Group Leader

photo sander Dr. Sander J. Wezenberg
Sander studied Chemistry at the University of Nijmegen where he carried out his Master's research in the group of Prof. Roeland Nolte. Thereafter he moved to Tarragona for his PhD studies in the field of supramolecular chemistry and catalysis with Prof. Arjan Kleij at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia. During this period, he spent time as a visiting researcher in the group of Prof. Joseph Hupp at Northwestern University. After receiving his PhD degree in 2011, he joined the group of Prof. François Diederich at ETH Zurich as a postdoctoral fellow. Two years later, he moved to the University of Groningen to work with Prof. Ben Feringa, where he was appointed Assistant Professor in 2017. He established his independent research group at Leiden University in 2019. His main research interests are in the areas of molecular switches, molecular recognition, and self-assembly. Sander is recipient of an ERC starting grant (2018) and of NWO Veni (2014) and Vidi (2018) grants, and he is member of the Young Academy of Europe.

Postdocs

photo stefan Dr. Stefan Mommer
Stefan was born in Eupen (Belgium) and studied Chemistry at the RWTH Aachen University. After spending an ERASMUS internship with Prof. Peter O'Brien at the University of York (UK), he carried out his Master's research with Dr. Helmut Keul and Prof. Martin Moeller. In 2013, he obtained his M.Sc. in Chemistry and started his PhD studies at the DWI - Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials (Germany). He pursued an interdoc project with Prof. Mitsuru Akashi at Osaka University (Japan), prior to being awarded a PhD in polymer chemistry (summa cum laude). In 2018, Stefan joined the group of Prof. Oren Scherman at the University of Cambridge (UK) as a Newton International Fellow. In 2021, Stefan moved to Leiden to take on a post-doctoral research position in the Wezenberg group. Stefan's main interests involve supramolecular interactions and their implications on polymeric (bio)materials and hydrogel networks.

photo julia Dr. Julia Villalva
Julia obtained her BSc in Chemistry in 2015 at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and her MSc in Organic Chemistry at the same university in 2016. She carried out her bachelor’s and master’s research in Juan Carlos Carretero group under the supervision of Nuria Rodríguez Garrido and Ramón Gómez Arrayás focusing on the study of metal-catalyzed C-H functionalization reactions. She started her PhD studies in September 2016 in Emilio M. Pérez’s group (IMDEA Nanociencia), focusing mainly on the development of novel methods for the chemical modification of carbon nanotubes and 2D materials. In 2020 she was awarded her PhD in organic chemistry (summa cum laude) and started working as a scientific consultant. In 2022, Julia joined the Wezenberg group as a postdoctoral researcher to work on photoresponsive anion channels.

PhD Students

photo david David Villarón Salgado
David was born in Zurich in 1994. He obtained his BSc degree in Chemistry at the University of Salamanca in 2017 where he worked on the synthesis of enantioselective molecular receptors for amino acids. He completed his Master's degree at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia in 2018, where he worked in the group of Prof. Pablo Ballester on the synthesis of calix[4]pyrrole scaffolds and the study of their binding properties towards anions and neutral molecules. Thereafter, he joined the Wezenberg group for his PhD research focusing on the development of photoresponsive anion receptors and transporters.



photo jorn Jorn de Jong
Jorn de Jong was born in Assen. He obtained his BSc degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of Groningen in 2017. During his BSc research project he worked on molecular motor-based receptors in the group of Prof. Ben Feringa. Afterwards, he stayed in the same group for an extracurricular research period in the field of asymmetric catalysis and for his Master's research project on stilbene-based switchable anion receptors. Jorn joined the group in November 2019 to work on mechanically interlocked switchable receptors.



photo jasper Jasper Bos
Jasper was born in Groningen in 1995. In 2013 he started studying Chemistry at the University of Groningen where he obtained his BSc degree in 2017, working on the creation of a dissipative RNA system in the group of Prof. Sijbren Otto. For his MSc research he returned to the Otto group to work on the development of peptide-based self replicators, and to study their catalytic activity. Between May and July 2019 he was a visiting MSc student in the Wezenberg group, which he later in December 2019 rejoined as a PhD student to work on responsive anion channels.



photo indigo Indigo Bekaert
Indigo grew up in Amsterdam and obtained her BSc degree in Chemistry at the University of Amsterdam in 2017 after a research project in the group of Prof. Joost Reek on tandem catalytic reactions in metallacages. She continued her studies with the joint degree programme of the University of Amsterdam and VU University Amsterdam. During this period, she carried out a research project in the group of Prof. Jan van Maarseveen on the synthesis of ring-functionalized [2]rotaxanes. For her Master's research project, she returned to the group of Prof. Joost Reek to work on the post-functionalization of covalent imine-based cages for catalytic in vivo applications. After obtaining her MSc degree, she joined the group in March 2020 to work on signal transduction in synthetic molecular systems.


photo nol Nol Duindam
Nol was born in the Netherlands in 1997 and obtained his bachelor's (2018) and master's degrees (2021) in Chemistry at the University of Groningen. During his BSc research, he worked on the synthesis of photoresponsive bis(biurea) ligands and their application in anion-templated self-assembly under the supervision of Dr. Sander Wezenberg. For his MSc research, he joined the group of Prof. Adri Minnaard to work on the total synthesis of isotope labelled archaeal lipids. He performed a research internship with Prof. Chris Hunter at the University of Cambridge, where he studied novel signal transduction systems in synthetic vesicles. In March 2021 he joined the Wezenberg group as a PhD student to develop stimuli-responsive phospholipids for the control of liposomal membrane permeability.



photo sabine Sabine Langens
Sabine was born in Oss in 1996 and obtained her BSc degree in Molecular Life Sciences at the Radboud University in 2019 after a research project on the synthesis of a functionalized PEG-b-PDLLA polymer library in the group of Prof. Daniela Wilson. Afterwards, she continued her Master education in Chemistry at the Radboud University where she graduated in 2021. During this period, she returned to the group of Prof. Daniela Wilson to develop a supramolecular catalytic system based on polymersome. In August 2021 she joined the Wezenberg group as a PhD student to work on remotely controlled catalysis towards communicating systems.

MSc Students

photo robin Robin van Damme
Robin was born and grew up in Groede (Netherlands) and obtained his BSc degree in Chemistry at the Avans University of Applied Sciences in 2021. During his final research project, he worked on homogeneous catalysts capable of producing aziridines out of alkenes in the group of Prof. Lies Bouwman at Leiden University. Following this, he started his Master’s degree at the same university where he followed a course given by Dr. Sander Wezenberg on Molecular Nanotechnology. This course inspired and motivated him to join the Wezenberg group for a research project, and he is now developing photoswitchable bimetallic catalysts.

Former Postdocs (and destination)

Dr. Suchismita Saha
September 2020 - February 2022
Postdoc with Prof. Max von Delius, University of Ulm

Internship Students and Visitors

Jorge Lopez
June - September 2022
Visiting PhD Student, University of Murcia

Marouscha Puister
April - July 2021
BSc Student Internship, Leiden University

Leonardo Andreoni
April - July 2022
Visiting PhD Student, University of Bologna

Esteban Matador
March - May 2020
Visiting PhD Student, University of Seville

Michelle van Dongen
January - February 2022
HRSMC Short Rotation, University of Amsterdam

Fabien Kohl
September - November 2019
Visiting MSc Student, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

Guido Brugman
September 2020 - July 2021
MSc Student Internship, Leiden University

Jasper Bos
May - July 2019
Visiting MSc Student, University of Groningen