Larisa Florea

Larisa Florea is Assistant Professor in Chemistry and Materials Science in School of Chemistry at Trinity College Dublin. Larisa studied organic chemistry and chemical engineering at University Politehnica in Timisoara, Romania (B.Sc. Hons). In 2009 she joined the Adaptive Sensors Group at Dublin City University where she earned her Ph.D. in materials chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Dermot Diamond and Dr. Fernando Benito Lopez. Larisa began her postdoctoral career at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, and in 2016 she achieved a senior position as Team Leader in Materials Chemistry and Microfluidics. In 2018, Larisa was the recipient of an IRC-Laureate Starting award, followed by an ERC Starting grant, enabling her to establish an independent research group in AMBER, Trinity College Dublin. Larisa’s expertise combines several distinct strands of research, including stimuli-responsive materials, 3D fabrication, microfluidics, wearable platforms, sensors and biosensors.

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The Team

Research Fellows

Jason Delente

After completing a Masters degree in the university of Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier with an internship in the Gunnlaugsson laboratory, Jason then carried out a PhD under the direction of Prof. Gunnlaugsson on the design and synthesis of terpyridine functionalised supramolecular architectures. Since February 2021, he joined the Florea group and his work focusses on the development of smart materials and novel fabrication methods via direct laser writing. In 2022, Jason obtained a 2-year Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, entitled 'Fabrication of 3D Functional Polymeric Scaffold by Two-Photon Polymerisation for the Real-Time Monitoring of Cell’s Environment' in the Florea lab, under the co-supervision of Prof. Conor Buckley.

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Srikanth Kolagatla

Srikanth obtained his Integrated Master’s degree from Acharya Nagarjuna University, India in 2014, and his PhD from Ariel University, Israel in 2018. His PhD research work was focused on developing scanning spectro-analytical techniques to study complex electrochemical reactions at the nanometer scale. During his PhD, Srikanth used AFM, Raman spectroscopy, XPS, and electrochemical techniques such as rotating ring disk electrode to study catalytic activity of Pt nanoparticles for oxygen reduction reactions. In 2018 Srikanth joined the group of professor Brain Rodriguez, University College Dublin, as a postdoctoral researcher. His work focussed on the use of electrical AFM modes such as Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM) for studying the degradation and solid electrolyte interface (SEI) layer formation in battery electrodes over long cycling times. He also used electrochemical force microscopy to study the charge screening dynamics in solid-liquid interfaces. Srikanth joined the Florea Group in 2021. His research in the Florea group focuses on mechanical, electrical and chemical characterisation of composite micro-structures fabricated via direct laser writing, for next-generation MEMS/NEMS devices.

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Graduate Students 

Yekaterina Tskhe (PhD Candidate)

Yekaterina completed her Bachelors’ degree with honours at University of Chemistry and Technology Prague and was working on the optimisation of fluidised bed using silica particles. From 2019, she has continued her studies with a fully funded scholarship in Erasmus Mundus Master in Membrane Engineering for Sustainable World (EM3E-4SW) program, which was held at three different European universities: University of Montpellier, University of Chemistry and Technology Prague and University of Zaragoza. For her final Master’s thesis, Yekaterina did a 6-months internship at Inocure company in Prague where she worked on the fabrication of electrospun membranes for carbon sorption. Since September 2022, Yekaterina joined the CDT ACM (Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Characterisation of Materials) program at Trinity College Dublin to carry out her PhD under the supervision of Dr. Larisa Florea and co-supervision of Dr. Alexander J. Thompson (Imperial College London). Her research focusses on the micro-fabrication and assessment of the 4D micro-robotic structures for medical applications.

Luisa Lavelle (PhD Candidate)

Luisa studied Medicinal Chemistry in Trinity College Dublin from 2016 to 2020, and graduated with a B. A. (Hons). In the final year of her degree, she carried out her research project under the direction of Dr. Carl Poree, working on Molybdenum based catalysts for allylic trifluoromethylation. Luisa joined the Florea group in April 2021 as a PhD candidate. Her work focuses on the development of new photoresists for two-photon polymerisation, for the realisation of 3D micro-structures with desired 3D conductive paths. 

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Amrutha Augustine (PhD Candidate)

Amrutha studied Chemistry at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and graduated with a B.A.(Hons) in 2020. She carried out a summer internship in the research group of Prof. Eoin Scanlan working on the synthesis and biological evaluation of oxytocin peptide analogues as novel therapeutics. For her final year thesis, Amrutha worked on the synthesis of luminescent supramolecular polymers and hydrogels in the research group of Prof. Thorfinnur Gunnlaugsson. Amrutha joined the Florea group in October 2020, as a PhD candidate. Her work focusses on the development of 4D micro-actuators and micro-sensors produced via direct laser writing.

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Annael Sort Montenegro (PhD Candidate)

Annael completed a Master of Science degree in Chemistry and Physics, with a specialisation in Chemistry and Bio-engineering at the Graduate School of Chemistry, Biology and Physics (ENSCBP) of Bordeaux, France in September 2019. During her studies she completed a 5-months internship within the Laboratory of Physics of Interfaces and Thin Films (LPICM) at Ecole Polytechnique, France, where she developed biosensors to follow the process of wine making. Passionate about biomimicry and the connection between chemistry and biology, she managed to complete a 6-months internship within the company Johnson&Johnson Sante Beaute France for the discovery and development of biomimicry solutions for consumer self-care products. Since January 2020, she joined the Florea group at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, as a PhD candidate. Her research focuses on the development of artificial micro-vehicles with life-like behaviour.

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Alexa Ennis (PhD Candidate)

Alexa completed her BSc (Hons) at University College Dublin in 2018. Here as part of her fourth year project she worked on the functionalisation of superparamagnetic iron oxide microparticles. This is what ignited here interest in micro and nanotechnology. She continued in this field joining the Florea group at Trinity College in 2018 where she now works on fabricating highly porous microstructures using two photon polymerisation.

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Erasmus Visitors

Graduate Students

Simone Donato (PhD candidate)

Simone Donato completed his bachelor degree in Industrial Chemistry and his Master degree in Polymeric Materials at "La Sapienza" University of Rome (Uniroma1). His Master thesis Internship was conducted in the CLIP group under the Supervision of prof. Luis Oriol at the University of Zaragoza (UniZar) working on the synthesis, characterisation, and study of controlled release of drugs encapsulated in multi-responsive nanoparticles based on functionalised polycarbonates.
Currently Simone is in his third year of PhD at the Laboratory of non-linear spectroscopy (LENS) of the University of Florence (Unifi) working on the development of photo-responsive liquid crystalline elastomer for the realization of cardiac artificial muscles within the EU Horizon 2020 REPAIR project, under the supervision of Prof. Camilla Parmeggiani. 
In September 2022, Simone joined the Florea group at Trinity College of Dublin for a 6-month secondment, focussing on the fabrication of multi-responsive liquid-crystal  micro-structures via direct laser writing by 2-photon polymerisation. 

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Alumni

Research Fellows

Colm Delaney

Dr. Colm Delaney studied chemistry at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and graduated with a B.A. Mod (Hons.). In 2016, Colm graduated with a PhD. from the group of Prof. Sylvia M. Draper in TCD, focused on the synthesis and application of novel materials for fuel-cell application. He subsequently joined the Adaptive Sensors Group, lead by Prof. Dermot Diamond, as a Postdoctoral Researcher where he developed novel stimuli-responsive polymers. From 2018 to 2020, working with Prof. Susan Kelleher at University College Dublin, his work concentrated on the fabrication of high-resolution 3D polymer structures via direct-laser-writing using 2-photon polymerization. Colm joined the Florea group in February 2020, as a Research Fellow. From October 2020, upon being awarded a 2-year Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in this lab, he directed his own research in the area of bio-inspired photonics. In April 2022 he obtained an Assistant Professor position in School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin.  

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Myles Rooney

Myles is a post-doctoral researcher in the field of chemistry and materials science. Upon completing his B.Sc. in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science at Dublin City University in 2014, Myles was offered an opportunity to earn a Ph.D. in materials science and nanotechnology under the supervision of prof. Luca Beverina at the Università Degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca. This Ph.D. was part of the Marie Curie Initial Training Network “THINFACE” which was developed to push forward new ideas and techniques within the field of hybrid thin films for new energy devices. Myles’ work focused on the design of new methods for controlling nanostructure in flexible organic electronics using novel self-assembling organic semiconductors. As a result, he has a passion for organic synthesis, electronic device engineering and thin film characterisation.  Since completing this work, he has worked in various R&D and process specialist positions within the medicinal chemistry industry. His research in the Florea group focuses on stimuli-responsive lubricious coatings for biomedical device applications.

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Graduate Students 

Luke Dowling (PhD Candidate)

Luke completed the MAI program in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at Trinity College Dublin working on a cryo-based fixture system for machining of delicate materials. In 2017, he was awarded a Postgraduate Research Studentship and began work on his PhD as part of the H2020 AERIALIST Project. His research there was centred on improving the repeatability and reproducibility in additive manufacturing with a specific focus on powder bed fusion.  He joined the Florea group in 2020, to continue his research with further development in the simulation of the additive manufacturing process and Finite-element simulation for 4D structures.

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Deanna Nicdao (Research Assistant)

Deanna completed a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia (2016). In 2017, she was awarded a scholarship position to undertake the International Dual Masters of Biofabrication between QUT and the Julius-Maximilians-Universität in Würzburg, Germany. Her research projects focussed on the use of melt electrowriting to fabricate scaffolds and microchannel systems for tissue engineering and microfluidic applications, respectively.  After the completion of her Dual Masters, she joined the Florea group in 2019 at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Her research involves the development of 4D polymeric microstructures using smart materials under the supervision of A/Prof. Larisa Florea. 

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Nick Huettner (Research Assistant)

Nick completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry at the University of Stuttgart, Germany in 2016. Subsequently, Nick was accepted into in the International Dual Master’s Degree in Biofabrication, a research-focused degree undertaken between the University of Wuerzburg in Germany and the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, from which he graduated in 2018 and 2019, respectively. During his Master’s degree Nick worked on research projects in Germany and Australia, on the development of hydrogel systems for biofabrication processes. In 2019, he joined the group of Larisa Florea at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. His research focuses on the development of novel materials for 2-photon-polymerisation.

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Undergraduate Students 

Freya Ritterling

Freya is a Medicinal Chemistry student at Trinity College of Dublin. In 2022, during her summer internship with the Florea group, she worked with electro-actuators based on polycationic hydrogel networks. In the fall, she will be researching under Dr. Mathias O. Senge for her senior sophister project on rigid hydrocarbon scaffolds as  material isosteres.

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Eleanor Cripwell

Eleanor is a Chemistry student in Trinity College Dublin that is due to graduate in May 2023. In 2022, she completed a summer internship with the Florea group focusing on the fabrication of photo-responsive hydrogel structures on both the macro and micro scale. For her final year capstone project, she will be focusing on the hydrothermal synthesis of quantum dots under the supervision of Dr. Peter Dunne. 

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Karthikeyan Manoharan

Karthikeyan is a final year undergraduate student studying Medicinal Chemistry in Trinity College Dublin due to graduate in 2023. In 2022, he completed an internship with the Florea group working on chemotactic and electrotactic ionic liquid droplets. He is now carrying out his final year project with Prof. Dr. Stephen Connon on 'Exploitation and prebiotic significance of ancient biomolecules'. 

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Maeve Ward 

Maeve is a Medicinal Chemistry student at Trinity College Dublin completing her final year research project with the Florea group. Her research focuses on stimuli-responsive boronic acid-based hydrogels for saccharide sensing. She is due to graduate in May 2020.

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Kathryn Yeow 

Kathryn is a final year undergraduate student in the School of Chemistry at Trinity College Dublin. She completed a summer internship in the Florea group in 2019 working with various surfactant-like species functioning as Chemotactic Droplet Systems. She is now carrying out her final year project in the SFI Tetrapyrrole Laboratory based in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Mathias O. Senge in the synthesis of dodecasubstituted nonplanar porphyrins for applications in chiral anion sensing. 

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