Anja Boisen

3 for the Professor: Anja Boisen

Nanotech entry to the human body.

Anja Boisen is professor at DTU Nanotech and leader of the DNRF and Villum Centre of Excellence IDUN. Over the past years, Anja Boisen has directed her research on sensors and drug delivery specifically towards safety issues and the discomfort and inconvenience of injections. But why is this relevant for nanotechnology? Samples has asked her three questions.

1. Why is nanotechnology interesting in a health care perspective?
Nanotechnology provides fundamental understanding at the molecular level as well as tools for performing for example rapid diagnostics and new devices for drug delivery. In our DNRF and Villum center of excellence ‘IDUN’ we are for example using nanotextured substrates for enhanced optical sensing of molecules related to breath analysis and drug manufacturing. We also work with drug delivery and here we realise and test microcontainers for oral delivery of poorly dissolvable and easily degradable drugs.

2. What are the biggest challenges working with nano and microfabricated devices for oral drug delivery?
After nearly three years of research, we know that the devices improve the bioavailability of the tested drugs. The next challenge is to understand, on a more fundamental level, what is actually going on. For example: are the microcontainers embedded in the mucus layer in the intestine for a long time and can the container geometry and material be optimised? In a longer and a more applied perspective some of the challenges will be large volume manufacturing, moving to FDA approved materials and studying long term effects of the delivery method.

3. What in your opinion will be the next breakthrough in drug delivery?
Oral delivery. This can be achieved by changing the formulation itself or by placing the cargo in a protective vehicle – like we do with our microcontainers. To be able to take for example insulin or a vaccine without the use of needles and drugs that need to be stored cold would be a huge improvement for the users. Also, it would allow more people to be effectively treated – especially in areas with limited access to cooling and with low levels of hygiene.


Anja Boisen
Sektionsleder, Professor
DTU Sundhedsteknologi
45 25 57 27
12 AUGUST 2022