Research Areas

In the Centre for Living Molecules, core activities evolve in the areas of:

Green Molecules & Sustainability

(lead PI: Frederik Wurm):

Nature shows us perfect circularity – every biomolecule is designed to function and break down after its lifetime. Synthetic materials often result in waste: ranging from packaging to sophisticated devices. We aim to design molecules inspired by natural processes to develop new strategies for circularity in materials science, ranging from (organo)catalytic polymerizations and depolymerizations to enzymatic reactions.

Sensing Molecules & Healthy Living

(lead PI: Jurriaan Huskens):

Molecules can signal events, states and processes, both in living systems, the environment and in daily life. Sensing aims to pick up these molecular signals and translate them into useful information, for example for diagnostics, environmental monitoring and process control.

Functional Molecules & Smart Materials

(lead PI: Saskia Lindhoud):

Functional can be 1) being useful and 2) having a special purpose or task, both will be exploited for the design, development and manufacturing of smart materials. For example, we can incorporate functional molecules, like enzymes in extraction media and use their functionality for advanced separations, or we can make membranes with functionalised molecules to finetune their material and separation properties.

Biological molecules & networks

(lead PI: Julieta Paez):

Native tissues are complex systems with dynamic and adaptable character, vital to their function. Inspired by nature, we develop soft hydrogel biomaterials that can be integrated with living cells and tissues. Through rational molecular design, we pre-program materials properties like bioadhesion, degradability, self-recovery, and adaptability. This allows us to tailor biomaterials function, increasing performance and processability towards specific healthcare scenarios.

Computing Molecules & (Opto)electronics

(lead PI: Christian Nijhuis):

We aim to explore and exploit the dynamical nature of molecules to develop multi-functional devices that are adaptable at atomistic-length scales. These adaptive devices are needed to develop reconfigurable electronic devices, devices that respond to changes in their environment, reduce energy consumption, or create neuromorphic devices that mimic the dynamics of biological systems (our brains for example).