Dr. Lucas Caire da Silva
Lucas Caire da Silva received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Campinas (Brazil) in 2010. In 2011, he joined the lab of Prof. Dr. Kenneth Wagener at the University of Florida to conduct his PhD research on the synthesis of precision polyolefins and the study of polymer dynamics by solid-state NMR. In 2016, Lucas began his postdoctoral research in the group of Prof. Dr. Katharina Landfester at the MPI for Polymer Research. His research interests included the development of bioinspired synthetic vesicular systems, such as cell-like bioreactors and artificial organelles. Since 2020, he has continued his research on cell-like systems as a group leader, with a focus on artificial cells and multicompartment bioreactors.
Dr. Shoupeng Cao
I am interested in the engineering of adaptive cell mimics with life-like features using techniques ranging from synthetic chemistry to polymeric assembly, as well as biochemistry. Integrating adaptive behaviors with synthetic systems is an exciting way to create smart complex and biomimetic systems. Potential applications of this technology includes smart biomimetic systems that can be utilized as bioreactors.
Dr. Marina Melchiors
My research involves the development of synthetic strategies to implement growth and division in polymeric vesicles. I am interested in processes triggered by in situ polymer synthesis using photocatalysis and by the amphiphilic properties of thermoresponsive polymers. My work involves the development of responsive block copolymers by RAFT polymerization and the controlled assembly of well-defined polymer vesicles by microfluidics. My research will contribute to the development of bioinspired smart compartments for applications in biotechnology and materials science.
My research involves developing artificial cell-like systems that mimic the structure and functionality of living cells. I am particularly interested in creating artificial cells that can communicate with each other by sending and receiving signals. We employ the techniques of bottom-up synthetic biology by utilizing non-living components as building blocks for our systems. Communication is key to advance the understanding of the field on how to build an artificial cell.
Visiting doctoral candidates
My research work is about the synthesis of multicompartment nanocapsules. Silica nanocapsules (size 8 nm) are encapsulated in protein nanocapsules (size 300 nm) by inverse miniemulsion polymerization. The large protein nanocapsules would prolong the blood circulation time then the small silica nanocapsules could be released into small areas of organs by enzyme-degradation of protein nanocapsules.
My research interest at MPIP involves bottom-up engineering of multi-compartmentalized systems that can show responsive and adaptive behaviors from polymeric assemblies. In addition, upon integration with functional modules (for instance, active enzymes), the cell-mimetic systems are capable to sense environmental signals and realize catalytic reactions in the confined space. This will improve our understanding of complex metabolic pathways in cells and how to efficiently use them for the production of essential bioproducts.