Inspired by enzymes we develop synthetic analogues with high selectivity and activity, which function in concert with natural biocatalysts

At the Supramolecular Chemistry and Catalysis group, we work towards the integration of biological and chemical processes to generate non-natural conversions in complex media. We explore the exciting opportunities that arise from the integration of polymer chemistry, supramolecular chemistry and stereochemistry with the novel field of bio-orthogonal chemistry, that studies chemical reactions to augment biochemical processes. Using this integrated approach, we focus on the design and synthesis of (supramolecular) copolymers that form nanometre-sized structures with the aim to achieve efficient and selective catalysis in water and in complex cellular media. Developing such complex molecular systems based on non-covalent, reversible interactions, and understanding the mechanisms underlying their formation, will provide a solid foundation to progress towards in vivo applications.

Our ultimate goal is to develop synthetic enzyme analogues that can perform bio-orthogonal catalysis in concert with their natural counterparts, and that display similar activity and selectivity. To achieve this, we design and synthesise amphiphilic systems – either using covalent polymers with pendant sticky groups that fold into compartmentalised structures in aqueous media, or using supramolecular copolymers with pendant functional groups. Our research develops along three lines: development of single-chain polymeric nanoparticles, developing carrier materials for efficient catalysis in water and complex media, and fundamental studies of supramolecular (co)polymerisations.




We are very happy that we obtained an ENW-M2 grant for research on new self-healing materials together with Célia Fonseca Guerra from the VU. The grant entails funding for a combined experimental and computational research to develop novel materials that bond to form chemically crosslinked networks, but also have the ability to debond on demand. This allows healing of the material when damaged and permits to reuse the material when needed.


Congratulations to Tessa Loman for successfully defending her Master thesis on NH-insertions and cyclopropanations in complex media using transition-metal-based catalysts incorporated in single-chain polymeric nanoparticles.


Congratulations to Esmee de Korver for successfully defending her Master thesis on the synthesis of a trifunctional supramolecular building block for polymerisations in water.


The Gravitation proposal “Interactive Polymer Materials” has been awarded!! Great news, and a great opportunity to strengthen the development  of novel chemistries to make interactive materials in our group!!

Picture source: ICMS Animation Studio


Willem Verheijen celebrated his successful defense of his bachelor thesis by baking the complete periodic system out of macarons.

They tasted amazing!


Congratulations to Marle on her latest paper in Biomacromolecules being among the most popular recent articles! Visit the overview of the most popular recent articles here, or click here to directly go to the beautiful paper on choline-functionalized supramolecular copolymers.



In April 2019, Anja Palmans was appointed full professor of Supramolecular Chemistry and Catalysis at the Department of Chemical Engineering & Chemistry at the Eindhoven University of Technology.

Since her inaugural lecture has been postponed several times due to corona restrictions, the lecture has been recorded and uploaded for you to view here (in Dutch). Additionally, her inaugural lecture is also available in written form here.


Many congratulations to Fabian Eisenreich for attaining a VENI award. His research involves the use of (sun)light to perform valuable chemical reactions in water as the solvent, with easily reusable polymer-based catalysts. This is an important step in developing sustainable, green technologies. We wish him all the best!


Congratulations to Sandra Schoenmakers for successfully defending her PhD thesis titled Supramolecular Polymers under the Magnifying Glass!

A beautiful summary of her work can be found here.


Congratulations to Piers da Camino Ancona Lopez Soligo for successfully defending his masterthesis on water-soluble bisurea based supramolecular polymers!


Congratulations to David van Krimpen for successfully defending his masterthesis on photocatalysis in water!


Congratulations to Koen van Beurden for successfully defending his masterthesis!


To celebrate 65 years of TU/e with the theme ‘Heroes like You’, Marle Vleugels was interviewed as a hero of the month in June. Read her story and others’ here.

Picture: Bart van Overbeeke


Congratulations to Rico Monnink for successfully finishing his internship!


Congratulations to Jorg Mallens (left) and Wesley van Vliet (right), who both successfully defended their masterthesis!!!


Prof. Anja Palmans explains how she and her team were able to safely teach a practical course to students in covid-times

Picture: Bart van Overbeeke



Theracat, the EU ITN network which we are part of, launches a Youtube video wherein i.a. Anjana and Lin lin explain how bio-orthogonal catalysis may aid to develop novel cancer therapies


Working apart together

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