The 9th Ed. of the Smart Materials and Surfaces - SMS 2024 Conference

Conference Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Prof. Vladimir Falko

Manchester University - United Kingdom

Prof. Vladimir Fal’ko is condensed matter theorist responsible for several advances in the theory of electronic and optical properties of atomically thin two-dimensional crystals and fundamentals of nanoelectronics. His current research interests include graphene-based electronic and optoelectronic systems and electronic and optical properties of various atomically thin two-dimensional crystals and their heterostructures. He is one of the initiators of the European Graphene Flagship Project, founder of Graphene Week Conference series and Editor-in-Chief of the IoP Journal ‘2D Materials’.  Falko is currently Director of the National Graphene Institute and Professor of Condensed Matter Theory at the University of Manchester.


Prof. Jannick Rumeau

University of Lyon, France

Prof. Jannick Duchet-Rumeau completed her Ph.D. at the University of Lyon in 1996, where she focused on the modelling of the interface in a polyethylene/glass system, tuned by the grafting connecting chains to improve the adhesion properties. She held a post-Ph.D. position at Louvain La Neuve (Belgium), where she worked on polymer nanotubes, in 1998. She started working as a full professor in 2010 at the laboratory ‘Ingenierie des Materiaux Polymeres’ UMR CNRS #5223. Her research topics are related to nanocomposites materials, mesoporous materials, nanomaterials from ionic liquids (Head of GDR LIPS and the tailoring of interfaces/interphases in the heterogeneous materials.


Prof. Krasimir Vasilev

Flinders University, Australia

Professor Vasilev is currently a Matthew Flinders Professor and a Professor of Biomedical Nanotechnology in the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University. He is also the Director of the Biomedical Nanoengineering Laboratory, which he established after joining Flinders University. Prior to taking a position at Flinders University, Professor Vasilev had built and led at The University of South Australia (UniSA) a large and highly productive team, which grew to more than 20 postdocs and PhD students, a size of a small research centre. His team is well connected having deep collaborative networks within Australia and internationally, and is strongly engaged with industry, end users, government agencies and community.

Professor Vasilev has attracted in excess of 25M dollars in research funding from Government competitive grants and Industry, published more than 300 papers and has been awarded several prestigious Research Fellowships from ARC, NHMRC and the Humboldt Foundation, and other awards such as the John A. Brodie Medal for achievements in Chemical Engineering in 2016, the election of a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) in 2017 and a Fellow of the International Association of Advanced Materials in 2022. His contribution to UniSA has been recognised by several awards including the UniSA Research Excellence Award in the Mid-Career category (2018), and the Division of ITEE Excellence Award for Leadership in Research (2018), and the UniSA Interdisciplinary Award (2019) for his work across disciplines.

The foundation of Professor Vasilev’s research program is his revolutionary approach to the nanoengineering of plasma polymer films, which vastly expanded the opportunities for this technology. His established international reputation and leadership in his field evident (in addition to the awards mentioned above) by regular invitations to deliver plenary and keynote lectures at international conferences, and prestigious universities, institutes and companies around the world. His publications have been cited more than 12,500 times and his H-index = 63 (M-index ~ 3).

Professor Vasilev’s research has a strong translational focus. He has a track record of working with commercial partners to industrialise biomedical technologies. These include leading large commercial projects such as a $5M CRC-P project together with Motherson Australia Pty Ltd on a technology for bladder cancer diagnostics, a $6M IMCRC project with Corin Group on antibacterial surface modification for orthopaedic implants, and a $1.3M project with Anizop Holdings on antibacterial surface modification for dental implants. His translational work involving the entire spectrum of activities from research discoveries to commercial products was a key strength allowing him to win in 2020 (commenced in 2022) the prestigious and highly competitive NHMRC Investigator Award ($2,738,000 over 5 year).

Professor Vasilev is deeply involved with various research funding bodies, currently being a member (by invitation) of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Medical Research Advisory Group, NHMRC GRP (Grant Review Panel), a member of the Advisory Committee of the Australia-India Scientific Research Fund and a member of the College of Assessors of the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Science Funding, amongst others. He is also a member of Brandon Capital BioCatalyst Investment Review Committee


Dr. Raul Arenal

University of Zaragoza, Spain

Dr. Raul Arenal received his Ph.D. in Solid State Physics from Univ. Paris-Sud (Orsay, France, 2005) and in 2013, he obtained his Habilitation (HDR) also at this University (now, Paris-Saclay University). He joined the Electron Microscopy Center in Argonne National Lab. (ANL, USA) as post doctoral fellow. In 2007, he became research scientist (Chargé de Recherches) at the CNRS (France; LEM, ONERA-CNRS). From 2010 to 2011, he was visiting scientist (sabbatical position) at the Laboratorio de Microscopias Avanzadas (LMA) at the Instituto de Nanociencia de Aragon (INA) of the Universidad de Zaragoza (Spain). Since 2012, Dr. Arenal is on leave from the CNRS, and he is currently ARAID senior research scientist at the LMA, INMA, CSIC-U. Zaragoza. Since 2018, he is the Director of the TEM area of the LMA-INA. Dr. Arenal has published more than 200 papers in refereed journals ( and edited one book (Springer).
Arenal’s broad area of research interest lies in electron microscopy focused on materials science and nanoscience: TEM (EELS, HR(S)TEM, electron diffraction, electron tomography). These studies are mainly focused on the growth mechanism, structural and physical properties of low dimensional materials based on carbon, boron and nitrogen as well as other nano-structures (in particular, metallic nano-objects for plasmonic/photonic interest). Among his scientific activities, Dr. Arenal is the chair of the HeteroNanoCarb conference series ( focused on graphene, NT and related 1D-2D nanomaterials


Prof. Nathalie Mignet

CNRS, INSERM U1022, France

Dr Nathalie Mignet is Research Director at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France. She is the leader of the Laboratory Chemical and Biological Technologies for Health located at Université de Paris Cité, at the faculty of Pharmacy.

After a PhD in France in organic chemistry, Dr Mignet was hired by the company Lynx Therapeutics in San Francisco. She then joined the University of Sheffield in UK for one year before being hired by the French biotech company Capsulis to work on onion-based nanoparticles called spherulites. She joined the CNRS as a research Scientist in 2000 to work on non-viral gene delivery. Since then, she expanded her domain of interest from drug delivery systems to nanomedicine designed for triggered delivery or imaging.

With her lab (#Mignet Lab), she is interested in nanomedicine for delivery or imaging going from fundamental to preclinical studies mostly in cancer.

She is also the founder and the former president of the French Society for Nanomedecine, SFNano.

Recent articles:

  1. Do HD, Marie C, Bessoles S, Dhotel H, Seguin J, Larrat B, Doan BT, Scherman D, Escriou V, Hacein-Bey-Abina S, Mignet N, Combination of thermal ablation by focused ultrasound, IL-12 pFAR4 plasmid transfection and lipidic adjuvant provide a distal immune response Exploration of Targeted Anti-tumor Therapy, Explor Target Antitumor Ther. 2022, 3, 398–413, https://10.37349/etat.2022.00090
  2. Rebollo R, Oyoun F, Corvis Y, El-Hammadi MM, Saubamea B, Andrieux K, Mignet N, Alhareth K, Microfluidic Manufacturing of Liposomes: Development and Optimization by Design of Experiment and Machine Learning, ACS Appl. Mater Interfaces 2022, 14, 39736-39745, https://10.1021/acsami.2c06627
  3. Renault-Mahieux M, Mignet N, Seguin J, Alhareth K, Paul M, Andrieux K, Co-encapsulation of flavonoids with anti-cancer drugs: A challenge ahead, Int J Pharm. 2022 Jun 18;623:121942, https://10.1016/j.ijpharm.2022.121942
  4. Ma P, Seguin J, Ly NK, Henríquez LC, Plansart E, Hammad K, Gahoual R, Dhôtel H, Izabelle C, Saubamea B, Richard C, Escriou V, Mignet N, Corvis Y, Designing fisetin nanocrystals for enhanced in cellulo anti-angiogenic and anticancer efficacy, Int. J. Pharm X 2022, 4, 100138, https://10.1016/j.ijpx.2022.100138
  5. Fliedel L, Alhareth K, Seguin J, El-Khashab M, Chissey A, Mignet N, Fournier T, Andrieux K.Influence of Liposomes' and Lipoplexes' Physicochemical Characteristics on Their Uptake Rate and Mechanisms by the Placenta. Int J Mol Sci. 2022, 23, 6299, https://10.3390/ijms23116299



Prof. Valentina Cauda

Polytechnic University of Turin, Italy

Valentina Cauda is Associate Professor at the Department of Applied Science and Technology  (DISAT), Politecnico di Torino, co-founder of the Interdepartmetal laboratory PolitoBIOMed Lab and head of the TrojaNanoHorse lab (in brief TNHLab) located at DISAT.  See more details at

Thanks to her ERC Starting Grant project (TrojaNanoHorse, GA 678151), started in March 2016, she now leads a multidisciplinary research group of 18 people, including chemists, biologists, physics, engineers and nanotechnologists. Her main research topic is about theranostic nanomaterials, from wet synthesis, chemical functionalization and physical-chemical characterization of metal oxide nanomaterials covered by lipidic bilayer from both artificial and natural origins, aimed for drug delivery, tumor cell targeting, bio-imaging. Metal oxide nanomaterials, like zinc oxide, mesoporous silica, titania and metal (gold, silver) nanostructures, as well as liposomes and cell-derived extracellular vesicles, are investigated.

Valentina Cauda graduated in Chemical Engineering in 2004 at Politecnico di Torino and then received her Ph.D. in Material Science and Technology in 2008. After a short period at the University of Madrid, she worked as a post-doc at the University of Munich, Germany on nanoparticles for drug delivery and tumor cell targeting. From 2010 to 2015 she worked as Senior Post Doc at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Torino, and then she moved, as Associate Professor, to Politecnico di Torino. For her research results she received in 2010 the prize for young researchers at the Chemistry Department of the University of Munich, in 2013 the Giovedì Scienza award, in 2015 the Zonta Prize for Chemistry, and in 2017 the USERN Prize for Biological Sciences. She has 120 scientific publications and a Hirsch Factor of 37 (updated on April 2021). She holds 6 international patents about the use of metal oxide nanoparticles in nanomedicine.

Prof. Cauda is principal investigator of several industrial, national and international projects raising more than 2 M€ funds in all. The most relevant are a recently granted FET OPEN RIA MIMIC-KeY (GA N. 964386), the ERC Proof-of-Concept XtraUS N. 957563, a Marie-Slodowska Curie Action MINT N. 842964 (where she acts as supervisor of an incoming Post-Doc from abroad), and the ERC Starting Grant Trojananohorse N. 678151


Prof. Emilio M. Pérez Alvarez

IMDEA Nanoscience, Spain

Emilio M. Pérez obtained his BSc (2000) and MSc (2001) in Chemistry from the Universidad de Salamanca. He then joined the group of Prof. David A. Leigh at the University of Edinburgh (UK) where he obtained his PhD in 2005. He joined the group of Prof. Nazario Martín at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid as a Juan de la Cierva postdoctoral fellow in 2005. In December 2008 he joined IMDEA Nanociencia as a Ramón y Cajal researcher. In 2013 he was promoted to Senior Researcher, and since December 2015 he is also Executive Director for Scientific Outreach.

Dr. Pérez has received several awards, including the 2006 IUPAC Prize for Young Chemists, the 2009 RSEQ-Sigma-Aldrich Award for Novel Researchers, and the 2013 Miguel Catalán Award for Scientists <40 yeras old.

Dr. Emilio M. Pérez was awarded the prestigious ERC Starting Grant support for research with the project "MINT" (Mechanically Interlocked Carbon Nanotubes) and in 2018 he has been awarded a ‘Proof of Concept’ grant for his project entitled "PINT" (Ultrastrong Composites through Polymers Interlocked with carbon NanoTubes).

The group has varied interests in the chemistry of low dimensional materials. In particular we are active in: 1) Novel methods for the chemical modification of carbon nanotubes: We have developed methods for the synthesis of rotaxane-type derivatives of SWNTs, the first example of mechanically interlocked derivatives of SWNTs (MINTs, see Chem. Eur. J. 2017, 23, 12681 for a review). MINTs show fundamentally different properties from other types of SWNT derivatives, which might have implications in the reinforcement of polymers (ACS Nano 2016, 10, 8012), catalysis (Nat. Commun. 2018, 9, 2671), and sensing. 2) Chemistry of 2D materials: We are developing improved methods for production of ultrathin 2D materials and van der Waals heterostructures through liquid phase exfoliation from their bulk sources (Nat. Commun. 2017, 8, 14409). From these suspensions, we build functioning (opto)electronic devices using dielecrophoresis (Nanoscale 2018, 10, 7966). Finally, we are interested in fundamental problems in the chemistry of 2D materials, such as chemoselectivity (Nano Lett. 2016, 16, 355). 3) Fundamental principles of supramolecular chemistry: Lastly, we are very interested in measuring and understanding noncovalent forces, which underlie all the results of the previous two lines. For example, we have developed a method for the determination of association constants of small molecules towards SWNTs and unveiled the different contributions to the stability of the complexes (Chem. Sci., 2015, 6, 7008-7014 and  Chem. Eur. J. 2017, 23, 12909-12916). Optical tweezers (OT) are one of the most successful single-molecule force spectroscopy techniques, to the point of Arthur Ashkin being awarded with the Nobel Prize for Physics 2018, for their use to study biophyisics. In these two papers, we use OT to study synthetic supramolecular systems for the first time (Chem. Sci. 2017, 8, 6037-6041 and Nat. Commun. 2018, 9, 4512).


Prof. Núria Aliaga-Alcalde

Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona, Spain

Núria Aliaga-Alcalde is ICREA Professor ( at the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC), Spain, where she is part of the "Functional Surfaces and Interfaces" Research Unit and leader of the group FunNanoSurf, "Functional Nanomaterials & Surfaces" ( She completed her PhD in 2003 at Indiana University, USA, and did postdoctoral research at the Max Planck Institut für Bioanorganische Chemie, Germany, and Leiden University, The Netherlands. In 2007 she started as an ICREA Junior Researcher at the University of Barcelona (UB), becoming ICREA Professor in 2012 at the ICMAB. Her current research focuses on the design and characterization of molecular-based materials, including their nanostructuration and application, taking advantage of their magnetic, electronic and fluorescent properties in bulk, on surfaces, and as individual active components in nanodevices.


Dr. Loretta L. del Mercato

Institute of Nanotechnology of CNR, Italy

Dr. Loretta L. del Mercato is Senior Researcher at Institute of Nanotechnology of CNR (CNR NANOTEC) and coordinator of the «3DCellSensing» group, since December 2018. She received her Master Degree in Biotechnology from the University of Naples “Federico II” in 2004. In 2007, she got her PhD in “Innovative Materials and Technologies” from Institute of Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies (ISUFI), University of Salento, working at the National Nanotechnology Laboratory (NNL). From January 2008-April 2010, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Phillips University of Marburg (DE). In May 2010, she moved as Junior Researcher to the Nanoscience Institute of CNR (IT). In 2015, she joined the new-funded Nanotechnology Institute of CNR (CNR NANOTEC) as Principal Investigator where she started her own research program. She is unit leader of several projects, and she was awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant in 2017 and a My First AIRC Grant in 2019, respectively. At CNR NANOTEC, Dr. del Mercato implements a highly interdisciplinary approach, spanning from Materials Science to Chemistry and Bioengineering, to address fundamental challenges in cancer-related research. Through the core expertise in biosensing, stimuli-responsive nanoparticles and biomaterials, her team develops novel approaches for studying cell-cell heterogeneity in 3D in vitro patient-matched tumor models.


Prof. Liviu Movileanu

Syracuse University, USA

Liviu Movileanu is now a Professor of Physics at Syracuse University, Departments of Physics and Biomedical and Chemical Engineering. His expertise areas include single-molecule and membrane biophysics, chemical and synthetic biology, biosensors, and functional biomaterials. Liviu Movileanu is also affiliated with the BioInspired Institute, Syracuse, New York. Currently, his research group is funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.


Dr. Petr Sittner

Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic (to be confirmed)

Petr Šittner is the head of the Department of Functional Materials at Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague, Czech Republic since 2009 and the head of Division of Condensed Matter Physics since 2016. He graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics Charles University in 1995, received his Ph.D. in Condensed Matter Physics in 1991 from Czech Academy of Sciences, worked for 5 years as Research Associate at Faculty of Engineering Mie University in Japan and, since 2000 he has been working as senior scientist at the Institute of Physics of the CAS (2012-16 as vice director).

Petr Šittner has been active in the research of martensitic transformations, shape memory alloys and smart engineering materials and composites for over 30 years, published over 250 scientific articles in impacted scientific journals, 5 patents, organized two major international conferences in the SMA field ESOMAT 2009 and SMST 2013 in Prague, served as member of the Board of directors of the SMST ASM International society and currently serves as associate editor of the journal Shape Memory and Superelasticity.

His current research in the field of martensitic transformations focuses on the investigation of deformation processes responsible activated during functional thermomechanical behavior of NiTi based shape memory alloys using thermomechanical testing supported by application of various in-situ methods such as in-situ synchrotron and neutron diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, DIC and EBSD methods in SEM [1-5].

Petr Šittner has been actively involved in designing and building engineering diffractometer BEER at European spallation source currently under construction in Lund Sweden. He serves as a representative of the Czech Republic in the In Kind Review Committee of ESS.