• United Kingdom

  • 295 Cathedral Street, Office 5.07, Thomas Graham Building


    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Research Interests

Synthetic polymers have contributed to many innovations in all aspects of modern life. Significant progress has been made in synthetic methods to obtain functional polymers, in the fabrication of polymeric nanostructures and in the fundamental understanding of their physicochemical properties. However, compared to the properties and functions of nature’s macromolecules, even the most sophisticated synthetic polymers still appear to be simple and only offer comparably basic functionality. Proteins are fascinating macromolecules, particularly from a polymer chemist’s point of view. The vast variety of functions that proteins can fulfill is not seen in any synthetic material. Enzymes for example act as catalysts, while other proteins fluoresce or control transport across cell membranes. Moreover, certain proteins can self-assemble into nanocontainers and nanoreactors. All these functions are essential molecular mechanisms that enable life and render living tissue responsive and adaptive.

My research encompasses an interdisciplinary, bio-inspired approach that combines polymer chemistry and protein engineering to create new opportunities for the sustainable synthesis of polymers and to design, engineer and realize materials and nanosytems with unprecedented new functions. Examples are the use of enzymes as catalysts for atom transfer radical polymerizations, the use of biocatalysis for malaria diagnostics, to develop polymersome- and protein-based nanoreactors for enzymatic reactions, and to use proteins as force-responsive sensor molecules in fiber-reinforced composite materials.


Group Webpage:

For further information, please visit:



Selected Publications:

  1. Rifaie-Graham, O.; Pollard, J.; Raccio, S.; Balog, S.; Rusch, S.; Hernández-Castañeda, M. A.; Mantel, P.-Y.; Beck, H.-P.; Bruns, N., Hemozoin-catalyzed precipitation polymerization as an assay for malaria diagnosis. Nature Commun. 2019, 10, 1369. Link
  2. Rifaie-Graham, O.; Ulrich, S.; Galensowske, N. F. B.; Balog, S.; Chami, M.; Rentsch, D.; Hemmer, J. R.; Read de Alaniz, J.; Boesel, L. F.; Bruns, N., Wavelength-Selective Light-Responsive DASA-Functionalized Polymersome Nanoreactors. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 8027-8036. Link
  3. Rother, M.; Barmettler, J.; Reichmuth, A.; Araujo, J. V.; Rytka, C.; Glaied, O.; Pieles, U.; Bruns, N., Self-Sealing and Puncture Resistant Breathable Membranes for Water-Evaporation Applications. Adv. Mater. 2015, 27, 6620-6624. Link
  4. Renggli, K.; Nussbaumer, M. G.; Urbani, R.; Pfohl, T.; Bruns, N., A Chaperonin as Protein Nanoreactor for Atom-Transfer Radical Polymerization. Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 1443-1447. Link
  5. Silva, T. B.; Spulber, M.; Kocik, M. K.; Seidi, F.; Charan, H.; Rother, M.; Sigg, S. J.; Renggli, K.; Kali, G.; Bruns, N., Hemoglobin and Red Blood Cells Catalyze Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization. Biomacromolecules 2013, 14, 2703-2712. Link
  6. Sigg, S. J.; Seidi, F.; Renggli, K.; Silva, T. B.; Kali, G.; Bruns, N., Horseradish Peroxidase as a Catalyst for Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization. Macromol. Rapid Commun. 2011, 32, 1710-1715. Link


Personal Statement

Contact Details

Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry

University of Strathclyde

Thomas Graham Building, Office TG 507

295 Cathedral Street

Glasgow G1 1XL


Phone: +44 (0)141 548 4648;

Webpage: https://bruns-lab.com/

Email: nico.bruns@strath.ac.uk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Bruns_Lab; @Bruns_Lab

Google Scholar: Link

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6199-9995


Career Synopsis

  • 2018 – present: Professor of Macromolecular Chemistry, University of Strathclyde
  • 2013 – 2018: Associate Professor of Macromolecular Chemistry, Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
  • 2008 – 2013: Habilitand (Independent Research Group Leader), Department of Chemistry, University of Basel, Switzerland; Habilitation Mentor: Prof. Wolfgang Meier
  • 2007 – 2008: Postdoctoral Researcher with Prof. Douglas S. Clark, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, USA
  • 2003 – 2007: PhD in Chemistry with Prof. Rolf Mülhaupt and Jörg C. Tiller, University of Freiburg, Germany


  • Polymer chemistry
  • Biocatalysis
  • Bio-inspired materials
  • Bio-nanotechnology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Nico Bruns is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 2 Similar Profiles
Polymers Chemical Compounds
Atom transfer radical polymerization Chemical Compounds
Nanoreactors Chemical Compounds
Proteins Engineering & Materials Science
Thermosomes Chemical Compounds
Block copolymers Chemical Compounds
Enzymes Engineering & Materials Science
Polymerization Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2018 2022

NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials

Bruns, N.

Swiss National Science Foundation SNSF


Project: Research - Studentship

PIRE: Pire Bio-Inspired Materials and Systems

Bruns, N. & Roldan Velasquez, S. T.

1/10/18 → …

Project: Internally funded project

Research Output 2003 2020

Self-healing metallo-supramolecular amphiphilic polymer conetworks

Mugemana, C., Grysan, P., Dieden, R., Ruch, D., Bruns, N. & Dubois, P., 13 Jan 2020, In : Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics. 6 p., 1900432.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Virtual special issue "Biomimetic Polymers"

Bruns, N. & Scheibel, T., 5 Jan 2020, In : European Polymer Journal. 122, 2 p., 109370.

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

Open Access