Cesar Rodriguez-Emmenegger, PhD

rodriguez [at]

Principal Investigator

Cesar leads his research group at DWI-Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials.

Cesar graduated Universidad de la República (Montevideo, Uruguay) as a Chemical Engineer. Later he moved to Prague to pursue his PhD in Biophysics, Chemical and Macromolecular Physics at the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, and Charles University in Prague. During his PhD he tackled the major technical obstacle preventing biosensors to reach clinic, i.e. unwanted adsorption of proteins (fouling) on the sensor surfaces. He showed that grafting polymers with rigorous control of the expansion of the polymer chains and entropic repulsion (polymer brushes) was a superior route to suppress protein adsorption. He introduced a new class of polymer brushes (poly[N-(2-hydroxypropyl)methacrylamide] (HPMA)). To date only poly(HPMA) and poly(carboxybetaine) brushes have been able to provide complete protection against blood plasma fouling. Furthermore, by immobilizing protein bioreceptors onto non-fouling polymer brushes he developed a sensor for the diagnosis of Herpes virus infection in real clinical samples. During his PhD Cesar visited the group of Prof. W. T. S. Huck in Cambridge University (Cambridge, United Kingdom) and Prof. V. Percec in University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, USA) as part of research stay.


With the support of an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellowship he worked in the group of Prof. C. Barner-Kowollik in Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Karlsruhe, Germany) on the design of protocols to modify surfaces with spatial and temporal control using light-triggered and modular ligations based on: photoenols, tetrazoles, and phenacyl sulphide. Subsequently, he was a visiting scholar at Prof. Percec group working on living radical polymerization of (meth)acrylamide water soluble monomers and the synthesis of Janus dendrimers.


He established his junior group first in IMC Prague and later in DWI Aachen. His research focuses in the development of synthetic strategies to generate materials able to adapt and interact with living matter. For this his team seeks to recapitulate functions existing in Nature with simple chemical and physical concepts based on the precise control of chemistry, topology, architecture and conformation of macromolecules, their directed self-assembly, and reconstitution of biological and biologically-inspired systems on interfaces.