June 2018

Publication in Angewandte Chemie as hot paper By Shauni Keller, Serena P. Teora, Guo Xun Hu, Marlies Nijemeisland, Daniela A. Wilson.

'Hot' publication in Angewandte Chemie: "High-Throughput Design of Biocompatible Enzyme-Based Hydrogel Microparticles with Autonomous Movement"

Spontaneous formation of soft micromotors: Micro- and nanomotors and their use for biomedical applications have received recently increased attention. However, most designs use top-down methods to construct inorganic motors, which are labor-intensive and not suitable for biomedical use. A suitable design for biomedical applications should be inspired by nature, thus it should be designed using a bottom-up method, it should be biodegradable, or at least biocompatible, should be driven by biocatalysts which provide access to biological relevant fuels and should provide a soft interface with biological systems. However, incorporating all these requirements in a motor design with controlled sizes and shapes remains a challenge. In this manuscript we describe a new design of enzyme driven hydrogel autonomous microparticles with a bowl shape asymmetric morphology. We aimed for an easy to make design of the biocompatible motor. Therefore, we utilized the spontaneous phase separation of poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate and dextran to form asymmetric microbeads in a microfluidic device which allowed for control over their shape and size. Encapsulation of a biocatalyst transformed these static beads into self-propelled motors when exposed to fuel. High speeds were obtained in relatively low fuel concentration of up to 5.2 body lengths/s. Remarkably, these motors propelled in a strictly circular or linear fashion depending on the pinning location of the bubbles which is either off-center or on-center. This is the first enzyme-driven micromotor, which is based on soft, biocompatible materials made through a high-throughput, spontaneous bottom-up assembly using microfluidics. The results were presented in the journal Angewandte Chemie.


March 2018

Dr. Löwik obtained the Comenius Teaching Fellowship, Prof. Wilson was granted the Westerdijk Talent Scheme, and a publication in Nanoletters by Yongjun Men, Wei Li, Geert-Jan Janssen, Roger S. M. Rikken, and Daniela A. Wilson.

Comenius Teaching Fellowship for Dennis Löwik

Dr. Dennis Lowik has been granted the Comenius Teaching Fellowship. He will use an e-Learning tool for the chemical lab.

Students should be better prepared for laboratory courses. By using the e-learning tool they can work more independently, more efficienctly, and have better learning outcomes.

Read more about the Comenius Teaching Fellowship (in Dutch)

Herma Cuppen and Daniela Wilson granted the Westerdijk Talent Scheme

Professor Herma Cuppen (Computational Chemistry) and Professor Daniela Wilson (Systems chemistry) have been granted the Westerdijk Talent Scheme. The goal of the Westerdijk Talent Scheme programme is to increase the number of female professors and therefore create better diversity at the top of Dutch academia. As an extra boost to ensure that all scientific talent in the Netherlands will be utilized, the Dutch government funds 5 million euros for the appointment of 100 women professors. With this extra investment in the ‘Westerdijk year’, universities are encouraged to increase the number of female professors.

Nanoletters publication: “Stomatocyte in Stomatocyte: A New Shape of Polymersome Induced via Chemical-Addition Methodology”

Out-of-equilibrium self-assembly: Accurate control of the shape transformation of polymersome is an important and interesting challenge that spans across disciplines such as nanomedicine and nanomachine. Here we report a fast and facile methodology of shape manipulation of polymersome via out-of-equilibrium polymer self-assembly and shape change by chemical addition of additives. Due to its increased permeability, hydrophilicity and fusogenic properties, poly(ethylene oxide) (PEG) was selected as the additive for bringing the system out of equilibrium via fast addition into the polymersome organic solution. A new shape, stomatocyte-in-stomatocyte (sto-in-sto), is obtained for the first time. Moreover, fast shape transformation within less than 1 min to other relevant shapes such as stomatocyte and large compound vesicles was also obtained and accurately con-trolled in a uniform dispersion. This methodology is demonstrated as a general strategy to push the assembly further out of equilibrium to generate unusual nanostructures in a controllable and fast manner.The results were presented in the journal Nano Letters.


Januari 2018

Publication in Advanced Functional Materials by Fei Peng, Yongjun Men, Yingfeng Tu, Yongming Chen and Daniela A. Wilson.

Publication in Advanced Functional Materials: "Nanomotor-Based Strategy for Enhanced Penetration across Vasculature Model"

Race in Crossing barriers: In order to mimic natural motile organisms, micro/nanosized motors are developed to achieve control of the motion at macro/micro/nano scale. Nanomotors are a type of nanomachines, able to convert chemical energy, electrical energy or other source of energy into motion. With fast moving ability, the nanomotors hold great potential for many fields, including nanoengineering, environment and drug delivery. Holding great potential for revolutionizing the conventional medical therapy including surgery, drug delivery and wound healing the synthetic motors have gathered booming research interests.
The capability to carry a cargo and directional motion is important for drug delivery application. In the past decades, passive nanoparticle based antitumor therapy has been intensively investigated. However only recently has been discovered that only 0.7% of the injected drug-nanoparticle dose is in fact reaching the solid tumor which limits substantially the efficiency of this approach. Wilson and coworkers proposed a polymersome based nanomotor design to effectively cross tumor vasculature endothelium. This has been achieved by combining directional motion of the nanomotor and enhanced diffusion of its motion with the ability of polymersomes, hollow capsules assembled from amphiphilic polymers of tunable sizes to carry a cargo. The methodology is applicable to a wide range of polymersomes, the approach is convenient and versatile, having potential for industrial up scaling.


This is the first example of nanomotor-based efficient tumor vasculature crossing strategy. It provides a new perspective for current passive antitumor drug delivery method.

The results were presented in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

May 2017

Daniela Wilson has been appointed Professor of Systems Chemistry at the Radboud University Faculty of Science with effect from April 15 2017.

Daniela Wilson appointed Professor of Systems Chemistry

Dr. Daniela Wilson conducts research at the interface between chemistry, physics and bioscience using principles from supramolecular chemistry, macromolecular chemistry and nanotechnology to design interactive systems with emergent functions and adaptive behaviour.

The focus of her research is on the design of molecules and their interaction to generate structures with complex behaviour with a strong emphasis on the emergence of function from complex supramolecular assemblies such as motion, selective transport, regulated transport and collective behaviour of systems colonies. 
A strong current topic of research is the design of synthetic motile systems: generation of autonomous movement in synthetic supramolecular systems and controlling their motion, directionality and collective behaviour. To this end she is using principles from supramolecular chemistry, molecular design and catalysis for harvesting different sources of energy into translational motion. This line of research was awarded in 2012 with an ERC starting grant.