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|Prof. Luisa De Cola and a light emitting diode (LED) Photo: WWU - Grewer|
Prof. Luisa De Cola receives grant from European Research Council / Second award for WWU researchers
Prof. Luisa De Cola from the Department of Interface Physics at Münster University has received an especially prestigious award from the European Research Council (ERC) - the highly distinguished "Advanced Researcher Grant" for 2009. This is awarded to outstanding and experienced scientists who are well established in their fields of research. Prof. De Cola will be receiving almost two million euros for five years in order to realise a research project on the application of porous nanoaterial. This is the second prestigious ERC grant to go to Münster within just a few weeks. In October Dr. Yong Lei from the Institute of Material Physics was awarded a 1.4 million euro grant for junior scientists.
Prof. De Cola is doing research into porous nano-material and its application in medical imaging. In particular she is attempting to produce very small "containers" - just a few nanometres in size - made of silicate (glass). The aim is to charge these porous particles with medicines or with molecules such as antibiotics, light-emitting colorants, radioactive ions or contrast agents for the purposes of medical diagnosis.
She also wants to develop a mechanism to enable the containers to open and close and thus release their contents. Together with Dr. Cristian Strassert, Prof. De Cola has already demonstrated that nano-containers can detect and successfully fight bacteria under laboratory conditions. In the next step she wants to apply this method to cancer cells.
Prof. De Cola also uses this type of porous nano-material to develop special coatings on which cells can grow. She wants to show that these coatings can be used to control cell development and communication.
Since 2005 Prof. De Cola has been leading a Physical Photochemistry and Photonic Materials working group at WWU; she also works at Münster's CeNTech (Center for Nanotechnology). The focus of her research is in nano-electronics, nano-photonics and bio-medicine, in the fields of diagnosis and imaging. "My dream," she says, "is to break down barriers between institutes. I would love to bring together scientists from all over the world so that they can all profit from one another's knowledge." Her own working group is the best example of this. In it, around 30 physicists, chemists and bio-chemists from nine different countries work together.
Luisa De Cola studied chemistry at the University of Messina in Italy. After completing her PhD she dis research and taught in the USA. She returned to Italy to be a Professor at the University of Bologna before being offered a professorship at the University of Amsterdam. From there to moved to Münster. Here her working group is involved not only in the Collaborative Research Centre "MoBil", working closely with the departments of nuclear medicine and radiology, but also in the German-Chinese TRR 61 Collaborative Research Centre. De Cola is coordinator of the Nanoscience Europe Project, as well as being active in other European projects.
The Advanced Researcher Grant is awarded by the European Research Council to outstanding, independent researchers of all nationalities who want to carry out their research at an institute in a member country or in an associated country within the framework programme.
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