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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

Ljiljana Fruk with co authors Nan Li and Tonya Kerbs and the book cover

We are pleased to announce the publication of a new textbook, authored by Dr Ljiljana Fruk, head of our BioNano Engineering group, and our former postdoctoral researcher, Dr Tonya Kerbs, now a research scientist at Milteny Biotec.

The book ‘Bionanotechnology: Concepts and Applications’ includes over 200 detailed, full colour illustrations designed with the help of another former CEB postdoc, Dr Nan Li, who has been working with Ljiljana to develop the original figures and has been crucial in guiding the ‘graphical look’ of the book. The book has been already described as the ‘first ever textbook to equip students with a comprehensive knowledge of the key concepts in bionanotechnology’. Published by Cambridge University Press (CUP), the book is now available in online stores and physical bookshops.

The textbook is a timely edition, coming out at a moment when Pfizer and BioNTech have already announced the production of an efficient vaccine designed with the help of lipid structures. Liposomes, nanoparticles made of cell-membrane components, similar to the lipid particles, have been around for more than 20 years and have already found applications as nanocarriers for chemotherapeutics. The book describes these nanostructures, as well as other types of nanomaterials, covering diverse aspects of bionanotechnology, such as DNA nanostructuring and nanomaterial biofunctionalisation, as well as bioinspired nanotechnology and the design of nanosensors. It is written in such way to be accessible to students from a wide variety of backgrounds, with features such as ‘Back to Basics’ and ’Research Report’ boxes to enable readers to build a strong theoretical knowledge and revise the basic concepts whilst applying them directly to current research. 

“I have been thinking about writing this book for several years, prompted by the interest of students from various backgrounds and researchers working in the field, which is very interdisciplinary, and it is easy to lose the track of all of the concepts,” said Dr Fruk. 

“After several years teaching I have finally decided to jump into it. Good that I did, as I did not know what it entails to write a textbook! I had moments during the writing process when I thought the book will never be finished. I also had moments when, after writing a whole chapter, I’d just realise a few days later that the way I had structured it would just not work, and I’d have to start writing it again. Tonya was getting crazy with constant requests to check yet another publication.

“After three years of planning and one and a half years of intense writing, I can say that I have totally enjoyed the process, particularly working with Tonya and Nan. We had some Saturday late-night sessions tweaking the tiny details of the figures just to get them right, and I feel it was worth it. I am also very happy that we insisted on working on the cover page until it really looked the way we thought it should. Writing this book was definitely an exercise in perseverance, but it was also a very creative and fulfilling process fully supported by Cambridge University Press (CUP) team and our editor Katrina Halliday. I definitely recommend putting a book together but would suggest finding a good team to support you when you get stuck. I absolutely had that.”

A series of video blogs covering different aspects of the book are also being produced along with  bionano chocolate to ‘sweeten’ the book reading. More info on the book and ordering via Cambridge University Press.


Left: Dr Ljiljana Fruk (centre) with co-author Dr Tonya Kerbs (right) and illustrator Dr Nan Li (left) © Ljiljana Fruk

Right: Book cover © Cambridge University Press

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