Anna M. Kaczmarek - NORTH

Description of the PI

annakaczmarek.pngAnna M. Kaczmarek is a materials chemist studying luminescent nanothermometers and their applications in various fields such as biomedicine, plant biology, high temperature industry and catalytical applications. She develops nanomaterials mostly based on lanthanide ions, however other systems based on e.g. organic dyes or silver particles have also attracted her attention.

Anna M. Kaczmarek received her master degree in chemistry from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland in 2010. In 2015 she defended her PhD in Chemstry at Ghent University, Belgium. She carried out post doctoral research in 3 different groups at Ghent University (L3, SCRIPTs and COMOC) and also carried out several long stays abroad at Cordoba University, Spain and Utrecht University (The Netherlands). During this time she developed her own research line of luminescence thermometry employing inorganic and hybrid organic/inorganic nanomaterials, MOFs, COFs, and PMOs. In 2020 she obtained a permanent position at the Department of Chemistry of Ghent University (Belgium) and started the NanoSensing group, which will study nano-sized optical sensors and specialize in nanothermometry. Several leading groups in Europe and the world are already studying this important topic, however, to the best of knowledge, the NanoSensing group is the only lab in Belgium studying the emerging topic of nanothermometry. She recently obtained a prestigious ERC Starting Grant on the topic of thermometry for theranostic applications. In her work she is especially intersted in interdisciplinary research where nanothermometers based on inorganic and hybrid nanomaterials can be combined with other fields e.g. biomedicine, chemical reaction monitoring, nanoelectronics.

Description of the project

Temperature measurements in the field of biomedicine are extremely important as temperature plays an essential role in biological systems. Although it is possible to detect temperature employing robust and already commercially available techniques (e.g. infrared cameras), optical thermometry at the nanoscale allows studying phenomena otherwise inaccessible to so-called traditional thermometers. Theranostics is a recently emerging field, which integrates diagnostics with therapy. It is a very interesting concept to combine nanothermometry for diagnostics with therapy. However, the currently proposed nanothermometer materials leave little room to expand towards the topic of theranostics. Project NORTH tackles the objective of merging nanothermometer diagnostics with therapy (drug delivery, Photo Dynamic Therapy) through developing complex hybrid nanomaterials based on lanthanide doped inorganic materials combined with organosilica materials. A rational design of biocompatible and multifunctional materials, which combine temperature sensing and therapy, and work through near infrared light excitation when the nanomaterials reach the desired location (e.g. cancer cells), is proposed. The successful development of such materials will be an important step forward in applying the field of luminescence thermometry in biomedical applications for diagnosing and treatment (e.g. tumors, inflammations or ischemia).