Université de Strasbourg

Madeline Vauthier


Madeline Vauthier

Dr. Madeline Vauthier is a lecturer and researcher at the University of Strasbourg (France). She teaches at the European School of Chemistry, Polymers and Materials (ECPM) and conducts her research at the Charles Sadron Institute (ICS).

She obtained a chemical engineering degree in 2015 at ECPM before starting her PhD at the University of Upper Alsace (UHA), where she developed smart coatings with interfacial thermoreversible properties under the supervision of Professor Vincent Roucoules and Dr. Florence Bally-Le Gall (2015-2018). More precisely, the aim of the study was (i) to design functional coatings (plasma polymerization and post-functionalization) that react via Diels-Alder chemistry and (ii) to understand their interfacial reactivity.

After one year as an assistant lecturer (ATER) at ICS, Dr. Vauthier obtained the position of senior lecturer in 2019. She is part of the Polymer Engineering and Process Intensification team (IP2) of ICS, led by Professor Christophe Serra, where she works on the development of biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles with controllable and/or stimulable properties and morphology. In this way, her skills as a material physical chemist are put to the benefit of process engineering, to form completely new types of objects.

Passionate about research, teaching and scientific popularization, she was awarded the Young Doctor prize by the French Chemical Society (SCF), and the Conférence des Grandes Écoles award for pedagogical innovation in 2022.

Fellowship 2023

Dates - 01/09/2023-31/08/2025

Project summary


Since the 1990s, the creation of advanced micro- and nano-objects for diverse fields of application, such as textiles, detergency, pharmaceutics, food processing or aeronautics, is of high interest to researchers and engineers. Indeed, through these technologies, materials can be made stronger, lighter, more reactive and/or better electrical conductors; this for instance makes possible the miniaturization of components or the encapsulation of unstable or volatile compounds. Many everyday products containing micro- or nano-materials are already on the European market (e.g. batteries, coatings or cosmetics). However, while inorganic nanomaterials offer technical and commercial opportunities, they can also be dangerous for the environment and pose problems for our health. This is why they are increasingly subject to more stringent and more numerous restrictions and legislations.

A good alternative to these inorganic nanomaterials would be the use of polymeric objects, as the synthesis of these macromolecules can be controlled in order to decrease the above-mentioned issues and be more eco-friendly and biodegradable. Among polymeric objects, polymersomes - self-assembled hollow spheres using amphiphilic block copolymers that enclose a solution - raise enthusiasm because of their versatility and their propensity to form biologically stable systems. In the literature, some groups produced UCST (upper critical solution temperature) and LCST (lower critical solution temperature) polymersomes that are able to swell or shrink with temperature. This type of reversibility is based on weak interactions, consisting in materials that are able to create and break polar or hydrogen bonds according to the surrounding temperature.

In this context, this project aims to develop shape-controlled smart polymersomes that form reversible strong covalent bonds by thermal stimulation. Few reactions can be classified as thermoreversible reactions, in the sense that they lead to the formation of covalent bonds that are reversible only via a thermal stimulus. It thus becomes interesting to investigate the microfluidic-assisted production of functionalized polymersomes as well as the reactivity between them, in order to be able to control their aggregation or assembly by changing the temperature of the environment.

Other information and news (activities, project staff, publications...)

Irene Andrea Acuña Mejía

Irene Andrea Acuña Mejía (study engineer) obtained a chemical engineering diploma from the National University of Colombia in Bogotá in 2018. Afterwards, she obtained her master’s degree in Polymer Science and Sustainable Materials at the University of Strasbourg (France) and the University of Freiburg (Germany) in 2021, before joining the IP2 team at the Charles Sadron Institute (ICS) in Strasbourg as an engineer in 2022. There, she worked on the development of an intensified process for the continuous production of hybrid polymeric microparticles with solvatochromic properties using microfluidics. Currently, she is part of Dr. Madeline Vauthier’s USIAS project that focuses on the production of functionalized polymersomes using different microfluidic devices.

France 2030