Sander Wezenberg studied Chemistry at the University of Nijmegen where he carried out his Master's research in the group of Prof. Roeland Nolte. He pursued his PhD studies in the field of supramolecular chemistry and catalysis with Prof. Arjan Kleij at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia. During this period, he spent time as a visiting researcher in the group of Prof. Joseph Hupp at Northwestern University. After receiving his PhD degree in 2011, he joined the group of Prof. François Diederich at ETH Zurich as a postdoctoral fellow. Two years later, he moved to the University of Groningen to work with Prof. Ben Feringa, where he was appointed Assistant Professor in 2017. He established his independent research group at Leiden University in 2019, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2022. His main research interests are in the areas of molecular switches, ion recognition and transport, and dynamic supramolecular systems. Sander is recipient of several prestigious grants, including a Starting Grant (2018) from the European Research Council (ERC), and young investigator grants (Veni-2014, Vidi-2018) from the Dutch Research Council (NWO). In 2020, he was elected as member of the Young Academy of Europe.
Many of Nature’s protein receptors and machines operate within the lipid bilayer membrane and exploit environmental stimuli, as well as concentration and potential gradients, to operate and perform their task. Their malfunctioning has been associated to serious diseases, such as cystic fibrosis. Molecular chemists therefore pursue the creation of artificial membrane-embedded systems that imitate the function of proteins and hence, in the future could be interfaced with biology. Although significant advances have been made in the application of synthetic molecular receptors as transmembrane transporters, the integration of stimuli-responsiveness and machine-like mechanical motions, as is observed in natural systems, is in its infancy.
Different types of anion receptors, which can be switched between distinct affinity modes using light, are discussed in this lecture. These receptors were recently applied in the modulation of transmembrane anion transport as well as membrane potential.
- From facilitating diffusion to active transport
- Control of transport across the cell membrane
- Membrane incorporation vs activity difference
- Deliverability and targeting strategies
- (Orthogonal) light and chemical stimulus control