Silvia Vignolini, Ph.D.
Prof. Silvia Vignolini, born in 1981, graduated in Physics from the University of Florence, Italy. From 2009 she was a postdoctoral researcher at both the University of Florence and the University of Cambridge. In 2013, she became a Lecturer in Physics at University College London and then a Lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Cambridge from 2013 to 2017.
At the University of Cambridge, Silvia made important contributions to the fields of chemistry and biomaterials. She was University Lecturer in Chemistry and Biomaterials from 2017 to 2020, then Professor of Biomaterials and Sustainability from 2020 to 2022. Since January 2023, she has been Director of the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam. In this role, she heads the newly established department of "Sustainable and Bio-inspired Materials", where she aims to research and develop materials with predominantly optical functions modelled on nature.
Silvias Vignolini's research groups focus on interdisciplinary problems at the interface of chemistry, soft matter physics, optics and biology. Their work focuses on understanding how natural materials are assembled into complex architectures in living organisms and how these architectures determine their properties and responses. By understanding the design principles found in nature, the researchers believe it is possible to create a new class of truly sustainable functional materials based solely on natural resources and environmental conditions.
Professor Vignolini's research has been documented in over 130 scientific articles. Her work has been recognised with numerous awards, including the "PhD Thesis Award" for the best scientific doctoral thesis at the University of Florence in 2009, and the "Ipazia Prize for Women in Science" from the Municipality of San Giovanni Valdarno in Italy in 2012. In 2018 she was awarded the "Premio Daniela Pucci Award" in the field of plasmonics, an international science prize for women. She also received the "RSC Gibson-Fawcett Award" from the Royal Society of Chemistry, the "KINGFA Young Investigator Award" from the ACS Cell Division, the "ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering Lectureship Awards" and the "Steven Vogel Award" from the Institute of Physics in 2018. In 2019, Prof. Vignolini was awarded the prestigious "Philip Leverhulme Prize".
Silvia Vignolini's scientific career is characterised by her interdisciplinary approach and her remarkable achievements in the research of sustainable and bio-inspired materials. Her innovative research and numerous awards are testament to her commitment to pushing the boundaries of scientific knowledge and making a lasting impact on her field.
Director at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces since 1 January 2023.