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Nicolas Winssinger

Nicolas Winssinger

Department of Organic Chemistry, University of Geneva

About Nicolas Winssinger

Nicolas Winssinger received his B.Sc. in chemistry from Tufts University. He then carried out his doctoral studies under the tutelage of professor KC Nicolaou at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI). After his PhD, he remained at Scripps to work in the group of professor P.G. Schultz as an NIH postdoctoral fellow. In 2002, he moved to the Institut de Science et Ingénierie Supramoléculaires (ISIS), Strasbourg University (formerly Université Louis Pasteur) as an assistant professor and was promoted to full professor in 2005. Shortly thereafter, he was elected to the Insitut Universitaire de France (IUF). In 2012 he moved to the University of Geneva where he currently is a Professor in the department of Organic Chemistry.

His current research aims to develop enabling methods in chemistry to further our understanding of complex biological networks. An important theme through this research is the use of unnatural nucleic acid (PNA) to program spatial organization and reactivity. A long-term objective is to extend these principles towards complex systems that can emulate some of the fundamental features of living systems. An integral part of these endeavors is the use of bioactive small molecules that can modulate protein function with a particular focus on biologically validated natural products.

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.

Nicolas Winssinger is a member of the NCCR steering committee and of the educational committee for the Master’s in Chemical Biology.

Read more about Nicolas Winssinger’s research on his lab website.


University of Geneva
Department of Organic Chemistry
30, quai Ernest Ansermet
1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland
Phone: +41 22 379 61 05


Weilong Liu, Rémi Patouret, Sofia Barluenga, Michael Plank, Robbie Loewith, Nicolas Winssinger, “Identification of a Covalent Importin-5 Inhibitor, Goyazensolide, from a Collective Synthesis of Furanoheliangolides”, ACS Cent. Sci. 2021. Open access [More Information]

Simona Angerani, Eric Lindberg, Nikolai Klena, Christopher K. E. Bleck, Charlotte Aumeier, Nicolas Winssinger, “Kinesin-1 activity recorded in living cells with a precipitating dye”, Nature Communications volume 12, Article number: 1463, 2021. Open access [More Information]

Plank M., Perepelkina M., Müller M., Vaga S., Zou X., Bourgoint C., Berti M., Saarbach J., Haesendonckx S., Winssinger N., Aebersold R., Loewith R., “Chemical Genetics of AGC-kinases Reveals Shared Targets of Ypk1, Protein Kinase A and Sch9”, Mol. Cell Proteomics. 2020 Apr;19(4):655-671. Open access. Dataset info – Data set title: “Yeast AGC-kinases phospho-proteomics”. Responsible person: Robbie Loewith. [More Information]

Suihan FengTakeshi HarayamaDalu ChangJ. Thomas HannichNicolas Winssinger, Howard Riezman, “Lysosome targeted photoactivation reveals local sphingosine metabolism signature”, Chem. Sci., 10, 2253-2258, 2019. Open access [More Information]

Jacques Saarbach, Eric Lindberg, Nicolas Winssinger, “Ruthenium-based photocatalysis in templated reactions”, CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry, Volume 72, Number 4, April 2018, pp. 207-211(5). [More Information]

Suihan Feng, Takeshi Harayama, Sylvie Montessuit, Fabrice PA David, Nicolas Winssinger, Jean-Claude Martinou, Howard Riezman,  “Mitochondria-specific photoactivation to monitor local sphingosine metabolism and functioneLife 2018;7:e34555 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.34555. [More Information]

Machida T., Novoa A., Gillon E., Zheng S., Claudinon J., Eierhoff T., Imberty A., Römer W., Winssinger N., “Dynamic Cooperative Glycan Assembly Blocks the Binding of Bacterial Lectins to Epithelial Cells”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2017. [More Information]

Chang D., Lindberg E., Winssinger N., “Critical Analysis of Rate Constants and Turnover Frequency in Nucleic Acid-Templated Reactions: Reaching Terminal Velocity”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139 (4), 1444-1447 [More Information]

Chuard N., Fujisawa K., Morelli P., Saarbach J., Winssinger N., Metrangolo P., Resnati G., Sakai N., Matile S., “Activation of cell-penetrating peptides with ionpair-π interactions and fluorophiles”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2016, 138, 11264–11271. [More Information]

Takuya Machida, Dr. Som Dutt, Prof. Nicolas Winssinger, “Allosterically Regulated Phosphatase Activity from Peptide–PNA Conjugates Folded Through Hybridization”, Angewandte Chemie, Volume 55, Issue 30, July 18, p. 8595–8598 (2016). [More Information]

Lindberg E., Winssinger N., “High Spatial Resolution Imaging of Endogenous Hydrogen Peroxide in Living Cells by Solid-State Fluorescence”,  Chembiochem. 2016 Jun 7. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201600211 (2016) [More Information]

Machida T., Winssinger N., “One-Step Derivatization of Reducing Oligosaccharides for Rapid and Live-Cell Compatible Chelation-Assisted CuAAC conjugation”, ChemBioChem 17, 9, 811-815,2016. Free access [More Information]

Barluenga S., Zambaldo C., Ioannidou H.A., Ciobanu M., Morieux P., Daguer J.P., Winssinger N. “Novel PTP1B inhibitors identified by DNA display of fragment pairs”, Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. (2016), 26, 1080-1085. [More Information]

Lagoutte R., Serba C., Abegg D., Hoch D. G., Adibekian A., Winssinger N., “Divergent Synthesis and Identification of the Cellular Targets of Deoxyelephantopins”, Nature Communications volume 7, Article number: 12470, 2016. Open access [More Information]

Holtzer L., Oleinich I., Anzola M., Sadhu K.K., Gonzalez-Gaitan M., Winssinger N., “Nucleic-acid templated chemical reaction in a live vertebrate”, ACS Central Science, (2016), 2 (6), 394-400. Press release by UNIGE and NCCR Chemical Biology. [More Information]

Machida T., Lang K., Xue L., Chin J., Winssinger N., “Site-Specific Glycoconjugation of Protein via Bioorthogonal Tetrazine Cycloaddition with a Genetically Encoded trans-Cyclooctene”, Bioconjugate Chem. online, (2015). [More Information]

Daguer J.P., Zambaldo C., Ciobanu M., Morieux P., Barluenga S., Winssinger N., “DNA display of fragment pairs as a tool for the discovery of novel biologically active small molecules”, Chem. Sci., 6, 739-744, (2015). [More Information]

Daguer J.P., Zambaldo C., Abegg D., Barluenga S., Tallant C., Müller S., Adibekian A., Winssinger N., “Identification of Covalent Bromodomain Binders through DNA Display of Small Molecules”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 54, 6057-6061, (2015). [More Information]