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Stefan Matile

Stefan Matile

Department of Organic Chemistry, University of Geneva

About Stefan Matile

Stefan Matile is a Full Professor in the Department of Organic Chemistry at the University of Geneva and a founding member of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Chemical Biology and the NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering. In 2010, he became an ERC Advanced Investigator. He is the co-author of more than 250 publications, many in top journals (45 JACS, etc), and has delivered more than 230 lectures all over the world. Half of the more than 80 students he has trained so far (PhD, postdoc) are now active in academia (China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, USA, etc); others preferred a career in industry (Firmenich, Nestle, DuPont Geneva, Siegfried, BASF, Roche, Novartis, etc). Educated at the University of Zurich (PhD, with Wolf Woggon) and Columbia University in New York (postdoc, with Koji Nakanishi), he started his independent academic career as an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, Washington DC, before moving to Geneva. Stefan Matile is a Professor in Organic Chemistry at the University of Geneva.

At the interface of synthetic organic, biological and supramolecular materials chemistry. Emphasis is on molecules and supramolecular systems that are synthesized from scratch, have interesting functions, address lessons from nature and integrate unorthodox interactions. Functions of current interest concern catalysis, cellular uptake and mechanosensitive fluorescent probes. Other topics of longstanding interest are artificial photosystems on solid surfaces and transport and sensing in lipid bilayer membranes. “Exotic” interactions of current interest include anion-π and ion pair-π interactions (catalysis, spectral tuning), mechanosensitive bonds, halogen bonds and orthogonal dynamic covalent bonds, particularly disulfide exchange in strained monomers, polymers and on the surface of cells.

Read more about Stefan Matile’s research on his lab website.


University of Geneva
Department of Organic Chemistry
30 Quai Ernest Ansermet
1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland
Phone: +41 (0)22 379 6519 (secretariat)


Laurent Q., Sakai N., Matile S., “The Opening of 1,2-Dithiolanes and 1,2-Diselenolanes:  Regioselectivity, Rearrangements, and Consequences for Poly(disulfide)s, Cellular Uptake and Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complexes”, Helv. Chim. Acta102, e1800209, 2019. [More Information]

Eline Bartolami, Dimitris Basagiannis, Lili Zong, Rémi Martinent, Yasunori Okamoto, Quentin Laurent, Thomas R. Ward, Marcos Gonzalez‐Gaitan, Naomi Sakai, Stefan Matile, “Diselenolane‐Mediated Cellular Uptake: Efficient Cytosolic Delivery of Probes, Peptides, Proteins, Artificial Metalloenzymes and Protein‐Coated Quantum Dots”, Chem.Eur.J., 25, 4047 –4051, 2019. [More Information]

Antoine Goujon, Adai Colom, Karolína Strakova, Vincent Mercier, Dora Mahecic, Suliana Manley, Naomi Sakai, Aurélien Roux, and Stefan Matile, “Mechanosensitive Fluorescent Probes To Image Membrane Tensionin Mitochondria, Endoplasmic Reticulum, and Lysosomes“, JACS, doi: 10.1021/jacs.8b13189, 2019. [More Information]

L. M. Lee, M. Tsemperouli, A. I. Poblador-Bahamonde, S. Benz, N. Sakai, K. Sugihara, S. Matile, “Anion Transport with Pnictogen Bonds in Direct Comparison with Chalcogen and Halogen Bonds”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2019. [More Information]

Goujon A., Strakova K., Sakai N., Matile S., “Streptavidin Interfacing as a General Strategy to Localize Fluorescent Membrane Tension Probes in Cells”, Chem. Sci., in press.

Okamoto Y., Kojima R., Schwizer F., Bartolami E., Heinisch T., Matile S., Fussenegger M., Ward T. R., “A Cell-Penetrating Artificial Metalloenzyme Regulates a Gene Switch in a Designer Mammalian Cell”, Nat. Commun. 9, 1943, 2018. [More Information]

Licari G., Beckwith J. S., Soleimanpour S., Matile S., Vauthey E.,  “Detecting Order and Lateral Pressure at Biomimetic Interfaces Using a Mechanosensitive Second-Harmonic-Generation Probe”, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2018, 20, 9328–9336.  DOI: 10.1039/c8cp00773j [More Information]

Strakova K., Soleimanpour S., Diez-Castellnou M., Sakai N., Matile S.,  “Ganglioside-Selective Mechanosensitive Fluorescent Membrane Probes”, Helv. Chim. Acta, 101, e1800019, 2018.  DOI: 10.1002/hlca.201800019 [More Information]

Humeniuk H. V., Rosspeinter A., Licari G., Kilin V., Bonacina L., Vauthey E., Sakai N., Matile S.,  “White-Fluorescent Dual-Emission Mechanosensitive Membrane Probes that Function by Bending Rather than Twisting”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2018.  DOI: 10.1002/anie.201804662. [More Information]

M. Macchione, M. Tsemperouli, A. Goujon, A. R. Mallia, N. Sakai, K. Sugihara, S. Matile, “Mechanosensitive Oligodithienothiophenes: Transmembrane Anion Transport Along Chalcogen-Bonding Cascades”, Helvetica Chimica Acta 101, e1800014, 2018. [More Information]

Chuard N., Poblador-Bahamonde A. I., Zong L., Bartolami E., Hiltebrandt J., Weigand W., Sakai N., Matile S., “Diselenolane-Mediated Cellular Uptake” Chem. Sci. 2018, 9, 1860–1866. [More Information]

Paola Morelli, Eline Bartolami, Naomi Sakai, Stefan Matile, “Glycosylated Cell‐Penetrating Poly(disulfide)s: Multifunctional Cellular Uptake at High Solubility”, Helv. Chim. Acta 2018, 101, e1700266. [More Information]

Neuhaus F., Zobi F., Brezesinski G., Dal Molin M., Matile S., Zumbuehl A.,  “Correlation of Surface Pressure and Color Hue of Planarizable Push-Pull Chromophores at the Air/Water Interface”, Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2017, 13, 1099–1105. [More Information]

Verolet Q., Dal Molin M., Colom A., Roux A., Guénée L., Sakai N., Matile S., “Twisted Push-Pull Probes with Turn-On Sulfide Donors”, Helv. Chim. Acta, 100, e1600328, 2017. [More Information]

Zong L., Bartolami E., Abegg D., Adibekian A., Sakai N., Matile S., “Epidithiodiketopiperazines: Strain-Promoted Thiol-Mediated Cellular Uptake at the Highest Tension”, ACS Cent. Sci., in press. [More Information]

Chuard N., Gasparini G., Moreau D., Lörcher S., Palivan C., Meier W., Sakai N., Matile, S., “Strain-Promoted Thiol-Mediated Cellular Uptake of Giant Substrates: Liposomes and Polymersomes”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., February 2017. [More Information]

Abegg D., Gasparini G., Hoch D. G., Shuster A., Bartolami E., Matile S., Adibekian A., “Strained Cyclic Disulfides Enable Cellular Uptake by Reacting with the Transferrin Receptor”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 231–238. [More Information]

Wang C., Miros F. N., Mareda J., Sakai N., Matile S., “Asymmetric anion-π catalysis on perylenediimides”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., in press (Hot Paper recognition). [More Information]

Liu L., Cotelle Y., Avestro A.-J., Sakai N., Matile S., “Asymmetric anion-π catalysis of iminium/nitroaldol cascades to form cyclohexane Rings with five stereogenic centers directly on π-acidic surfaces”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2016, 138, 7876–7879. [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]

Dal Molin M., Verolet Q., Soleimanpour S., Matile S. “Mechanosensitive Membrane Probes”. Chem. Eur., J., 21, 6012-6021, (2015). (Paper highlighted with a frontispiece : a water-color painting of a scuba diver by Marcos Gonzalez-Gaitan). [More Information]

Chuard N., Gasparini G., Roux A., Sakai N., Matile S., “Cell-Penetrating Poly(disulfide)s: The Dependence of Activity, Depolymerization Kinetics and Intracellular Localization on Their Length”, Org. Biomol. Chem., 13, 64-67, (2015). (invited contribution to 2 special issues). [More Information]

Dal Molin M., Verolet Q., Colom A., Letrun R., Derivery E., Gonzalez-Gaitan M., Vauthey E., Roux A., Sakai N., Matile S. “Fluorescent Flippers for Mechanosensitive Membrane Probes”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 137, 568-571, (2015). [More Information]