PhD defense: Molding nanovesicles into predictable shapes

Date of news: 10 October 2016

On Thursday October 20, 2016, Roger Rikken will receive his doctorate degree in the Aula of Radboud University. During his PhD research at the HFML, Rikken focused on the shape transformation of spherical artificial nanovesicles.


Artificial vesicles have interesting properties which make them suitable candidates for capsules for controlled transport of medicine in the human body. In his thesis, Rikken describes several chemical and physical techniques that can be employed to induce controlled shape changes into rods, discs and bowl-shapes. By using the magnetic fields of the High Field Magnet Laboratory HFML, he was able to detect the different shapes and therefore probe the shape changes in real-time. All shapes observed were described mathematically in order to calculate their geometrical properties. The observed shapes are in very good agreement with a model which was once proposed for biological vesicles. Therefore, scientists are not only able to make a variety of differently shaped vesicles, but also understand the mechanism behind it. Since the shape of a vesicle is related to its function, these findings are promising for the further development of applications in nanomedicine.

Also read: Now available: nanovesicles in predictable shapes (, August 2016)

Roger Rikken (Nijmegen, 1984) completed a Bachelor of Education in physics teaching (cum laude) at Han University of Applied Sciences before starting his studies in Natural Sciences at Radboud University. He was awarded both his bachelor’s and his master’s degree cum laude. Between 2012 and 2016, he worked as a PhD student at Radboud University’s High Field Magnet Laboratory (HFML) and Bio-Organic Chemistry group. Currently, Rikken works as a Physics teacher at the Fontys University of Applied Sciences in Tilburg.