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Polymeric (Nano)Materials for Biotechnology and Biology



Group Leader: Guillaume Delaittre

tel.: +49 721 608 24476
fax: +49 721 608 24673
email: guillaume.delaittre∂kit.edu







Our team is physically based at the KIT Campus North and funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research.  Our group is jointly hosted by the Institute of Toxicology and Genetics and the Institute of Chemical Technology and Polymer Chemistry.
We aim at developing novel hybrid nanostructured surfaces and colloids by combining polymers and various biomolecules. We use organic chemistry (basic, modular ligations, photochemistry), modern techniques of macromolecular engineering (e.g., activation-deactivation radical polymerization, living ring-opening polymerization), modification of biomolecules (peptide synthesis, protein modification), and self-assembly principles to achieve our aims. We seek fundamental understanding or applications in the areas of protein-protein interaction, biocatalysis, and targeted delivery.
We are also very interested in novel water-soluble biocompatible polymers, advanced photochemical nanopatterning techniques, and macromolecules and materials that can be chemically or conformationally re-arrange following stimulation by light, temperature, or pH. We work in close collaboration with other chemists but also with biologists, physicists, and engineers.
For an overview of past and current projects, please refer to the Research section and the Publications section.




Gabriela just defended her PhD and did very well! We can now call her Doctora Gil Alvaradejo! Muchas felicidades!!!


The perspective article on the para-fluoro–thiol reaction in the context of polymer synthesis and modification, which was written with Leonie Barner, was published online in Polymer Chemistry.


We have a Master thesis project to offer, in collaboration with a big company! Please refer to the Positions section.


Guillaume just came back from the Chemiedozententagung in Jena. Great talks and parties!


The paper of Gabriela on the synthesis of maleimide-functionalized polyoxazolines, in collaboration with the Hoogenboom group, is available online at RSC Advances. Felicidades Gaby!!!


Dao, Lin-Chiang, and Guillaume attended the Makromolekulares Kolloquium in Freiburg. Great atmosphere and quite a few new exciting joint projects for us!


Ms. Caroline Watt, undergraduate student at Ohio State University is awarded a DAAD-RISE scholarship to stay with us from May to August. Congratulations!


Guillaume is guest editor of a special issue of the open-access journal Molecules, with a focus on “Chemical Surface Functionalization”. Contributions on modification and characterization of modified surfaces are welcome until October 31, 2018.


Ms. Tenille Herd, PhD student in the group of Dr James Blinco at the Queensland University of Technology, was just awarded a DAAD scholarship to join us for 4 months later this year and work on a joint topic with James. Congrats!


Dr Enrico Miceli, former PhD student in the group of Marcelo Calderón, starts a postdoctoral stint with us today, to work on protein-based nanohybrids, among other things. Benvenuto Enrico!


Stefan Frech enters our group to carry out his Vertiefungspraktikum today. He will work under the supervision of Divya on the para-fluoro–thiol reaction. Willkommen Stefan!


We welcome back Friederike Wagner in our group as a Master student! She is now going to work on polymerization-induced self-assembly for her Master thesis under the supervision of Dao. Willkommen zurück!


The great work of Ana, who was a postdoc in the group, on the simplified synthesis of single-enzyme nanogels and their characterization, was just published online in Chemical Science. We are very excited! Thanks to Prof. Uli Nienhaus and his postdoc, Andrei Kobitski, for the great collaboration!


This is turn of Christian Hald to start his Vertiefungspraktikum with us today. Christian will work with Lin-Chiang to make new monomers lots of atoms which are not commonly found in our classic polymers. Willkommen Christian!


We are welcoming Andreas Butzelaar for his Vertiefungspraktikum today! He will work together with Dao on a secret photo-project. Willkommen Andreas!


Guillaume just attended the annual national congress of the Biotechnologie 2020+ initiative of the German Ministry of Education and Research, where he presented a poster summarizing the research activities of the group.


Guillaume just attended the Nachwuchswissenschaftler-Workshop der Fachgruppe Makromolekulare Chemie (GDCh)… translated to workshop for young investigators of the macromolecular chemistry division of the German Association of Chemists (now take a breath). Congratulations to Markus Gallei from TU Darmstadt, who won the prestigious Raimund Stadler prize. Well deserved!


Guillaume just gave a talk in the one of the other Meccas of polymer science in Germany, that is Bayreuth. This took place at the Bayreuth Polymer Symposium. Nice place, intense conference, great music, and good beer!


Arijeta and Shamini handed in their Master theses. Thank you for the good work! Let’s see how far we can bring this in the next months.


Guillaume arrived in Garching to carry out some small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) measurements at the Maier-Leibnitz Center. Excited!


Edgar submitted his Master thesis. Thanks for the great dedication! We’re happy to have Edgar a little longer with us!


Dominic made it! He successfully defended his dissertation “Functional Core-Shell Nanoparticles for Enzyme Immobilization”. Well done, Dr Keller! Herzliche Glückwünsche und viel Erfolg in deinem neuen Leben!


The paper of Dominic on PISA-made nanoparticles for His-tagged protein immobilization was published online in Biomacromolecules. Glückwünsche Dominic!


Guillaume just visited the University of Mainz and the Max Plank Institute for Polymer Research where he was invited in the frame of the legendary Makromolekulares Kolloquium. What an impressive place with such polymer scientists as Rudolf Zentel, Holger Frey, Axel Müller, Frederik Wurm, Pol Besenius, Peter Wich, Kai Zhang, or Matthias Barz. So great to feel welcome… Thank you Matthias for the invitation!


We welcome a French Summer student in our lab: Pénélope Desroys du Roure, who comes from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie of Montpellier (ENSCM) and will work with Dao. Bienvenue!


Divya, Gabriela, and Guillaume arrived in Gent, Belgium for the APME2017 conference. Looks like it is going to be memorable! Guillaume will give an invited talk and Divya and Gabriela will both present their research with posters.


Thanks to the SFB1176, who invites renowned external speakers, our group had the privilege on spending some time with Prof. Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, one of the pioneers of controlled radical polymerization.


Both Divya and Gabriela received the good news today that their application for a travel grant from the Karlsruhe House of Young Scientists (KHYS) was accepted! Divya will go spend 3 months at the University of Michigan in the lab of Prof. Jörg Lahann and Gabriela will soon fly to Boston to carry out a project together with the team of Prof. Jeremiah Johnson at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Congratulations to both and may these research stays be fruitful!


We are welcoming Lin-Chiang, who comes from the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan. Lin-Chiang, who also likes to be called Sherlock, will work with us for ten months as an exchange PhD student, thanks to a DAAD/MOST Sandwich scholarship. Welcome! 欢迎 Huānyíng!

Tanja just successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled “From Micro to Nano: Shining Light on Complex Macroscopic and Nanoscopic Structures”. Well done Dr Tanja! We are proud of you! Herzliche Glückwünsche und viel Glück für die Zukunft!


As organizer of the YIN Lecture Series, Guillaume invited Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 1987, to come give a talk at the KIT and had the privilege of spending a whole afternoon with him, as well as a dinner, together with other YIN members and alumni. What an inspiring scientist!


Welcome to Friederike, who is going to work as an assistant (HiWi) in our group from today on!


Guillaume just delivered a talk on single-enzyme nanogels at the 5th International Conference Multifunctional, Hybrid and Nanomaterials in Lisbon, Portugal. Better conference than expected, with lots of new interesting people met… future collaborations? And Lisbon… what a great city!


Both Divya and Gaby were just awarded a travel grant to attend the APME 2017 conference in Ghent, Belgium, where Guillaume will be giving an invited talk in May. Congrats to both of them and thanks to the BioInterfaces International Graduate School for the support!


And our latest arrival round of newcomers is complete! Shamini, who has previously been an assistant in our group, just rejoined us to write her Master thesis on photoreactive polymers under the supervision of Divya. Willkommen zurück!


This is the first day of Arijeta in our group. She is going to work on her Master thesis with Gaby to design hydrogels from reactive polymeric precursors. Willkommen in AKGD!


We have just been granted a YIN-Grant for 2017. Oh yeah!
The YIN (Young Investigator Network) is the platform and democratic representation of interests for the junior research leaders of the KIT. We will receive 6000 Euros to help us start a new super top secret project with a collaborator at the KIT.


Today is Edgar’s first day in our group to work on his Master thesis dealing with polymerization-induced self-assembly and supervised directly by Dao. Willkommen in unserer Gruppe!


Guillaume just gave his first talk at the legendary Makromolekulares Kolloquium in Freiburg, created in 1950 by Hermann Staudinger, the father of macromolecular science himself. With a single session and about 600 registered attendees, it was a little scary at first. But it went well (apparently)!

20/01/2017 – Part 2

Another paper from Hatice, together with Aaron, this time on transferring the para-fluoro–thiol ligation to aqueous media just appeared online in Polymer Chemistry. Congratulations!!!


Tanja’s paper on the fully light-driven reversible functionalization of surfaces using electron-rich anthracenes (co-supervised by Prof. Barner-Kowollik) was published online in Chemical Communications. Well done Tanja!


Welcome to Dr Dao Le, who is starting his Alexander von Humboldt fellowship in the group for the next two years. Bienvenue! Chào mừng bạn!


Hatice Turgut is our first Doctor! She was just awarded her PhD title with the distinction summa cum laude for her dissertation entitled “Functional Block Copolymers as Platforms for Patterned Immobilization”. Congratulations Hatice! Thank you for the hard work: We are proud of you!

In March, Dr Hatice Turgut will embark onto a new journey as a postdoc with Prof. Filip Du Prez in Gent, Belgium. Good luck!

24/11/2016 – Part 2

The first paper of Divya just made it online in Polymer Chemistry. If you want to know more on how to work with pentafluorophenyl esters and pentafluorophenyl alkanes at the same time, please check it here. And congratulations to Divya for the hard work!


Our collaborative work with the groups of Profs. Martin Bastmeyer, Christopher Barner-Kowollik, and Martin Wegener on the guiding of cells in 3D microscaffolds just appeared online in Advanced Materials. Congratulations to Tanja from our group, Benjamin (leading author), and everyone else involved!


Lin-Chiang “Sherlock” Huang, from the National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan), just received the good news that he was awarded a DAAD-MOST scholarship to spend 10 months in our group starting from May 1, 2017. Congratulations Sherlock! We are looking forward to welcoming you!


Hatice just submitted her PhD thesis, which is the first of our group! A first step towards the Graal…

In six weeks, it’s party time!


Divya just started a 3-month research stint in the lab of Prof. Hiroshi Yabu (Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan). We wish her a successful stay!!!


Guillaume was accepted as a speaker at the upcoming Macromolecular Colloquium, the Mecca of German polymer science. The meeting will take place on February 15–17, 2017. Happy!


Guillaume is just back from a two-week conference trip. He first went to Philadelphia for the 252nd ACS National Meeting where he gave an invited talk on Ana’s work at the Advanced Functional Biopolymers & Biomaterials symposium (thanks Erik Berda!) and a second contributed one on Aaron’s and Hatice’s work in the general POLY symposium. He then flew to Shanghai, China to participate to the 6th Sino German Frontiers of Chemistry Symposium, organized jointly by the Association of German Chemists (GDCh) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Thanks Laura Hartmann for the invitation!

Gabriela also presented a poster at the ACS conference, with a certain success (see the Pictures section)!


Ana received a very important news for her academic career: she was awarded a Gipuzkoa fellowship (Programa Fellows Gipuzkoa de atracción y retención de talento) funded by the Basque government. She will return to her hometown of San Sebastian, at CIC nanoGUNE. This fellowship will support her for the next 3 years in order to establish her own research. Muchas felicidades Ana!!!

The sad news is that she will leave us at the end of August.

15/07/2016 – Part 2

Today Tanja starts her research stay in the group of Seb Perrier in Warwick thanks to the DAAD scholarship she won earlier.


We are just back from the Warwick Polymer Conference 2016. Like 4 years ago, this was awesome! Great atmosphere, interesting talks, lots of old friends, and a few new ones. Guillaume gave a talk on Ana’s work and presented two posters on Hatice’s and Aaron’s work. Dominic and Tanja presented posters on their respective work. Looking forward to the Warwick Polymer Conference 2020!


Great news today! Dr Dao Le was awarded the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt fellowship for postdoctoral researchers and will join us in January. Dao: Congratulations and welcome to the Humboldtian world!


Our first French student starts today: Rémi Canterel just joined for his 3-month technician traineeship in the frame of his studies at Polytech’Paris 6 (where Guillaume graduated in 2003).

Bienvenue Rémi!


And all good things come in twos: after receiving a travel grant to go there, Hatice just won a poster prize at the EUPOC2016 conference! She also gave a very well received talk. Braviiiiisimo Hatice!


Today, we welcome our new group member: Dr Shivshankar Mane, who will work on a joint project with the Macroarc group. Welcome Shiv!


Hatice was just awarded a travel grant from the DAAD (German Exchange Academic Service) to help her attend the EUPOC2016 conference in Gargnano, Italy. Braaavo!


Another double whammy! Both Dominic and Gabriela just won an award of up to 1000 Euros at the conference fee contest of the Biointerfaces International Graduate School (BIF-IGS). This will help them travel to the Warwick Polymer Conference 2016 and the ACS Fall Meeting 2016, respectively. Herzlichen Glückwunsch an Dominic & felicidades a Gaby!


Today: double whammy! Congratulations to Gabriela and Tanja! Gaby just received a full scholarship to attend the 1st International Forum of Mexican Talent in April in Guadalajara! Tanja was awarded a DAAD scholarship for a research stay of 3 months in the group of Prof. Sébastien Perrier (Warwick University, UK).


Tobias, who already performed his Vertiefungspraktikum with us last year, is back for his Master Thesis. Good to have you back, Tobias!


Some of us just attended the annual national polymer conference Makromolekulares Kolloquium in Freiburg. It was relatively quiet this year in terms of partying but the talks and posters were usually interesting!


Tanja’s paper on the use of new photoreactive monomers for 3D laser writing and the simultaneous orthogonal functionalization of the resulting structures just came online on the Angewandte Chemie website. Tanja is co-supervised by Guillaume and Christopher Barner-Kowollik and this works was done in collaboration with Martin Bastmeyer’s team at KIT. Herzlichen Glückwunsch, Tanja!


Guillaume and Tanja, as well as some more members of the Macroarc group, just came back from the MacroBeGe2016 conference organized by Guillaume, Christopher Barner-Kowollik, and Filip Du Prez. Very nice talks from all invited speakers and all PhD students and postdocs… and what a party! See the Pictures section…


Our second independent paper just appeared on the website of Small. In this study, Ana shows beautifully the potential of single-enzyme nanogels for patterned immobilization in rapid and mild conditions, leading to biocatalysts with enhanced stability. ¡Felicidades y muchas gracias Ana!


Our very first independent group paper is online in Chemistry – A European Journal. It deals with the orthogonal functionalization of block copolymers with thiols. Congratulations to Hatice!


Guillaume received a poster award at the 4th Nano Today Conference held in Dubai, UAE. Feels like being a PhD student again… kind of weird! But thanks to Prof. Jackie Ying, her organization team, and Elsevier! This poster dealt with Tanja’s work (photoreactive microstructures). He also gave a talk on Ana’s single-enzyme nanogels.


Our group went to the Karlsruher Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market). Not that cold this year but still enjoyable with some blueberry hot wine (Heidelbeer-Glühwein) and greasy food! And we did not forget to take a picture this time!


Guillaume acted for the first time as a main referee (rapporteur) of a PhD thesis, and this in France! Thanks to the colleagues of Marseille for their trust. It was fun… especially the football game on Sunday evening!


Guillaume just finished his conference tour after 8 days in Japan. He attended the APME2015 conference in Yokohama where he orally presented the work of Ana on enzyme encapsulation and had two posters on the studies of Hatice (orthogonal thiol-based chemistries) and Tanja (photoreactive 3D microstructures). This was followed by some sightseeing in Yokohama, Kamakura, and Tokyo. His impressions: extremely friendly and respectful people, great food (Tuna!!! Noodles!!! Yakiniku!!! Whiskies!!!), and fascinating cities and historical sites.
Before that, he also attended the Kármán conference, a very high-level – yet intimate – symposium in Vaals (Netherlands) organized by Prof. Martin Moeller (DWI-Leibniz Aachen). He presented the work of Ana with a poster on the encapsulation of enzymes.

The group participated to the annual excursion of the ITG in the region of Rhodt and Rietburg in the beautiful wine region of Palatinate. We spent a nice day with hiking in the rain to the Rietburg castle, visiting the Villa Ludwigshöhe, enjoying a nice lunch with the finest German specialties (Spätzle and Leberknödel), and attending a wine tour/tasting at the Gries winery. Despite the terrible weather, it was fun! Visit our Pictures section.

Guillaume is just back from the 6th Brazilian-German Frontiers of Science and Technology Symposium 2015, where he organized a session entitled “New engineering technologies for future medicines”, together with Brazilian colleagues Rodrigo Stabeli and Daniella Arêas Mendes-da-Cruz (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Fiocruz). Lots of interesting people and future collaborations ahead!

We just took a new group picture in the beautiful front courtyard of the Education Center for Forest and Environment of Karlsruhe (Forstliches Bildungszentrum Karlsruhe). Once more: Thanks Elena!

Aaron, who was our first Vertiefungspraktikum student, comes back as our first Master student. Welcome back Aaron!

Hatice won the first prize for the best talk at the annual retreat of the BioInterfaces Internal Graduate School! Great job Hatice!

Welcome to our 2nd Vertieferstudent Tobias Nitsche, who will work with Dominic on ring-opening polymerization.

We had the visit of a very old man today in the lab… Karl Wilhelm III! He is the founder of the city of Karlsruhe, which celebrates its 300th anniversary this year. This visit was part of the itinerary of the Margrave’s replica and is linked to the current exhibition “Karl Wilhelm 1679-1738” at the Badisches Landesmuseum.

If you want to know more about the importance of cycloaddition protocols in the synthesis of polymeric materials, a review co-written with Nathalie Guimard (an ex KIT colleague) and Christopher Barner-Kowollik just made it online at Accounts of Chemical Research!

New Advanced Materials article online! Co-supervised by Guillaume, the work of Astrid from the Macroarc group was done in collaboration with the group of Steffen Scholpp, also at the ITG.

Divya starts her PhD today! Welcome back!

Our first “Vertieferstudent” starts today! Welcome Aaron!

We just went to the Karlsruher Christkindlesmarkt yesterday and had a nice time… we just forgot to immortalize this moment with a picture… next time!

As our group has grown significantly in the last months, we thought it was time for a new group picture! We chose this funny sculpture found at the entrance of our campus. Thanks to Elena, our official photographer!

Ziwei Zhang just joined us today to start her PhD. 欢迎 (huang yin’) Ziwei!

A new paper feeding the debate on dithiobenzoate-mediated RAFT polymerization from the Junkers group in Belgium with a contribution from Guillaume appeared online in Macromolecular Rapid Communications.

The PhD position that was published a few months ago has now been filled. Ms. Divya Varadharajan, who has been an assistant in the group for the last 2 months, will start her PhD next year… Great to have you stay with us Divya!

A study on the relevance of different SEC systems to characterize poly((meth)acrylic acid) carried out in 7 laboratories and led by Dr Igor Lacík (Polymer Institute, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava) yielded a manuscript that has just gone online in Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics. Thanks Igor!
Most experiments, for instance those from Guillaume with his former PhD supervisor Prof. Charleux, were carried out 8 years ago. Never give up!

The work of Jan Müller and Dominik Voll from the Barner-Kowollik group on fluorescent polymers, partly supervised by Guillaume, just appeared online in Chemical Communications. Thanks Jan and Dominik!

Gabriela Gil Alvaradejo finally arrived in Karlsruhe and starts today her PhD studies with us. Bienvenido and Willkommen Gabriela!

We have just been granted a YIN-Science Award for 2014. Oh yeah!
The YIN (Young Investigator Network) is the platform and democratic representation of interests for the junior research leaders of the KIT. We will receive 5000 Euros to help us start a new project on photoresponsive polymers, in collaboration with Dr Clemens Grabher.

Ms. Divya Varadharajan (MSc. Leipzig/Helsinki) just joined us today for 4 months. Welcome Divya!

A PhD position in chemistry (macromolecular, organic, and bioconjugate) with a start in January 2015 is available in the frame of the BMBF-funded program Molecular Interaction Engineering. You can find it in the Positions page!


Ms. Gabriel Gil Alvaradejo from Mexico City was just granted a CONACYT fellowship to join us as a PhD student in the next 3 years: “Felicidades” Gabriela and see you in October in Germany!

Hatice won the conference fee contest of the Biointerfaces International Graduate School (BIF-IGS) and will receive about 1000 Euros to travel to Sitges (Spain) next year for the 4th International Conference on Multifunctional, Hybrid and Nanomaterials. Congratulations Hatice!

Ms. Ziwei Zhang from China Pharmaceutical University in Nanjing has been awarded a CSC scholarship to work in our group: Congratulations Ziwei! She will join us later this autumn in Karlsruhe!

The work of Johannes Willenbacher from the Macroarc group on water-borne single-chain folding, with a contribution of Guillaume, is now available online in Chemical Communications!

Guillaume was invited to participate to the prestigious German-American Frontiers of Science Symposium (jointly organized by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Kavli Foundation) in Irvine (CA), USA. He enjoyed a lot exchanging ideas with scientists originating from a broad range of backgrounds (chemists of course, biologists, physicists, mathematicians, clinicians, linguists, and psychologists).

This is not a 1st of April joke!... Our first group picture has been taken and is now on our homepage!

The PhD student position that was advertised earlier has been filled! Dominic Keller will join us on the 3rd of March!
Nevertheless, there are still two positions remaining. We need two students for 4–6 months. We are looking preferably for 2nd year Master students but 1st year Master or students looking for a Vertiefungspraktikum or a Bachelor thesis are welcome to approach us!

It is recruiting time again! We are eagerly looking for a PhD candidate with a strong background in polymer and/or organic synthesis to work on Biohybrid Multifunctional Polymeric Assemblies as well as two Master students on topics entitled “Biological Signal Photoactivation via Responsive Polymers” and “Photopatterning of Polymer Strands”. A description of the positions can be found in the Positions section.

The postdoctoral position advertised in June has been filled! We are extremely happy to welcome Ana Beloqui Elizazu in the group. Ana will start in February.

The work of Benjamin Richter and Guillaume on the spatially resolved functionalization of 3D microscaffolds, carried out in the Bastmeyer and Barner-Kowollik groups, just appeared online in Advanced Materials!

The work on urea- and amide-containing monomers of Alexander Hähnel  from the Barner-Kowollik group with a contribution of Guillaume has been published online in Polymer Chemistry!

Hatice Turgut (MSc Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey) starts as the first PhD student of the group! Welcome Hatice!

A new postdoctoral position is available. The research topic will deal with protein modification, by either chemical biology protocols or direct chemical modification. The modified biomolecules will then be integrated into biohybrid polymeric scaffolds for a biotechnological purpose. The full description of this offer is visible in “Positions” page.

An essay written by Guillaume on the pathway to becoming an academic has been published today. Guillaume was invited by the editors of the Polymer Chemistry blog to share his experience and feelings on how to become an academic. While an RSC-reduced version appears on the blog, the full-length version can be read here.

A new article based on the work of Guillaume with his former colleagues of the Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands has just been published in Journal of Materials Chemistry B!

KICK-OFF!!! The group is officially created!
We are seeking one PhD candidate to work on the topic of Polymeric Materials for Biotechnological Applications. The job offer is visible in the Positions section of the group website.




Last update: April 27, 2018