Prof. Dr. Danijela Gregurec

Biointerfaces Lab








Prof. Dr. Danijela Gregurec

Juniorprofessor for Sensory Sciences

Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy
Chair of Aroma and Smell Research

Room: Room 0.043
Schuhstr. 19
91054 Erlangen

Education and research experience 

Present Assistant professor in Sensory Sciences FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany
2020 Postdoctoral research associate


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, USA

2016 PhD in Molecular Biology and Biomedicine CIC biomaGUNE, San Sebastian, Spain
2010 MSc in Applied Chemistry University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
2008 BSc and Engineering in Chemistry, Materials and Ecology University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

 Research visits

2014 Visiting scientist ZIK HIKE, Greifswald, Germany
2014 Marie Curie fellow INIFTA, La Plata, Argentina

Bioactive Sr2+ released from PAA brush on TiO2 enhances bone mineralization.
Gregurec et al, Mol Syst Des Eng, 2019

After her MSc degree in applied chemistry at the University of Zagreb (Croatia), Danijela started her PhD in 2011 at the biomaterials research center biomaGUNE (Spain) with Dr. Moya. Her primary focus was on the design of biocompatible and bioresponsive inorganic interfaces that resemble extracellular matrix. She used these materials to study how chemical, physical, and mechanical properties of the materials govern interactions with cells. Some of her approaches implemented controlled release of bioactive ions from the polymeric surfaces and reliance on bio-inspired substrate coatings. These systems in turn allowed mechanistic studies of cell-surface interactions and determination of constituents promoting cell-substrate interactions.

In 2014 as Marie Curie fellow she visited Prof. Azzaroni’s lab at the INIFTA (Argentina) to apply electrochemical characterization methods in studies of biopolymer coatings used in tissue engineering. Later that year she was invited at the ZIK HIKE (Germany) to work with Prof. Delcea on determination of nanomechanical properties of titania-based implant surfaces with atomic force spectroscopy.

Magnetite nanodiscs lining neuronal membranes of DRG explants. ACS Nano cover, Volume 14, 2020

In 2016 she joined the Prof. Anikeeva Bioelectronics Group at MIT (USA) to follow her fascination for neurobiology. Her work was focused on applying the biomaterials engineering to study and modulate the interactions with nervous system. Her favourite piece of work is development of a magnetomechanical neuromodulation technology that allows for nongenetic control of neuronal signalling in the peripheral nervous system. This technology allows for wireless activation of mechanosensory cells leveraging the force (torque) exerted from the magnetic nanodiscs (MND), specifically targeted to the mechanosensitive ion channels






Magnetite nanodiscs stimulate DRG sensory neurons when few Hz fields cause them to transition from vortex to in-plane magnetization, producing forces on mechanosensory cells. Gregurec et al, ACS Nano, 2020

We consider that radical innovations are more likely to be developed within diverse teams that operate by using connective thinking. We are forming a strong multidisciplinary lab from the fields of biophysics, materials science, chemistry, neuroscience, and neurosurgery that comes together at the core of biointerfaces.

Our expertise and interests span from engineering of tools and interfaces for cellular control and elucidating biophysical interfacial mechanisms, to the interrogation of cellular signalling in nervous systems.

We synthetise and functionalize inorganic materials to apply them in studies, aiming to replace or control biological functions.



Main research interests in the biointerfaces lab

Neural interfaces

Magnetic nanomaterials © Danijela Gregurec

We develop materials and technologies that drive exciting biological studies, with emphasis on the control of neurobiological processes. Our focus is to take advantage of externally applied magnetic fields coupled to magnetic nanomaterials to act as force, heat, or voltage transducers for wireless control of sensory cells.



Electron holography of vortex magnetization

We leverage physical properties of nanomaterials to build biosensors for detection of neurotoxic analytes in vitro and in vivo. Our aim is to design biosensing devices that are fast, miniaturized, and attractive for onsite testing. One of the main advantages of using nanoparticle based biosensing is the small size of the detector, being sensitive in terms of concentration and volume of analyte in respect to conventional sensors.




Neuronal mechanotransduction

TRPV4 ion channel (red) expressed in non-mechanosensitive HEK293 cells (green)

We are curios in the basic transductory mechanisms in neurons, particularly in the field of mechanobiology. We study physical forces that govern the ion channel activity in primary neurons. Our focus are mechanosensitive ion channels, such as TRPV4 and Piezo1, endogenously expressed in the peripheral neurons and involved in the sensory perception such as touch, hearing, and pain.










  1. J. Moon, M. Christiansen, S. Rao, C. Markus, D. Bono, D. Rosenfeld, Gregurec, G. Varnavides, P. Chiang, S. Park, P Anikeeva; Magnetothermal Multiplexing for Selective Remote Control of Cell Signaling, Advanced Functional Materials, 2020, 2000577.
  2. Gregurec, A. W. Senko, A. Chuvilin, A. Sankararaman, P. D. Reddy, D. Rosenfeld, P. Chiang, F. Garcia, I. Tafel, G. Varnavides, E. Ciocan, P. Anikeeva; Magnetic Vortex Nanodiscs Enable Remote Magnetomechanical Neural Stimulation, ACS Nano 2020, 14.
  3. L M.R. Rivera, J.G. Machado, M.C. Mathpal, N.L. Chaves, Gregurec, S.N. Báo, L.G. Paterno, S.E. Moya, R.B. Azevedo, M.A.G. Soler, Functional glucosamine-iron oxide nanocarriers, Journal of Materials Research, 2020, 35.
  4. D. Rosenfeld, A.W. Senko, J. Moon, I. Yick, G. Varnavides, Gregurec, F. Koehler, P. Chiang, M.G. Christiansen, L. Maeng, A.S. Widge, P. Anikeeva; Transgene-free remote magnetothermal regulation of adrenal hormones, Science Advances 2020, 6.
  5. L.M.R. Rivera, L.G. Paterno, N.L. Chaves, Gregurec, S.N Bao, S.E. Moya, M. Jain, R.B. Azevedo, P.C. Morais, M.A.G. Soler; Biocompatible superparamagnetic carriers of chondroitin sulfate, CARBPOL, 2019, 6.
  6. D. Gregurec, N. Politakos, L., Yate, M., S.E. Moya; Strontium confinement in polyacrylic acid brushes: A soft nanoarchitectonics approach for the design of titania coatings with enhanced osseointegration, Molecular Systems Design & Engineering 2019, 4.
  7. X. Song, W. Tang, D. Gregurec, L. Yate, S.E. Moya, G. Wang; Layered Titanates with Fibrous Nanotopographic Features as Reservoir for Bioactive Ions to Enhance Osteogenesis, Applied Surface Science 2018, 436.
  8. N.E. Muzzio, M.A. Pasquale, E. Diamanti, D. Gregurec, M. Martinez Moro, O. Azzaroni, S.E. Moya; Enhanced antiadhesive properties of chitosan/hyaluronic acid polyelectrolyte multilayers driven by thermal annealing: low adherence for mammalian cells and selective decrease in adhesion for Gram-positive bacteria, Materials science and engineering 2017, 80.
  9. N. Muzzio, Gregurec, E. Diamanti, J. Irigoyen, M. Pasquale, O. Azzaroni, S.E. Moya; Thermal Annealing of Polyelectrolyte Multilayers: a New Approach for the Enhancement of Cell Adhesion, Advanced Materials Interfaces 2016, 4.
  10. E. Diamanti, P. Andreozzi, R. Anguiano, L. Yate, D. Gregurec, N. Politakos, R.F. Ziolo, E. Donath, S.E. Moya; The Role of Top-Layer Chemistry on the Formation of Supported Lipid Bilayers on Polyelectrolyte Multilayers: Primary versus Quaternary Amines, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 2016, 18.
  11. X. Liu, D. Gregurec, J. Irigoyen, S. Moya, R. Ciganda, C. Wang, M. Echeverria, P. Hermange, J. Ruiz, D. Astruc, Precise Localization of Cu, Ag and Au Nanoparticles in Dendrimer Nanosnakes or Inner Periphery and Consequences in Catalysis, Nature Communications, 2016, 7.
  12. D. Gregurec, S.E. Moya, L. Vazquez, F. Lopez Gallego; Force spectroscopy predicts thermal stability of immobilized proteins by measuring microbead mechanics, Soft matter 2016, 12.
  13. R. Ciganda, J. Irigoyen, D. Gregurec, R. Hernandez, S. Moya, C. Wang, J. Ruiz, D. Astruc; Liquid- Liquid Interfacial Electron Transfer from Ferrocene to Au(III): An Ultra-Simple and Fast Au Nanoparticle Synthesis in Water Under Ambient Condition, Inorganic Chemistry 2016, 55.
  14. E. Diamanti, D. Gregurec, M.J. Rodríguez-Presa, C. Gervasi, O. Azzaroni, S.E. Moya, High Resistivity Lipid Bilayers Assembled on Polyelectrolyte Multilayer Cushions: An Impedance Study, Langmuir 2016, 32.
  15. D. Eleftheria, N. Muzzio, D. Gregurec, J. Irigoyen, M. Pasquale, O. Azzaroni, S.E. Moya; Impact of thermal annealing on wettability and antifouling characteristics of alginate poly-L-lysine polyelectrolyte multilayer films, Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 2016, 145.
  16. D. Gregurec, G. Wang, R. H. Pires, M. Kosutic, T. Luedtke, M. Delcea, S. Moya; Bio inspired titanium coatings: Self-assembly of collagen- alginate films for enhanced osseointegration, Journal of Materials Chemistry B 2016, 4.
  17. 13. C. Wang, Ciganda, L.l. Salmon, D. Gregurec, J. Iriroyen, S.E. Moya, J. Ruiz, D. Astruc; Highly efficient transition metal nanoparticle catalysts in aqueous solutions, Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2016, 55.
  18. N. Muzzio, M. Pasquale, D. Gregurec, D. Eleftheria, M. Kosutic, O. Azzaroni, Sergio Moya; Polyelectrolytes Multilayers to Modulate Cell Adhesion: A Study of the Influence of Film Composition and Polyelectrolyte Interdigitation on the Adhesion of the A549 Cell Line, Macromolecular Bioscience 2015, 16.
  19. H. Gu, R. Ciganda, P. Castel, A. Vax, D. Gregurec, J. Irigoyen, S.E. Moya, L. Salmon, P. Zhao, J. Ruiz, Hernandez, D. Astruc; Redox-Robust Pentamethylferrocene Polymers and Supramolecular Polymers, and Controlled Self-Assembly of Pentamethylferricenium Polymer-Embedded Ag, AgI, and Au Nanoparticles, Chemistry-A European Journal 2015, 21.
  20. W.A. Marmisollé, D. Gregurec, S.E. Moya, O. Azzaroni; Pendant amino polyanilines as tunable electrochemically active polymers at neutral pH, Chemelectrochem 2015, 2.
  21. M. Levin, E. Rojas, E. Vanhala, M. Vippola, B. Liguor, K.I. Kling, I.K. Koponen, K. Mølhave, T. Tuomi, D. Gregurec, S.E. Moya, K.A. Jensen; Influence of Relative Humidity and Physical Load During Storage on Dustiness of Inorganic Nanomaterials- Implications for Testing and Risk Assessment, Journal of Nanoparticle Research 2015, 17.
  22. E. Diamanti, L. Cuellar, D. Gregurec, S. E. Moya, E. Donath; Role of Hydrogen Bonding and Polyanion Composition in the Formation of Lipid Bilayers on Top of Polyelectrolyte Multilayers, Langmuir 2015, 31.
  23. E. Diamanti, D. Gregurec, G. Romero, L. Cuellar, E. Donath, S.E. Moya; Lipid Layers on Polyelectrolyte Multilayers: Understanding Lipid – Polyelectrolyte Interactions and Applications on the Surface Engineering of Nanomaterials, Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology 2016, 16.
  24. W.A Marmisollé, J. Irigoyen, D. Gregurec, S.E. Moya, O. Azzaroni; Bioinspired supramolecular surface chemistry: Substrate-independent, phosphate-driven growth of polyamine-based multifunctional thin films; Advanced Functional Materials, 2015, 25.
  25. G. Wang, S.E. Moya, Z. Lu, D. Gregurec, H. Zreiqat; Enhancing orthopedic implant bioactivity: refining the nanotopography; Nanomedicine (London), 2015, 10.
  26. Y. Qiu, E. Rojas, R. A. Murray, J. Irigoyen, D. Gregurec, P. Castro-Hartman, J. Fleddermann, I. Estrela- Lopis, E. Donath, S.E. Moya; Cell Uptake, Intracellular Distribution, Fate and Reactive Oxygen Species Generation of Polymer Brush Engineered CeO2-x NPs; Nanoscale, 2015, 7.
  27. L. Yate, L.E. Coy, D. Gregurec, W. Aperador, S.E. Moya, G. Wang; Nb-C nanocomposite films with enhanced biocompatibility and mechanical properties for hard-tissue implant applications; ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2015, 7.
  28. D. Gregurec, N. Politakos, L. Yate, L. Dahne, S.E. Moya; Stability of polyelectrolyte multilayers in oxidizing media: a critical issue for the development of multilayer based membranes for nanofiltration; Colloid and Polymer Science, 2015, 293.
  29. L. Zhu, D. Gregurec, I. Reviakine; Nanoscale Departures: Excess Lipid Leaving the Surface during Supported Lipid Bilayer Formation; Langmuir, 2013, 29.

We are always looking for talented individuals to join our team.

Postdocs and PhD students:

We are hiring:

Individual PhD position in the biointerfaces lab

We are looking to hire PhD student to work on a multidisciplinary project that involves functionalization of inorganic nanomaterials to target proteins in neuronal membranes. Goal is selective and remote imaging and targeted control of neuronal signaling in vitro and in vivo.

Your profile:

  • Highly motivated scientist with master’s degree or equivalent.
  • Expertise in at least two fields: biomaterials, biophysics, inorganic synthesis, biotechnology, neurobiology, fluorescent microscopy, electrophysiology
  • Motivated  to work across disciplines
  • Fluency in written and spoken  English
  • Ability to work independently and as part of team, efficiently and goal-oriented


To apply, next documents should be sent to Prof. Gregurec at

  • Single pdf file with CV and motivational letter (including few sentences on what you aim to accomplish and learn during your PhD). Save file as YourLastName_PhD_application.
  • Two recommendation letters. Please have your referees to save file as YourLastName_recommendation_YourRefreeLastName and send letters directly to Prof. Gregurec.

If there was not the right postition for you today, we are always happy to support your ideas in fellowship applications.

FAU students:

Don’t hesitate to reach out to inquire about participation as student assistant (HiWi) as well as possibilities for thesis work and practicals.