Universiteit Leiden

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Sylvestre Bonnet

Professor Chemistry

Prof.dr. S.A. Bonnet
+31 71 527 4260

Sylvestre Bonnet studies the (photo)chemistry of metal-based molecules in biological and biomimetic environment. By combining bioinorganic chemistry and photochemistry his group makes new light-activatable prodrugs for use as targeted anticancer agents with minimal side effects. Another part of the group studies how to assemble metal-based photosensitizers and catalysts to trap the sun energy into a solar fuel.

More information about Sylvestre Bonnet

Sylvestre Bonnet is Full Professor in Bioinorganic Chemistry at Leiden University. He obtained his PhD in 2005 at the University of Strasbourg, France, in the group of Nobel Laureate Jean-Pierre Sauvage. He then moved to The Netherlands as a postdoc, where he successively worked in the groups of Gerard van Koten (Utrecht), Jan Reedijk (Leiden), and Antoinette Killian and Bert Klein Gebbink (Utrecht). Between 2009 and 2014 he completed a Tenure Track position in Inorganic Chemistry at Leiden University, where he was tenured in 2015 and became full professor in 2020. He obtained several prestigious grants, including a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (2013), and three young investigator grants (VENI 2008, VIDI 2012, VICI 2019) from the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Since 2015 he is Fellow of the Young Academy of Europe, and in 2017 he became YAE Board Member. His expertise lies at the crossing point between bioinorganic chemistry, photochemistry, and lipid membranes. His current research interests are anticancer photoactivated chemotherapy, supramolecular photocatalysis, and upconversion.

Curriculum Vitae

Personal information

Nationality: French
Date of birth: 23 May 1976

Current and previous research positions

2020 - now   Full Professor in Bioinorganic chemistry, Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Leiden University, The Netherlands
2015 – 2020   Associate Professor in Inorganic Chemistry, Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Leiden University, the Netherlands
2009 – 2014   Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Leiden University, The Netherlands
2008 – 2009   Postdoctoral Researcher, Utrecht University, The Netherlands (Prof. B. Klein Gebbink and Prof. A. Killian)
2007 – 2008   Postdoctoral Researcher, Leiden University, The Netherlands (Prof. J. Reedijk)
2005 – 2007   Postdoctoral Researcher, Utrecht University, The Netherlands (Prof. G. van Koten)


2005   PhD, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Strasbourg, France, 27 September 2005
Thesis title: “Ru(terpy)(phen)(L)2+ complexes as a new tool towards light-controlled molecular machines”
Advisor: Prof. Dr. J.-P. Sauvage
2002   MSc in Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Strasbourg, France
1999  Aggregation de sciences physiques, option chemistry

Grants, awards, recognitions

2019   NWO-CW Vidi Grant (k€ 1,500)
2015   Member of the Young Academy of Europe (board member since 2017)
2013   ERC Starting Grant (k€ 1,418)
2012   NWO-CW Vidi Grant (k€ 800)

Contribution to teaching and supervision

Teacher for two courses of the MSc Chemistry and Life Science and Technology programmes at Leiden University: Photochemistry and Metals and Life.

Currently supervises ~8-12 PhD students and 1-3 postdoctoral fellows. 

Other current responsibilities

2016 - now    Chairman of the programme committee of the Chemistry MSc programme at Leiden University (member of the committee since 2013)
2015 - now    Elected member of the Faculty Council of the Faculty of Sciences of Leiden University
2015 - now    Teaching Director of the HRSMC Excellence Master's programme “Sustainability: the molecular approach”
2019 - now    Lorentz Center Chemistry board member
2019 - now    Member of the NWO working group committee “Chemical conversion” 

Publication record including five recent representative publications

Ca. 100 papers, 5 book chapters, 5 patents, >2800 citations. 

Google Scholar profile: https://scholar.google.nl/citations?user=KsMjKMQAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao

ORCID: 0000-0002-5810-3657

ResearcherID: C-9944-2010

Website: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/staffmembers/sylvestre-bonnet

Representative papers

  • X.-Q. Zhou, M. Xiao, V. Ramu, J. Hilgendorf, X. Li, P. Papadopoulou, M. A. Siegler, A. Kros, W. Sun, S. Bonnet. The self-assembly of a cyclometalated palladium photosensitizer into proteins-stabilized nanorods triggered drug uptake in vitro and in vivo. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.0c01369.
  • V. H. S. van Rixel, V. Ramu, A. B. Auyeung, N. Beztsinna, D. Y. Leger, S. T. Hilt, S. E. Le Dévédec, T. Yildiz, T. Betancourt, M. B. Gildner, T. W. Hudnall, V. Sol, B. Liagre, A. Kornienko, S. Bonnet. Photo-uncaging of a microtubule-targeted rigidin analogue in hypoxic cancer cells and in a xenograft mouse model. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 18444-18454
  • V. H. S. van Rixel, A. Busemann, M. F. Wissingh, S. L. Hopkins, B. Siewert, C. van de Griend, M. A. Siegler, T. Marzo, F. Papi, M. Ferraroni, P. Gratteri, C. Bazzicalupi, L. Messori, S. Bonnet. Induction of a Four‐Way Junction Structure in the DNA Palindromic Hexanucleotide 5′‐d(CGTACG)‐3′ by a Mononuclear Platinum Complex. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 131, 9478-9482
  • L. N. Lameijer, C. van de Griend, S. L. Hopkins, A.-G. Volbeda, S. H. C. Askes, M. A. Siegler, S. Bonnet. Photochemical Resolution of a Thermally Inert Cyclometalated Ru(phbpy)(N−N)(Sulfoxide)+ Complex. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 352−362
  • Why developing PhotoActivated Chemotherapy? S. Bonnet, Dalton Trans. 2018, 47, 10330-10343
  • J.-A. Cuello-Garibo, M. S. Meijer, S. Bonnet. To cage or to be caged? The Cytotoxic Species in Ruthenium-Based PhotoActivated ChemoTherapy is Not Always the Metal. Chem. Commun, 2017, 53, 6768-6771 
  • Limburg B., Wermink S., Nielsen S. van, Kortlever R., Koper M.T.M., Bouwman E., Bonnet S.A., Kinetics of photocatalytic water oxidation at liposomes: membrane anchoring stabilizes the photosensitizer. ACS Catalysis 2016, 6, 5968-5977
  • L. N. Lameijer, D. Ernst, S. L. Hopkins, M. S. Meijer, S. H. C. Askes, S. E. Le Dévédec, S. Bonnet. Efficient red light activated NAMPT inhibition in hypoxic cancer cells using water-soluble ruthenium complexes. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, 56,11549–11553

Presentations including five presentations at international conferences

>46 invited or keynote lectures at universities, institutes, and international conferences, and 22 oral communications at international conferences since 2010

2020    15th European Conference on Biological Inorganic Chemistry (EuroBIC15), Haskolabio at Hagatorg in Reykjavik, Iceland (plenary, online).
2019    Cyclometallated anticancer compounds in phototherapy: different colors, different isomers. 19th International Conference on Bioinorganic Chemistry (ICBIC19), Zurich, Switzerland (keynote).
2018    Tetrapyridyl metal complexes with new modes of action. 14th European BioInorganic Chemistry Conference, Birmingham, UK (keynote).
2017    Triplet-triplet annihilation upconversion in air. SHIFT2017 “Spectral Shaping for biomedical and energy applications” conference, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain (keynote).
2016    Photocatalytic oxidation of water at the surface of liposomes. PERSPECT-H2O COST final scientific meeting, Milazzo, Italy (keynote).

Professor Chemistry

  • Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen
  • Leiden Institute of Chemistry
  • LIC/Energy & Sustainability

Work address

Gorlaeus Building
Einsteinweg 55
2333 CC Leiden
Room number EE309



No relevant ancillary activities

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