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.

News:

2021

September

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

August

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

July

Congratulations to Koen van Beurden for successfully defending his masterthesis!

June

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

June

Congratulations to Rico Monnink for successfully finishing his internship!

April

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

March

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

2020

December

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

October

Working apart together

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