Our research team at a glance


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NCCR Network Members

Alexander Adibekian

Our research goal is to elucidate the physiological roles of poorly characterized enzymes by developing specific chemical tools, such as imaging probes and inhibitors, and apply them to study the enzyme activities in living systems. We also develop chemical strategies to study posttranslational modifications in vivo. We apply a broad repertoire of different technologies ranging from organic synthesis to cell biology and mass spectrometry-based proteomics and metabolomics. 

Nicolai Cramer

We work on the development of broadly applicable catalytic methods for the selective functionalization of relatively inert C-H ad C-C bonds with different transition-metal complexes. Despite significant advances over the past years, numerous challenges remain largely unsolved. The fascination and at the same time the key lies in the possibility of altering the reactivity and selectivity of the metal complexes in an almost unimaginable way by using tailored ligands. We seek to access new possibilities that lead us to their specific use in the synthesis of complex bioactive natural products through different ligand and reactivity concepts.

Elena Dubikovskaya

We develop new tools to study important biological processes in metabolic diseases such as determination of beta-cell mass, understanding functions of uncoupling proteins (UCPs), and imaging brown adipose tissues (BAT). We discover new bioorthogonal reactions and their applications to image small ligand receptor interactions in various disease settings. We also synthesize probes for image guided surgery and diagnostic in cancer, with collaborators.

Paul Joseph Dyson

Paul Dyson's main research interests are in bioorganometallic chemistry and the study of metal ions in living systems. He has developed a series of organometallic drugs that display in vivo antimetastatic and antiangiogenic properties. He has also developed a range of mass spectrometry based methods to determine metal-drug targets from whole cell systems and to elucidate the mode and site of metal binding on target proteins.


The research of Prof. Beat Fierz focuses on the study of the structure, dynamics and function of chromatin and related multi-protein complexes in vitro and in cells. These investigations require an interdisciplinary approach at the interface of chemistry, biology and biophysics. 

Karl Gademann

Professor Karl Gademann and his group at the University of Basel are interested in controlling biological processes by natural products. To this goal, these powerful modulators are isolated from natural sources or are obtained through chemical synthesis. Current applications are related to neurodegenerative diseases (neurite sprouting), cancer (nuclear transport and telomerase) and malaria.

Pierre Gönczy

Pierre Gönczy is a professor in the School of Life Sciences at EPFL. His main research interests lie in understanding fundamental cell division processes, with a focus on centrosome duplication and asymmetric cell division, using the early embryo of the nematode Caenorhabiditis elegans and human cells in culture as model systems.

Marcos González - Gaitán

Marcos Gonzalez-Gaitán is a professor in biochemistry at the Université de Genève. His main research interest is the biophysics and cell biology of endocytic trafficking during morphogenetic signaling and asymmetric cell division. 

Monica Gotta

Monica Gotta is an associate professor at the Medical Faculty of UNIGE. Her main interest is the study of cell division processes with a focus on asymmetric cell division. 

Jean Gruenberg

Jean Gruenberg is a professor of Biochemistry at the University of Geneva. The main interest of his research group is to study the morphogenesis of sub-cellular organelles and the mechanisms that control intracellular membrane dynamics. He is also a member of LipidX (Systems Biology of Biomembranes) supported by the Swiss Initiative in Systems Biology. 

Oliver Hantschel

With an initial strong focus on tyrosine kinase oncoproteins that play a key role in the pathogenesis of several different leukemias and lymphomas, Professor Hantschel's lab uses interdisciplinary approaches at the interface of protein biochemistry, medicine, structural biology and chemical biology to study cancer cell signaling with the aim of finding novel ways for therapeutic intervention. 

Christian Heinis

Christian Heinis is an Assistant Professor at EPFL and head of the Laboratory of Therapeutic Proteins and Peptides (LPPT). His research aims at developing therapeutics based on peptide macrocycles using novel biological and chemical tools. 

Lab Website

Project 5: Notch Signaling 

Kai Johnsson

Kai Johnsson is a professor of chemical biology at EPFL. His main research interest is the development of chemistry-based tools to manipulate and visualize biochemical activities in living cells. Kai Johnsson is also the co-director of this NCCR. 

Jérôme Lacour

The main research interest of the group is asymmetric chemistry in a wide sense. Current research programs cover a variety of topics within the areas of enantioselective catalysis, synthesis, recognition, and these encompass the use of a large range of original ionic compounds and metal complexes. 

Robbie Loewith

Robbie Loewith is an Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology. With particular focus on the Target Of Rapamycin kinases, his group uses chemical genetic approaches in yeast to dissect complex signalling pathways conseved in all eukaryotes. 

Suliana Manley

Suliana Manley is an assistant professor of physics at the EPFL. Her primary research area is biophysics. More specifically, her lab works on the development and application of novel fluorescence imaging tools to study cellular biology problems. 

Stefan Matile

Stefan Matile is a Professor in Organic Chemistry at the University of Geneva. His research focuses on the creation of functional biosupramolecular systems for broad applications such as organic solar cells, biosensors and the many ways to move across a bilayer membrane. He is an ERC Advanced Investigator and a project leader of this NCCR. 

Lab Website

Project 7: Cellular Uptake 

Freddy Radtke

Freddy Radtke is an associate professor in the Life Science department (SV / ISREC) at EPFL. His main research interest is studying molecular mechanisms controlling stem cell maintenance and differentiation processes in self-renewing tissues and cancer. 

Jean-Louis Reymond

Jean-Louis Reymond is a professor of chemistry at the university of Berne. His current research includes computer-aided drug design based on virtual library generation and screening and the development of peptide dendrimers as artificial proteins. 

Howard Riezman

Howard Riezman and his group are interested in the biogenesis, trafficking, properties, and physiological roles of biological membranes, with a focus on the membrane lipids. Their work uses tools of chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics and mass spectrometry to analyze membranes in a systematic manner to study a wide range of experimental systems including yeast, worms, and mammalian tissue culture cells.

Kaori Sugihara

Kaori Sugihara is an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Chemistry at the University of Geneva. Her lab studies the mechanism of lipid self-assembly and develops applications with the formed lipid nanostructures toward biomedical engineering and electronics.    

Aurélien Roux

Aurélien Roux is an assistant professor in the department of Biochemistry, University of Geneva. His main interest is to study the role of lipid membrane mechanical properties in several cell processes, from endocytosis to cytokinesis. 

Gerardo Turcatti

Gerardo Turcatti, M.E.R., directs the screening platform at the EPFL that will be further developed to host the Academic Chemical Screening platform of Switzerland (ACCESS). His lab is hosting chemical and siRNA collections, performing compound management tasks and screening assays for a large community of scientists. His main scientific interests are in Chemical Biology-related methodologies and multidisciplinary research for life sciences applications. 

Gisou Van der Goot

Gisou van der Goot is a professor at the Global Health Institute of EPFL. Her research interests are focused on protein folding, protein-membrane interactions and signaling which her lab investigates through the study of bacterial toxins and their receptors on target cells. Gisou van der Goot is also the coordinator of the LipidX consortium, sponsored by SystemsX.ch. 

Jérôme Waser

Jérôme Waser is an assistant professor at EPFL and head of the Laboratory of Catalysis and Organic Synthesis (LCSO). His research is focused on the discovery of new catalytic reactions and their application to the synthesis of bioactive compounds. The developed synthetic methods can then be used for the diversity- or target- oriented synthesis of small molecules as valuable tools to study biological processes or develop new drugs.

Nicolas Winssinger

His research uses small molecules and supramolecular assemblies to interrogate and perturb biological processes. Unnatural nucleic acids (PNA) are used to program spatial organization and reactivity. A long-term objective is to extend these principles towards complex systems to emulate some of the fundamental features of living systems.

Jieping Zhu

Jieping Zhu is a professor of organic chemistry at EPFL. Total synthesis of complex natural products and development of new synthetic methodologies including multicomponent reactions are his main research interests. 

Andreas Zumbuehl

Andreas Zumbühl is a Professeur Boursier in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Fribourg. His main research interests are the synthesis of artificial phospholipids and their applications in biology and medicine. His current project is on approaches for non-spherical and surface-activated liposomes.

Lab Website at the UniFR


Nolwenn Chavan

Nolwenn joins us from the Exploradôme, a hands-on science museum in Paris, entertaining young audiences for the past four years. She has a master's degree in molecular and cellular biology from Univ. Pierre-et-Marie-Curie in Paris and in scientific and technical communication from Univ. Stendhal in Grenoble. She divides her time between developing demonstrations for the Chimiscope and marketing for the NCCR as our science communication officer.

Caroline Loutre

Caroline created and coordinated the ALPS (Arc Lémanique Plant Sciences) network, a subnetwork of the Swiss Plant Science Web, between UniGE and UniL since 2010. She joins us as the new COO starting January 2013.

Jean-Claude Schnuriger

After an apprenticeship and diploma in commerce/accounting, fifteen years of development work in informatics and three and a half years of volunteer work in the South of France, including an equestrian project and construction, I came back to my «first love»: administration and accounting. With a new diploma in accounting (IFAGE 2010) I am now ready for the challenges provided by the administration of the NCCR Chemical Biology.