Short CV/Education and training

    Studies in Chemistry at the University of Cambridge/UK, and the Freie Universität Berlin/Germany

  • 2003
    Graduation "with distinction"

  • 2003 – 2006
    Researcher, Max-Planck-Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) (Prof. Gerhard Wegner's group), Mainz/Germany

  • 2006
    Ph.D., University of Mainz

  • 2006 – 2007
    Project leader for an industrial cooperation of MPI-P with CIBA SC, Basel

  • 2007 – 2010
    Researcher, Prof. Gregory N. Tew's lab, University of Massachusetts, Amherst/MA

  • Since 2010
    Leader of a junior research group at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany (Department of Microsystems Engineering) which is focusing on the synthesis and characterization of polymer-functionalized surfaces, especially for biomedical applications

Selected publications

  • A. Al-Ahmad, D. Laird, P. Zou, P. Tomakidi, T. Steinberg, K. Lienkamp. Nature-inspired Antimicrobial Polymers – Assessment of Their Potential for Biomedical Applications. PLOS ONE

  • P. Zou, W. Hartleb, K. Lienkamp. It Takes Walls and Knights to Defend a Castle – How the Combination of Antimicrobial and Antibiofouling Polymers Might Yield Biofilm-resistant Surface Coatings, J. Mat. Chem. 2012, 22, 19579.

  • A. E. Madkour, A. H. R. Koch, K. Lienkamp,* G. N. Tew. End-functionalized ROMP-Polymers for Biomedical Applications. Macromolecules 2010, 43, 4557.

  • K. Lienkamp, G. N. Tew. Synthetic Mimics of Antimicrobial Peptides – A Versatile ROMP-based Platform for the Synthesis of Selective Antibacterial and Cell Penetrating Polymers. Chem. Eur. J., 2009, 15, 11784.

  • K. Lienkamp, K.-N. Kumar, A. Som, K. Nüsslein, G. N. Tew. Doubly Selective Antimicrobial Polymers – How Do They Differentiate Between Bacteria? Chem. Eur. J. 2009, 15, 11710..

  • K. Lienkamp, A. E. Madkour, K.-N. Kumar, K. Nüsslein, G. N. Tew. Antimicrobial Polymers Prepared by Ring-Opening Metathesis Polymerization: Influencing Antimicrobial Properties By Charge Density Variation and Ion Exchange. Chem. Eur. J., 2009, 15, 11715.

  • K. Lienkamp, A. E. Madkour, A. Musante, C. F. Nelson, K. Nüsslein, G. N. Tew, Antimicrobial Polymers Prepared by ROMP with Unprecedented Selectivity: A Molecular Construction Kit Approach. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 9836.

  • J. Wang, L. Sun, K. Mpoukouvalas, K. Lienkamp, I. Lieberwirth, W. Cheng, E. Bonacurso, G. Brunklaus, A. Muehlebach, T. Beierlein, H.-J. Butt, G. Wegner. Construction of Redispersible Polypyrrole Core-Shell Nanoparticles for Application in Polymer Electronics. Advanced Materials, 2009, 21, 1137.

  • K. Lienkamp, L. Noé, M.-H. Breniaux, I. Lieberwirth, F. Groehn, G. Wegner. Synthesis and Characterization of End-functionalized Cylindrical Polyelectrolyte Brushes from Styrene Sulfonate. Macromolecules, 2007, 40, 2486.

  • K. Lienkamp, C. Ruthard, G. Lieser, R. Berger, F. Groehn, G. Wegner. Polymerization of Styrene Sulfonate Ethyl Ester and Styrene Sulfonate Dodecyl ester by ATRP: Synthesis and Characterization of Polymer Brushes. Macromol. Chem. Phys. 2006, 207, 2050.

Complete list of publications

Selected projects

  • Our research combines polymer synthesis, surface engineering and biological assays. We currently work on the following projects:

  • "Teaching polymers to behave like proteins" – New synthetic mimics of antimicrobial peptides (SMAMPs) with improved stability and biocompatibility

  • SMAMP Materials – Synthesis, activity and biocompatibility of surface-immobilized SMAMPs

  • "It takes knights AND walls to defend a castle" – Combination of antimicrobial and antibiofouing polymers on surfaces to prevent biofilm formation

  • Multifunctional Surfaces: Using micro- and nanostructuring techniques to create polymer surfaces with defined topologies for biomedical applications

Membership in scientific bodies/juries

  • Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh)

  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Materialkunde e.V. (DGM)

  • Co-Chair of the User Committee of Karlsruhe Nano Micro Facility (KNMF) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Media coverage

  • Chemische Rundschau, 03/2013, page 50

  • BioPro, 23.1.2013: Kluge Beschichtungen wehren Mikroben ab

  • Deutschlandradio, 21.06.2011: Bakterienkiller mit zwei Gesichtern – Freiburger Forscher entwickeln Alternativen zu Antibiotika

  • Badische Zeitung, 11.01.2011: Auf dem Weg zur Professorin

  • Pressemitteilung 28/2010 der GDCh zum 3. EuCheMS-Kongress 2010, 19.08.2010

Additional qualifications

  • Received numerous competitive scholarships from various organizations, including the Emmy Noether grant of the DFG


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  1. Self-Shedding Surfaces

    What to do when functional surfaces fail? When catheters become contaminated with microorganisms or sensors no longer react? Until now, the answer was: remove and replace. Karen Lienkamp has received a 1.49 million euros Starting Grant from the European Research Council to develop alternatives.