Professor Nico Bruns

Pure and Applied Chemistry

Personal statement

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, enabling life and rendering 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, to develop polymer- and protein-based nanoreactors for enzymatic reactions, and to use proteins as force-responsive sensor molecules in fiber-reinforced composite materials. For further information, please visit: http://ami.swiss/en/groups/macromolecular-chemistry/

Publications

Nano-3D-printed photochromic micro-objects
Ulrich Sebastian, Wang Xiaopu, Rottmar Markus, Rossi René Michel, Nelson Bradley J, Bruns Nico, Müller Ralph, Maniura-Weber Katharina, Qin Xiao-Hua, Boesel Luciano Fernandes
Small Vol 17 (2021)
https://doi.org/10.1002/smll.202101337
Infiltration of proteins in cholesteric cellulose structures
Bast Livia K, Klockars Konrad W, Greca Luiz G, Rojas Orlando J, Tardy Blaise L, Bruns Nico
Biomacromolecules Vol 22, pp. 2067-2080 (2021)
https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.biomac.1c00183
A methodology for remote microwave sterilization applicable to the coronavirus and other pathogens using retrodirective antenna arrays
Kossenas Konstantinos, Podilchak Symon K, Comite Davide, Hilario Re Pascual D, Goussetis George, Pavuluri Sumanth K, Griffiths Samantha, Chadwick Robert J, Guo Chao, Bruns Nico, Tait-Burkard Christine, Haas Jüergen G, Desmulliez Marc PY
IEEE Journal of Electromagnetics, RF and Microwaves in Medicine and Biology (2021)
https://doi.org/10.1109/JERM.2021.3077110
Promoting the furan ring opening reaction to access new donor–acceptor stenhouse adducts with hexafluoroisopropanol
Clerc Michèle, Stricker Friedrich, Ulrich Sebastian, Sroda Miranda, Bruns Nico, Boesel Luciano F, Read de Alaniz Javier
Angewandte Chemie International Edition Vol 60, pp. 10219-10227 (2021)
https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.202100115
Shear stress-responsive polymersome nanoreactors inspired by the marine bioluminescence of dinoflagellates
Rifaie-Graham Omar, Galensowske Nikolas F B, Dean Charlie, Pollard Jonas, Balog Sandor, Gouveia Micael G, Chami Mohamed, Vian Antoine, Amstad Esther, Lattuada Marco, Bruns Nico
Angewandte Chemie International Edition Vol 60, pp. 904-909 (2021)
https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.202010099
Stabilizing enzymes within polymersomes by co-encapsulation of trehalose
Dinu Maria Valentina, Dinu Ionel Adrian, Saxer Sina Simone, Meier Wolfgang P, Pieles Uwe, Bruns Nico
Biomacromolecules Vol 22, pp. 134-145 (2021)
https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.biomac.0c00824

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:

https://bruns-lab.com/

 

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

      

Projects

Polymeric Membranes for Artificial Endosymbionts (H2020-MSCA-IF-2020 - Andrea Belluati)
Bruns, Nico (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2023
Intracellular Controlled Radical Polymerizations
Bruns, Nico (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2023
Pire Bio-Inspired Materials and Systems
Bruns, Nico (Principal Investigator) Roldan Velasquez, Sara Tatiana (Principal Investigator)
Bio-inspired Materials and Systems is a Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) program funded by National Science Foundation in the US and Switzerland.
01-Jan-2018
Plant Inspired Materials and Surfaces (PLAMATSU) MCSA ITN
Bruns, Nico (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2020
NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials
Bruns, Nico (Principal Investigator)
Bio-Inspired Materials
01-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2022
PIRE Bio-Inspired Materials and Systems
Bruns, Nico (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2021

More projects

Address

Pure and Applied Chemistry
Thomas Graham Building

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