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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)


Bumhee Lim, Takehiro Kato, Celine Besnard, Amalia I. Poblador Bahamonde, Naomi Sakai, and Stefan Matile, “Pnictogen-Centered Cascade Exchangers for Thiol-Mediated Uptake: As(III)-, Sb(III)-, and Bi(III)-Expanded Cyclic Disulfides as Inhibitors of Cytosolic Delivery and Viral Entry”, JACS Au 2022 2 (5), 1105-1114. Open access Dataset info [More Information]

Heorhii V. Humeniuk, Andrea Gini, Xiaoyu Hao, Filipe Coelho, Naomi Sakai, Stefan Matile, “Pnictogen-Bonding Catalysis and Transport Combined: Polyether Cation Transporters Made in Situ”, JACS Au 2021, 1, 10, 1588–1593. Open access Dataset info [More Information]

Javier López-Andarias, Krikor Eblighatian, Quentin T. L. Pasquer, Lea Assies, Naomi Sakai, Sascha Hoogendoorn, Stefan Matile, “Photocleavable Fluorescent Membrane Tension Probes: Fast Release with Spatiotemporal Control in Inner Leaflets of Plasma Membrane, Nuclear Envelope, and Secretory Pathway”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2022, 61, e202113163. Open access Dataset info
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Xiaoyu Hao, Tian-Ren Li, Hao Chen, Andrea Gini, Xiang Zhang, Stéphane Rosset, Clément Mazet, Konrad Tiefenbacher, Stefan Matile, “Bioinspired Ether Cyclizations within a π-Basic Capsule Compared to Autocatalysis on π-Acidic Surfaces and Pnictogen-Bonding Catalysts”, Chem. Eur. J. 2021, 27, 12215. Open access Dataset info [More Information]

Quentin Laurent, Naomi Sakai, Stefan Matile, “An Orthogonal Dynamic Covalent Chemistry Tool for Ring-Opening Polymerization of Cyclic Oligochalcogenides on Detachable Helical Peptide Templates”, Chemistry Europe, 2022. Open access Dataset info
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José García-Calvo, Javier López-Andarias, Jimmy Maillard, Vincent Mercier, Chloé Roffay, Aurélien Roux, Alexandre Fürstenberg, Naomi Sakai, Stefan Matile, “HydroFlipper membrane tension probes: imaging membrane hydration and mechanical compression simultaneously in living cells”, Chem. Sci., 2022,13, 2086-2093. Open access Dataset info
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Assies Lea, García-Calvo José, Piazzolla Francesca, Sanchez Samantha, Kato Takehiro, Reymond Luc, Goujon Antoine, Colom Adai, López-Andarias Javier, Straková Karolína, Mahecic Dora, Mercier Vincent, Riggi Margot, Jiménez-Rojo Noemi, Roffay Chloé, Licari Giuseppe, Tsemperouli Maria, Neuhaus Frederik, Fürstenberg Alexandre, Vauthey Eric, Hoogendoorn Sascha, Gonzalez-Gaitan Marcos, Zumbuehl Andreas, Sugihara Kaori, Gruenberg Jean, Riezman Howard, Loewith Robbie, Manley Suliana, Roux Aurelien, Winssinger Nicolas, Sakai Naomi, Pitsch Stefan, Matile Stefan, “Flipper probes for the community”, CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry, Volume 75, Number 12, 2021. Open access [More Information]

Chloé Roffay, Guillaume Molinard, Kyoohyun Kim, Marta Urbanska, Virginia Andrade, Victoria Barbarasa, Paulina Nowak, Vincent Mercier, José García-Calvo, Stefan Matile, Robbie Loewith, Arnaud Echard, Jochen Guck, Martin Lenz, and Aurélien Roux, “Passive coupling of membrane tension and cell volume during active response of cells to osmosis”, [More Information]

Sansen T., Sanchez-Fuentes D., Rathar R., Colom-Diego A., El Alaoui F., de Rossi S., Viaud J., Macchione M., Matile S., Gaudin R., Carretero-Genevrier A., Picas L., “Mapping Cell Membrane Organization and Dynamics Using Soft Nanoimprint Lithography”, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2020, 12, 29000–29012. [More Information]

Quentin Laurent, Rémi Martinent, Bumhee Lim, Anh-Tuan Pham, Takehiro Kato, Javier López-Andarias, Naomi Sakai, Stefan Matile, “Thiol-Mediated Uptake”, JACS Au 2021. Review article. Open access [More Information]

Miguel Paraja, Andrea Gini, Naomi Sakai, Stefan Matile, “Pnictogen‐Bonding Catalysis: An Interactive Tool to Uncover Unorthodox Mechanisms in Polyether Cascade Cyclizations”, Chemistry Europe, 2020. Free access [More Information]

Inga Shybeka, Alexander Aster, Yangyang Cheng, Naomi Sakai, Antonio Frontera, Eric Vauthey, Stefan Matile, “Naphthalenediimides with Cyclic Oligochalcogenides in Their Core”, Chem. Eur. J., 2020, 26, 14059–14063. Dataset info [More Information]

Noemi Jiménez-Rojo, Manuel D. Leonetti, Valeria Zoni, Adai Colom, Suihan Feng, Namrata R. Iyengar, Stefan Matile, Aurélien Roux, Stefano Vanni, Jonathan S. Weissman, Howard Riezman, “Conserved Functions of Ether Lipids and Sphingolipids in the Early Secretory Pathway”, Current Biology, 5;30(19):3775-3787.e7, 2020. Open access. Dataset GEO. Dataset Yareta. [More Information]

Andrea Gini, Miguel Paraja, Bartomeu Galmés, Celine Besnard, Amalia I. Poblador-Bahamonde, Naomi Sakai, Antonio Frontera and Stefan Matile, “Pnictogen-bonding catalysis: brevetoxin-type polyether cyclizations”, Chem. Sci., 2020. Open access [More Information]

García-Calvo J., Meillard J., Fureraj I., Strakova K., Colom A., Mercier V., Roux A., Vauthey E., Sakai N., Fürstenberg A., Matile S., “Fluorescent Membrane Tension Probes for Super-Resolution Microscopy: Combining Mechanosensitive Cascade Switching with Dynamic-Covalent Ketone Chemistry”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 142, 28, 12034–12038, 2020. Dataset info. [More Information]

Oberhauser L, Granziera S, Colom A, Goujon A, Lavallard V, Matile S, Roux A, Brun T, Maechler P., “Palmitate and oleate modify membrane fluidity and kinase activities of INS-1E beta-cells alongside altered metabolism-secretion coupling”, Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res 2020, 1867:118619. [More Information]

Giuseppe Licari, Karolina Strakova, Stefan Matile, Emad Tajkhorshid, “Twisting and tilting of a mechanosensitive molecular probe detects order in membranes”, Chemical Science 11, 5637-5649, 2020. Open access [More Information]

Miguel Paraja, Stefan Matile, “Primary Anion–π Catalysis of Epoxide‐Opening Ether Cyclization into Rings of Different Sizes: Access to New Reactivity”, Angewande Chemie, 2020. [More Information]

Javier López-Andarias, Jacques Saarbach, Dimitri Moreau, Yangyang Cheng, Emmanuel Derivery, Quentin Laurent, Marcos González-Gaitán, Nicolas Winssinger, Naomi Sakai, Stefan Matile, “Cell-Penetrating Streptavidin: A General Tool for Bifunctional Delivery with Spatiotemporal Control, Mediated by Transport Systems Such as Adaptive Benzopolysulfane Networks”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142, 10, 4784-4792. Open accessDataset info Cell-Penetrating Streptavidin: A General Tool for Bifunctional Delivery with Spatiotemporal Control, Mediated by Transport Systems such as Adaptive Benzopolysulfane Networks“.  [More Information]

Miguel Paraja, Xiaoyu Hao, Stefan Matile, “Polyether Natural Product Inspired Cascade Cyclizations: Autocatalysis on π‐Acidic Aromatic Surfaces”, Angewandte Chemie, 2020. [More Information]

Strakova K., Assies L., Goujon A., Piazzolla F., Humeniuk H.V., Matile S.,  “Dithienothiophenes at Work:  Access to Mechanosensitive Fluorescent Probes, Chalcogen-Bonding Catalysis, and Beyond”, Chem. Rev.119, 10977–11005, 2019. [More Information]

Cheng Y., Zong L., Lopez-Andarias J., Bartolami E., Okamoto Y., Ward T. R., Sakai N., Matile S., “Cell-Penetrating Dynamic-Covalent Benzopolysulfane Networks”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 58, 9522–
9526; doi 10.1002/anie.201905003. Open access / Dataset info – Data set title: “Cell-Penetrating Dynamic-Covalent Benzopolysulfane Networks – Raw data”. DPI: 10.5281/zenodo.3044493. Responsible person: Stefan Matile.
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Bartolami E., Basagiannis D., Zong L., Martinent R., Okamoto Y., Laurent Q., Ward T. R., Gonzalez-Gaitan M., Sakai N., Matile S.,  “Diselenolane-Mediated Cellular Uptake: Efficient Cytosolic Delivery of Probes, Peptides, Proteins, Artificial Metalloenzymes and Protein-Coated Quantum Dots,” Chem. Eur. J. 2019, 25, 4047–4051. [More Information]

Yangyang Cheng, Lili Zong, Javier López‐Andarias, Eline Bartolami, Yasunori Okamoto, Thomas R. Ward, Naomi Sakai, Stefan Matile, “Cell‐Penetrating Dynamic‐Covalent Benzopolysulfane Networks”, Angew. Chem., 2019. Open access [More Information]

Gökçe Su Pulcu, Nicole Stéphanie Galenkamp, Yujia Qing, Giulio Gasparini, Ellina Mikhailova, Stefan Matile, Hagan Bayley, “Single-Molecule Kinetics of Growth and Degradation of Cell-Penetrating Poly(disulfide)s”, JACS, 2019. [More Information]

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. Free access [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]

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., 3, 5, 449–453, 2017. [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., 55(46):14422-14426, 2016. (Hot Paper recognition). Free access [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]