Aránzazu del Campo joined the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in February 2009 and is heading the research group “Active Surfaces and Materials”. She studied chemistry at the Universidad Complutense (Madrid, Spain) and received her MSc degree in 1995. In 2000 she obtained her PhD degree from the Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología de Polímeros (Madrid) for experimental research on ferroelectric liquid crystalline polymers. Parallel to this she studied materials science and engineering at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. After completion of her PhD, she moved to the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research as a Marie Curie Fellow and joined Prof. H.W. Spiess’ department to work on surface patterning and colloidal assembly. During this time she spent some months at Berkeley National Lab (USA) in Prof. Miquel Salmerón’s group to acquire experimental experience in X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy and Atomic Force Microscopy. In September 2003 she was appointed Senior Research Fellow by the University of Greenwich (London, UK) to work at the Universitá degli Studi di Urbino (Italy) within the framework of an European Research Project. She worked on surface tailoring of magnetic nanoparticles for applications in magnetic separation and purification of biomolecules. In December 2004 she moved to the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research (Stuttgart) as group leader in Prof. E. Arzt’s department. In 2007 she became head of the department “Functional Surfaces” at the Leibniz Institut für Neue Materialien GmbH (Saarbrücken).
Her group at the MPI for Polymer Research works on the development of surfaces and materials with tunable properties. These are based on novel photochemical and micro- and nanofabrication concepts and conceived to understand and/or reproduce mechanisms by which biomolecules, cells, or even animals (geckos) interact during locomotion with solid surfaces.
Three main research lines will be established from the beginning: (i) bioactive caged surfaces with selective response to different irradiation wavelengths that allow dynamic and multi-parametric studies in biology, (ii) responsive hydrogels with photo-tunable stickiness, and (iii) bio-inspired reversible adhesives for dry and wet environments mimicking gecko and tree frog locomotion mechanisms.
In 2007 Aránzazu del Campo was awarded the Federation of European Materials Scientists (FEMS) Lecturer Award for Excellence in Materials Science and Engineering. She also received the Marie Curie Post-Doctoral Fellowship during her stay at MPI for Polymer Research and the Ramón Areces Fellowship for her PhD. She is currently finishing her Habilitation degree at the faculty of Biophysical Chemistry at the University of Heidelberg.
Specific areas of research are responsive surfaces and materials, photochemistry: wavelength dependent photoactivation, adhesion phenomena: gecko- and tree-frog inspired adhesives, micro- and nanostructuring approaches, interaction of biomolecules and cells with synthetic surfaces and polymer materials: synthesis, structure-properties relationships, liquid crystalline behavior