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The aim of ChemLife is to deliver a suite of bio-inspired microscopic vehicles fabricated from smart materials using advanced 3D fabrication technologies.


The project aims to tackle some of the grand challenges in materials research, by showing that intelligent chemistry, smart design and precise engineering can give enhanced capabilities to soft materials. This project will enable the creation of soft microstructures, which could navigate, transport cargo, sense and even diagnose. It is extremely captivating to give such functions, naturally associated with living things, to inanimate materials.


ChemLife is funded by a Starting Grant from the European Research Council from 2018-2023. 

(No. 802929)


  • 19th April 2021 - Larisa gives an invited talk entitled Soft Micro-Sensors and Micro-Actuators Fabricated by Direct Laser Writing'' to the 2021 Virtual MRS Spring Meeting & Exhibit, as part of the SOFT ROBOTICS Symposium organised by Prof. Guang-Zhong Yang, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Prof. Donglei (Emma) Fan, The University of Texas at Austin, Prof. Peer Fischer, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems and Prof. Bradley Nelson, ETH Zürich.

  • 5th April 2021 - Larisa talks about her experience in applying for the ERC grant and the ChemLife success, in the new episode of the Exploring Research Careers Podcast series hosted by Linda Ryan. You can listen here:

  • 1st October 2020 Florea Lab welcomes Amrutha Augustine who starts her PhD funded by the ERC-Stg ChemLife.

  • 1st June 2020 Florea Lab welcomes Luke Dowling (School of Engineering) as part of the team! Luke's work, funded under the ERC-Stg ChemLife, is on the development of Finite-element simulation for the 4D structures at the core of ChemLife.

  • 27th January 2020 Larisa is mentioned as a success story in the IRC STRATEGIC PLAN 2020-2024 (page 17). LF: Indeed, obtaining the IRCSET PhD Scholarship constituted the start of my career and played the most significant role in my future development as a researcher. The IRCSET PhD Scholarship gave me the opportunity to move from my hometown in Romania after University, and pursue a PhD abroad in the National Centre for Sensor Research at Dublin City University. During my PhD I had access to world-class facilities in Materials Science, and presented my work to over 30 national and international conferences, with 15 oral presentations and 17 poster presentations in international recognised conferences including 3 microTAS conferences and 4 MRS conferences. My desire to develop and learn, sustained by the fantastic support of the IRC had a profound impact on allowing me to achieve the valued position I currently hold. I am deeply grateful for the opportunities this has presented me. As an IRC Laureate Awardee, I am extremely excited to read in the current strategic plan that the Laureate awards will be embedded within the annual funding cycle of the IRC. 

  • 15th January 2020 - Larisa presents an invited talk entitled 'Soft, stimuli-responsive structures with sub-micrometer resolution', at the Gordon Research Conference on Robotics, Ventura, USA.

  • 9th January 2020 Florea Lab at The BT Young Scientist! The 19th Young Scientist Exhibition is run annually in Dublin to exhibit the brilliant young scientists of Ireland. This week, Nick Huettner and Deanna Nicdao represented the Chemistry Department and taught children and teenagers the importance of sunscreen against UV light exposure and how smartwatches detect your heart rate. The Florea group was thrilled to meet so many curious minds asking about Chemistry!.

  • 6th January 2020 Florea Lab welcomes Myles Rooney. Dr. Rooney is working on a SFI/AMBER-Industry project co-funded by Stryker Neurovascular, Ireland. The project aims to develop novel materials for medical devices. We are very excited about this work - Our smart materials finally reach the real world!

  • 6th January 2020 Florea Lab welcomes Annaël Sort Montenegro (M.Sc. in Chemistry and Bio-Engineering) who starts her PhD funded by the ERC-Stg ChemLife.

  • 5th November 2019 ChemLife project featured in the Horizon magazine; Read the article about our project here:     
    Nanovehicles that mimic nature could deliver treatments of the future

  • 30th October 2019 Florea Lab is now online!

  • 9th September 2019 Welcome Maeve Ward to the Florea Lab! Maeve will undertake her SS Projects in the Florea Lab as part of her MedChem degree.

  • 24th June 2019 Florea Lab present at the LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019 Meeting, Munich, Germany. 

  • 17 - 20 June 2019 Larisa presents two invited talks at Photonics & Electromagnetics Research Symposium, Rome, Italy Symposium – ‘Biomimetic 3D Micro-structures for Soft Micro-robotics’, invited talk as part of symposium SC3: Light Robotics: Harnessing the Forces of Light for Micro-robotic Actuation and Control.

  • 27th May 2019 Larisa presents at EMRS Spring Meeting 2019, Nice, France - ‘Responsive 3D Microstructures Fabricated by Direct Laser Writing’ as part of symposium L: New strategies for smart biointerfaces.

  • 10th May 2019 Larisa is part of the AMBER team visiting Henkel X in Dusseldorf, Germany.

  • 7th May 2019 Welcome Kathryn Yeow to the Florea Lab! Kathryn will spend 11 weeks over the summer in our lab working on responsive droplets and liquid-liquid interfaces. 

  • 1st March 2019 Florea Lab welcomes two more members. Deanna Nicdao (M.Sc. in Biofabrication) and Nick Huettner (M.Sc. in Biofabrication) start their PhDs funded by the ERC-Stg ChemLife.

  • 28th February 2019 Larisa delivers her first presentation in the School as part of the Dublin Chemistry Seminar Series – ‘Smart Materials for Movement and Sensing - a molecular change for a macro response’.

  • 1st October 2018 The beginning of Florea Lab @TCD.


Journal Publications


  • Direct laser writing of vapour-responsive photonic arrays, Colm Delaney, Jing Qian, Xia Zhang, Radislav Potyrailo, A. Louise Bradley, and Larisa Florea*, Journal of Materials Chemistry C, 2021, 9, 11674-11678; DOI: 10.1039/D1TC01796A 



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