Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
TMS Starting Grant

TMS Starting Grant awarded to Justas Zalieckas

In the span of two weeks, Postdoctoral Fellow Justas Zalieckas has been awarded two prestigious grants for his diamond coating research.

Trond Mohn Foundadion Annual Celebration.
Justas Zalieckas was awarded the TMS Starting Grant during the foundation's annual celebration in the University Aula on 2 December. TMS-Chair Stener Kvinnsland and UiB Rector Margareth Hagen to the left.
Melanie Burford, Trond Mohn stiftelse

Main content

Last week diamond researcher Justas Zalieckas, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Physics and Technology, received an ERC Starting Grant for his research on uniform diamond coting for 3D objects. This week Zalieckas is awarded a TMS Starting Grant based on the same research principals, this time focusing on uniform diamond coatings for medical implants.

"I would like to congratulate Justas Zalieckas on this year's TMS Starting Grant, for a really exciting project that may be of great importance to many people", says UiB rector Margareth Hagen.

Will reduce likelihood of medical complications

Both diamonds and humans are carbon based, and as such, are built with the same building blocks. Diamond coating, thanks to its unique properties and high bio-compatibility, is a highly desirable for medical implants.  

“By coating medical implants such as titanium hip replacement implants, we can increase the chance of a successful integration, and reduce the likelihood of complications and rejection”, says Zalieckas.  

Forsker Justas Zalieckas viser frem en del av en hofteprotese som han ønsker å legge diamantbelgg på for å sikre best mulig integrasjon

DIAMOND COATING: Zalieckas showing a part of a hip prosthetics he hopes to coat with a diamond coating.

Jin Sigve Mæland/UiB

A diamond coating can also reduce the chances of inflammation, which is one of the most common complications with hip surgery.    

“Thanks to diamond coatings unique properties, which includes wear resistance, biocompatibility, and anti-bacterial properties, we may reduce some of the complications associated with hip surgery. A successful integration is also important for spearing the patient from doing such an extensive and painful surgery more than one time”, says Zalieckas.

In addition to hip replacement implants, the coating can, if Zalieckas is successful in creating a uniform coating for 3D objects, be used for any kind of medical and dental implant.

The Trond Mohn Foundation CEO, Sveinung Hole, praises the proposed research project.

"Zaliecka's project is original and has great potential to provide ground-breaking new knowledge, which can also have important applications in society. Both the international experts and the foundation's advisory committee believes the research will lead to important results and competence building at UiB, says Hole, and adds:

"Justas Zalieckas has already shown that he is creative and innovative, and his potential as a future research leader at UiB seems to be considerable".

Curiosity driven research 

Zalieckas is first and foremost glad to have received the two prestigious grants. In addition, he hopes that his work can inspire others to pursue their curiosity. 

“As a child I was always curious, and I liked to build thing. For instance, when I was 10 years old, I went to the library and borrowed a book about how to build a telescope. And after I experienced the magic a paper-roll and two pieces of glass can create, I was hooked on science. That feeling I still have today, and I look forward to dive further into diamond coating applications”, says Zalieckas.

Another aspect Zalieckas looks forward to, is guiding and inspiring phd-students. Perhaps, just as the head of Nanophysics group, Bodil Holst, who was the first to receive an TMS Starting Grant, Zalieckas phd-students will follow in their footsteps.

Celebrating TMS Starting Grant winners 

On December the 2nd, TMS held its annual celebration in the University Aula. Zalieckas was officially awarded his TMS Starting Grant there.

"At the foundation's annual celebration, we celebrate the collaboration with the University of Bergen (UiB) and Haukeland University Hospital (HUS), our closest partners. On this occasion, we will highlight new collaborative projects with HUS and UiB. This year the  Bergen Center for Ethics and Priority Setting in Health, at UiB, was presented. The center is led by Ole Frithjof Norheim and has recently been awarded the status of Center for outstanding research (SFF) from the Norwegian Research Counsil", says Sveinung Hole.

The TMS Starting Grant recipients from the two previous years was also honored during the event.
"We have two years with the pandemic behind us, so we also used the opportunity to present the TMS Starting Grant winners from 2020 and 2021 to a wider audience, says Hole.

In 2021, Carina Strell, Mali Husby Rosnes and Suzette Flantua were awarded the TMS Starting Grant, while Erlend Grong, Salwa Suliman and Willem van der Bilt received the grant in 2020.

UiB rector Margareth Hagen was also happy to finally being able to celebrate the long-standing collaboration with the foundation in the University Aula.

"The Trond Mohn Foundation's contributions and collaboration with the University of Bergen and Haukeland University Hospital have contributed to the establishment of important infrastructure and equipment, and a wide range of research projects with great impact", says Hagen.