Past 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, PhD

Mark obtained his MSc in the group of Prof. Mario van der Stelt (Leiden University). In 2020 he obtained a PhD degree in the SzymanskiLab, focussing on the design, synthesis and evaluation of new photopharmacological agents, to ultimately enable highly localized cancer treatment. Currently Mark is working as a postdoc as Erasmus MC Rotterdam under the supervision of dr. Yann Seimbille and Prof. Marion de Jong. Here he works on the development of theranostic radiopharmaceuticals.

Lucien Lameijer, PhD

Lucien studied Chemistry at Leiden University and obtained his MSc degree in May 2013. He then pursued his doctorate at Leiden University 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 then as a post-doctoral researcher in the SzymanskiLab on synthesis and photochemistry of photocages and photoswitches. He is currently pursuing a teaching carreer in USA supported by the Fullbright Foundation.

Chantal Mulder, MSc

Chantal was born in 1995. She did her bachelor chemistry at the Hanze University of Applied Science (Groningen), during which she did her bachelor research at the UMCG, focusing on synthesis and 18F-labeling of PSMA-tracers, graduating in 2017. After Chantal finished her pre-master, she started her master at the University of Groningen in 2018. She worked in the SzymanskiLab focusing on the synthesis of responsive MRI contrast agents.

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. After obtaining her licensure as a pharmacist in August 2015, she pursued her PhD in the SzymanskiLab on the development molecular imaging, with the focus on targeted Magnetic Resonance, Optical and Optoacoustic Imaging and intraoperative imaging. After obtaining her PhD in 2020, she begun working with PRA.

Laura Slappendel, MSc

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 conducted her master research project on optimizing a photo-switchable enzyme inhibitor.

Gianluca Trinco, MSc

Gianluca obtained his BSc degree in agricultural biotechnology at the University of Udine, Italy in 2013. He then moved to the Netherlands to study Molecular Biology & Biotechnology at the University of Groningen, obtaining MSc degree in 2015. He then started a PhD in the group of Prof. Dr. Dirk J. Slotboom on the mechanism of Na-coupled transporters. During this time he collaborated with several groups, including the SzymanskiLab where he tested photo-controlled inhibitors for membrane transport. In 2020 he joined our group to conclude his research.

Feringa Group / University of Groningen

Elmar Diekstra, BSc

Elmar obtained his BSc (2018) in Chemistry at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences. He worked for his graduation project in the group of Prof. Philip Elsinga focussed on new radiotracers for arginase. He also worked in the group of Prof. Alexander Dömling on the synthesis of 1-Tetrazolylimidazo[1,5-a]pyridines. After this, he went to the University of Groningen to do a pre-master (2019) and stayed to pursue his MSc degree focussed on Chemical Biology. He works on photoswitchable drugs in the Feringa and Szymanski labs starting August, 2020.

Mickel J. Hansen, PhD

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 obtained his Ph.D. at the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Ben L. Feringa and Prof. Arnold J. M. Driessen, working on photopharmacology. He is currently a scientific coordinator at the University of Groningen.

Jacques Hille, MSc

Jacques was born in Leiden (The Netherlands) in 1993. During his bachelor he followed the “chemistry of life” track and did his bachelor research in the group of Prof. Marco Fraaije studying protein structure/function. He performed his master project in our lab on controlling quorum sensing with visible light in photopharmacology.

Anja P. Huizing, MSc

Anja started studying Chemistry at the University of Groningen in 2008, she obtained her BSc in 2012 and obtained her MSc in 2014. In her master research project in the Feringa group she focussed on the impact of small structural changes in amphiphiles on self-assembly.

Dusan Kolarski, PhD

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. In 2020, he obtaind the PhD in our lab, having developped the field of chronophotopharmacology under the supervison of Prof. Ben L. Feringa. He is currently a post-doc in our lab.

Michael M. Lerch, PhD

Michael obtained his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degree at ETH Zurich with research stays at the University of Cambridge (UK) and the California Institute of Technology. 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 pursued his Ph.D. at the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry in Groningen under the supervision of Prof. Ben L. Feringa. His work focussed on controlling biological systems with light.

Carla Miró Vinyals, MSc

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.

Malgorzata Murawska, MSc

Gosia obtained her Bachelor degree studies at the Faculty of Chemistry, Warsaw University, Poland. In 2014-2016 she did her MSc studies at the University of Groningen, where she worked in Feringa Labs on her master research project, focused on photocontrolled binding of small molecules to DNA.

Claudia Poloni, PhD

Claudia studied Chemistry at the University of Padova, Italy. She obtained her MSc in 2009 with the master project on the synthesis of a peptaibolic peptide, tylopeptin A, in the laboratory of Prof. Fernando Formaggio. In 2010 she worked in DSM, The Netherlands for an internship under the supervision of Dr. Peter Quaedflieg. She obtained her PhD at the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry in Groningen under the supervision of Professor Ben L. Feringa and Dr. Wiktor Szymanski. Her research focused on incorporation of photoswitches in peptides and enzymes.

Kaja Sitkowska, PhD

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. She has completed 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 focussed on photopharmacology, molecular photocages and antioxidants.

Willem A. Velema, PhD

Wim studied Pharmacy at the University of Groningen, where he received his M.Sc. in 2010 after working on cell handling in microfluidic systems with Prof. Elisabeth M. J. Verpoorte. In 2014, he received his Ph.D.-degree cum laude from the University of Groningen for his research on the development of modern photopharmacology under the supervision of Prof. Ben L. Feringa. Starting in early 2015, he is working with Prof. Eric T. Kool at Stanford University.

Jisk de Vries, BSc

Jisk was born in Groningen in 1993. After one year of studying biology he started his study of chemistry at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen following the chemistry of life track. In 2017 he obtained his high school chemistry teachers degree and he obtained his bachelor diploma in 2018. He did his bachelor research in the group of Prof. M Fraaie working on enzymatic cofactor synthesis. Currently Jisk is doing his master research working on photoswitchable antibiotics.