She will take up her role on September 1, 2015. The management board of the INM will then consist of Professor Eduard Arzt, Professor Aránzazu del Campo Bécares, and Günter Weber.
The Spanish scientist will reinforce and provide new impetus to the key topic “Medical Surfaces” at the INM. The chemist is interested in the natural scaffold that embeddes cells in a tissue. She works on artificial model systems that recapitulate the properties of this biological material. She wants to use such model systems to explain how cells in our body sense material properties and respond to them. This understanding will impact implant development in tissue engineering and cell therapies in regeneration, and it will provide information on how certain diseases originate, and guide the development of new diagnostics and therapies, for example in cancer. In a long-term vision, this knowledge will lead to generation of artificial organs.
„I look forward to the new challenges that await me at the university campus in Saarbrücken. The research topics at the INM and my research interests in the field of biomaterials complement one another and are an excellent fit with the research environment in biophysics and biomedicine at Saarland University,“ says the new director. New cooperation arrangements between the INM and the university as well as Homburg University Hospital and the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering are envisaged.
University President Volker Linneweber is delighted by the relevance of del Campo’s appointment for strengthening the university’s nano-biomedical research focus. „Aránzazu del Campo Bécares is an expert in all three fields, namely material science, biology, and medicine. She will help to establish further links between these research fields in Saarbrücken and Homburg and increase Saarland’s University profile at international level,“ said Linneweber.
State Premier Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer also regards the appointment of the scientist as a major benefit for the Saarland: „The university today works in close cooperation with the non-university research institutions in the Saarland in this interdisciplinary field of research. These close links will be further enhanced by Aránzazu del Campo Bécares. The successful appointment demonstrates that University and the INM in Saarland are an attractive location for science at highest level, which is proudly supported by the State Government.”
Aránzazu del Campo studied chemistry at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. She gained her doctorate in 2000 at the Instituto de CyT de Polímeros, Madrid. Following her post-doctorates at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz and at the University of Urbino (Italy), she formed her research group at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart. From 2007 to 2008, she led the Functional Surfaces program at the INM. Most recently, she has worked since 2009 as the Minerva research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, where she led the Dynamic Biointerfaces research group.
Del Campo has been recognized several times for her scientific work. Among other things, she has held the Marie Curie Fellowship of the European Commission, the Minerva Fellowship of the Max Planck Society, and she was the BMBF award-winner in the medical technology innovation competition.
INM conducts research and development to create new materials – for today, tomorrow and beyond. Chemists, physicists, biologists, materials scientists and engineers team up to focus on these essential questions: Which material properties are new, how can they be investigated and how can they be tailored for industrial applications in the future? Four research thrusts determine the current developments at INM: New materials for energy application, new concepts for medical surfaces, new surface materials for tribological systems and nano safety and nano bio. Research at INM is performed in three fields: Nanocomposite Technology, Interface Materials, and Bio Interfaces.
INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials, situated in Saarbrücken, is an internationally leading centre for materials research. It is an institute of the Leibniz Association and has about 210 employees.