476078 Polymeric Materials for Biomedicine and Nanotechnology

Sunday, November 13, 2016
Continental 4 & 5 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Stephanie Christau, Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Polymeric Materials for Biomedicine and Nanotechnology

Stephanie Christau,University of Michigan1stYear Postdoctoral Fellow

Postdoctoral Project:

Preparation of Polymeric Janus Particles for Stimulation of Immune Cells. Advisor:Joerg Lahann, Department of Chemical Engineering, Biointerfaces Institute, University of Michigan.


Smart Hybrid Materials with Tailored Functions: Immobilization of Gold Nanoparticles into Stimuli-Responsive Polymer Brushes.

Advisor:Regine von Klitzing, Department of Chemistry, Berlin Institute of Technology (TU Berlin).Co-advisor: Jan Genzer, Department of Chemical Engineering, North Carolina State University.

Research Interests:

Although my degree is in chemistry, I have been exposed to different areas of research throughout my academic career. This includes general chemistry, polymer science and engineering, and applied physics. As my PhD thesis focused on the development of responsive surface coatings made of polymer brush/gold particle hybrids, I have a strong background in polymer and colloid science. In addition to receiving training in standard characterization techniques (ellipsometry, spectroscopy, electron microscopy), I have gained experience in x-ray and neutron scattering techniques. The latter includes writing proposals to get measurement time at the neutron facility, proper planning of the scattering experiments, and the data analysis which requires sophisticated fitting procedures. In my postdoctoral project, I am applying my skill set while also broadening my knowledge base in the area of biomedical science. Yet, I familiarized myself with the preparation of polymeric particles and their characterization, and cell culture experiments. I have invaluable experience in many research areas including chemistry, material science, polymer and colloid science and engineering, biomedical engineering, and applied physics.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, January 2016 – present

Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. Advisor: Joerg Lahann

  • Development of polymeric nanoparticles for T cell activation
  • Electrohydrodynamic co-jetting of multicompartmental nano-/microparticles

Postdoctoral Researcher, October 2015 – January 2016

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA. Advisor: Jan Genzer

  • Preparation of polymer brush charge gradients on flat substrates

Ph.D. (chemistry). DFG-IRTG Fellow, July 2012 – October 2015

Department of Chemistry, Berlin Institute of Technology (TU Berlin), Germany. Advisor:Regine von Klitzing

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA Advisor: Jan Genzer.

  • Preparation of stimuli-responsive polymer brush surface coatings and immobilization of gold nanoparticles
  • Self-assembly and plasmonic properties of polymer brush/nanoparticle composite materials for sensor applications
  • Neutron reflectometry measurements and data fitting to resolve internal structure of polymer brush/nanoparticle hybrids
  • Preparation of polymer brush gradients (grafting density, charge)

Diploma (chemistry). Researcher, 2011 – 2012

Department of Chemistry, Berlin Institute of Technology (TU Berlin), Germany. Advisor: Martin Schoen (TU Berlin)

Department of Chemistry, Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zurich, Switzerland. Co-advisor: Martin Quack (ETH Zurich)

  • High-resolution FTIR spectroscopy of the carbon dioxide hot bands and their contribution to the greenhouse effect (measurements and simulation)

Undergraduate Researcher, 2010 – 2011

Department of Chemistry, Berlin Institute of Technology (TU Berlin), Germany. Advisor: Regine von Klitzing.

  • Structure properties of polymers in bulk and under confinement (viscometry and atomic force microscopy measurements)

Teaching Interests:

I mentored several undergraduate students at North Carolina State University, TU Berlin and the University of Michigan. I also mentored two bachelor theses; duties included developing a feasible project, organizing overall timeframe and experiments, and training in the laboratory (both, synthesis and characterization techniques) and in scientific writing. I also TAed and guest-lectured undergraduate courses in ‘polymer and colloid science’ at the TU Berlin. Duties included course material, lecturing, and office hours. Furthermore, I am participating in the course ‘High Impact Principles and Practices for STEM Education’ at the University of Michigan. The purpose of this course is being prepared to teach effectively as future faculty member in science and engineering.

Successful proposals:

German Science Foundation (DFG, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) Postdoctoral Research Grant, 2016.

Future Directions:

As a faculty I would like to continue in the field of polymer and colloid science. The projects I am proposing include the development of polymeric (bio)materialsfor

  • Stimulation of T cells to elicit a specific immune response – applications include cancer immunotherapy and cancer vaccines.
  • Controlled and sustained delivery of cytokines/chemokines – applications include chronic wound healing and cancer immunotherapy.
  • Development of composite materials with tunable plasmonic properties through immobilization of metallic nanoparticles – applications include the development of smart sensors (via polymeric particles or surface coatings) and photothermal therapy (biodegradable materials).


Journal articles.

(1) Christau, S.; Möller, T.; Brose, F.; Genzer, J.; Soltwedel, O.; von Klitzing, R. Effect of gold nanoparticle hydrophobicity on thermally induced color change of PNIPAM brush/gold nanoparticle hybrids, Polymer 2016, doi: 10.1016/j.polymer.2016.03.088

(2) Kesal, D.; Christau, S.; Krause, P.; Moeller, T.; von Klitzing, R. Uptake of pH-Sensitive Gold Nanoparticles in Strong Polyelectrolyte Brushes, Polymers 2016,8, 134; doi:10.3390/polym8040134

(3) Christau, S.; Möller, T., Yenice, Z.; Genzer, J.; von Klitzing, R. Brush/gold nanoparticle hybrids: Effect of grafting density on particle uptake and distribution within weak polyelectrolyte brushes. Langmuir, 2014, 30, 13033-13041.

(4) Christau, S.; Thurandt, S.; Yenice, Z.; von Klitzing, R. Stimuli-Responsive Polyelectrolyte Brushes as a Matrix for the Attachment of Gold Nanoparticles: The Effect of Brush Thickness on Particle Distribution. Polymers (Basel), 2014, 6, 1877.

(5) Üzüm, C.; Christau, S.; von Klitzing, R. Structuring of Polyelectrolyte (NaPSS) Solutions in Bulk and under Confinement as a Function of Concentration and Molecular Weight. Macromolecules, 2011, 44(19), 7782-7791.


(1) Christau, S.; Genzer, J.; von Klitzing, R. Polymer brush/metal nanoparticle hybrids for optical sensor applications: From self-assembly to tailored functions and nanoengineering. Z.Phys.Chem.,  2015, 229 (7-8), 1089-1117.

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