Ph.D. students:

Master students:

Bachelor students:



Gaël Schaeffer was born in 1983 and brought up in Strasbourg, France. He graduated as a chemical engineer in polymer science from the European Engineering school of Chemistry, Polymers and Materials Science in 2007. In spite of his education being oriented toward industrial positions, he completed a Research Master of Science at the University of Strasbourg during his last year at the engineering school. He then started a PhD under the supervision of Prof. J.-M. Lehn, working on new types of polymers, both supramolecular and dynamic covalent, and their behavior in solution and at the solid-solution interface. He has also characterised new sorts of self-assemblies and analysed their sensitivity to various chemical stimuli. Gaël joined the group of Sijbren Otto as a post-doctoral researcher in 2013 to work on far-from-equilibrium systems and abiogenesis.

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Pim Frederix was born in Gennep in the south-east of the Netherlands in 1986. He finished his chemistry Bsc and MSc at Radboud University Nijmegen, specializing in the spectroscopy of small molecules. He then performed his PhD in physics at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, UK under the supervision of Neil Hunt and Rein Ulijn, studying the self-assembly of peptides using (ultrafast) infrared spectroscopy and molecular dynamics simulations. Graduating in 2013, he has spent another year in Glasgow as a post-doc on the commercialization of his research output in the field of biomimetic hydrogen gas production. In May 2014 he has joined the Otto lab in a shared project with the group of Siewert-Jan Marrink using computational methods to study dynamic combinatorial libraries of peptides on the molecular scale.

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Charalampos (Babis) Pappas was born in Karpenissi (Greece) in 1987. He finished his Bsc and Msc at University of Ioannina in Greece, where he studied the three-dimensional structure of bioactive molecules using multidimensional NMR techniques. Then he performed his PhD in the UK at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, under the supervision of Prof. Rein Ulijn, studying sound responsive assemblies and far-from-equilibrium chemical systems using biocatalytic self-assembly. In September 2016 he has joined the Otto lab as a postdoctoral researcher to study dissipative self-replication.

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Omer Markovitch was born at a very young age in Israel. He graduated B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in chemistry from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. In his masters he studied water structure and dynamics and particularly focused on the Grotthuss mechanism of proton transport in liquid water. He then moved to the Weizmann Institute for Science in Rehovot, Israel, to study dynamics and evolution of chemical system in relation to the origins of life, under the supervision of Prof. Doron Lancet. After graduating his Ph.D. in 2014, he moved to the UK to study systems and synthetic biology, followed by a short stay in Japan. Omer joined Otto's group in the middle of 2017 as a postdoctoral researcher to study the dynamics of multi-component macro-cycle replication via bottom-up and top-down modelling approaches. Homepage of Omer Markovitch

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Piotr Nowak

Piotr Nowak was born in 1987 in Warsaw, Poland. He studied chemistry at the University of Warsaw. He worked on high-pressure transesterification reaction of sterically hindered esters and stereoselective cycloadditions of nitrile oxides to alkenes under the supervision of Prof. Janusz Jurczak. He was also member and President of Warsaw University Student Chemical Society "Fulleren". He received his MSc in 2010 with the thesis entiteled "Asymmetric 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition reaction. The influence of electronic properties of substrates on reactivity and selectivity". Then he joined the research group of Sijbren Otto at the Centre for Systems Chemistry and Stratingh Institute for Chemistry in Groningen, the Netherlands, to work on self-replicating chemical systems, dynamic combinatorial chemistry and nanomaterials. Google profile of Piotr Nowak.

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Shuo Yang

Shuo Yang was born in GuangDong Province, China in 1987. He worked on Layer-by-Layer self-assembly and peptides as gene vectors in the group of Prof XianZheng Zhang and received his Master's degree (2011) from WuHan University, China. He is now pursuing his PhD in the group of Sijbren Otto at the University of Groningen.

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Ivica Cvrtila

Ivica Cvrtila was born in Zagreb, Croatia, in 1987. He studied chemistry in Zagreb from 2006 to 2011 and obtained MSc working on structural chemistry of hexacyanoferrates of organic bases, mostly focused on hydrogen bonded networks that arise from protonated hexacyanoferric units. During the studies he also worked on pyridine derivatives' adducts of metal(II) benzoylacetonates and related coordination compounds. In 2012 he joined the group of Sijbren Otto to pursue his PhD in the field of dynamic combinatorial chemistry. His current goals are artificial beta-barrels and beta-tubes arising from dynamic combinatorial libraries.

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Yigit Altay

Yigit Altay was born in Ankara, Turkey, in 1988. He received his BSc (magna cum laude) in 2011 from Bilkent University. He obtained his MSc in 2013 from same university, working on selective fluorescence sensing of biological thiols using a BODIPY based bifunctional probe and the catalytic activity of short peptide amphiphile nanostructures that have implications on the origin of life under the supervision of Prof. Engin Umut Akkaya. In 2010, he spent six months at Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, the Netherlands, where he was working on the deformation and swelling of hydrogels at the molecular level using fluorescent probes. He joined Sijbren Otto`s group in September 2013 to pursue his PhD, working on self-replicating dynamic combinatorial libraries and chiral symmetry breaking using a urea-based synthetic replicators. For more information you can visit

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Meniz Tezcan

Meniz Tezcan was born in Edirne (Turkey) in 1988. She studied chemistry at Middle East Technical University in Ankara. During her undergraduate years, she spent 3 months at University of Ghent in Belgium where she was working on the synthesis of azetidine derivatives. She obtained her Msc degree in 2013, working on light triggered self-assembly and hydrogelation of Azobenzene bearing peptides under the supervision of Assist.Prof. Salih Ozcubukcu. She joined Sijbren Otto’s research group in October 2013 to pursue her PhD, working on exploring the use of dynamic combinatorial chemistry for identifying new self-replicating molecules.

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Dávid Komáromy

Dávid Komáromy was born in Budapest in 1985. After winning a bronze medal at the 35th International Chemistry Olympiad in Athens, he started his chemistry studies on Eötvös Loránd University in 2007. He obtained his Bachelor Degree in 2010, working on the synthesis of thiol-ene click reagents for bioorthogonal labeling (in the group of Péter Kele). Between 2010 and 2012 Dávid studied at the Freie Universität Berlin as a DAAD fellow. In 2012, he completed his Master Thesis in the group of Christoph A. Schalley, working on the ion mobility-mass spectrometry of metallosupramolecular clusters. After participating in a research project on MALDI mechanisms at ETH Zürich, he joined the Otto group in October 2013. His research topics include the study of material transport between compartmentalized dynamic combinatorial libraries, as well as the application of dynamic combinatorial chemistry in catalysis.

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Andreas Hussain

Andreas Hussain was born 1987 in Kassel (Germany). He started studying chemistry at the Christiana-Albertina-University of Kiel in 2008. He obtained his BSc in 2011 working on chiral α-substituted ω-enols and his MSc in 2013, working on ion-triplet-macrocycles under supervision of Prof. U. Luening. In 2014 he joined Sijbren Otto’s research group to pursue his PhD, working on far-from-equilibrium systems.

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Xiaoming Miao

Xiaoming Miao was born in 1986 in Shanxi Province and brought up in Gansu Province, China. He obtained his Master's degree at Nankai University in 2014, working on selenium-containing small molecular self-assemble peptides with redox properties advised by Prof. Zhimou Yang. He joined the Otto group in 2014 to start his PhD, working on template-directed surface functionalization of nanoparticles.

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Peter Kroon

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Guillermo Monreal Santiago

Guillermo Monreal Santiago was born in 1992 in Madrid, Spain. He studied chemistry at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid until 2013, when he spent the last year of his degree as an Erasmus student in the KTH university (Stockholm, Sweden). There, he worked on the synthetic applications of enantiopure cyanohydrin derivatives in the laboratory of Prof. Christina Moberg. After receiving his BSc degree (with Honors), he continued his studies obtaining a MSc degree in the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, performing his thesis in the laboratory of Bioorganometallic Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Mar Gómez Gallego. He joined the Otto group in October 2015 to pursue his PhD in self-synthetizing and stimuli-responsive hydrogels, under the Marie Curie network “ResMoSys”.

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Bin Liu

Bin Liu was born in 1988 in Chongqin, China. He obtained his BS degree in chemistry at Hunan University of Science and Technology in 2012. After that, he received his MSc in 2015 with the thesis entitled "Design, Synthesis and Properties of N-Confused Porphyrin Derivatives" in the same university advised by Prof. Xiaofang Li. He moved to the University of Groningen in 2015 to pursue his PhD in the group of Sijbren Otto.

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Jim Ottele

Jim Ottele was born 1989 in Groningen. He studied chemistry at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and obtained his masters degree in Advanced Materials in 2016. His masters project was done in Sijbren Otto's research group, where he stayed to do his PhD.

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Master Students

Ivar Dijck

Ivar Dijck was born 1993 in Noordhorn. He studied Experimental Physics and Biology and gained his bachelor's in physics at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. He started with the Topmaster programme in Nanoscience in 2015. His research project is in Sijbren Otto's research group.

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Bartosz Matysiak was born in Grójec (Poland) in 1994, but brought up in Jedlińsk near Radom. He received his BSc diploma in chemistry from University of Warsaw in 2016, working in group of prof. Józef Mieczkowski on self-assembly of nanoparticles controlled by liquid crystals and photoswitches. During his bachelor studies he also spent 3 months in the Otto group working on antiparallel dynamic covalent chemistries. He came back to Groningen to obtain MSc degree in nanoscience, during which he spent 3 months in group of prof. Maria Antonietta Loi working on self-assembly of quantum dot superlattices on air-liquid interface. At last, he joined the Otto group again in September 2017 to study dissipative molecular systems.

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Marcel Eleveld

Marcel Eleveld was born 1993 in Voorburg, The Netherlands. He was brought in Rijswijk until he moved to Groningen in 2011 to study Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. He is now working in the Otto-group on his Bachelor research project on sustaining replicators in a flow regime.

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Bachelor Students



  • Boris Bartolec
  • Elio Mattia (now business consultant at Ortec Finance, the Netherlands)
  • Giulia Leonetti ( now project manager at PRA Health Sciences, the Netherlands)
  • Jan Sadownik (now scientist at Mercachem, the Netherlands)
  • Mathieu Colomb-Delsuc (now scientist at Vironova AB, Sweden )
  • Asish Pal (now academic at the Institute of Nanoscience and Technology Mohali, India )
  • Andrea Nekane Roig-Alba (now working at a consulting company in Spain )
  • Hugo Fanlo Virgós (now working at EDP renewables in Spain )
  • Saleh Hamieh
  • Morteza Malakoutikhah (now academic at the University of Isfahan, Iran )
  • Wietse Smith (now working at URENCO, Almelo, The Netherlands )
  • Jianwei Li (now postdoc in University of Oxford, UK)
  • Vittorio Saggiomo (now postdoc in Wageningen UR, the Netherlands)
  • András Perl (now researcher at Hanze Hoogeschool, Groningen, the Netherlands)
  • Seyedeh Fatemeh Salehian Amiri
  • Yang Han (now postdoc in TU Eindhoven, the Netherlands)
  • Jérôme Peyralans (now senior scientist at UCB Pharma, UK)
  • Manuel Pernia Leal (now at the Bionand Research Centre in Spain)
  • Karine Barral (now lecturer at the University of Marseille, France)
  • Tomasz Zielinski (afterwards postdoc in Edinburgh, UK)
  • Guoqiang Feng (now lecturer at Huazhong Normal University, China)
  • Luis Branco (now an academic at the Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Enda Bergin (now editor at Nature Communications)
  • Paolo Pengo (now academic in Trieste in Italy)
  • Jacqui Carnall (now at ADAS UK Ltd)
  • Frieda Mansfeld (postdoc at the University of Queensland in Australia)
  • Zaida Rodriguez-Docampo
  • Fred Ludlow (now at Astex Therapeutics, UK)
  • Kevin West (now at BP)