Current Members

Szymanski Group / UMCG / University of Groningen

Valentina Arkhipova, PhD

Valentina studied Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Udmurt State University, Russia. She did her MSc and PhD at the Institute of Protein Research, Russia under supervision of Prof. Maria Garber. After defending her PhD in December 2015, she moved to the University of Groningen as a post-doctoral researcher in the group of Prof. Bert Poolman and Prof. Dirk J. Slotboom to work on structural studies of membrane transport proteins. Since 2018 she started a collaboration project SzymanskiLab on time-resolved crystallography studies.

Mark Hoorens, MSc

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. W. Szymanski, focussing on the design, synthesis and evaluation of new photopharmacological agents, to ultimately enable highly localized cancer treatment.

Lucien Lameijer, PhD

Lucien studied Chemistry at Leiden University and obtained his MSc degree in May 2013. In July 2013, he pursued his doctorate in the MCBIM group at Leiden University on 'The synthesis and biological applications of photo-activated ruthenium anticancer drugs' under the supervision of Dr. Sylvestre Bonnet and Prof. Dr. Lies Bouwman. After his PhD defence in December 2017, he briefly worked as a Scientist at MyLife Technologies and is currently working as a post-doctoral researcher in the SzymanskiLab.

Friederike Reeßing, MSc

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 will a pursue her PhD in the group of Dr. W. Szymanski focussing on the development molecular solutions of targeted Magnetic Resonance Imaging and intraoperative imaging.

Laura Slappendel, BSc

Laura was Born in Nijmegen (the Netherlands) in 1995. In 2013, after one year of studying Pharmacy, she started her study Chemistry where she followed the ‘Sustainable Chemistry and Energy’ track and obtained her diploma in 2017. For her bachelor research project, she has worked on receptor ligands with photo-controlled activity in the Szymanski Lab. Laura is currently conducting her master research project on optimizing a photo-switchable enzyme inhibitor.

Feringa Group / University of Groningen

Mickel J. Hansen, MSc

Mickel studied chemistry at the University of Groningen, where he received his M.Sc. in 2014 after working with Prof. Ben L. Feringa on photo-switchable bio-active molecules. In 2014 he worked with Prof. G. Andrew Woolley at the University of Toronto on red-light switchable molecular photoswitches. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Ben L. Feringa and Prof. Arnold J. M. Driessen. His research focuses on photopharmacology and protein translocation systems.

Piermichele Kobauri, MSc

Piermichele studied Chemistry and obtained his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degree at the University of Turin. His Master research project focused on in silico drug design methodologies, namely pharmacophore modeling and docking. He did two Medicinal chemistry internships at the Universities of Turin and Copenhagen, working on drugs for leishmaniasis and GABA analogues, respectively. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. under the guidance of Prof. Ben Feringa at the University of Groningen, on a photopharmacology and structure-based approach to smart antibiotics.

Dusan Kolarski, MSc

Dusan Kolarski studied Chemistry and obtained his BSc degree at the University of Belgrade. He then 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. Currently, he is pursuing his PhD in the field of Photopharmacology under the supervison of Prof. Ben L. Feringa.

Carla Miró Vinyals, BSc

Carla was born in 1994 in Barcelona. She did her bachelor in chemistry in the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). She went to the University of Groningen to do her bachelor’s project with the group of Prof. Ben L. Feringa where she worked on the synthesis of light-driven unidirectional molecular motors, graduating in 2017. Carla started her Master at the University of Groningen in 2018. She is currently working in the Szymanski Lab on the synthesis of photoswitchable drugs for the modification of circadian rhythms.

Nadja Simeth, PhD

Nadja studied chemistry at the University of Regensburg, Germany, where she obtained her M.Sc. in 2014. She conduced her master project under the joint supervision of Burkhard König and Morten Grøtli with a research stay at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Then, she returned to Regensburg to pursue her doctorate studies with Burkhard König. In 2018, she defended her thesis entitled “Photochromic Small Molecular Tools: Altering Biological Function through Light”. Currently, she is working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Feringa Labs focusing on light-mediated DNA modulation.

Kaja Sitkowska, MSc

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 Volaric, MSc

Jana was born in Zagreb, Croatia in 1992. She obtained her BSc at the University of Zagreb with prof. Hrvoj Vancik. She did her MSc at the University of Groningen with Prof. Ben Feringa on the synthesis of dynamic bisthiourea molecular motor-based catalysts. She spent 6 months in Boston in the group of prof. Hidde Ploegh (Whitehead Institute, MIT) on site-specific labeling of influenza A virus. In June 2017 Jana started her PhD under supervision of prof. Ben L. Feringa on incorporating molecular motors and switches into biosystems in order to control biomolecular function.