Research

Stimuli-responsive anion receptors

Switchable anion receptor The transport of anionic substances across the cell membrane, which is mediated by transport proteins, is essential to many biological processes. Dysregulation of this transport has been associated to various diseases such as cystic fibrosis, cystinurea (kidney stones), and myotonia (neuro-muscular disorder). In our group we develop synthetic anion receptors of which the binding properties can be modulated by stimuli like light and pH. Our main interest is to use such receptors for controlling transmembrane anion transport. Ideally, these transport systems can locally trigger biological functions and provide an unprecedented approach to the treatment of diseases in which anion transport is involved.

Dynamic self-assembled materials

Gel-sol transition The supramolecular self-assembly of advanced molecular materials requires information rich building blocks that guide the growth of well-defined architectures. We are developing stimuli-responsive building blocks for self-assembled materials with programmed structures and functions, which are able to change their properties in a dynamic fashion. Recently, the first succesful steps toward the preparation of metal-organic cages, frameworks and supramolecular gels have been taken. Our eventual goal is to apply these types of materials in, for example, molecular separation, drug delivery, and regenerative medicine.