Nationality Italian
Year of selection2009
InstitutionUniversité de Strasbourg
RiskLife risks

Type of support


Granted amount

2 250 000 €

Inspired by nature

Towards imaging and therapies with supramolecular chemistry and nanomaterials.

Supramolecular chemistry might bear a mysterious name; however, it is among today’s most sophisticated sciences. Located at the interface of chemistry, physics, biology and medical sciences, it has radically transformed how chemists view the world and work within it. Indeed, as the discipline made its entrance into laboratories, scientists no longer saw matter as being composed of separate atoms and molecules but as complex structures where the molecules interact with each other, leading to new properties. Such large molecular architecture is present all over Nature, and studying the way in which molecules are held together and “talk” to each other gives profound insight into the mechanisms of life. And as those processes are understood, they can also be reproduced with much simpler man-made molecules.
Supramolecular chemistry has proven to be a fundamental gateway to providing new therapeutic solutions to important health concerns, such as cancer and degenerative diseases. Numerous new molecules are designed and synthetized, then tested for potential activities on targets, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, HIV, autoimmune diseases, orphan diseases, allergies and obesity.
The University of Strasbourg, universally recognized as one of the world’s leading centers for chemistry, was able to face the challenge of renewing the innovation led by Nobel-Prize winner Jean-Marie Lehn, by attracting Prof. Luisa De Cola, a world-class researcher in supramolecular chemistry.
Her presence will ensure the continuation of the University of Strasbourg’s tradition of excellence and help lead the way for the next 30 years.
She will focus her research on nanomaterials and self-assembled systems and their emerging properties for in vitro and in vivo imaging and related bio-medical issues (therapeutic and diagnostics)—a highly relevant area of research where many breakthroughs can be expected in the near future.
De Cola’s role will be to bridge the gap between fundamental research discoveries and industrial applications in order to defeat age-related diseases, such as cancer, and thus significantly contribute to long-term care and well-being in the future society of longevity.

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