With 16 years of experience the group has been investigating different aspects of aerogel production, especially scale up of solvent exchange and supercritical drying and application in various areas. Special focus is given to the application in life science, as for instance the usage of aerogels as a carrier for drug delivery systems. It has been shown that using aerogels as a drug matrix has many advantages, among them are: stabilisation of amorphous drug form, enhancing the bioavailability of low soluble drugs and fast release of the loaded drug upon contact with GT fluid. Further, a new technology for aerogel production in form of particles based on emulsion gelation was suggested. In the last 5 years the group carried out the production of aerogels from polysaccharides, for instance alginate, since they are regarded as promising candidates for life science and food applications. In 2010 a common German-Russian Research Center for Multifunctional Nanoporous Materials was established. Common work in production of nanoporous materials and their modelling is conducted within the research center. Broad networking within other European research institutions exists.Prof. Smirnova supervise currently 15 PhD students and 2 PostDocs and is involved in numerous scientific projects on the national (BMB, DFG) and international (EU FP7) level. The annual budget of the group is ca. 800.000 Euro.
TUTECH INNOVATION GMBH (Tutech) is declared as a third linked party. Tutech is the knowledge transfer arm of TUHH. Founded in 1992 as a wholly owned subsidiary of TUHH to facilitate industrial research contracts, since 2004 Tutech is co-owned by the City of Hamburg FHH (51% TUHH, 49% FHH). From its foundation Tutech has provided services for researchers at TUHH in the application, management and dissemination/exploitation of results of EU funded projects.