Add this to your vocabulary in 2013: materiomics. An article published on the Advanced Materials website on 7 January, 2013, posits that the complex interactions of biomaterials with living organisms require a holistic, multidisciplinary approach. “Materiomics sets the stage for a transformative change in the approach to biomaterials research,” according to the authors, who are specialised in materials sciences at MIT and tissue engineering at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. The discipline “enables the design of tailored and functional materials for a variety of properties in fields as diverse as tissue engineering, disease diagnosis and de novo materials design, by combining powerful computational modelling and screening with advanced experimental techniques,” write Steven W. Cranford, Jan de Boer, Clemens van Blitterswijk and Markus J. Buehler.
To understand and exploit the full potential of materials in clinical applications, both sides of the interface—the material and the living organism—must be considered, notes the article abstract. Technologies such as combinatorial chemistry, recombinant DNA as well as computational multiscale methods can generate libraries with a large number of material properties. How the body responds to the materials depends on the biological context.
Typically, biological systems are investigated using both holistic and reductionist approaches such as whole genome expression profiling, systems biology and high-throughput genetic or compound screening. The field of biomaterials research is only beginning to develop and adopt these approaches. In “Materiomics: An -omics Approach to Biomaterials Research,” the authors describe the current status of the field, and its past and future impact on the biomedical sciences.