Two NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials post-doctoral researchers have been awarded prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowships. Philip Scholten and Samet Kocabey will investigate degradable plastics and cancer biomarkers, respectively.
Philip Scholten of Principal Investigator Prof. Christoph Weder’s group (Adolphe Merkle Institute) will develop degradable commodity plastics. His project will focus on novel materials based upon highly complex polymers containing metallic ions. The difficulty of recycling commodity plastics means that incineration and landfills are still the main options when dealing with this waste. Novel materials are therefore needed to help tackle these issues, and facilitate the recycling and degradation of (commodity) polymers. Scholten will investigate over the next two years new materials integrating so-called metallosupramolecular polymers, potentially providing a solution to plastic pollution issues. He will also develop a platform to prepare bio-based, benign, and (bio)degradable precursors for these polymers.
Samet Kocabey of Principal Investigator Prof. Curzio Rüegg’s group at the University of Fribourg will investigate microRNAs, which play a major role in gene regulation, as potential biomarkers for cancer diagnosis, prognosis and treatment monitoring. Kocabey plans to develop a sensitive assay system. It would allow the simultaneous detection of multiple microRNA targets from breast cancer cells and plasma by using a nanoscale folding method called DNA origami, and a state-of-art super resolution imaging technique. Kocabey is hoping his assay could be adapted for other types of RNA, which plays a vital role in coding, decoding, regulation and expression of genes.