Biointerfaces Institute

McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
What the facility does

Rapid synthesis, screening, analysis and identification of engineered materials responding to, or compatible with, biological systems.

Areas of expertise

The Biointerfaces Institute is a state-of-the-art facility implementing high-throughput research workflows to investigate the nature of the biological/material interface. The institute has expertise in high-throughput synthesis and screening, surface characterization, polymer chemistry, bioassay development, ophthalmic biomaterials, development of advanced sol-gel–based biomaterials and biosensor technologies. Its members span several disciplines, including chemistry, chemical biology, biochemistry, chemical engineering and biomedical engineering.

Research services

Assay development/scale-up and formatting, point-of-care diagnostics and biosensors, biomedical materials development and screening, cataloguing and modelling of fundamental properties of biointerfaces, particle design/synthesis and characterization

Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Automotive
  • Chemical industries
  • Education
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Forestry and forest-based industries
  • Healthcare and social services
  • Information and communication technologies and media
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • Manufacturing and processing
  • Mining, minerals and metals
Specialized labEquipmentFunction

Biological Preparation Suite


  • Fast-pressure liquid chromatography systems
  • Real-time PCR detection system
  • Genie II Isothermal DNA Amplification System
  • Fluorescence-activated cell sorter in BSL2 Containment Facility
  • BSL 2 bacteria and mammalian cell culture and tissue culture facilities
Used for high-throughput production of bacterial and mammalian cells, proteins and DNA and for selection of DNA and RNA aptamers

High-Throughput Synthesis and Screening Suite


  • Tecan Evo 200 automated materials synthesis system (liquids and solids)
  • Tecan Evo 200 automated materials screening system with integrated microarray and microwell plate readers
  • Scienion SciFlexArrayer S5 non-contact microarray printer
  • Biodot 1500 AD Aspirate-Dispense non-contact microarray printer
  • Biodot Lateral Flow Device Printer
  • Dimatix DMP-2800 flatbed printer
  • Virtek ChipWriter Pro contact microarray printer
  • Arrayit Spotbot 3 contact microarray printer
  • OpenAir Plasma nano-coater
  • Objet 24 3D Printer
  • Automated flash chromatography systems
  • Gel permeation chromatography systems
Used for high-throughput synthesis and screening of biomaterial and biointerface libraries; can produce libraries in microwell plate, microarray and nanoparticle formats

Bioselectivity Suite


  • Quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation
  • Surface plasmon resonance imaging
  • MALDI imaging mass spectrometer
  • UPLC/Q-TOF mass spectrometer
  • Atomic force microscope
  • Super-resolution single-molecule–imaging fluorescence microscope
Used to probe the interactions between biological entities and synthetic materials or surfaces; the information gathered provides atomic-level detail into the nature of such interactions

Surface Characterization Suite


  • PHI imaging and scanning X-ray photoelectron spectrometer
  • Imaging ellipsometer
  • Bruker Hyperion 3000 FT-IR imaging microscope
  • Langmuir-Blodgett trough
  • Flow particle imaging analyzer
  • Focused-beam reflectance measurement
  • Particle visualization microscope
  • Particle charge detector with automatic titrator
  • Dynamic light-scattering apparatus
  • Zeta potential analyzer
  • Tensile tester
  • High-speed contact angle instrument
Used to examine nanoparticle properties (i.e. size, shape, charge) and properties of planar surfaces (i.e. chemical properties, polarity, charge, porosity, roughness, mechanical properties); many of the instruments can image microarrays to vastly increase throughput

Informatics and Database Suite


  • Electronic laboratory notebook (ELN)
  • Custom high-throughput analysis software
  • Clustered server resources and networked storage
The BioELN provides control over all aspects of the workflow, including inventory, lab notebooks, instrument booking and charges, scheduling, etc.
  • Pro-Lab Diagnostics
  • Bruker Canada
  • Physical Electronics Inc.
  • Tecan
  • Scienion
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Biointerfaces Institute (BI)