Julian Thiele

Affiliation: Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung Dresden e.V., DE

Keywords: Microfluidics, Microemulsions, Hydrogels, Vesicles, Cell-free biosynthesis, Additive manufacturing, Microstereolithography, Bioprinting

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Full profile:

Julian is group leader at the Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung Dresden e.V. (Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden), and Young Investigator at the TU Dresden. He received his BSc from Lund University, and his diploma in Chemistry from Hamburg University in 2008. He joined the group of David A. Weitz at Harvard University, and graduated from Bayreuth University in the group of Stephan Förster in 2011, for which he was awarded the Culture Award Bavaria by E.ON. As a Feodor-Lynen fellow of the Humboldt Foundation, he worked with Wilhelm T. S. Huck at Radboud University Nijmegen before joining the TU Dresden from 2014 to 2015.

Julian’s research covers synthesis, processing, and application. In detail, functional monomers, macromers, surfactants and photopolymer formulations are designed, and translated into multifunctional, stimuli-sensitive polymer materials via additive manufacturing and microfluidics (with feature sizes from a few micrometers to the millimeter-scale and beyond). His group’s particular strength lies in the design of physicochemically and mechanically tailored hydrogel particles (microgels), fabricated by droplet microfluidics. The hydrogel’s polymer network allows for tailoring size, shape, porosity, elasticity and compartmentalization and is thus the ideal platform for recapitulating cellular functions in a cell-free environment, and for mimicking cell scaffolds. On this account, his group makes use of bio-orthogonal synthesis schemes and biocompatible material bases, as recognized by the Georg Manecke Prize 2019 by the German Chemical Society (GDCh).

He is also co-founder and now leader of the Leibniz Application Laboratory “Additive Manufacturing / 3D printing”. In April 2020, Julian started his ERC Starting Grant project to establish a radically new approach for polymer material design, rethinking additive manufacturing on both material and process level. Here, functionality will be already embedded at the building block level to emerge into larger scales. The exact methodology relies on polymer microparticles as material basis with arbitrary geometry, function, mechanics and responsiveness. These microparticulates will serve as voxel-like building blocks yielding hierarchical assemblies with spatially defined voxel position and programmable, adaptive properties. With that, 3DPartForm will address the current lack of additive manufacturing providing multifunctional, stimuli-responsive materials, in which not only strongly different, but most importantly functional building blocks with intrinsic time axis will be processed into true 4D multimaterials.

Research interest: