Barbara Malheiros did her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Brazil and is now a PhD student at TU Eindhoven. Her research is on DNA-coated particles for bio-applications and new materials.

What exactly are you researching?

‘I make DNA-coated particles assemble in a certain way so that you can use them to make new materials. I synthesise them myself, characterise them and measure the interactions between the particles. The assemblies will have different applications depending on the type of DNA. It all depends on the design.’

What is the biggest discovery you have made so far?

’The degree of coverage of the DNA on the particles changes when I change the temperature in my synthesis process. Two different samples will give two different results in the final material. One will crystallise and the other will not. I can use one to obtain specific optical properties and the other to study how the particles interact.’

What other things do you want to look at?

’We want to see if we can still make crystals when we mix them. And to see if the degree of coverage has a big effect on the crystallisation of the material. Ideally, I would like to find a reliable way of making particles that crystallise all the time.’