Dr Maria Chiara Arno

Dr Maria Chiara Arno

School of Chemistry
Birmingham Fellow
Assistant Professor in Polymeric Biomaterials

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Maria Chiara Arno (Chiara) is a Birmingham Fellow, working across the School of Chemistry and the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences.

With a background in polymer chemistry and nanoparticle design, Dr Arno’s research interests span across a diverse range of disciplines, including Polymer Chemistry, Materials Science, and Life Sciences. Her current research is focussed on the development of novel cell-based therapies and materials. A particular focus is on the development of cell engineering technologies with polymeric materials that find application as cancer therapeutics and cell-based materials.  If you would like to know more of the lab research and opportunities to join, please visit arnolab.

Dr Arno is also a part of the Birmingham Plastics Network, an interdisciplinary team of more than 40 academics working together to shape the fate and sustainable future of plastics.  This unique team brings together chemists, environmental scientists, engineers, philosophers, linguists, economists, artists, writers, lawyers, and experts in many other fields, to holistically address the global plastics problem.


  • PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, 2015
  • MSc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology, 2011


Dr Arno studied Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology at the University of Padova (Italy) from 2006 to 2011. She undertook her final year project at King’s College London, sponsored by an Erasmus scholarship, on the development of fluorescent therapeutic peptides.

She then moved to the UK in 2012 to take up a PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at King’s College London under the supervision of Prof. Robert Hider and Dr Sukhi Bansal. Her doctoral work focused on the development of peptide-like drugs for the treatment of pathologies linked to a dysregulation in iron metabolism.

Dr Arno was awarded her PhD in 2015, and then took up a Research Fellow position at the University of Warwick, investigating the biological interactions of polymeric nanoparticles and 3D scaffolds in vitro and in vivo with Prof. Andrew Dove. In 2018, the group moved to the University of Birmingham and she took up a Group Leader role in the Dove group, leading the Biomaterials research strand.

Dr Arno was appointed as a Birmingham Fellow in July 2020.

Postgraduate supervision

Please contact Dr Arno directly if you are interested in postgraduate opportunities.


Research Themes

  • Mammalian cell and yeast engineering
  • Functional polymers
  • Bioorthogonal chemistry
  • Cancer metastasis
  • In vivo tumour detection
  • Cell-based materials


Recent publications


Arno, MC, Simpson, J, Blackman, L, Brannigan, R, Thurecht, K & Dove, A 2023, 'Enhanced drug delivery to cancer cells through a pH-sensitive polycarbonate platform', Biomaterials Science, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 908-915. https://doi.org/10.1039/D2BM01626E

Rigby, AM, Alipio, AR, Chiaradia, V & Arno, MC 2023, 'Self-Healing Hydrogel Scaffolds through PET-RAFT Polymerization in Cellular Environment', Biomacromolecules, vol. 24, no. 7, pp. 3370-3379. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.biomac.3c00431

Xia, T, Tong, Z, Xie, Y, Arno, MC, Lei, S, Xiao, L, Rho, JY, Ferguson, CTJ, Manners, I, Dove, AP & O'Reilly, RK 2023, 'Tuning the Functionality of Self-Assembled 2D Platelets in the Third Dimension', Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 145, no. 46, pp. 25274-25282. https://doi.org/10.1021/jacs.3c08770

Tong, Z, Xie, Y, Arno, MC, Zhang, Y, Manners, I, O'Reilly, R & Dove, A 2023, 'Uniform segmented platelet micelles with compositionally distinct and selectively degradable cores', Nature Chemistry. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41557-023-01177-2

Brooks, SL, Arno, MC, Dove, A & Weems, A 2022, 'Post-fabrication functionalization of 4D printed polycarbonate photopolymer scaffolds', ACS Applied Polymer Materials, vol. 4, no. 8, pp. 5670–5679. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsapm.2c00648

Petersen, S, Prydderch, H, Worch, J, Stubbs, C, Wang, Z, Yu, J, Arno, MC, Dobrynin, A, Becker, ML & Dove, A 2022, 'Ultra-tough elastomers from stereochemistry-directed hydrogen bonding in isosorbide-based polymers', Angewandte Chemie (International Edition) , vol. 61, no. 17, e202115904. https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.202115904

Dove, A, Weems, A, Arno, MC, Yu, W & Huckstepp, RTR 2021, '4D polycarbonates via stereolithography as scaffolds for soft tissue repair', Nature Communications, vol. 12, no. 1, 3771. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23956-6

Yu, W, Maynard, E, Chiaradia, V, Arno, MC & Dove, A 2021, 'Aliphatic polycarbonates from cyclic carbonate monomers and their application as biomaterials', Chemical Reviews, vol. 121, no. 18, pp. 10865-10907. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.chemrev.0c00883

Wandel, M, Bell, CA, Yu, J, Arno, MC, Dreger, N, Hsu, Y-H, Pitto-barry, A, Worch, J, Dove, A & Becker, ML 2021, 'Concomitant control of mechanical properties and degradation in resorbable elastomer-like materials using stereochemistry and stoichiometry for soft tissue engineering', Nature Communications, vol. 12, no. 1, 446. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20610-5

Fanjul-Mosteirin, N, Aguirresarobe, R, Sadaba, N, Larrañaga, A, Marin, E, Martin, J, Ramos-Gomez, N, Arno, MC, Sardon, H & Dove, A 2021, 'Crystallization-induced gelling as a method to 3D print low water content non-isocyanate polyurethane hydrogels', Chemistry of Materials, vol. 33, no. 18, pp. 7194-7202. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.chemmater.1c00913

Bexis, P, Arno, MC, Bell, CA, Thomas, AW & Dove, A 2021, 'Thermally-induced hyperbranching of bromine-containing polyesters by insertion of in situ generated chain-end carbenes', Chemical Communications , vol. 57, no. 35, pp. 4275-4278. https://doi.org/10.1039/D1CC00821H

Weems, A, Perez Madrigal, MDM, Arno, MC & Dove, A 2020, '3D printing for the clinic: examining contemporary polymeric biomaterials and their clinical utility', Biomacromolecules, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 1037-1059. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.biomac.9b01539

Worch, JC, Weems, AC, Yu, J, Arno, MC, Wilks, TR, Huckstepp, RTR, O'Reilly, RK, Becker, ML & Dove, AP 2020, 'Elastomeric polyamide biomaterials with stereochemically tuneable mechanical properties and shape memory', Nature Communications, vol. 11, no. 1, 3250. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16945-8

Arno, MC 2020, 'Engineering the Mammalian Cell Surface with Synthetic Polymers: Strategies and Applications', Macromolecular Rapid Communications, vol. 41, no. 18, 2000302. https://doi.org/10.1002/marc.v41.18

Review article

Pearce, AK, Wilks, T, Arno, MC & O'Reilly, R 2021, 'Synthesis and applications of anisotropic nanoparticles with precisely defined dimensions', Nature Reviews Chemistry, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 21–45. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41570-020-00232-7

View all publications in research portal