Dr. Lucas Caire da Silva
Lucas Caire da Silva received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Campinas (2010, Brazil) before joining the group of Prof. Dr. Kenneth Wagener at the University of Florida in 2011, where he obtained his PhD in polymer chemistry (2015). Lucas’ research work in the Wagener Group involved the synthesis of precision polyolefins, particularly deuterium-labelled branched polyolefins that were used to study the effects of branching on polymer chain dynamics by 2H and 13C solid state NMR methods. After his PhD work, Lucas started his postdoctoral research at the Department of Physical Chemistry of Polymers led by Prof. Dr. Katharina Landfester at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P). His research interests include the development of bio-inspired synthetic vesicular systems, such as bioreactors and artificial organelles, obtained by combining responsive polymer vesicles with chemically active nanomaterials. Since 2020, Lucas has continued to develop his research work on synthetic vesicular systems as a group leader at MPI-P.
We are interested in the engineering of artificial cells inspired by living cells. Our systems feature two essential components: functional semi-permeable synthetic vesicles (lipids, polymers, and hybrids), and active components such as enzymes, proteins, and nanomaterials. Together, they create integrated smart biomimetic systems that can be programmed to perform different tasks. For instance, artificial cells can be used as bioreactors for chemical synthesis, delivery vehicles for biomolecules. Artificial cells can also recreate cellular behavior such as growth, division, and motion, significantly increasing the complexity and applicability of the tasks they can perform. By designing artificial cells from scratch, we are also improving our understanding of how non-living materials once came together to create the first living cells.
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First published: 15 November 2021