with ocular fluid which is an attractive and a promising platform for non-invasion ocular fluid diagnostics. With the support from LIST, we have recruited a Master student Ms. Jenny Orban joining our group to develop surface engineering techniques integrating biorecognition layer onto contact lens surfaces. This initiative project will serve as a foundation for the future development of wearable biosensors, and subsequently to perform clinical studies with patients. Our long-term goal is to develop simple, inexpensive and non-invasive contact lens-based wearable biosensors for rapid screening of different potential health risk factors in ocular fluid.

Self-Assembled Protein Colloids for Transdermal and Transfusion Medicine

The hair follicle is an important drug delivery site as it is easily accessible, supported by a dense blood capillary bed and is closely associated with dendritic and stem cells. In collaboration with Prof. Lademann at the Center of Experimental & Applied Cutaneous Physiology in Charité University, we discovered an advanced highly effective approach for follicular transdermal drug delivery using biocompatible protein-based microparticles as drug carriers, which hair follicles can be used as reservoirs and targets for drug, immune or gene therapy. Our research direction is focus on controlling drug release in hair follicles, design biocompatible carrier with tailored release mechanism, and studying the uptake of released drug by Langerhans cells.

Cell Microencapsulation and Monitoring Towards Cell Therapy

Delivery of stem cells to target tissues for tissue regeneration is extremely challenging. Stem cell microencapsulation provides a new strategy, which may improve the effectiveness of cell delivery to the target tissue by creating a semi-permeable container separating the encapsulated cells and the environment. In parallel, monitoring of the encapsulated cells inside the microcapsule environment is important to optimise the microcapsule construct design and therapeutic efficacy. We have initiated collaboration with IGEN on integrated stem-cell encapsulation and monitoring for tracking the well-being of the encapsulated stem cells for cell therapy. A visiting master student, Inés Moreno from Cranfield University (UK) has joined our group to develop encapsulation techniques based on hydrogel materials and to perform cell monitoring within microcapsules. Our research strategy is focus is on controlling and monitoring proliferation of stem cells within microcapsules and testing encapsulated Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells (HUVEC) for use as a cardiac patch for heart muscle regeneration.


Course coordinator, lecturer and examiner: Biosensors Technology TFTB34

Lecturer: Introduction to Biosensors TFYA62

Supervisor: CDIO course Materials in Medicine TFTB36, CDIO course Engineering Project TFYY51

Lecturer: Biosensor Congress 2016 Summer School - Gothenburg, Sweden

Lecturer: Biophotonics-Riga 2013 Summer School - Riga, Lativa

Current Supervision

Mr. Lingyin Meng (PhD candidate)

Former Supervised Students:

Ms. Maike Bensberg, Master Thesis, Linköping University, “Studies on the properties of encapsulated stem cells for regenerative medicine”. (2016)

Ms. Diana Atanasova, Master Thesis, Linköping University, “Fabrication of gelatin fibrous scaffold for cardiac stem cell culture and tissue regeneration”. (2016)

Mr. Kalle Bunnfors, Master Thesis, Linköping University, “Synthesis and electrochemical characterization of processable polypyrrole boronic acid derivatives for carbohydrate”. (2015)

Mr. Ham Nadhom, Master Thesis, Linköping University, “Protein microparticles for printable bioelectronics”. (2015)

Ms. Diana Atanasova, Master Thesis, Linköping University, “Encapsulation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells and human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells in agarose hydrogel for cell and cytokine release”. (2015)

Mr. Brice Magne, Master Thesis, Linköping University joint Cranfield University, UK, “Elaboration of a thermosensitive cell release system using agarose, gelatin and bone marrow derived human mesenchymal stromal cells for the treatment of acute myocardial infarction”. (2015)

Mr. Tobias Benselfelt, Master Thesis, Linköping University, “Flow cytometry sensor system targeting Escherichia Coli as an indicator of faecal contamination of water sources”. (2014)

Ms. Surachada Chuaychob, Master project, Linköping University joint Prince of Songkla University, Thailand, “Well defined conducting polymer (PEDOT/PSS) microparticles”. (2014)

Ms. Supannee Sankoh, PhD project, Linköping University joint Prince of Songkla University, Thailand, “Electrochemical releasing control and detection of polypyrrole particles drug delivery system”. (2014)

Ms. Gemma Farreras, Final year project, Linköping University joint University of Lleida, Spain, “Development of label-free biosensing technique through the preparation and characterization of novel nanobioconjugates”. (2013)

Mr. Rodtichoti Wannapod, PhD project, Linköping University joint Prince of Songkla University, Thailand, “Nanostructured polypyrrole microparticles for high performance energy storages”. (2013 - 2014)

Ms Zhao Xin, Master Thesis, Linköping University joint Dundee University, “Nanostructured conducting polymer based materials for controlled drug delivery”. (2013)

Ms. Moreno Inés, Master Thesis, Linköping University joint Cranfield University, UK, “Cell microencapsulation in agarose biomaterials: A step towards cell therapy”. (2012)

Ms. Orban Jenny, Master Thesis, Linköping University, Sweden, “Contact lenses based biosensors for tear diagnostics”. (2012)

Mr. Itthipon Jeerapan, Master project, Linköping University joint Prince of Songkla University, Thailand, “Functional polypyrrole for direct fabrication of electrochemical sensing interfaces”. (2012)

Selected publications

[1] W.C. Mak*, K.Y Cheung and D. Trau, Diffusion controlled and temperature stable microcapsule reaction compartments for high throughput microcapsule-PCR. Advanced Functional Materials, 18, 2930-2937, 2008. (Featured in “Material Views 2008, November, A1-A8”)

[2] W.C. Mak*, K.Y. Cheung and D. Trau, The influence of different polyelectrolytes on Layer-by-Layer microcapsules properties – encapsulation efficiency, colloidal and temperature stability. Chemistry of Materials, 20, 5475-5484, 2008.

[3] W.C. Mak*, J. Bai, X.Y. Chang and D. Trau, Matrix assisted colloidosome reverse-phase Layer-by-Layer - encapsulating biomolecules in hydrogel microcapsules with extremely high efficiency and retention stability. Langmuir, 25, 769-775, 2009.

[4] J. Bai, S. Beyer, W.C. Mak, R. Rajagopalan, and D. Trau*, Inwards buildup of concentric polymer layers: A method for biomolecule encapsulation and microcapsule encoding. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 49, 5189-5193, 2010.

[5] W.C. Mak*, R. Georgieva, R. Renneberg, H. Bäumler, Protein particles formed by protein activation and spontaneous self-assembly. Advanced Functional Materials, 20, 4139-4144, 2010.

[6] W.C. Mak*, K.K. Sin, C.P.Y. Chan, L.W. Wong, R. Renneberg, Biofunctionalized indigo-nanoparticles as biolabels for generation of precipitated visible signal in immunodipsticks. Biosensors & Bioelectronics, 26, 3148-3153, 2011.

[7] W.C. Mak*, K.K. Lai, R. Renneberg, Multifunctional Protein Particles with Dual Analytical Channels for Colorimetric Enzymatic Bioassays and Fluorescent Immunoassays. Biosensors & Bioelectronics, 32, 169-176, 2012.

[8] W.C. Mak, H. Patzelt, W. Sterry, K.K. Lai, R. Renneberg, J. Lademann, Drug delivery into the skin by degradable particles. European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 79, 23-27, 2011.

[9] W.C. Mak, A. Patzelt, H. Richter, R. Renneberg, K.K. Lai, E. Rühl, Wolfram Sterry, J. Lademann, Triggering of drug release of particles in hair follicles, Journal of Controlled Release (2012), doi:10.1016/j.jconrel.2012.04.007.

 Patents (inventor)

[1] D. Trau, W.C. Mak, R. Renneberg, (WO03078659; US2005202429; EP1488006; AU2003226679; CN165234; SG2004050969), Microcapsules with Controllable Permeability Encapsulating a Nucleic Acid Amplification Reaction Mixture and Their Use as Reaction Compartments for Parallel Reactions. (EP1488006B1, CN1656234B Granted)

[2] D. Trau, S. Beyer, W.C. Mak, (WO2008091228; SG144763), Reverse Phase Layer-by-Layer Encapsulation Method of Highly Water Soluble Materials. (Pending)

[3] W.C. Mak, L.W. Wong, C.P.Y. Chan, R. Renneberg, (WO2010142960), Signal Amplification Microspheres, Their Use in One-Step and Multi-Step Analytical Amplification Procedures and Methods for Their Production. (Pending)

[4] W.C. Mak, L.W. Wong, C.P.Y. Chan, R. Renneberg, K.K. Sin (WO2010142963), Signal Accumulation for Improvement of Signal Readability of Solid Phase Substrates after Signal Amplification. (Pending)

Contact info

Office: 2E:673

Email: wing.cheung.mak@liu.se

Phone: +46 (0) 13-28-6921

Responsible for this page: Martin Wing Cheung Mak
Last updated: 11/11/16