Table 1. 
Petr Cígler
Date of birth:August 25, 1978
Position:Head of Synthetic Nanochemistry Group, Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague
Education:2001–2004 Undergraduate degree, Charles University, Prague (Czech Republic); 2005–2008 Ph.D. with Vladimír Král, Institute of Chemical Technology, Prague (Czech Republic); 2008–2009 Postdoctoral reserach with M. G. Finn, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla (USA)
Awards2013: Otto Wichterle Prize; 2012: Scopus Award, 1st place; 2011: Alfred Bader Prize
Current research:Development of new types of nanoparticles for use in therapeutics, imaging, and diagnostics. Nanomaterials based on bioorganic or inorganic cores, for example, fluorescent nanodiamonds, viruslike particles, and plasmonic systems. Study and optimization of the biocompatibility of nanoparticles, their targeting to cells, and noninvasive, remote control of nanoparticles' action in cells by external stimuli. Design of new types of enzyme inhibitors and construction of polyvalent inhibition structures.
Interests:Spending time with my wife, music composition, playing the French horn, hiking, and cooking

If I were not a scientist … I definitely would be a musician. One time I almost decided to pursue a music career. But, fortunately, my attraction to chemistry proved stronger.

My most exciting discovery to date has been … the discovery of metallacarborane inhibitors of HIV protease. I witnessed the uncovering of something completely new and unexpected. A combination of serendipity and outstanding collaborators led me to the world of proteins and nanoparticles.

What has been your biggest influence/motivation?

I've been lucky to have many motivators in my career, and it's hard to say which one was the biggest. The interdisciplinary environment during my Ph.D. studies was very motivating—the organic and physical chemists and biochemists around me were so friendly, but also demanding in terms of the knowledge I needed to gain just for basic professional communication with them. My postdoctoral work with M. G. Finn has also influenced me greatly—my experiences there continue to stimulate my research and thinking.

How was your research enhanced by taking a multidisciplinary approach?

For years I have developed and honed an interest in the world of nanoparticles, because they provide new qualities that are not achievable either with molecules or microparticles. These qualities include size-specific plasmonic properties, geometric compatibility with proteins and cell membranes, and the ability to display polyvalent assemblies of molecules on their surfaces. This list of diverse topics clearly illustrates that a multidisciplinary approach is key to understanding the nanoworld.

What are the main challenges for the broad area of your research?

The biggest challenges are understanding the rational design of nanoparticles for biomedical applications and transferring them to real-world applications. The therapeutic and diagnostic potential of nanoparticles is enormous, and they would be of great benefit for the treatment and management of many illnesses. More specifically, I see challenges in stimuli-responsive, noninvasive treatment of diseases using external impulses.

My three top papers:

  1. Top of page
  2. My three top papers:

The researcher presented on this page was nominated for the Early Career Series by Prof Michal Hocek, Co-chair of ChemPlusChem: His most recent paper, featured on the Back Cover of the journal (shown), is:

  • thumbnail image
  • 1
    “From nonpeptide toward noncarbon protease inhibitors: Metallacarboranes as specific and potent inhibitors of HIV protease”: P. Cigler, M. Kozisek, P. Rezacova, J. Brynda, Z. Otwinowski, J. Pokorna, J. Plesek, B. Gruner, L. Doleckova-Maresova, M. Masa, J. Sedlacek, J. Bodem, H. G. Krausslich, V. Kral, J. Konvalinka, P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2005, 102, 15394. (The first enzyme inhibitors based on a metallacarborane scaffold were described. The X-ray structure with HIV protease showed a unique binding mode.)
  • 2
    “DNA-controlled assembly of a NaTl lattice structure from gold nanoparticles and protein nanoparticles”: P. Cigler, A. K. R. Lytton-Jean, D. G. Anderson, M. G. Finn, S. Y. Park, Nature Mater. 2010, 9, 918. (An artificial, noncompact lattice from bacteriophage viruslike particles and gold nanoparticles was created by DNA-programmed crystallization.)
  • 3
    “Fluorescent Nanodiamonds Embedded in Biocompatible Translucent Shells” I. Rehor, J. Slegerova, J. Kucka, V. Proks, V. Petrakova, M.-P. Adam, F. Treussart, S. Turner, S. Bals, P. Sacha, M. Ledvina, A. M. Wen, N. F. Steinmetz, P. Cigler, Small 2014, DOI: 10.1002/smll.201302336. (A new type of silica-polymer shell on bright, nonphotobleachable fluorescent nanodiamonds is described.)
  • 4
    “Fluorescent Nanodiamonds with Bioorthogonally Reactive Protein-Resistant Polymeric Coatings”: I. Rehor, H. Mackova, S. K. Filippov, J. Kucka, V. Proks, J. Slegerova, S. Turner, G. Van Tendeloo, M. Ledvina, M. Hruby, P. Cigler, ChemPlusChem 2014, 79, 21.