Emergent Materials (EMMA) is a materials science journal established by Qatar University under Springer. Since its foundation in 2018, Emergent Materials aimed to focus on evolving techniques/technologies for advanced materials in a wide variety of fields such as polymer science, renewable energy, water desalination, composites, high tech devices, membranes, nanotechnology and biomaterials. The journal founding chief editor is our VP for Research and Graduate Studies, Prof. Mariam Al-Madeed, who has also Materials Science background. Other chief editors are, Prof. Karim Alamgir, a renowned researcher in the field from University of Houston and Assoc. Prof. Huseyin Yalcin from QU Biomedical Research Center. The journal has been steadily increasing its quality and impact in the field by publishing high quality research papers and as a result, it was recently being accepted to be indexed in Scopus and Web of Science.
Latest issue of the journal is published in February of this year and is a Special Issue dedicated to Covid-19 related applications. The Covid-19 pandemic, associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection transmitted via human to human and cause life-threatening respiratory diseases, has emerged as an ever-increasing global health and economic crisis since its declaration by The World Health Organization (WHO) in early Jan 2020. Despite the development of several vaccines and initiation of vaccination programs, it is very likely that we will have to continue our lives under now became normal preventative measures for several more years. As a nation constantly promoting science and R&D, Qatar responded to the pandemic with the quickly established relevant support programs for the pandemic situation. In this unprecedented scenario, researchers in Qatar and in other countries are seeking fast, practical, and effective ways to support healthcare providers in treating patients and prevent or slow further spread of the virus. In this dazzling race against time, materials science is one of the fields that is contributing significantly, due to a substantial cumulative knowledge that can be translated rapidly to clinical practice. Novel material approaches of tunable performance can be useful for various multi-tasking applications such as accurate diagnosis of viral infection from patient samples, sanitizing or preventing viral accumulation on surfaces, alternative sources and sanitation for personal protective equipment, effective delivery and binding of antiviral agents to the virus, reprogramming of the immune system, and even development of injectable synthetic compounds to compete with the virus in binding to viral receptors. As EMMA, we aimed to support science in these harsh circumstances since we believe the newly accumulated materials science knowledge needs to be communicated effectively with other talented and courageous minds to win the battle against the pandemic. With above-mentioned into consideration, a special issue was organized in the journal for exploring aspects of novel material science applications to manage Covid-19 pandemic effectively and this timely issue was entitled as “Materials Science in the Battle against Covid-19”.
Dr. Huseyin Yalcin, Research Associate Professor – Biomedical Research Center led the task of organizing the issue, being the Editor in Charge for this special issue. Other co-editors were Dr. Kaitlyn Sadtler, from National Institutes of Health, USA, Dr. from Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, and Dr. Aboubakr M. Abdullah Ali, from QU Center for Advanced Materials. The EMMA COVID-19 Special issue is representative collection of reviews and original papers that would cover and highlight major relevant themes in the field of Materials Science, such as nanomedicine/nanoparticles, bio-sensors, personnel protective equipment, additive manufacturing, medical devices, and biomaterials/tissue engineering. We encourage the whole research community to look into the total of 22 high quality articles from renowned research groups around the globe. We believe these high-quality peer-reviewed articles would introduce the community with urgently required emerging approaches needed for developing novel functional materials strategies to fight with Covid-19 pandemic with the guaranty of success.
The issue includes several perspective/review papers explaining potential impact of material science field for advancement of therapies, diagnostics, and preventative strategies from different perspectives. Edirisinghe and co-workers explain the importance of incorporation of novel biomaterials within “smart” face masks for prevention of transmission and enhancement of antiviral activity. Authors also emphasized environmentally acceptable material selection to minimize long-lasting effect on the environment. Bencherif and co-workers elegantly summarized emerging approaches used in the development of new therapies, such as virus deactivating surface coatings, biomaterials used for 2D/3D cell culture as drug screening models, organ on a chip technologies, and biomaterials for targeted antiviral drug delivery systems. While Mozafari and co-workers presented a general overview for the use of different nano-enabled biomaterial based approaches for addressing current pandemic as well as future pandemics, Ashammakhi and co-workers explained more specific applications such as tissue engineering/stem cell technologies, organoids and organ on a chip systems for advancing therapies, drug delivery approaches and vaccines against SARS-COV-2
Nanomedicine is one of the most promising field to advance therapy of this infection, prescribed therapy assessment, and diagnostics of the disease. Special issue has several papers on relevant nano technology approaches. Being an active researcher as well as a clinician, Chakravarthy and co-workers elegantly summarized how the medical field would benefit from nanotechnology for the treatment and diagnosis of Covid-19 pandemic.
The recent SARS-COV-2 outbreak once again reminded us the importance of rapid and direct detection of respiratory disease viruses. Conventional methods for virus detection such as PCR tests are based on techniques relying on cell culture, antigen-antibody interactions, and nucleic acids, which require trained personnel as well as expensive equipment. Microfluidic technologies, on the other hand, can accurately detect respiratory tract viruses with high specificity. We included several papers in the special issue explaining novel biosensor technologies for enhanced diagnostics of SARS-COV-2. Tekin and co-workers summarized a variety of microfluidic-based virus detection methods for respiratory diseases and explained potential impacts of these techniques for the current pandemic by comparison with conventional diagnostic tools currently in use. Inci and co-workers elegantly explained different nanomaterials being used in diagnostic microfluidic platforms currently being developed for COVID-19. Trabzon and co-workers explained high affinity biosensors developed with quantum dots and how this novel technology can be applied for SARS-COV-2 detection in microfluidic systems. Yuce and co-workers presented different viral sensing approaches in microfluidic systems such as plasmonic biosensors, electrochemical biosensors and magnetic biosensors focusing on application to SARS-COV-2 protein detection.
Finally, the issue presents several papers on other novel material science applications relevant to the pandemic such as new medical devices, tissue engineering and additive manufacturing. Mechanical ventilators are widely used in intensive care units for treating Covid-19 patients. These invasive therapies sometimes further injure infected lungs. Prof. Mohammed Chowdhury from Qatar University and co-workers explored different materials to enclose the patient for negative pressure ventilators that are less invasive and suitable for pandemic situations. Ustundag and co-workers summarized major organs that is affected from SARS-COV-2 and different tissue engineering approaches to mitigate the effects of virulence. Huri and co-workers presented novel additive manufacturing applications for prevention of spread of the virus such as production of face masks, face shields, snorkels, as well as production of medical device parts in high demand with this approach.
In each published article of this special issue, there is a novel contribution of production and utilization of biomaterials for biomedical applications relevant to Covid-19. We encourage research community to follow EMMA as reader and contribute their relevant studies in the future.
Source: QATAR UNIVERSITY