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Research Activities

1) Polymeric Nanoparticles for Micellar Catalysis and Cascade Reactions in Water

Polymer-supported catalysis has witnessed increasing interest in the past years. The main reasons for this is the possibility to carry out organic reactions in water as solvent, protect water-sensitive catalysts and substrates in an aqueous environment, modulate catalyst activity and selectivity and offer simplified product purification and catalyst recycling. We have developed a platform of amphiphilic block polymers that self-organize in water and form catalytically active micelles.1 These micelles can be used to encapsulate catalysts to perform e.g. Au-based catalysis in a micellar system2 (with Prof. N. Krause, TUD) or to covalently link the ligands / catalysts to the block copolymer and subsequently to the micellar core1,3 or shell.4

An impressive application of such micellar systems is the development of DNA-encoded molecular libraries (with Dr. A. Brunschweiger).4 The micellar aggregates protect the DNA from premature degradation by ensuring spatial separation of catalyst and DNA. Another element of this research addresses the question of how multistep reaction sequences can be realized with the help of polymer nanoparticles. An example of this is the combination of a lipase-catalyzed ester hydrolysis followed by a Cu(I)-catalyzed oxidation reaction.5


1J. Organomet. Chem. 2005, 690, 4648-4655; Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2006, 45, 1309-1312; Macromol. Chem. Phys. 2008, 209(11), 1152-1159; 2Adv. Synth. Catal. 2016, 358, 1491 –1499; 3 RSC Adv. 2015, 5, 38235-38242; 4J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 26, 10546-10555; 5 RSC Adv. 2017, 7, 33614-33626.

2) Fabrication of Tailor-Made Hydrogel Matrices for Stem Cell Research

The reconstitution of stem cell niches with functional equivalents of the natural tissue is a challenging task in stem cell therapy. Our current research is focused on the development of synthetic polymers that mimic the microenvironment of stem cell niches. A main focus of our work is concerned with the development of polymer matrices that are suitable for 2D and 3D cell experiments.

In cooperation with Prof. A. Faissner (RUB) we study the effect of polymer composition, the presentation of ECM motifs and the presence of cationic charges on the behavior of neural stem cells.1-3 The aim of our research is to elucidate further mechanism that control stem cell function, such as cell viability and differentiation and at the same time reduce the complexity of the artificial stem cell niche.


1Macromol. Biosci. 2017, 17, 1600178; 2Molecular Neurobiology 2019, 56, 632–647; 3Fronties in Neurosci. 2020, 14, 475.

3) Polymeric Nanoparticles for Diagnostics and Drug Delivery

The development of multifunctional nanoparticles for potential application in drug delivery and diagnostics is a rapid emerging field. The main challenge is how to tailor nanoparticles for specific intracellular applications as contrast agents, drug delivery vehicles, and therapeutics. By developing tailor-made macromonomer surfactants based on poly(2-oxazolines) and their application in a microemulsion process we were able to fabricate a set of core-shell nanoparticles in the size of 20 to 80 nm.1 Furthermore, the versatility of the polymerization process allows the selective incorporation of a diagnostic function such as SiFA moieties (with Prof. K. Jurkschat). Subsequent 18F‑radiolabeling and in vivo PET analysis of these nanoparticles in a murine mammary tumor model (EMT6) (with Prof. R. Schirrmacher, Univ. of Alberta, CA) displayed size selective accumulation in the tumor tissue.2


1 Mcaromol. Chem. Phys. 2016, 217, 1704−1711; RSC Adv. 2016, 6, 9752–9763; 2 Bioconjugate Chem. 2018, 29, 89-95.

4) Biobased Polymeric Thickeners for Lubricant Application

Lubricants are substances that reduce friction between surfaces in mutual contact and therefore find many different applications in automotives but also many other industries. A main component of all lubricants are the thickeners that can be either based on a metal soap or polymers such as polyethylene, PTFE, and oligoureas. Within our FNR-supported research project together with the CARL BECHEM GMBH (industrial partner) and the Institute for Machine Elements and Systems Engineering (MSE), RWTH Aachen University, we investigate the effect of biobased polymeric thickeners on the rheological and tribological behavior of lubricants.

Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund University is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Campus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dort­mund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Campus Nord). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from Campus Nord to Campus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Campus Nord and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.

TU Dort­mund University has its own train station ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station ("Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop "Dort­mund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dort­mund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S".

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund University. There are two stations on Campus Nord. One ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Campus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Campus Nord and offers a direct connection to Campus Süd every five minutes.

The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dortmund Airport (DTM) to Dortmund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dortmund Central Station, you can continue to the university campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of international flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the university station.

The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent "Technologiepark".

Site Map of TU Dortmund University (Second Page in English).