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Ljiljana Fruk

Chemistry in the Age of Bio-Nano Hybrids and Sensing Devices

Bio-nano hybrids are becoming increasingly important not only for design of optoelectronic devices and sensors, including those applied to wearable technology, but also for tissue engineering and drug delivery. In order to preserve inherent and introduce new properties, various chemical strategies have been developed to combine intrinsically different bio and nano structures into stable and functional systems.

The talk will focus on some old and some new chemistry employed to encode nanoparticles/nanoelements with various clickable functional groups, which allow for the assembly of larger structures and biofunctionalisation of different surfaces. Special attention will be given to photo-triggered click reactions, which are particularly interesting as they enable programmable design and photo-encoding of different materials.

The role of chemistry in the age of bionanotechnology, sensor design and cyborg materials will be explored with the aim to prove that organic synthesis is still very much alive and kicking.

In addition, light will be shed on the importance of treating failed experiments with respect as there will always be some non-chemist around, who will turn an un-publishable result into an interesting story. 

Ljiljana Fruk

Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

University of Cambridge

Ljiljana completed her studies in chemistry at the University of Zagreb, Croatia, and obtained PhD in SERS and biospectroscopy from University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. Following the award of Humboldt Fellowship and Marie Curie iFellowship she spent 4-year postdoctoral research at University of Dortmund working on DNA structuring, enzyme reconstitution and nanomaterial biofunctionalisation. This was followed by group leader position at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology where she established the group working on light triggered nanodevices. She joined Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology as a lecturer in Bionanotechnology in 2015 and became Fellow of Sidney Sussex College in 2016. Her group is working on design of hybrid materials for nanomedicine, development of light triggered chemistry and biofunctionalisation of nanomaterials. She is also keen on popularization of science through various art-science projects such as Future is Here exhibition (ZKM, Karlsruhe), Molecules App and Molecular Chocolates and through popular science/art books such as Molecular Aesthetics. 

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