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

Tuning the properties of a UV-polymerized, cross-linked solid polymer electrolyte for lithium batteries
Sutton Preston, Airoldi Martino, Porcarelli Luca, Olmedo-Martínez Jorge L, Mugemana Clément, Bruns Nico, Mecerreyes David, Steiner Ullrich, Gunkel Ilja
Polymers Vol 12 (2020)
https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12030595
Self-healing metallo-supramolecular amphiphilic polymer conetworks
Mugemana Clément, Grysan Patrick, Dieden Reiner, Ruch David, Bruns Nico, Dubois Philippe
Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics Vol 221 (2020)
https://doi.org/10.1002/macp.201900432
Biocatalytically initiated precipitation atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) as a quantitative method for hemoglobin detection in biological fluids
Pollard Jonas, Rifaie-Graham Omar, Raccio Samuel, Davey Annabelle, Balog Sandor, Bruns Nico
Analytical Chemistry Vol 92, pp. 1162-1170 (2020)
https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.analchem.9b04290
Virtual special issue "Biomimetic Polymers"
Bruns Nico, Scheibel Thomas
European Polymer Journal Vol 122 (2020)
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eurpolymj.2019.109370
Pyranine-modified amphiphilic polymer conetworks as fluorescent ratiometric pH sensors
Ulrich Sebastian, Osypova Alina, Panzarasa Guido, Rossi René M, Bruns Nico, Boesel Luciano F
Macromolecular Rapid Communications Vol 40 (2019)
https://doi.org/10.1002/marc.201900360
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)
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eurpolymj.2019.06.037

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

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
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

More projects

Address

Pure and Applied Chemistry
Thomas Graham Building

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