Research interest

 

Molecular recognition processes and catalysis in Nature involve large and complex structures such as antibodies and enzymes. The multipoint interactions that develop between host and guest permit binding to occur with high affinity and selectivity. Also, large structures facilitate the installment of regulatory mechanisms for instance through the formation of multicomponent complexes or the contemporary binding of co-factors. Synthetic systems that match up to the size and complexity of proteins could enable such properties in a nonbiological context or, alternatively, could be integrated in biological networks.

 

Our main interest is in the development of synthetic structures that have a size and complexity similar to that of proteins and exploit these structures for molecular recognition and catalysis. Nanostructures are prepared by assembling small molecles (such as peptides, nucleotides) on the surface of a multivalent scaffold. Apart from the ease of preparation, the use of noncovalent interactions for formation also leads to dynamic systems which can show adaptive behaviour. Our most recent efforts are directed towards the development of systems that require energy to maintain an organized state.