Stefano Sacanna was born and raised in Rimini, Italy. He graduated in Chemistry from the University of Bologna and obtained his Ph.D. (cum Laude) in Physical and Colloid Chemistry from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. In 2008 he joined the Center for Soft Matter Research at New York University as a postdoctoral fellow. In 2013 he moved to the Molecular Design Institute at NYU where he is currently a full Professor in the Department of Chemistry. His research interests include synthesis and design of colloidal model systems, self-assembly, nanostructured and active materials.

Cell mimics are microstructures engineered to emulate the features and behavior of biological cells. Their development can bring a new fundamental understanding of cell biology and create countless opportunities in nanotechnology. Stefano Sacanna and his team built minimal-ingredient abiotic cells that operate by controlling non-equilibrium mass transport across their membranes. When deployed, these autonomous micro-machines can target, ingest, process, and expel foreign objects from microplastics to living bacteria.