Professor Nico Bruns

Pure and Applied Chemistry

Personal statement

Contact Details

Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry

University of Strathclyde

Thomas Graham Building, Office TG 507

295 Cathedral Street

Glasgow G1 1XL


Phone: +44 (0)141 548 4648;



Twitter:; @Bruns_Lab

Google Scholar: Link



Career Synopsis

  • 2018 – present: Professor of Macromolecular Chemistry, University of Strathclyde
  • 2013 – 2018: Associate Professor of Macromolecular Chemistry, Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
  • 2008 – 2013: Habilitand (Independent Research Group Leader), Department of Chemistry, University of Basel, Switzerland; Habilitation Mentor: Prof. Wolfgang Meier
  • 2007 – 2008: Postdoctoral Researcher with Prof. Douglas S. Clark, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, USA
  • 2003 – 2007: PhD in Chemistry with Prof. Rolf Mülhaupt and Jörg C. Tiller, University of Freiburg, Germany


Light-responsive block copolymers with a spiropyran located at the block junction
Apebende Edward A, Dubois Laurent, Bruns Nico
European Polymer Journal Vol 119, pp. 83-93 (2019)
Hemozoin-catalyzed precipitation polymerization as an assay for malaria diagnosis
Rifaie-Graham Omar, Pollard Jonas, Raccio Samuel, Balog Sandor, Rusch Sebastian, Hernández-Castañeda María Andrea, Mantel Pierre Yves, Beck Hans Peter, Bruns Nico
Nature Communications Vol 10 (2019)
Bio-inspired polymersome nanoreactors
Rifaie-Graham Omar, Apebende Edward A, Bruns Nico
CHIMIA Vol 73, pp. 21-24 (2019)
Chlorophyll derivatives as catalysts and comonomers for atom transfer radical polymerizations
Gajewska Bernadetta, Raccio Samuel, Rodriguez Kyle J, Bruns Nico
Polymer Chemistry Vol 10, pp. 125-135 (2019)
Effects of silk degumming process on physicochemical, tensile, and optical properties of regenerated silk fibroin
Nultsch Kira, Bast Livia K, Näf Muriel, Yakhlifi Salima El, Bruns Nico, Germershaus Oliver
Macromolecular Materials and Engineering Vol 303 (2018)
The kinetics of hematin crystallization measured by depolarized light scattering
Rifaie-Graham Omar, Hua Xiao, Bruns Nico, Balog Sandor
Small Vol 14 (2018)

more publications

Research interests

Synthetic polymers have contributed to many innovations in all aspects of modern life. Significant progress has been made in synthetic methods to obtain functional polymers, in the fabrication of polymeric nanostructures and in the fundamental understanding of their physicochemical properties. However, compared to the properties and functions of nature’s macromolecules, even the most sophisticated synthetic polymers still appear to be simple and only offer comparably basic functionality. Proteins are fascinating macromolecules, particularly from a polymer chemist’s point of view. The vast variety of functions that proteins can fulfill is not seen in any synthetic material. Enzymes for example act as catalysts, while other proteins fluoresce or control transport across cell membranes. Moreover, certain proteins can self-assemble into nanocontainers and nanoreactors. All these functions are essential molecular mechanisms that enable life and render living tissue responsive and adaptive.

My research encompasses an interdisciplinary, bio-inspired approach that combines polymer chemistry and protein engineering to create new opportunities for the sustainable synthesis of polymers and to design, engineer and realize materials and nanosytems with unprecedented new functions. Examples are the use of enzymes as catalysts for atom transfer radical polymerizations, the use of biocatalysis for malaria diagnostics, to develop polymersome- and protein-based nanoreactors for enzymatic reactions, and to use proteins as force-responsive sensor molecules in fiber-reinforced composite materials.


Group Webpage:

For further information, please visit:


Selected Publications:

  1. Rifaie-Graham, O.; Pollard, J.; Raccio, S.; Balog, S.; Rusch, S.; Hernández-Castañeda, M. A.; Mantel, P.-Y.; Beck, H.-P.; Bruns, N., Hemozoin-catalyzed precipitation polymerization as an assay for malaria diagnosis. Nature Commun. 2019, 10, 1369. Link
  2. Rifaie-Graham, O.; Ulrich, S.; Galensowske, N. F. B.; Balog, S.; Chami, M.; Rentsch, D.; Hemmer, J. R.; Read de Alaniz, J.; Boesel, L. F.; Bruns, N., Wavelength-Selective Light-Responsive DASA-Functionalized Polymersome Nanoreactors. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 8027-8036. Link
  3. Rother, M.; Barmettler, J.; Reichmuth, A.; Araujo, J. V.; Rytka, C.; Glaied, O.; Pieles, U.; Bruns, N., Self-Sealing and Puncture Resistant Breathable Membranes for Water-Evaporation Applications. Adv. Mater. 2015, 27, 6620-6624. Link
  4. Renggli, K.; Nussbaumer, M. G.; Urbani, R.; Pfohl, T.; Bruns, N., A Chaperonin as Protein Nanoreactor for Atom-Transfer Radical Polymerization. Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 1443-1447. Link
  5. Silva, T. B.; Spulber, M.; Kocik, M. K.; Seidi, F.; Charan, H.; Rother, M.; Sigg, S. J.; Renggli, K.; Kali, G.; Bruns, N., Hemoglobin and Red Blood Cells Catalyze Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization. Biomacromolecules 2013, 14, 2703-2712. Link
  6. Sigg, S. J.; Seidi, F.; Renggli, K.; Silva, T. B.; Kali, G.; Bruns, N., Horseradish Peroxidase as a Catalyst for Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization. Macromol. Rapid Commun. 2011, 32, 1710-1715. Link



NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials
Bruns, Nico (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2022
PIRE Bio-Inspired Materials and Systems
Bruns, Nico (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2021
Plant Inspired Materials and Surfaces (PLAMATSU) MCSA ITN
Bruns, Nico (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2020

more projects


Pure and Applied Chemistry
Thomas Graham Building

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