The Feringa group

Group leader

Prof.dr. Ben L. Feringa
(Jacobus van't Hoff Distinguished Professor of Molecular Sciences)
Prof. Ben L. Feringa obtained his PhD. at the University of Groningen, where he was appointed full professor in 1988, after working as research scientist for Shell. Under his guidance the Feringa group has developed extensive expertise in the fields of organic chemistry, nanotechnology, asymmetric catalysis. His discovery of the molecular motor ranks highly among the many discoveries made over the years. In 2016 Prof. Feringa was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, together with Jean-Pierre Sauvage and Sir James Fraser Stoddart.

Scientific staff

Dr. Wiktor Szymanski
(http://www.szymanski-lab.nl/)
Wiktor Szymański received his PhD degree from The Warsaw University of Technology, Poland, in 2008. He spent two years working on the use of biotransformations in organic chemistry with Prof. Ben L. Feringa and Prof. Dick B. Janssen at the University of Groningen. Since 2010 he has been working on the construction of photoactive protein- peptide- and DNA-bioconjugates and photophamracology in the Feringa Labs. As of 2014, he shares his time between Feringa group and the Department of Radiology, University Medical Center Groningen, where he is appointed.

Dr. Sander Wezenberg
Dr. Sander J. Wezenberg studied chemistry at the University of Nijmegen where he carried out his Master's research in the group of Prof. Roeland Nolte. He then moved to Tarragona for his PhD studies in the field of supramolecular chemistry with Prof. Arjan Kleij at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ). During this period he spent three months as a visiting researcher in the group of Prof. Joseph Hupp at Northwestern University. After receiving his PhD in 2011, he joined the group of Prof. François Diederich at ETH Zurich as a postdoctoral fellow. He came to Groningen in 2013 to work with Prof. Ben Feringa at the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry where he was later appointed Assistant Professor. His main research interests are in the areas of anion binding and transport, molecular switches, and self-assembled materials.

Technical support

Ing. Wim Kruizinga
Wim Kruizinga obtained his Bsc in Analytical and Organic Chemistry at the HLO in Groningen. After working as a research-analyst for Zuiveringsschap Drenthe he started working in 1976 at the University of Groningen in the group of Prof. Dick Kellogg . Wim started as researcher in synthetic organic chemistry and moved in 1986 to NMR spectroscopy. At the moment he is head of the Center for Chromatography, Spectroscopy and Analysis and responsible for CASS, an activity which helps external partners to find their way to the Stratingh facilities like NMR , Mass spectrometry, HPLC and GC.

Ing. Monique Smith
After passing the exam for HLO (High Laboratory Education) in 1997, I started working at Akzo Nobel Central Research in Arnhem at the department for resin research for 3 years. Then I went to a company which manufactures ink for the packaging industry at Flint Ink in Winschoten for 1,5 years. Subsequently I worked at Philips Consumer Lifestyle at the Advanced Technology Center for 8 years before starting here at the RUG at the Stratingh Institute in 2010 where I manage the chromatography department.

Ing. Theodora Tiemersma-Wegman
Theodora D. Tiemersma-Wegman completed a BSc in Analytical and Organic Chemistry at the Hanzehogeschool Groningen in 1997. During her first job as a LC/MS operator at Pharma Bio Research she obtained knowledge of Mass Spectrometry. Her second job at the PET-centre, University Hospital Groningen gave her the opportunity to improve Chromatography and technical skills for maintaining these instruments. These experiences were brought together in her current job; since 2001 she’s responsible for the Mass Spectrometry facilities at the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry, University of Groningen. Under her guidance, nowadays the Orbitrap XL, UPLC/TOF, UPLC/TQD, DART/QTOF and MALDI/TOFTOF can be used in an open access environment.

Ing. Hans van der Velde
Hans van der Velde received his diploma for the HLO (High Laboratory Education) in 1995. After this he started working at several companies in the city of Groningen (Polymer Service Centre Groningen and Selact). Since 2006 he is responsible for the Analytical Department.

Postdocs

Dr. Jiawen Chen
Jiawen Chen was born in Guangzhou, China. He entered chemistry department of Nanjing University in 2004 for his bachelor study. In 2008, he was awarded a scholarship from 'Chinese Elite Student Program' to continue his master study in field of organic chemistry at the same university. In 2010, he joined Prof. Feringa's group as a Ph.D student.After obtaining his Ph.D degree in 2015, he continued to stay in the group as a postdoc. His research interest focuses on controlling and application of controlled motion of molecular motors.

Dr. Franco King-Chi Leung
Franco studied his BSc in Chemistry at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University where he carried out his Masters research in catalysis and chemical biology under supervision of Prof. Man Kin Wong. He expanded his research scopes in his PhD to supramolecular chemistry and material science under guidance of Prof. Takanori Fukushima in Tokyo Institute of Technology (Japan). In April 2017, he joined the Feringa group as a postdoc where he is developing photo-responsive soft materials of molecular motors and switches. His main research interests are dynamic supramolecular polymers, functional molecular assembly, and biocompatible functional materials.

Dr. Lukas Pfeifer
Originally from Austria, Lukas completed his BSc in Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, in 2012, which included a short stay in the group of Prof. Varinder Aggarwal at the University of Bristol. He then joined the group of Prof. Véronique Gouverneur at the University of Oxford to pursue a PhD in the field of fluorine chemistry. After finishing his studies there in early 2017 he joined the Feringa group as a postdoctoral researcher working on novel carbene ligands, metal-binding as well as visible light activated molecular motors.

PhD students

Tom van Leeuwen
Tom van Leeuwen was born in Emmen, the Netherlands in 1988. He obtained his M. Sc. degree under the supervision of prof B.L. Feringa.Currently, he is a PhD in the group of prof B.L. Feringa, working on molecular motors and their application in molecular systems. Update May '17: Tom will defend in November '17.

Anouk Lubbe
I obtained my B.Sc. degree in the group of Prof. Ben Feringa, working in the molecular motor subgroup on coupled rotor-motor systems. Subsequently I performed a M.Sc. research in the same group on photoreversible aggregation, followed by a research internship at the University of Strasbourg under the guidance of Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn, where I was investigating small supramolecular metallo-organic grids. Currently I am working on my Ph.D. research, which focuses on the application of molecular motors in biological systems. Update May '17: Anouk will defend in November '17.

Erik Pinxterhuis
Erik Pinxterhuis was born in Zwolle (The Netherlands) in 1989. He received his B.Sc. degree in the group of Prof. Dr. Sijbren Otto in 2010, and M.Sc. in the group of Prof. Dr. Ben Feringa in 2012. His master research focused on the enantioselective total synthesis of Bitungolide E, followed by a research internship under the guidance of Dr. Paul Alsters at DSM. Currently he is working as a Ph.D. student in the group of Prof. Dr. Ben Feringa in the research field of enantiomeric resolution by liquid-liquid extraction.

Stefano Pizzolato
Stefano Pizzolato was born in Garbagnate Milanese (Italy) in 1988. He received his B.S. in 2010 and M.S. in 2012 from the University of Pavia. During the Master Program he joined the Feringa research group for a 7 months internship, working on a project about Allylic Alkylation with allyli halides and organolithium compounds (COIMBRA scholarship). In November 2012 he started his Ph.D. under the guidance of Prof. Ben Feringa at the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry, University of Groningen. He is currently working on the development of multitasking catalytic molecular motors and catalysis driven molecular walkers. Update May '17: Stefano will defend in December '17.

Peter Stacko
Peter has obtained his MSc. degree in a field of photochemistry of phenacyl epoxides and rhodamine dyes at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. He is currently conducting a researd on molecular motors - translational and rotational movement at nanoscale. Update: Peter will defend in November '17

Diederik Roke
Diederik Roke was born in Zwolle, the Netherlands and received his BSc degree in chemistry in 2012 from the University of Groningen. He subsequently obtained his Msc degree in 2014 in the group of Prof. Feringa working on new methodologies for transition metal-catalyzed C-C and C-O bond formation towards biologically relevant structures. The MSc program also included an internship at the University of Manchester in the group of Prof. Leigh. Currently, he is undertaking his PhD working on methodologies for transition metal-catalyzed asymmetric bond formation.

Mickel Hansen
Mickel Hansen started studying Chemistry at the University of Groningen in 2009, and obtained his BSc in 2012. He received his MSc in 2014 working on photo-switchable biomolecules in the Feringa group. As a part of his MSc he performed an internship in the group of Prof. dr. G.A. Woolley at the University of Toronto focusing on red-light switches. He is currently pursuing his PhD at the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. dr. Ben L. Feringa working on photopharmacology.

Henrieke Heideman
Henrieke Heideman was born in Zwolle and raised in Wijhe where she lived all throughout high school. After finishing high school she lived in Mexico before she came to Groningen to get her bachelor degrees in Chemistry and in Chemical Engineering. During the master Nanoscience she performed a small research project in the group of Ben Feringa, working on molecular motors. Her final master project was in collaboration with Meike Stöhr where she performed STM studies in UHV. She is currently doing her PhD under the supervision of Prof. dr. Ben L. Feringa working on molecular motors on surfaces.

Brian Corbet
Brian Corbet was born in Hoogeveen (The Netherlands) in 1993. He finished his BSc (2014) and MSc (2017) at the University of Groningen, with research projects in Groningen under supervision by Prof. Ben Feringa into Pd catalysed cross-coupling reactions of lithium reagents and Cu catalysed asymmetric allylic substitution reactions. In 2016 he worked in the group of Prof. Jonathan Clayden at the University of Bristol on lithiated urea rearrangements. Since 2017 he is working to obtain his PhD in the group of Prof. Ben Feringa with research towards the development of new molecular motors. Update June '17: Brian has started as PhD student in the Feringa Group.

Wojciech Danowski
Wojtek studied chemistry at the Warsaw Universityof Technology, Poland. He obtained his MSc. in the group of prof. Janusz Lewinski working on new methodologies of functionalization of ZnO quantum dots. He is currently conducting a research focused on photoresponsive surfaces

Jinling Cheng
Jinling Cheng was born in Shandong, China. She achieved her BSc degree in Applied Chemistry in 2011. In the same year, she started her master studies on OLED in Dalian University of Technology and then joint Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences for theoretical calculations and transient spectroscopies. Currently, she is doing her PhD in the group of Prof. Dr. Ben L. Feringa on molecular motors and smart materials.

Michael Lerch
Michael Lerch obtained his BSc and MSc degree at ETH Zurich (Switzerland) with stays at the University of Cambridge (Prof. Steven V. Ley, UK) and the California Institute of Technology (Prof. Robert H. Grubbs, US). He conducted his Master's Thesis under the supervision of Prof. Robert H. Grubbs and Prof. Erick M. Carreira on the topic of regioselectivity in Wacker-type oxidations. He received his M.Sc. in 2014 in Interdisciplinary Sciences and he is currently pursuing his PhD at the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry in Groningen under the supervision of Professor Ben L. Feringa. His work focuses on controlling biological systems with light (including molecular motors and photoswitches).

Yuchen Wei
Yuchen Wei was born in Chongqing, China in 1989. He received a double BSc degree in physics and chemistry from Nankai University in 2012. He started the Top Master Nanoscience programme at the University of Groningen in 2013 and then joined Prof. Ben L. Feringa's group to work on light-driven molecular motors. Now he stays on in the Feringa group to do his PhD, working on photoresponsive materials based on molecular motors.

Filippo Tosi
Filippo was born in Milan, Italy, in 1991. After pursuing classical studies in high school, he obtained his Bachelor degree in Environmental and Applied Chemistry (2013), and his Master degree Cum Laude in Chemical Sciences at the University of Milan (2015), working on two projects under the supervision of prof. Benaglia. During his Master thesis period, he focused on Chemico-Physical studies on Bronsted Acid activation in Organocatalysis, and the elucidation and proposal of a new reaction mechanism for a nitro-compound reduction developed in prof. Benaglia's laboratories, combining aspects of synthesis, catalysis, NMR spectroscopy and Computational methods.He had the possibility to study abroad for Erasmus period in Gent (2014), Belgium, joining the Supramolecular Chemistry Group on a project centred on the Chemico-Physical study of the double thermo-responsive behaviour of PDMAEMA polymer driven by electrostatic interactions, under the supervision of prof. Hoogenboom.In November 2015 he is going to begin a PhD project in Groningen, under the supervision of prof. Feringa, focusing on Self-Assembled Catalysis in Confined Space.

Dusan Kolarski
Dusan Kolarski was born in Pancevo, Serbia. He started seeing the world through the eyes of Chemistry during his high school projects in Petnica Science Center. He studied Chemistry and obtained his BSc degree at the University of Belgrade. During his bachelor studies, he conducted summer research at the University of Houston (Prof. Ognjen S. Miljanic), working on Dynamic Combinatorial Libraries and Covalent Organic Frameworks. Dusan pursued his MSc studies at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, where he worked on redox-switchable cavitands and water-soluble molecular baskets (Prof. François Diederich). As a master student he also did an internship at Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research in Basel, Switzerland. Afterwards, he worked as a research and teaching assistant at the Faculty of Chemistry in Belgrade (Prof. Radomir N. Saicic), doing total synthesis and developing new gold(I)-catalyzed cascade reactions. Currently, he is pursuing his PhD in the field of Photopharmacology under the supervison of Prof. Ben L. Feringa.

Dorus Heijnen
Dorus was born in 1988 in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and obtained his bachelor and master degree at the university of Groningen under the supervision of Prof. Adri Minnaard. After two research periods abroad (Oxford, UK and Stavanger, Norway), he finally started his PhD at the university of Groningen under the supervision of Prof. Feringa in 2014. His research focusses on the cross coupling of organolithium reagents.

Kaja Sitkowska
Kaja has been studying chemistry at the University of Warsaw, where she obtained her BSc and MSc diplomas. Her degree projects were conducted in the fields of molecular switches and organocatalysis. Now she is working on her PhD on a joint program between University of Groningen and University of Warsaw supervised by prof. Ben Feringa and prof. Grzegorz Litwinienko. Her research focuses on photopharmacology and antioxidants

Jana Volarić
Jana Volarić was born in Zagreb, Croatia in 1992. After regular participations in Croatian national chemistry competitions she started studying chemistry in Zagreb. During the BSc at the University of Zagreb she worked on solid-state reactions of p-nitrosobenzene compounds (prof. Hrvoj Vančik, University of Zagreb). After finishing the BSc she did an Erasmus internship in Groningen and joined the group of prof. Ben Feringa. The topic of the internship was synthesis and testing the catalytic ability of a bisthiourea organocatalyst. After the internship she returned to Groningen to start her MSc at the University of Groningen and joined the motor group to work on her master research project. Update June '17: Jana has started as a PhD student in the Feringa Group.

Marco Wonink
Marco was born in Zwolle, the Netherlands, and obtained his BSc. in Chemistry and in Chemical Engineering at the University of Groningen. He then received his MSc. in Chemistry working under the supervision of Dr. Otten on the catalytic activation and reduction of CO2 at the University of Groningen. His MSc. in Chemical Engineering was also obtained at the University of Groningen with a stay at MIT in the group of Prof. Román-Leshkov working on the catalytic upgrading of biomass. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Feringa working on organic electrosynthesis.

Piermichele Kobauri
Piermichele Kobauri was born in Turin, Italy in 1991. He received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degree in Chemistry from the University of Turin. His Master research project in the group of Prof. Marco Lolli focused on in silico drug design methodologies, namely pharmacophore modeling and docking. He went back to the lab as a research intern in the same group, designing and synthesizing compounds to target Leishmaniasis. Subsequently, he did an Erasmus+ internship in the group of Prof. Bente Frølund at the University of Copenhagen, working on the synthesis of GABA analogues. In March 2017 he started his Ph.D. under the guidance of Prof. Ben Feringa at the University of Groningen. He is currently working on a photopharmacology and structure-based approach to smart antibiotics.

Anirban Mondal
Anirban Mondal was born in Kolkata (India). He received his B.Sc. degree in Chemistry from Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Centenary College, Kolkata and Master of Science from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (Mumbai) in the group of Prof. Debabrata Maiti and Prof. Rodney A. Fernandes . His master research focused on the ‘Directing group assisted meta and para-C−H Functionalization of arenes by a different template-based assembly’ and ‘'Total Synthesis of antitumor drug Asteriscunolide’. Currently, he is working as a Ph.D. student in the group of Prof. Dr. Ben Feringa in the research field of molecular switches and motors.​

Hugo Helbert
I was born in Nantes, France in 1994. I studied organic chemistry in France and obtained my Engineering degree in 2016 from the E.N.S.C. of Clermont-Ferrand with a specialization in medicinal chemistry. While my studies I did research projects at the University of Durham, UK and at the University of Copenhagen, DK on catalysis and medicinal chemistry. I did my master research at Bayer pharmaceuticals in Wuppertal, Germany. I joined the group of Prof. Feringa in 2016 for a PhD in collaboration with the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) on synthesis of new PET tracers.

Tobias van den Enk
Tobias was born in 1992 in Zaanstad, The Netherlands. He obtained his BSc under supervision of prof. Jan van Maarseveen on peptide-cyclization reactions in a self-assembled confined space, and his MSc under supervision of Prof. Henk Hiemstra, on the topic of [2+2] photocycloadditions, both at the University of Amsterdam. In 2017 he started his PhD research in the group of prof. Feringa, working on photoactuation of chiral nanomaterials

Mark Hoorens
Mark obtained his BSc in Life Science and Technology at Leiden University and University of Technology Delft. In 2013 he started his master Life Science and Technology at Leiden University, where he conducted his Master's Thesis in the group of Dr. Mario van der Stelt. Currently he is pursuing his PhD in the group of Dr. Wiktor Szymanski (http://szymanski-lab.com/) at the Department of Radiology at the University Medical Center Groningen in strong collaboration with the group of Prof. Ben Feringa. Mark is focussing on the design, synthesis and evaluation of new photopharmacological agents, to ultimately enable highly localized cancer treatment

Friederieke Reesing
Friederike, born in Bremen, studied Pharmacy at the CAU Kiel and the University of Salamanca. In 2014 she received her diploma (equivalent to MSc) in Kiel and then came to Groningen for an internship in the group of Dr. Anna Hirsch working on the structure based design of modulators of thiamine transport. After obtaining her licensure as a pharmacist in August 2015, she is now pursuing her PhD in the group of Dr. W. Szymanski focussing on the development molecular solutions of targeted Magnetic Resonance Imaging and intraoperative imaging.

Master students

Milan van Zuylen
Milan van Zuylen was born in Groningen, The Netherlands in 1991 and spent the first 20 years of his life living in Hoogezand-Sappemeer. He finished his bachelor in 2014 at the University of Groningen, where he did his bachelor project in the Feringa group working on water-soluble molecular motors. Currently he is working on a project on catalytic cross-coupling of aromatic compounds and an efficient synthesis of a hormonal breast cancer drug.

Sven van Vliet
Sven van Vliet was born in Groningen in 1993. He was raised in Hoogezand-Sappemeer, a village near Groningen. In 2014, he received his BSc degree working on the synthesis of water soluble molecular motors. Currently his research focus on the synthesis and characterization of redox and chemical driven unidirectional rotary motors

George Hermens
George Hermens was born in 1994 in the city of Groningen. He obtained his BSc degree after finishing his Bachelor research about the synthesis and characterization of photoswitchable N-acyl homoserine lactone analogues based on azobenzenes, under the supervision of prof. dr. Ben L. Feringa. George returned to prof. dr. Ben L. Feringa to obtain his MSc degree, working in the Smart Materials subgroup on Photoresponsive Chiral Gels with the core structure based on diarylethenes.

Christian Böhmer
Christian Böhmer was born in Gifhorn (Germany). After 2 short research internships with Prof. Ronny Neumann (Weizmann Institute of Science) and Prof. Adriaan Minnard (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) he joined the group of Prof. Ben Feringa in 2015, working on the synthesis of 3rd generation motors for his bachelor thesis. He is currently conducting research into molecular motors and amphiphiles for his master thesis under the supervision of Prof. Ben Feringa.

Constantin Stuckhardt
Constantin Stuckhardt was born in Bad Homburg, Germany and studied at the Free University of Berlin. During his studies he worked on different research projects in the fields of organic and supramolecular chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Stefan Hecht at Humboldt University of Berlin as well as in the groups of Prof. Philipp Heretsch and Prof. Christoph Schalley. In 2016 and 2017, he joined the group of Prof. Ben Feringa for Master research projects focused on the applications of molecular motors in hybrid multiphotochromic systems and in supramolecular chemistry

Michael Müller
Michael Müller was born in Heilbronn, Germany in 1992. He obtained his BSc in Nanoscience at the University of Basel in 2015. There he completed several research projects, ranging from chemistry over physics to biology in lieu of the traditional bachelor project. He worked on divers topics in catalysis, supramolecular chemistry and preparation and analysis of nanoscale objects and layers. The cumulative approach of the degree provides students with a broader view on nanoscience.

Jacques Hille
My name is Jacques Hille. I was born in Leiden (The Netherlands) in 1993. I’m master student chemistry, during my bachelor I followed the chemistry of life track and did my bachelor research in the group of Marco Fraaije studying protein structure/function. Currently I do research in how to control quorum sensing with use of visible light in the subgroup photopharmacology

Albert Schulte
Albert was born in Peize, the Netherlands in 1994. He obtained his bachelor degree at the University of Groningen in 2016. He is currently conducting his master research project in the field of photopharmacology.

Former group members

Jos Kistemaker
For me, chemistry was never a choice but an inevitability, for as long as I can remember, I was trying to figure out what the world around me was made up of. Studying chemistry was therefore my only option after high-school graduation, and choosing Groningen was an easy choice for its vibrant student life. I obtained both my B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in the Molecular Motor Group under the supervision of Prof. Ben L. Feringa during which I also performed a research project in Melbourne under the supervision of Andrew Holmes. The opportunities to explore the world of nano-machinery offered in this group made it very easy to except a PhD position, in which I'm now investigating a new generation of molecular motors. Update May '17: Jos will defend in November '17.