Current Research Interests
I. Particulate Systems as Drug Carriers
A range of biocompatible materials (i.e. PLGA and hydroxyapatite) are synthesized as microparticles and/or nanoparticles for drug delivery. In this work, we have developed multi-layered particles, ceramic-polymer hybrid particles, floatable microcapsules, and hydrophilic-hydrophobic (core-shell) particles for various drug delivery applications. The aim is to control and sustain the drug release profile and kinetics by altering particulate parameters. These particles can also be designed to target certain tissues and/or cells. These functionalized particulate drug delivery systems are currently evaluated in animal models for management of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and infectious diseases. (Patents: PCT/SG2010/000215, PCT/SG2011/000413, PCT/SG2013/000051, US Provisional Application no. 61/683,955)
II. Tissue Engineering Scaffolds
Biodegradable scaffolds that releases growth factors allow for cells to differentiate and regenerate into viable tissues. The aim is to develop drug-loaded 3D scaffolds through a patented one-step technique that allows for cells to attach, differentiate and proliferate within these scaffolds. These scaffolds are currently investigated for bone, cartilage and tendon regeneration. (Patents: PCT/SG2011/000457, PCT/SG2011/000457)
The safety of nanomaterials is a critical aspect of science that has to be carefully addressed before nanomaterials can be safely used commercially. In this multi-disciplinary research, the aim is to investigate how nanomaterials, of different particle morphology, can potentially cause toxicity. Toxicity assays are evaluated through in vitro 2D cell culture, 3D spheroids, and in vivo zebrafish models. Non-biological assays through lung surfactants are also employed. The goal through this research is to develop safer nanomaterials by changing particle morphology through materials synthesis.
IV. Materials for Environmental and Energy Applications
Energy through Solar Fuels: The goal of this work is to find cheaper alternatives and improved efficiency in the production of hydrogen fuel from water by means of solar energy. Bulk electrode materials and semi-conductor nanomaterials are candidates identified in achieving this goal. The use of photoelectrochemical cells (PEC) is used to drive this process.
Environmental & Energy through Microbial Fuel Cells: Bioelectrochemical systems such as microbial fuel cells (MFC) have opened new vistas in microbial redox reactions. However, the performance of MFC is often limited by the capacity of the bacteria which colonize the anode to efficiently transfer electrons from the cell to the anode. This project aims to design, synthesize and test the efficiency of microbial-modifying molecules (M3) to drive MFCs (i.e. energy) and for water remediation (i.e. environmental). A tandem approach, combining MFC with PEC (MFC-PEC), to achieve enhanced hydrogen evolution is also explored.
Dr Joachim Loo is an Associate Professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and holds a joint appointment at the Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE). He graduated with a Bachelors (Hons.) degree in Applied Science (Materials Engineering) and received his Ph.D. (A*STAR Graduate Scholarship) from NTU. He was a Visiting Scientist in Mayo Clinic (USA) before joining NTU as a faculty member in 2006. His research interests include drug delivery systems, Drug-Eluting Balloons (DEB), nanotoxicology, and nanomaterials for environmental and energy applications. He has been awarded the Outstanding Mentor Award, the Nanyang Award for Excellence in Teaching 2011 and 2016, and the Service Recognition Award 2010. Currently, he is also managing several administrative portfolios such as Associate Chair (Students) of MSE, and Director of the NTU Solar Fuels Laboratory. Dr. Joachim Loo has also served as Secretary of the Materials Research Society of Singapore (MRS-S), is a founding member of NanoSing, and is currently a co-convenor of the ISO/TC 229 Nanotechnology National Working Group 3.
JS Baek, CC Choo, C Qian, NS Tan, ZX Shen, SCJ Loo. Multi-drug-loaded Microcapsules with Controlled Release for Management of Parkinson’s Disease. Small 2016. 12: 3712-3722.
WL Lee, WM Guo, V Ho, A Saha, HC Chong, NS Tan, EY Tan, SCJ Loo. Delivery of Doxorubicin and Paclitaxel from Double-Layered Microparticles: The Effects of Layer Thickness and Dual-Drug vs. Single-Drug Loading. Acta Biomaterialia 2015. 27: 53–65.
CK Ngaw, VBC Wang, ZY Liu, Y Zhou, S Kjelleberg, QC Zhang, TTY Tan, SCJ Loo. Enhancement in hydrogen evolution using Au-TiO2 hollow spheres with microbial devices modified with conjugated oligoelectrolytes. npj Biofilms and Microbiomes 2015. 15020
S Saha, SCJ Loo. Recent Developments in Multilayered Polymeric Particles – From Fabrication Techniques to Therapeutic Formulations. Journal of Materials Chemistry B 2015. 3: 3406 - 3419.
P Hu, CK Ngaw, YY Tay, SW Cao, J Barber, TTY Tan, SCJ Loo. A “Uniform” Heterogeneous Photocatalyst: Integrated P-N Type CuInS2/NaInS2 Nanosheets by Partial Ion Exchange Reaction for Efficient H2 Evolution. Chemical Communications 2015. 51: 9381 - 9384