I am an expert in colloid and polymer chemistry. My main goal is to develop efficient colloidal particles for imaging and therapy, linking their molecular design with function.
I obtained my M.Sc.-equivalent (Dipl.-Chem.) in biomedical chemistry from the University of Mainz, Germany, and my Ph.D. in colloid and polymer chemistry from the Technical University of Berlin, together with Fraunhofer IMM and Federal Institute for Materials Research. Connecting chemistry with biomedical research, I did my postdoc in the Tumor Immunology Lab at Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen (NL). There, I developed novel imaging agents with unique structure for imaging cancer immunotherapies with ultrasound and 19F Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Subsequently, at Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research and the collaborative Max-Planck-Twente Center, I expanded my work to the assembly of colloidal particles to supraparticles, developing new pathways to tailor-made colloidal materials.
I received a prestigious Feodor Lynen Fellowship for Experienced Researchers from Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to start my group at the University of Twente where I established a new research line on sustainable polymer colloids for biomedical use. Connecting chemistry and biomedical research, I also initiated the formation of the Chemistry Study Group in the European Society for Molecular Imaging and currently act as study group chair.
The main goal of my research is to develop polymeric and colloidal materials for biomedical use, and beyond, starting from molecular design and understanding their properties to tuning their interactions with living systems. To achieve this goal, my team and I synthesize well-defined polymers, assemble them into colloids and tailor their characteristics to adjust their interactions with biomolecules, cells, and the resulting imaging performance.
We work with a variety of techniques, including anionic polymerization, micro- and miniemulsion technique, static and dynamic light scattering (SLS, DLS), and small-angle neutron scattering (SANS).
Recently, we have introduced a new concept of polymers that uniquely can be traced with label-free heteronuclear 31P Magnetic Resonance Imaging (31P MRI) using the intrinsic signal from their backbone. Our MRI-traceable polyphosphonates can find applications in a variety of fields, such as label-free theranostics, imaging agents, and MRI-traceable materials for tissue regeneration. Aiming at high-resolution imaging of colloids, we, furthermore, introduced biobased microcapsules that can be tracked with high-resolution optoacoustics at a single particle level. We further work on colloids that generate ultrasound signals and further explore general methodology in colloid and polymer synthesis.
My vision is that this interdisciplinary approach will lead to powerful therapies in the future.