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My name is Laura Alvarez (1989, Vigo, Spain). As a Soft Matter researcher, I have always been intrigued by the physical-chemical aspects of colloidal particles and the use of such systems in real-life applications. Specifically, I am interested in using microscope objects to mimic biological behaviors and study their complex interactions to develop new smart materials. During my early-stage research career, I have tried to understand the self-​dynamics and interaction of passive rod-like colloidal particles in biological-inspired crowded environments. Along the same conceptual line, my next step was to direct my attention to active colloids and their broad applications at a fundamental and practical level, which I have been exploring in Lucio Isa’s group as a Postdoc and as principal investigator of my own project. The creation of programmable artificial microswimmers capable of reproducing some of the sophisticated biological dynamics opens up a spectrum of possibilities for new smart bioinspired materials.


As a Tenure Track at the University of Bordeaux since January 2022, I continue to pursue an efficient combination of existing methodologies with innovative ideas that enable the study of out-of-equilibrium systems towards real-life applications such as drug delivery and bio-​manipulation, and the confection of artificial cells integrating colloidal structures. Overall, I am fascinated about understanding the small details to tackle the current challenges on a bigger scale.

I am also a rugby player (longer than I was a scientist). I am very involved in artistic experimentation and scientific outreach through art, and I am a strong advocate for mental health and equality/inclusion in general (and in academia in particular).


2024-now:  ECIS (European Colloidal and Interfacial Science) Scientific committee member.

2023- now: ESA (European Space Agency) consultant for Soft Matter and Biophysics FDT.

2022-now:  Assistant. Professor (Tenure Track). University of Bordeaux.

2020-2021: SNSF Spark Postdoctoral Fellow. ETH Zurich - Department of Materials

2017-2020: Postdoctoral fellow ETH Zurich - Department of Materials


2023: DLR Microgravity experiments support (DLR, HHU, Uni. Bordeaux). Scientific partner.

2024: ANR-PRCI DFG (CRPP-HHU). Scientific partner.

2023:  Awarded France-Berkeley Fund collaboration grant. Collaboration with Assist. Prof. Grigory Tikhomirov.

2023:  Awarded ANR JCJC  project grant 'Cell Mimetic active systems' as main PI.

2022:  Contributor to ANR Collaborative Project 'Activity Control Matter' (Coor: Prof. Baret)

2022:  Junior Chair candidate, University of Bordeaux.

2020:  Poster Prize in the SPP Microswimmers conference, Julich, GE.

2020:  Winner of the scientific picture contest, ETH Zurich, CH.

2020:   Spark grant - Swiss National Science Foundation: ETH Zurich, CH.

2018:  Scholarship as an invited participant at The Rising Stars Asian, Hong Kong, a workshop for future leaders in STEM and engineering.

2013-2016:       IdEX Scholarship Initiative of Excellence, University of Bordeaux (FR).


• Invited speaker at workshop ‘"Out-of-equilibrium phenomena in the presence of curvature and non-reciprocal interactions" (CH) 2024:     

• Invited speaker at CECAM workshop ‘Out-of-equilibrium Soft Matter’ – (UK) 2024   

• Chair women in the active matter session at ISMC - Osaka (JP) 2023:     

Invited speaker at the Chemistry-Biology Interface Day (CBID 2023) – Bordeaux (FR)

• Invited Speaker to the ITN Workshop - EvoDrops. Bordeaux, France (2023)

• Invited Speaker to the Workshop 'Hydrodynamics at Low Reynolds number'. Bordeaux, France (2023)

• Discussion Leader. Colloidal, Macromolecular and Polyelectrolytes Solutions Gordon Research Seminar (GRS), Ventura, California (2022)

• Invited speaker at the Minsymposium on "Active Assemblies". Leipzig, Germany (2022)

• Invited speaker at the Physics of Life Summer School. Edinburgh. United Kingdom (2022)

•Invited speaker at the Materials Colloquium. Department of Materials, ETH Zurich. Switzerland. (2020)                                                               

• Invited seminar speaker at the Max Plank Institute for Dynamics and Self–Self-Organization, Göttingen, Germany (2020)

• Invited speaker at The Rising Stars Asian. Asian Dean’s Forum Workshop, Hong Kong (2018)

• Invited speaker to the Institute of Photonics Science (ICFO), Castelldefels, Spain. (2017)


2013-2016       Joint Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry

                         Title: ‘Dynamics and self-organization of liquid crystalline mesophases of rod-like viruses’

                         Department of Chemistry, University of Bordeaux (UB, France) and KU Leuven (Belgium)

                         Ph.D. Supervisors: Prof.Pavlik Letting, Dr. Eric Grelet.

2011-2012        M.Sc. in Colloidal Science and Interfaces (1-year graduate including a research internship)

                         Title: ‘Development of a Versatile Gold nanoprobe for ultrasensitive detection of antigens by Immuno-PCR’

                         Department of Chemistry, University of Vigo, SP

                         Master internship Supervisors: Prof. Isabel Pastoriza, and Prof. Jorge Perez Juste.

2007-2011        B.Sc. in Chemistry (5-year undergraduate including a research semester)

                         Department of Chemistry, University of Vigo, SP

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