Staff directory Kostas Kostarelos

Kostas Kostarelos

Senior Group Leader



  • Non-cytotoxic carbon nanocapsules synthesized via one-pot filling and end-closing of multi-walled carbon nanotubes

    Martincic M., Vranic S., Pach E., Sandoval S., Ballesteros B., Kostarelos K., Tobias G. Carbon; 141: 782 - 793. 2019. 10.1016/j.carbon.2018.10.006. IF: 7.466

    Filled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) find application in a variety of fields that expand from sensors to supercapacitors going through targeted therapies. Bulk filling of CNTs in general results in samples that contain a large amount of non-encapsulated material external to the CNTs. The presence of external material can dominate the properties of the resulting hybrids and can also induce side effects when employed in the biomedical field. Unless the encapsulated payloads have a strong interaction with the inner CNT walls, an additional step is required to block the ends of the CNTs thus allowing the selective removal of the non-encapsulated compounds while preserving the inner cargo. Herein we present a fast, easy and versatile approach that allows both filling (NaI, KI, BaI2, GdCl3 and SmCl3) and end-closing of multi-walled CNTs in a single-step, forming “carbon nanocapsules”. Remarkably the encapsulation of GdCl3 and SmCl3 leads to the formation of tubular van der Waals heterostructures. The prepared nanocapsules are efficiently internalized by cells without inducing cytotoxicity, thus presenting a safe tool for the delivery of therapeutic and dianostic agents to cells. The synergies of novel carbon and inorganic hybrid materials can be explored using the present approach. © 2018 Elsevier Ltd


  • Graphene in the Design and Engineering of Next-Generation Neural Interfaces

    Kostarelos K., Vincent M., Hebert C., Garrido J.A. Advanced Materials; 29 (42, 1700909) 2017. 10.1002/adma.201700909. IF: 19.791

    Neural interfaces are becoming a powerful toolkit for clinical interventions requiring stimulation and/or recording of the electrical activity of the nervous system. Active implantable devices offer a promising approach for the treatment of various diseases affecting the central or peripheral nervous systems by electrically stimulating different neuronal structures. All currently used neural interface devices are designed to perform a single function: either record activity or electrically stimulate tissue. Because of their electrical and electrochemical performance and their suitability for integration into flexible devices, graphene-based materials constitute a versatile platform that could help address many of the current challenges in neural interface design. Here, how graphene and other 2D materials possess an array of properties that can enable enhanced functional capabilities for neural interfaces is illustrated. It is emphasized that the technological challenges are similar for all alternative types of materials used in the engineering of neural interface devices, each offering a unique set of advantages and limitations. Graphene and 2D materials can indeed play a commanding role in the efforts toward wider clinical adoption of bioelectronics and electroceuticals. © 2017 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


  • Gadolinium-functionalised multi-walled carbon nanotubes as a T1 contrast agent for MRI cell labelling and tracking

    Servant A., Jacobs I., Bussy C., Fabbro C., Da Ros T., Pach E., Ballesteros B., Prato M., Nicolay K., Kostarelos K. Carbon; 97: 126 - 133. 2016. 10.1016/j.carbon.2015.08.051. IF: 6.198

    The development of efficient contrast agents for cell labelling coupled with powerful medical imaging techniques is of great interest for monitoring cell trafficking with potential clinical applications such as organ repair and regenerative medicine. In this paper, functionalised multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) were engineered for cell labelling in T1-weighted MRI applications. These sophisticated constructs were covalently functionalised with the gadolinium (Gd) chelating agent, diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA), enabling tight attachment of Gd atoms onto the nanotube surface. The resulting Gd-labelled MWNTs were found to be stable over 2 weeks in water and mouse serum and high payload of Gd atoms could be loaded onto the nanotubes. The r1 relaxivity of the Gd-MWNTs was a 3-fold higher than of the clinically approved T1 contrast agent Magnevist at a magnetic field strength of 7T. The contrast efficiency, expressed as the r1 relaxivity, of the Gd-MWNTs in Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial cells (HUVEC) was investigated at 7T and was found to be around 6.6 mM-1 s-1. There was no reduction of the contrast efficiency after internalisation in HUVECs, which was imparted to the ability of carbon nanotubes to translocate the cell membrane. © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.